What is Roller Compacted Concrete?
Roller-compacted concrete, or RCC, takes its name from the construction method used to build it. We place it with high-density specialized paving equipment, then compact it with rollers. RCC has the same basic ingredients as conventional concrete: cement, water, and aggregates. But unlike conventional concrete, it’s a drier mix—stiff enough to be compacted by vibratory rollers. Based on the client’s needs, RCC may be constructed with or without joints. It needs neither forms nor finishing, nor does it contain dowels or steel reinforcing. These characteristics make RCC simple, fast, and economical.
Where Did RCC Originate?
RCC got its start in the Seventies, when the Canadian logging industry switched to environmentally cleaner, land-based log-sorting methods. The industry needed a strong pavement to stand up to massive loads and specialized equipment. Yet economy was equally important: log-sorting yards can span 40 acres (16 hectares) or more. RCC met this challenge and has since expanded to other heavy-duty applications.
RCC’s economy of scale made it ideal for roads, parking, and staging areas at the HONDA PLANT in Lincoln Alabama. At over 2M square yards, it’s the largest RCC pavement project to date in the United States.Today, RCC is used when strength, durability, and economy are primary needs: Port, intermodal, and military facilities; parking, storage, and staging areas; streets, intersections, and low-speed roads. The reason is simple. RCC has the strength and performance of conventional concrete with the economy and simplicity of asphalt. Coupled with a long service life and minimal required maintenance, it is highly likely that utilizing RCC can save significant money without compromising quality.
- Resist rutting, shoving, and pushing
- Help span soft localized subgrades
- Will not deform under heavy, concentrated loads
- Do not deteriorate from spills of fuels and hydraulic fluids
- Will not soften under high temperatures
- Offer LEED Credits not available with bituminous pavements
- Are durable, economical, and environmentally friendly
Unique Mix, Unique Construction
Roller Compacted Concrete Unique Mix, Unique Construction owes much of its economy to high- volume, high-speed construction methods. Large-capacity mixers set the pace. Normally, RCC is blended in continuous-mixing pugmills at or near the construction site. These high-output pugmills have the mixing efficiency needed to evenly disperse the relatively small amount of water used. Dump trucks transport the RCC and discharge it into an high-density paver, which places the material in layers up to 9 inches (250 mm) thick and 30 feet (13 m) wide. Compaction is the most important stage of construction: it provides density, strength, smoothness, and surface texture.
Compaction begins immediately after placement and continues until the pavement meets density requirements. Curing ensures a strong and durable pavement. As with any type of concrete, curing makes moisture available for hydration—the chemical reaction that causes concrete to harden and gain strength. A spray-on membrane is typically used to seal moisture inside. When appearance is important, joints can be saw cut into the RCC to control crack location. If economy outweighs appearance, the RCC is allowed to crack naturally. Once cured, the pavement is ready for use.
Economy. Performance. Versatility. For RCC, economy was the mother of invention. The need for a low-cost, high-volume material for industrial pavements led to its development. Low cost continues to draw engineers, owners, and construction managers to RCC. But today’s RCC owes much of its appeal to performance: The strength to withstand heavy and specialized loads; the durability to resist freeze-thaw damage; and the versatility to take on a wide variety of paving applications. From container ports to parking lots, RCC is the right choice for tough duty.
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