 Article
 Open Access
Mix Design and Properties of Recycled Aggregate Concretes: Applicability of Eurocode 2
 George Wardeh^{1}Email author,
 Elhem Ghorbel^{1} and
 Hector Gomart^{1}
https://doi.org/10.1007/s400690140087y
© The Author(s) 2014
 Received: 23 May 2014
 Accepted: 24 July 2014
 Published: 26 August 2014
Abstract
This work is devoted to the study of fresh and hardened properties of concrete containing recycled gravel. Four formulations were studied, the concrete of reference and three concretes containing recycled gravel with 30, 65 and 100 % replacement ratios. All materials were formulated on the basis of S4 class of flowability and a target C35 class of compressive strength according to the standard EN 2061. The paper first presents the mix design method which was based on the optimization of cementitious paste and granular skeleton, then discusses experimental results. The results show that the elastic modulus and the tensile strength decrease while the peak strain in compression increases. Correlation with the water porosity is also established. The validity of analytical expressions proposed by Eurocode 2 is also discussed. The obtained results, together with results from the literature, show that these relationships do not predict adequately the mechanical properties as well as the stress–strain curve of tested materials. New expressions were established to predict the elastic modulus and the peak strain from the compressive strength of natural concrete. It was found that the proposed relationship E–f_{c} is applicable for any type of concrete while the effect of substitution has to be introduced into the stress–strain (ε_{c1}–f_{c}) relationship for recycled aggregate concrete. For the full stress–strain curve, the model of Carreira and Chu seems more adequate.
Keywords
 recycled aggregate concrete
 mix design method
 mechanical properties
 Eurocode 2
1 Introduction
Aggregates consumption does not cease to grow in France. According to the UNPG (French national union of aggregates producers) and the UNICEM (French national union of industries of careers and building materials) aggregate production is estimated at 431 million tons in 2008, of which 79 % is used in civil engineering field and 21 % for building industry. In addition, 5 % of this amount is produced by recycling demolition wastes. Although this percentage remains low, recycling helps to limit the environmental impact by limiting the exploitation of natural resources. These socioeconomic issues are the driving forces promoting the recycled aggregates in concrete.
The valorization of recycled aggregates in concrete is not recent and many studies have shown that material made with recycled aggregates may have mechanical properties similar to those of a conventional concrete mixed with natural aggregates (Etxeberria et al. 2007; Evangelista and de Brito 2007; Li 2008; McNeil and Kang 2013). However, recycled aggregates are characterized by a high water absorption capacity related to the presence of old mortar attached to the surface of aggregates which hinders their wide use (GomezSoberon 2002; de Juan and Gutirrez 2009). The water absorption capacity affects both fresh and hardened states properties. At fresh state, the mix design of concrete with recycled aggregates requires an additional quantity of water to obtain a similar workability as a concrete formulated with natural aggregates (Hansen and Boegh 1986). Such a modification may obviously affect the mechanical characteristics of recycled aggregates concrete. Several studies have investigated the microstructure of recycled aggregates concrete and showed that the porosity is modified and increases with the replacement ratio (GomezSoberon 2002). It is also acknowledged that the high porosity of recycled concrete leads a reduction of the mechanical strengths (GomezSoberon 2002; Kou et al. 2011). Furthermore, several studies have shown however that mechanical properties of concrete made with recycled aggregates depend on other parameters such as the quality of concrete from which recycled aggregates are obtained (Xiao et al. 2005; Casuccio et al. 2008) as well as the replacement ratio (Belén et al. 2011).
The main goal of this work is to determine the properties of recycled aggregate concretes (RAC) at fresh and hardened states depending on replacement ratio. A concrete made with natural aggregate (NAC), designed for control operations, and three RAC with a S4 class of workability and compressive strength levels near to 35 MPa were formulated and tested. The present study also examines the applicability of relationships of Eurocode 2 (EC2) to concretes made from recycled aggregates. These relationships estimate the modulus of elasticity, the peak strain and stress–strain relationship from the simple knowledge of the compressive strength.
2 Materials
2.1 Cement
Chemical and mineralogical compositions of the used cement in %.
SiO_{2}  Al_{2}O_{3}  Fe_{2}O_{3}  CaO_{total}  MgO  SO_{3}  K_{2}O  Na_{2}O  C_{3}S  C_{2}S  C_{3}A  C_{4}AF 

