Shotcrete has been used in many dam repairs, including large-diameter draft tubes. Shotcrete is high-velocity (60 to 80 mph [100 to 130 km/h]) placement of concrete. When shotcreting with proper concrete materials, equipment, placement, and curing techniques, along with complete surface preparation, you can expect a tensile bond strength of at least 150 psi (1 MPa) between the existing concrete and the newly shotcreted material. Original Portland Cement Association research by Felt from 1956 showed that 200 psi (1.4 MPa) bond shear strength is required for bonded overlays to act monolithically in flexure. Research by Silfwerbrand in 2003 showed that the ratio of bond shear strength to direct tensile bond strength ranges from 1.9 to 3.1. Thus, using the low value of the range with a 150 psi tensile bond strength yields a shear strength of at least 285 psi (2 MPa), well above the 200 psi needed. You may find more information on the bond between concrete and shotcrete layers in the article “Shotcrete Placed in Multiple Layers does NOT Create Cold Joints” that can be found in our article archive.

Regarding the abrasion, shotcrete displays good toughness in a wide variety of demanding applications. Quality shotcrete should have at least a 4000 psi 28-day compressive strength and, with attention to mixture design using silica fume and a low water-cementitious materials ratio (w/cm), can comfortably reach 6000 to 8000 psi (40 to 55 MPa) or more. Shotcrete also can easily use steel or synthetic fiber to significantly increase the toughness of the in-place concrete.

Finally, because shotcrete requires no formwork or bonding agent for a high-quality repair, you will find the shotcrete process provides an economical solution.

An article about a draft tube modification project can be found in our article archive.