In November 2011, the Japanese government resolved to build “Revival Roads” in the Tohoku region to accelerate the recovery from the Great East Japan Earthquake of March 2011. Because the Tohoku region experiences such cold and snowy weather in winter, complex degradation from a combination of frost damage, chloride attack from de-icing agents, alkali–silica reaction, cracking and fatigue is anticipated. Thus, to enhance the durability performance of road structures, particularly reinforced concrete (RC) bridge decks, multiple countermeasures are proposed: a low water-to-cement ratio in the mix, mineral admixtures such as ground granulated blast furnace slag and/or fly ash to mitigate the risks of chloride attack and alkali–silica reaction, anticorrosion rebar and 6% entrained air for frost damage. It should be noted here that such high durability specifications may conversely increase the risk of early age cracking caused by temperature and shrinkage due to the large amounts of cement and the use of mineral admixtures. Against this background, this paper presents a numerical simulation of early age deformation and cracking of RC bridge decks with full 3D multiscale and multi-chemo-physical integrated analysis. First, a multiscale constitutive model of solidifying cementitious materials is briefly introduced based on systematic knowledge coupling microscopic thermodynamic phenomena and microscopic structural mechanics. With the aim to assess the early age thermal and shrinkage-induced cracks on real bridge deck, the study began with extensive model validations by applying the multiscale and multi-physical integrated analysis system to small specimens and mock-up RC bridge deck specimens. Then, through the application of the current computational system, factors that affect the generation and propagation of early age thermal and shrinkage-induced cracks are identified via experimental validation and full-scale numerical simulation on real RC slab decks.
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