19.8  5.14  2.3  64.9  0.9  3.4  1.1  0.005  58  13  10  6.99 
2.2 Aggregates
Physical properties of used aggregates.
Sand  G_{1}  G_{2}  GR_{1}  GR_{2}  

Dry bulk density (kg/m^{3})  2,550  2,510  2,510  2,240  2,240 
Water absorption, ω_{ a } (%)  1.7 ± 0.03  1.6 ± 0.07  1.8 ± 0.05  8.2 ± 0.5  6.5 ± 0.4 
Fineness modulus  2.82  –  –  –  – 
Water absorption has been characterized first, according to the standard NF EN 10976 at the atmospheric pressure. Dried aggregates were immersed in water during 24 h then dried again in an oven at a temperature of 110 ± 5 °C. It can be noticed in Table 2 that recycled aggregates have a significant higher water absorption capacity and a lower density than natural ones. In spite of the high water absorption capacity of the used RCA, it remains within the range recommended by the design standards (McNeil and Kang 2013; Kang et al. 2014).
2.3 Superplasticizer
The used Superplasticizer is Cimfluid 3002 produced by Axim Italcementi group with a solid content of 30 %. It is a new generation product based on chains of modified polycarboxylate certified in conformity with the standard EN 9342 and considered as a water reducing admixture.
3 Mix Method and Concrete Proportions

only coarse natural aggregates are replaced by recycled ones with three volumetric replacement ratios 30, 65 and 100 %;

the granular skeleton is constituted of a ternary mixture of sand and two gravels G_{1} (4/10 mm) and G_{2} (10/20 mm);

at fresh state, all concretes are of S4 workability class where the target slump with the Abrams’s cone is 18 ± 1 cm. According to the standard NF EN 2061 the slump for a S4 flowability is comprised between 16 and 21 cm;

at hardened state a compressive strength comprised between 35 and 43 MPa must be guaranteed at the age of 28 days;

concretes are designated for XF2 class of environmental exposure according to the standard NF EN 2061, where water to cement ratio (W/C) is lower than or equal 0.5 and the minimum cement content is higher than 300 kg/m^{3}.
A total of four concretes were then produced, a mix with natural aggregates called (NAC) and three concretes with recycled aggregates named RAC30, RAC65 and RAC100. The numbers indicate the rate of substitution. For NAC the cement content is taken equal to 360 kg/m^{3} according to the standard NF EN 2061 while for the other mixes this content was modified as will be explained below.
3.1 Optimization of Water to Cement Ratio
3.2 Optimization of Solid Skeleton
Granular skeleton was optimized by the method of compaction using vibration. The study started by measuring the packing density of each component, i.e. sand, natural gravels G_{1}, G_{2} and recycled gravels GR_{1}, GR_{2}. Binary mixtures of gravel were then tested to determine optimal dosages which give the densest packing. Finally ternary mixtures were tested to optimize the solid skeleton for all mixes.
Packing densities of used aggregates.
Sand  Natural aggregates  Recycled aggregates  

G_{1}  G_{2}  GR_{1}  GR_{2}  
Packing density  0.894 ± 0.027  0.885 ± 0.002  0.886 ± 0.001  0.866 ± 0.002  0.875 ± 0.011 
Volumetric optimal proportions of mixes.
NAC  RAC30  RAC65  RAC100  

