Concrete has come a long way since its use in building the Roman Coliseum in 70 A.D. New methods of construction as well as improvement in cement formulas, aggregates and admixtures have significantly increased the type of projects for which concrete can be used. The strength and properties of various concrete mixes have led the way for larger buildings, safe and sound bridges and more durable structures. With the invention of reactive powder concrete (RPC), the use of concrete has increased. RPC with trade name „DUCTAL‟ was developed in France by researchers Mr.Richard and Mr. Cheyrezy in the early 1990s at Bouygues, laboratory in France. The world‟s first RPC structure, the Sherbrooke Bridge in Canada, was constructed in July 1997. RPC is an ultra-high-strength and high ductility cementitious composite with advanced mechanical and physical properties. It is a special concrete where the microstructure is optimized by precise gradation of all particles in the mix to yield maximum density. It extensively uses the pozzolanic properties of highly refined silica fume and optimization of the Portland cement chemistry to produce the highest strength hydrates.
RPC was nominated for the 1999 nova awards from the construction innovation forum. RPC has been used successfully, for isolation and containment of nuclear wastes in Europe due to its excellent impermeability.
This new material demonstrates greatly improved strength and durability characteristics compared with traditional or even high-performance concrete. Classified as Ultra-High Performance Concrete (UHPC), or Reactive Powder Concrete (RPC). The improved properties of RPC are obtained by improving the homogeneity of the concrete by eliminating large aggregates, increasing compactness of the mixtures by optimizing packing density of fine particles, and using fine steel fibres to provide ductility.
The HPC used for nuclear waste containment structures of Indian concrete power plants are having moderate compressive strength, moderate E value, uniform density, good workability, and high durability. There is a need to evaluate RPC regarding its strength and durability to suggest its use for nuclear waste containment structures.
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