Microstructural mechanisms of early age cracking behavior of concrete: Fracture energy approach

Tongyan Pan, Yajun Liu, Erol Tutumluer

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


This paper presents findings from a study directed at identifying key properties of ingredient materials that are influential on the early age cracking behavior of concrete, with an emphasis on the effects of aggregate size, aggregate morphologies, and water-cement ratio (w/c). Fracture energy (GF) was determined using a wedge-split test configuration for concrete samples at the age of 12 h. Based on image analysis, three signature morphologies of aggregate particles, i.e., the angularity, surface texture, and surface area, were quantitatively determined in terms of developed angularity index (AI), surface texture (ST) index, and surface area (SA) measurement, respectively. The high consistency between GF and aggregate SA of the concrete samples suggests that the interfacial transition zone (ITZ) at the cement paste-aggregate interface is the critical location that primarily accommodates the 12 h cracking of concrete. The critical role of ITZ in the early age cracking of concrete was further confirmed by its microstructural and chemical features under scanning electron microscopy/energy dispersive X-ray spectroscopy.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)439-446
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Engineering Mechanics
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jun 13 2011


  • Early cracking
  • Fracture energy
  • Interfacial transition zone
  • Multiscale analysis
  • Portland cement concrete

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Mechanics of Materials
  • Mechanical Engineering


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