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Date of Award


Document Type

Master's report

Degree Name

Master of Science in Civil Engineering (MS)

College, School or Department Name

Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering

First Advisor

Theresa M. Ahlborn


The need for a stronger and more durable building material is becoming more important as the structural engineering field expands and challenges the behavioral limits of current materials. One of the demands for stronger material is rooted in the effects that dynamic loading has on a structure. High strain rates on the order of 101 s-1 to 103 s-1, though a small part of the overall types of loading that occur anywhere between 10-8 s-1 to 104 s-1 and at any point in a structures life, have very important effects when considering dynamic loading on a structure. High strain rates such as these can cause the material and structure to behave differently than at slower strain rates, which necessitates the need for the testing of materials under such loading to understand its behavior.

Ultra high performance concrete (UHPC), a relatively new material in the U.S. construction industry, exhibits many enhanced strength and durability properties compared to the standard normal strength concrete. However, the use of this material for high strain rate applications requires an understanding of UHPC’s dynamic properties under corresponding loads. One such dynamic property is the increase in compressive strength under high strain rate load conditions, quantified as the dynamic increase factor (DIF). This factor allows a designer to relate the dynamic compressive strength back to the static compressive strength, which generally is a well-established property. Previous research establishes the relationships for the concept of DIF in design. The generally accepted methodology for obtaining high strain rates to study the enhanced behavior of compressive material strength is the split Hopkinson pressure bar (SHPB).

In this research, 83 Cor-Tuf UHPC specimens were tested in dynamic compression using a SHPB at Michigan Technological University. The specimens were separated into two categories: ambient cured and thermally treated, with aspect ratios of 0.5:1, 1:1, and 2:1 within each category. There was statistically no significant difference in mean DIF for the aspect ratios and cure regimes that were considered in this study. DIF’s ranged from 1.85 to 2.09. Failure modes were observed to be mostly Type 2, Type 4, or combinations thereof for all specimen aspect ratios when classified according to ASTM C39 fracture pattern guidelines. The Comite Euro-International du Beton (CEB) model for DIF versus strain rate does not accurately predict the DIF for UHPC data gathered in this study. Additionally, a measurement system analysis was conducted to observe variance within the measurement system and a general linear model analysis was performed to examine the interaction and main effects that aspect ratio, cannon pressure, and cure method have on the maximum dynamic stress.