$\frac{S}{{G}_{1}+{G}_{2}}$  0.67  0.82  1.51  – 
$\frac{{G}_{1}}{{G}_{2}}$  0.50  0.53  0.67  – 
$\frac{S}{G{R}_{1}+G{R}_{2}}$  –  0.82  1.51  1.50 
$\frac{G{R}_{1}}{G{R}_{2}}$  –  0.52  0.67  0.67 
In order to corroborate the obtained experimental results, the software RENE LCPC was used (Sedran 1999). The software is able, from packing density and the size distribution curves of aggregates, to predict the packing density of a mixture. The results, plotted on Fig. 4, show that theoretical results are in tune with the experimental results.
3.3 Mix Proportions of all Components
Recycled aggregates have not been presaturated and the amount of absorbed water was added to the mixing water. Moreover, since the amount of water is important, an additional quantity of cement was added such that the ratio of total water to cement remains constant. For NAC, the dosage of superplasticizer was gradually increased until the target slump was obtained. This dosage has not been modified for the other formulations because water initially added to mixes had allowed to obtain the slump 18 ± 1 cm.
Mix proportions for 1 m^{3}.
NAC  RAC30  RAC65  RAC100  

Cement (kg/m^{3})  360  360  427  448 
Effective water, W_{eff} (kg/m^{3})  180  180  180  180 
Additional water, w_{ a } (kg/m^{3})  –  10  42  53 
Sand (kg/m^{3})  703  780  957  930 
Natural aggregates G_{1} (4/10 mm) (kg/m^{3})  346  227  88  – 
Natural aggregates G_{2} (10/20 mm) (kg/m^{3})  692  429  131  – 
Recycled aggregates GR_{1} (4/10 mm) (kg/m^{3})  –  86  145  218 
Recycled aggregates GR_{2} (10/20 mm) (kg/m^{3})  –  164  218  326 
Superplasticizer (kg/m^{3})  1.25  1.25  1.25  1.25 
Effective water/cement (W_{eff}/C)  0.50  0.50  0.42  0.40 
Total water/cement (W/C)  0.50  0.52  0.52  0.52 
Paste volume (%)  29.6  30.6  36.0  37.8 
Theoretical density (kg/m^{3})  2,280  2,236  2,188  2,155 
Experimental density (kg/m^{3})  2,287 ± 3 %  2,224 ± 2 %  2,190 ± 1 %  2,159 ± 1 % 
Cylindrical 16 × 32 cm^{2} specimens were prepared to determine the compressive strength, elastic modulus and splitting tensile strength. Furthermore plain and prenotched 10 × 10 × 40 cm^{3} prismatic specimens were cast to determine the flexural strength of studied concretes. After being removed from the mold, they were cured in a water tank at room temperature for 28 days.
3.4 Test Methods
Uniaxial compression and tensile splitting tests were performed using a servohydraulic INSTRON machine with a capacity of 3,500 kN by imposing a stress increment rate of 0.5 MPa/s. Each test was repeated at least three times and results shown below are the averages of obtained values. In addition one cylinder of each material was instrumented with two strain gauges in order to determine the elastic modulus, and test were performed by imposing a strain rate of 1 mm/min. Bending tests were performed using a 250 kN closed loop INSTRON machine with a strain rate of 1 mm/min. Finally, splitting strength was measured using the Brazilian test and dynamic modulus of elasticity was determined using EMeter MK II device.
4 Test Results
4.1 Properties of the Fresh Concretes
Properties of fresh concrete mixes.
Mix  Slump (cm)  Air content (%) 

NAC  18 ± 0.7  1.6 ± 0.3 
RAC30  19.3 ± 1.5  1.8 ± 0.1 
RAC65  18.5 ± 1.0  2.0 ± 0.2 
RAC100  20 ± 1.4  2.5 ± 0.2 
4.2 Properties of the Hardened Concrete Specimens
4.2.1 Water Porosity
4.2.2 Compressive Strength
Féret’s equation can therefore help to explain the obtained compressive strengths for RAC65 and RAC100. Indeed, at a constant W/C ratio, when the concentration of cement increases in the paste volume (i.e. the reduction of effective water to cement ratio), the compressive strength is maintained constant despite the increase in air content (Table 5).
Moreover, the compressive strength of RAC30 decreased due to the reduction in cement concentration in the cement paste.
4.2.3 Elastic Modulus
4.2.4 Flexural and Splitting Tensile Strengths
4.2.5 Analysis of Peak Strain and Stress–Strain Relationship Under Compression
5 Prediction of Stress–Strain Relationship and the Applicability of EC2
Elastic modulus database.
Author  Nature of aggregates  Test conditions  Compressive strength (MPa)  Elastic modulus (MPa) 

