Granular subbase improvement with recycled concrete aggregates in tropical areas
Vega Araujo, Daniela | 2022
Use of Recycled Concrete Aggregate (RCA) for Granular Subbase (GSB) in the tropical area is evaluated in this work. Among the materials widely studied as replacements in granular and surface layers is RCA. Its mechanical behavior in granular layers has mainly been evaluated with tests such as California Bearing Ratio (CBR). However, abrasion is also a determining property in the strength of these materials. In this study, the performance of Natural Aggregates (NA) with replacement of RCA was evaluated for use as GSB in a tropical area. Even though several laboratory tests were performed, the focus of the article lies on the performance in the Los Angeles (LA) abrasion test. Two replacement percentages of coarse RCA were considered: 10 and 15 % by weight of aggregates. The RCA and NA were characterized according to different laboratory tests: Granulometry, Absorption, Atterberg Limits test, Plasticity, Specific Gravity, and LA abrasion. In turn, all results were compared with Colombian specifications for a typical GSB in the area. In addition, a simple Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) was included to evaluate the environmental impacts of the base and alternative scenarios. The results show that GSB with 10% RCA present a higher abrasion resistance than the GSB with 15% RCA. Even better results are obtained with 10% RCA than with natural GSB. Specifically, average LA abrasion test losses of 30.86, 29.80 and 32.07% were obtained for NA, 10% RCA and 15% RCA, respectively. The LCA results show an increase of 50% and 75% in energy consumption by comparing the base scenario with 10 and 15% RCA replacement, respectively. This leads to an increase of 40 and 80% in carbon monoxide (CO) emissions for 10 and 15% RCA replacement respectively, and 100% in carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions for both alternative scenarios.