Effect of alkali silica reaction on the mechanical properties of aging mortar bars: Experiments and numerical modeling

M. Pathirage, F. Bousikhane, M. D’Ambrosia, M. Alnaggar, G. Cusatis*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

43 Scopus citations


Alkali silica reaction and its effect on concrete and mortar have been studied for many years. Several tests and procedures have been formulated to evaluate this reaction, particularly in terms of aggregate reactivity. However, the data given in the literature concerning the mechanical properties of concrete and mortar are scattered and very little information is available for some properties such as fracture energy. In this study, the mechanical behavior of mortar was evaluated and monitored, under normal and accelerated environmental conditions. Fracture energy, compressive strength and tensile strength were measured for mortar specimens, casted with highly reactive Spratt crushed aggregate, at two different storage temperatures (23℃ and 80℃) and at two different alkali concentrations (immersed in water and in 1 N NaOH solution). Moreover, free expansion tests (according to ASTM C1260) and petrographic observations were performed, in order to relate them to the evolution of the mechanical properties of mortar. Results show a decrease of the mechanical properties associated with specimens at 80℃ in alkali solution and that the deterioration due to alkali silica reaction is counter-balanced by the strengthening of mortar resulting from the hydration process. A multi-physics computational framework, based on the Lattice Discrete Particle Model is then proposed. Numerical simulations based on a complete calibration and validation with the obtained experimental data capture the behavior of mortar subjected to the complex coupled effect of strength build-up and alkali silica reaction at different temperatures and alkali contents.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)291-322
Number of pages32
JournalInternational Journal of Damage Mechanics
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 1 2019


  • Alkali silica reaction
  • Lattice Discrete Particle Model
  • aging
  • cement hydration
  • coupled mechanism
  • mechanical behavior
  • modeling
  • mortar

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Computational Mechanics
  • General Materials Science
  • Mechanics of Materials
  • Mechanical Engineering


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