Nanoporous Thin-film Additives to Improve Precast Concrete Construction of Transportation Facilities

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Research Brief Final Report

Primary Investigator

Marc A. Anderson
Professor in Civil & Environmental Engineering
660 N. Park Street
Madison, WI 53706


The national transportation network contains a significant number of highway and railway bridges. This research is intended to transform the use of precast/pre-stressed materials in the transportation infrastructure. Specifically we will examine how nanoporous thin-films represent a new jointing mechanism between precast concrete components. Furthermore, we hope to show that these nanoporous nanoparticulate thin-films can be used to develop high early strength in concrete with greatly reduced cement content that does not have increased creep and shrinkage.


The principal aim of this project is to show the benefit and practicality of using nanoporous thin-film coatings to improve: 1.) the adhesion between grouts and already hardened concrete surfaces in joints between precast pieces and 2.) the performance of pre-stressed concrete components by decreasing pre-stress loss due to shrinkage and creep, and by minimizing the cement content without compromising mechanical properties.


  1. Obtain materials and prepare test specimens
  2. Improve adhesion between grouts and the hardened concrete surface
  3. Evaluate long-term durability of these joints
  4. Analyze the Microstructure of the bond between grouts and the hardened concrete surface
  5. Evaluate the potential of nanoporous thin-films for
    mitigating shrinkage and creep in precast concrete mixtures
  6. Reduce cement content in precast panels

Project Information

  • Duration: 24 months
  • Dates: September 1, 2009 – August 30, 2011
  • Budget: $161,010 (with a $12,000 match from Spancrete)
  • Student Involvement: One graduate student and one undergraduate
  • Modal Orientation: Highway, Rail, Air
  • Project ID: CFIRE 03-13
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