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Resistance to freeze-thaw cycles is an important property for the durability of a concrete road or structure in an outdoor environment. In the case of roads and their surrounding infrastructure an additional part is played by the presence of de-icing salt.
To give concrete adequate freeze-thaw resistance with de-icing salt, the mix must be designed correctly and laid with proper care. This requires more than a sufficiently high cement content, as water and air content play an important part as well. In this respect, a minimum air content must be provided for as soon as the maximum aggregate size is 20 mm or smaller. The amount and quality of sand also very important.
There are several methods to test the scaling resistance of concrete with de-icing salt. The method used up to now in Belgian road construction is based on standard ISO/DIS 4846-2. This standard has now been withdrawn and is no longer published. Since 1st January 2015 Flanders has switched over to the Slab Test as described in European standard CEN/TS 12390-9. This test method is harsher than the ISO/DIS test and consequently has different requirements, which have been included in version 3.1 of the Flemish standard tender specifications SB250.
The Slab Test has proved to be the most appropriate of the three methods (Slab Test, Cube Test and CF-CDF Test) described in draft European standard prENV 12390-9.
• Standard tender specifications: concrete composition – laying method:
FEBELCEM publication Concevoir des ouvrages en béton résistant au gel et aux sels de déverglaçage
FEBELCEM publication Durabilité des bétons par la maîtrise de l’absorption d’eau
Belgian Road Research Centre Code de bonne pratique pour les revêtements industriels extérieurs en béton – additional information on concrete composition and durability
CEN/TS 12390-9 (2006) “Testing hardened concrete – Part 9: Freeze-thaw resistance – Scaling”