An outline is presented of scientific aspects of the HITECO research programme on the effect of high temperature on high performance concrete funded by the European Commission for fire and nuclear reactor applications. The project costing some $4 million is in its third year and involves 10 organisations from 7 European countries. Materials testing includes microstructural, hygral, thermal and mechanical properties of four High-Performance Concretes (28 day strength 65-110 N/mm2) and two Ultra-High-performance concretes (28 day strength 150-350 N/mm2) as well as the interface with the software. Results of tests on aggregates indicate that residual thermal strains provides a good indication of thermal stability. Thin section analysis shows the development of cracks and voids after heating to 700°C. Results of pioneering work on the dynamic measurement of moisture distribution in concrete during heating - using gamma-ray spectrometry - indicates that this technique is capable of determining the movement of the drying front and the build-up of moisture.
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