This research with combined coarse aggregates in cement concrete was initiated at the request of the Director of Design as a direct result of the condition study made by the Division of Design in 1945. In the report on this study it was shown that on the basis of averages pertaining to 80 projects with crashed limestone totalling about 395 miles in length, and 70 projects with Ohio River Gravel totalling approximately 410 miles in length, the service record for pavements with the river gravel was far inferior to that of pavements containing limestone coarse aggregate.

Specifically, the summary of data showed that pavements with the gravel had an average of seven times as many outside corner breaks, more than eight times as many inside corner breaks, and almost eleven times as many blow-ups per mile as the pavements with crushed lime stone; furthermore, the average transverse crack and joint interval in the former was only about 0. 6 as long as that in the latter.

Such rating was irrespective of age, design, subgrade conditions, separate sources of aggregates, and other factors which in the total analysis were considered individually but which could not be isolated as influences in combination with the coarse aggregates. Naturally, the effect of one or all of these factors could reduce the disparity in performance as related to aggregates alone, nevertheless, the contrast was so pronounced that some measures for obtaining parity of concrete with the different aggregates were considered desirable. As an absolute minimum, research to determine whether results of field observations would be reflected in laboratory tests was proposed. Accordingly, this project was established through an outline or working plan prepared on May 18, 1946.

Two corrective measures, air entrainment and blending of aggregates, were the primary bases upon which the research was founded. Results from many investigations - later summarized in a comprehensive report - had indicated that air entrainment had been beneficial to concrete in almost every experiment, and that the greatest improvement in quality of concrete had occurred when the coarse aggregates were inherently of lowest quality. Similarly, blending of aggregates as a means for off-setting detrimental properties of one of the components had been used successfully in other states, an outstanding example of this being in Kansas where aggregates are quite variable and satisfactory sources are far from evenly distributed throughout the state. (A copy of the Supplemental Specification developed in Kansas is appended to this report.)

Since air entrainment was due to become a. standard in concrete for pavements, interest was centered on the possible benefits or detriments of combined aggregates and the proportions in which they should be combined in order to provide the best concrete within practicable limits of economy on actual construction jobs.

Report Date


Report Number

No. 33

Digital Object Identifier