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How can unreinforced concrete pavement function without mesh reinforcement?

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For concrete carriageway, it is normally classified into two types: reinforced and unreinforced concrete pavement. The reinforcement in reinforced carriageway (in the form of mesh) is used for controlling cracking. Then one may query how unreinforced pavement can control cracking without the use of mesh reinforcement. To answer this question, one should pay attention to the features of unreinforced concrete pavement.

In accordance with Highways Standard Drawing No. H1109, an approximately 3mm wide groove with a depth of about one-third to one-fourth of slab thickness is designed with a regular spacing (normally 5m). The grooves are designed to be too narrow for stones to fall into when the cracks are open due to concrete contraction. The sectional area in which the groove is located is a plane of weakness and thus this groove acts a potential crack-inducing device in which any potential cracks due to shrinkage and thermal
contraction may form.

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Consequently, the cracks are formed at the base of the groove and thus it would not cause any unpleasant visual appearance on the exposed surface of unreinforced concrete pavement.

crack formation in unreinforced pavement

Note: For details of concrete profile barriers, reference is made to HyD Standard Drawing No. H2101A.

This question is taken from book named – A Self Learning Manual – Mastering Different Fields of Civil Engineering Works (VC-Q-A-Method) by Vincent T. H. CHU.

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