Ali et al. (1990)  Natural  Not communicated  16.7  13,820 
25.3  19,980  
27.7  23,530  
32.0  33,980  
43.5  44,550  
Assié (2004)  Natural  Stress rate 0.5 MPa/s  22.6  28,400 
40.6  36,400  
55.1  38,200  
69.2  36,100  
Belén et al. (2011)  Natural  Controlled load rate 8.77 kN/s  44.81  34,374 
31.92  30,645  
80 % natural + 20 % recycled  43.74  33,192  
31.71  29,598  
50 % natural + 50 % recycled  37.45  30,321  
32.35  27,459  
Recycled  40.54  24,817  
30.13  25,935  
ElHilali (2009)  Natural  Stress rate 0.5 MPa/s  35.12  25,130 
42.12  32,660  
56.46  34,660  
60.84  37,660  
61.00  38,660  
77.95  48,850  
31.26  27,260  
38.18  33,660  
53.46  35,660  
59.31  39,660  
60.52  40,330  
75.21  51,260  
30.32  29,800  
36.68  35,330  
52.56  36,660  
55.72  40,330  
57.51  41,660  
71.95  53,230  
Casuccio et al. (2008)  Natural  Stress rate  18.10  27,100 
37.50  33,100  
48.40  39,900  
Recycled  18.00  23,400  
36.40  28,800  
44.40  34,200  
Recycled  15.40  22,600  
35.70  28,300  
43.80  32,700  
Cedolin and Cusatis (2008)  Natural  Not communicated  28.50  24,200 
33.70  32,680  
49.60  28,690  
54.80  28,600  
Wee et al. (1996)  Natural  Strain rate 0.07 mm/min  42.7  37,600 
63.2  41,800  
70.2  43,000  
65.1  41,500  
70.5  40,400  
69.7  41,500  
71.5  41,400  
63.6  42,600  
85.9  45,000  
90.2  44,400  
78.3  44,300  
85.9  44,300  
81.2  43,900  
88.1  44,500  
81.6  43,800  
82.6  44,200  
84.8  47,200  
85.6  45,600  
96.2  46,600  
46.4  35,200  
65.8  40,800  
73.9  41,600  
87.6  44,500  
93.1  45,400  
95.3  45,200  
100.6  45,800  
102.1  46,100  
102.8  46,700  
106.3  48,400  
104.2  46,300  
92.8  45,800  
94.6  47,300  
94  46,300  
96.6  46,500  
91.5  45,900  
93.6  47,100  
91.7  46,000  
119.9  49,100  
125.6  50,900  
Gesoglu et al. (2002)  Natural  77.2  47,100  
71.5  48,000  
66.5  46,800  
70.7  47,300  
61.8  45,400  
68.9  47,600  
59.1  40,900  
62.2  45,400  
75.8  43,000  
67.7  48,200  
53.6  46,200  
57.9  44,500  
92.9  46,400  
94  48,300  
97.7  47,000  
102  48,800  
93.7  50,500  
86.2  47,100  
87.9  43,000  
82.7  45,400  
79.1  44,700  
85.3  45,000  
86.9  46,100  
90.7  48,100  
89.5  47,600  
87.8  45,400  
90.3  45,000  
95.2  50,800  
92.2  50,000  
97.6  49,300  
87.5  48,500  
87.2  41,100  
80.4  43,200  
86.5  44,200  
83.9  44,300  
80.9  44,600  
84.5  45,300  
85.7  45,100  
Wu et al. (2001)  Natural  Not communicated  98.2  48,200 
70.4  39,500  
65.8  36,200  
60.5  31,500  
62.1  31,000  
44.8  37,500  
43.2  28,300  
46.6  30,100  
45.0  29,000  
Shannag (2000)  Natural  68.0  38,500  
77.0  47,200  
86.0  43,800  
86.0  42,300  
89.5  38,600  
90.5  36,200  
Baalbaki et al. (1991)  Natural  105.0  42,000  
106.0  44,000  
