Finite element analyses of differential shrinkage - induced craking in centrifugally cast concrete poles

Tanfener, Tuğrul
Poles are used as an important constituent of transmission, distribution and communication structures; highway and street lighting systems and other various structural applications. Concrete is the main production material of the pole industry. Concrete is preferred to steel and wood due not only to environmental and economic reasons but also because of its high durability to environmental effects and relatively less frequent maintenance requirements. Centrifugal casting is the most preferred way of manufacturing concrete poles. However, misapplication of the method may lead to a significant reduction in strength and durability of the poles. Segregation of concrete mixture is a frequent problem of centrifugal casting. The segregated concrete within the pole cross-section possesses different physical properties. In particular, the shrinkage tendency of the inner concrete, where the cement paste is accumulated, becomes significantly larger. Differential shrinkage of hardened concrete across the pole section gives rise to the development of internal tensile stresses, which, in turn, results in longitudinal cracking along the poles. There is a vast literature on experimental studies of parameters affecting differential shrinkage of centrifugally cast poles. This research aims to computationally investigate the differential shrinkage-induced internal stress development and cracking of concrete poles. To this end, two and three-dimensional mathematical models of the poles are constructed and finite element analyses of these models are carried out for different scenarios. The computationally obtained results that favorably agree with the existing experimental data open the possibility to improve the centrifugal manufacturing technique by using computational tools.