The Many Benefits of Shotcrete in Geotechnical Engineering
The term “shotcrete” goes well beyond the mere classification as a unique construction material. When civil engineers use the term “shotcrete,” they’re referring to a much broader scope, a specialized sector of geotechnical engineering including wet and dry shotcrete processes, materials, mix designs, application techniques, equipment, quality control, and quality assurance.
The spray techniques for shotcrete improves placement characteristics in adverse conditions without sacrificing the hardened properties of conventional cast-in-place concrete.
According to this informative article at the American Shotcrete Association “Why Shotcrete,” the process brings a long list of advantages to the table including:
- Excellent bonding properties with most substrates
- Rapid or instant setting capabilities for complex shapes
- Superior hardened results compared to high-quality conventional concrete
- High strength
- Exceptional durability
- Lower permeability
Enhancing Shotcrete For Challenging Project Environments
A variety of additives and admixtures can enhance shotcrete characteristics and application performance even further as required to meet the challenging environments of underground construction and tunneling projects. For improved pumpability for remote application, air entraining admixtures also enhance adhesion and freeze-thaw durability.
Silica fume additives in shotcrete mixtures boost flexural and compressive strength and augment resistance to alkalis and chemical hazards, all while reducing costs in time and material by making single pass applications achievable. Accelerators can enable thicker single passes and reduce fallout caused by vibration. Fiber additives improve crack resistance, impact resistance, and energy absorption performance.
Quantifiable Sustainability With Shotcrete
Here at Resource Erectors, we’ve kept a close eye on the green trends in construction materials and techniques. As the American Shotcrete Association points out in their article, many “sustainability claims” are difficult to quantify from the business perspective since many of these “green-minded” claims are “based on political or social ideals”.
The shotcrete process provides easily substantiated benefits both environmentally and economically, especially when factors such as time, labor, material expenses, and finished quality are considered compared to traditional poured-in-place concrete. Construction speeds can improve by up to 50%. Cranes and formwork and all the material and fuel expenses and emissions which come with them can be reduced and even eliminated.
Also, repairs are cost-effective and achievable in cases where they would break the budget with other conventional processes. And, most importantly for tunneling and underground construction projects, shotcrete can be applied overhead and underground without the need for intricate formwork for complex shapes.
Shotcrete Short Course Presented by The Deep Foundations Institute
Shotcrete has become such an essential asset to underground construction that the Deep Foundations Institute is presenting a 2.5-day shotcrete short course aimed at industry professionals in underground construction, shaft, tunnel, and mining projects.
The course, taking place at Idaho Springs, Colorado from September 9-11, will include field demonstrations, construction techniques, mix designs, shotcrete equipment, and a review of ACI codes and specs.
The DFI event is also a great opportunity to network with colleagues in the underground construction industry.
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