111.0  41,000  
99.3  45,000  
99.7  42,000  
95.3  40,000  
98.0  40,000  
103.0  40,000  
90.8  42,000  
89.2  41,000  
DomingoCabo et al. (2009)  Natural  Not communicated  42.8  32,153 
20 % recycled + 80 % natural  42.7  31,178  
50 % recycled + 50 % natural  41.3  31,204  
Recycled  41.8  31,589  
Fares (2009)  Natural  Stress rate 0.5 MPa/s  36.6  36,110 
52.7  39,000  
40.8  43,930  
Etxeberria et al. (2007)  Natural  UNE 8330484  29.0  32,561,7 
25 % recycled + 75 % natural  28.0  31,300,4  
50 % recycled + 50 % natural  29.0  28,591,7  
Recycled  28.0  27,764  
Evangelista and de Brito (2007)  Natural  NP EN 123905  59.3  35,500 
30 % recycled + 70 % natural  57.1  34,200  
Recycled  54.8  28,900  
GomezSoberon (2002)  Natural  Not communicated  39.0  29,700 
15 % recycled + 85 % natural  38.1  29,100  
30 % recycled + 70 % natural  37.0  27,800  
60 % recycled + 40 % natural  35.8  26,600  
Recycled  34.5  26,700  
Karihaloo et al. (2006)  Natural  Not communicated  55.0  36,900 
60.0  38,300  
100.0  43,000  
Natural  18.5  26,772  
33.2  28,832  
58.0  35,794  
31.3  29,940  
47.4  33,720  
82.8  40,570  
32.6  28,790  
45.8  33,400  
85.7  39,570  
34.9  26,510  
55.3  31,580  
66.9  34,350  
88.8  38,140  
MartínezLage et al. (2012)  Natural  Controlled strain rate 16 µε/s  30.5  29,500 
50 % recycled +50 % natural  26.8  24,190  
Recycled  20.4  19,765  
Zhao et al. (2008)  Natural  Not communicated  43.8  31,400 
43.4  39,200  
50.9  35,700  
56.4  35,900  
50.2  41,000  
50.8  38,900  
40.0  33,600  
51.7  39,600  
Dong and Keru (2001)  Natural  Not communicated  60.5  34,900 
60.5  32,700  
62.1  35,000  
83.6  44,900  
98.2  45,100  
63.0  39,800  
72.5  46,100  
77.4  38,500  
76.5  40,300  
70.2  42,800  
73.8  36,600  
75.1  38,600  
77.0  35,200  
76.8  39,700  
90.3  48,700  
91.2  42,600  
96.7  41,700  
85.5  42,100  
113.7  48,000  
35.9  29,600  
43.3  28,900  
45.8  34,700  
58.0  33,000  
59.7  34,000  
Wardeh et al. (2010)  Natural  Strain rate 1 mm/min  46.5  35,000 
Praveen et al. (2004)  Natural  Not communicated  36.7  27,527 
54.6  33,470  
70.8  37,614  
Shen et al. (2009)  Natural  Loading rate 10 kN/s  28.6  25,130 
40.0  29,840  
57.9  32,040  
32.1  25,420  
42.2  26,000  
52.1  30,020  
48.8  27,800  
56.0  28,670  
68.8  33,030  
Kang et al. (2014)  Natural  ASTM C39/C39 M  65.4  37,700 
15 % recycled + 85 % natural  59.4  36,200  
30 % recycled + 70 % natural  48.4  32,800  
Natural  38.6  29,200  
15 % recycled + 85 % natural  32.7  29,200  
30 % recycled + 70 % natural  31.7  26,500  
50 % recycled + 50 % natural  29  25,300 
strain at peak stress database.
Author  Nature of aggregates  Test conditions  Compressive strength (MPa)  Strain at peak stress 

