Strategy for preventing explosive spalling and enhancing material efficiency of lightweight ultra high-performance concrete

Jian Xin Lu, Peiliang Shen, Yanjie Sun, Chi Sun Poon

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review

9 Citations (Scopus)


The highly dense structure which causes the risk of explosive spalling is one of the major limitations of using ultra high-performance concrete (UHPC). This study developed a lightweight UHPC (L-UHPC) and proposed a strategy to improve its material efficiency and lower the risk of explosive spalling. High-strength hollow glass microspheres and fine lightweight aggregates were jointly used in the UHPC system to achieve light weight and ultra high strength. The L-UHPC was cured at different curing regimes to maximize its material efficiency and prevent its spalling after exposure to high temperature. The experimental results showed that the combination of lightweight materials and dry heat curing was effective in reducing the density (<1800 kg/m3) and enhancing the compressive strength (>150 MPa) of the L-UHPC. By means of minimizing the amount of internal free water, the heat curing approach contributed to avoiding the thermal spalling of the L-UHPC exposed to fire conditions. Microstructural results indicated that the elevated temperature curing promoted the pozzolanic reaction and increased the microhardness of the paste matrix by increasing silicate polymerization of the C-S-H structure. The created voids of the collapsed glass microspheres might accommodate some internal vapor pressure and mitigate the degradation caused by the high temperature exposure. The synergetic effect of the porous materials and the dry heat curing lowered the thermal conductivity and significantly improved the material efficiency of the L-UHPC.

Original languageEnglish
Article number106842
JournalCement and Concrete Research
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2022


  • Lightweight materials
  • Lightweight UHPC
  • Material efficiency
  • Pozzolanic reaction
  • Thermal conductivity

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Building and Construction
  • Materials Science(all)


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