Federal Highway Administration State Planning and Research Funding
Iowa Department of Transportation
Joseph Orso IV
About the research
Coarse aggregate, depending on intended usage, constitutes roughly 20–45% of portland cement concrete as well as being a major component in the construction of granular surface roads and shoulders for paved roads. However, coarse aggregate quality greatly varies among sources based on its petrophysical properties. Therefore, it is important to understand how these properties emerge from the depositional and diagenetic history of a deposit in order to accurately predict pavement durability, which can be negatively impacted by oscillating freeze/thaw cycles. To derive more information about a coarse aggregate’s pore system, this study used a “third generation” Iowa Pore Index (IPI) device capable of measuring the volume of intruded water at various time intervals ranging from 0.1–2.0 seconds, as well as measuring intrusion at variable pressures up to 70 psi (480 kPa). Using this new device, 21 carbonate samples (10 dolostones and 11 limestones) were compared to “traditional” IPI measurements. The new method gave slightly higher primary loads.
Additionally, with cumulative volume plotted for the first five minutes of intrusion, dolostones and limestones with elevated primary loads stood apart from the remaining, less macroporous limestone sources. By decreasing apparatus chamber size, higher total intrusion was recorded and IPI values were more correlative with traditional measurements. However, by analyzing the effect of variable pressure intrusion (15, 35, and 60 psi), it was observed that the transition point between intrusion of macropores and micropores was sample-dependent based on lithological properties (i.e., porosity, connectivity of pores, and pore-throat sizes). Although prior methods utilized 60 seconds as this transition point, incremental intrusion data suggest most samples complete macropore intrusion within the first 12 seconds. Therefore, by assessing the incremental intrusion of each source, new primary and secondary loads were calculated, which may be more characteristic of individual lithologies. As a result, secondary load values increased as more intrusion was accounted to micropores than through utilization of the previous method.
With further study, this method could better predict the longevity and overall durability of coarse aggregate based on pore structure in a more individualized fashion than the previous IPI method.