Belén et al. (2011)  Natural  Controlled strain rate 16 µε/s  44.8  0.00190 
31.9  0.00174  
80 % natural + 20 % recycled  43.7  0.00189  
31.7  0.00199  
50 % natural + 50 % recycled  37.5  0.0019  
32.4  0.00195  
Recycled  40.5  0.00219  
30.1  0.00216  
MartínezLage et al. (2012)  Natural  Controlled strain rate 16 µε/s  30.5  0.0021 
50 % natural + 50 % recycled  26.8  0.0023  
Recycled  20.4  0.0025  
Wee et al. (1996)  Natural  Strain rate 0.07 mm/min  63.2  0.00216 
70.2  0.0021  
65.1  0.00216  
70.5  0.00206  
69.7  0.00212  
71.5  0.00213  
63.6  0.00228  
85.9  0.00226  
90.2  0.00243  
78.3  0.00232  
85.9  0.00231  
81.2  0.00224  
88.1  0.00227  
81.6  0.00211  
82.6  0.00216  
84.8  0.00252  
85.6  0.00232  
96.2  0.00237  
73.9  0.00243  
87.6  0.00243  
93.1  0.00244  
95.3  0.00242  
100.6  0.00258  
102.1  0.00256  
102.8  0.00247  
106.3  0.00251  
104.2  0.00249  
92.8  0.00242  
94.6  0.00228  
96.6  0.00232  
91.5  0.00228  
93.6  0.00219  
91.7  0.00266  
119.9  0.00275  
125.6  0.00273  
Dhonde et al. (2007)  Natural  Stress rate 0.25 MPa/s  31.2  0.00147 
38.5  0.00178  
50.5  0.00194  
77.6  0.00191  
Praveen et al. (2004)  Natural  Not communicated  36.7  0.002 
54.6  0.0023  
70.8  0.0025  
Ali et al. (1990)  Natural  Not communicated  16.7  0.0018 
25.3  0.0021  
27.7  0.0021  
32.0  0.0022  
43.5  0.0022  
Prasad et al. (2009)  Natural  Strain rate  23.3  0.00197 
39.6  0.00235  
Suresh Babu et al. (2008)  Natural  Strain rate  25.0  0.001905 
31.0  0.00207  
31.5  0.00209  
25.8  0.00199  
28.0  0.00203  
Carreira and Chu (1985)  Natural  Not communicated  20.7  0.0018 
30.5  0.0018  
49.5  0.00195  
Carreira and Chu (1985)  Natural  Not communicated  10.7  0.0015 
20.0  0.0019  
34.8  0.0022  
46.9  0.0021  
52.4  0.00195 
Equations (7), (9) and (11) may therefore be used for the modeling of full stress–strain relationship of recycled aggregates concrete with the modification of peak strain with the replacement ratio. Figure 21 presents a comparison between the curves calculated using the modified model of Carreira and Chu (Eq. (9)) and the model of EC2 (Eq. (8)). It can be seen that this modified model is more adequate for the modeling of postpeak behavior as the model of EC2.
6 Conclusion

The use of recycled aggregates up to 30 % does not affect the demand of water of concrete, but generates a reduction of 14 % of the compressive strength. By increasing the replacement ratio, the cement content increases to maintain constant W/C ratio causing an increase in the compressive strength which counterbalances the negative effect of recycled aggregates.

Recycled aggregate concretes had lower elastic modulus, splitting and flexural tensile strength than normal aggregate one.

The strain–stress curves under uniaxial compression show that the postcracking branch is more spread out compared to NAC. In addition, the peakstrain increases by increasing the replacement ratio. These phenomena are explained by the more progressive and diffuse damage of concrete due to the presence of recycled aggregates.
New relationships for prediction of concrete’s elastic modulus, and a peak strain from compressive strength were proposed. The predicted results for RAC were closer to experimental results than values predicted by equations proposed in EC2. For the complete strain–stress curve, a model based on the Carreira and Chu’s model was proposed. The modified model is more adequate for the modeling of postpeak behavior than the model of EC2.
Declarations
Open AccessThis article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits any use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author(s) and the source are credited.
Authors’ Affiliations
References
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