The National Academies

NCHRP Synthesis 20-05/Topic 16-05 [Final (Synthesis)]

Freezing and Thawing Resistance of High-Strength Concrete
[ NCHRP 20-05 (Synthesis of Information Related to Highway Practices) ]

  Project Data

Recent developments have made a new generation of high-strength concrete a viable material for routine construction. The two principal developments are high-range water-reducing admixtures, which permit the placement of concrete of very low water-cement ratio, and silica fume, a pozzolan of extremely high fineness. The advent of this high- strength concrete has put requirements for strength and durability in conflict. Because entrained air reduces the strength of concrete, builders seek to eliminate or limit the use of entrained air. There are those who argue that high-strength concrete is of such a quality that entrained air is unnecessary. Much of the high-strength concrete currently being used is in buildings, where the question of durability is minor. The question, however, cannot be avoided in exposed highway structures. Service records of non-air-entrained high-strength concrete exposed to freezing are not conclusive. Hence, this report synthesizes the available knowledge on the subject. Its aim is to provide guidance to those who wish to use high-strength concrete in typical highway applications and to indicate where further information is needed.  The report for this topic can be purchased at

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