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Last edited 03 Feb 2020
“…any volume of structural concrete in which a combination of dimensions of the member being cast, the boundary conditions, the characteristics of the concrete mixture, and the ambient conditions [which] can lead to undesirable thermal stresses, cracking, deleterious chemical reactions, or reduction in the long-term strength as a result of elevated concrete temperature due to heat of hydration.”
Mass concrete is usually associated with large, poured in-situ concrete structures such as dams, bridge piers, foundations to very tall buildings and other large volume placements which are at least 1m-deep. In many cases, mass concrete is unreinforced and therefore strong in compression but weak in tension.
Construction of the Hoover Dam (pictured) on the Colorado River, USA, began in 1931, required enormous quantities of mass concrete (3.3 million cubic metres) to construct its arch-gravity structure. It is 13.7m wide at the top and 201m-wide at the bottom. To dissipate the heat generated by the cooling (setting) of the mass concrete required a vast network of water circulating through steel pipes. Without this, the concrete would still be setting today.
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