Mass ConcreteMass concrete is defined by the American Concrete Institute as: “any volume of concrete in which a combination of dimensions of the member being cast, the boundary conditions, the characteristics of the concrete mixture, and the ambient conditions can lead to undesirable thermal stresses, cracking, deleterious chemical reactions, or reduction in the long-term strength as a result of elevated concrete temperature due to heat from hydration.” (ACI 207.1R).

Mass concrete has been historically associated with large structures such as dams, bridge piers, and other large volume placements. However, due to the increasingly common use of fast-track construction practices and high-performance concretes with high cementitious contents, mass concrete issues are being experienced in typical bridge and building placements. Understanding the causes of mass concrete issues (high internal temperatures and temperature-related cracking) is the key to producing a structure that provides many years of service. 

The resources below provide information pertaining to material selection, thermal control calculation methods, and construction practices for mass concrete placements.

Industry Resources

Mass Concrete for Buildings and Bridges, EB547
This document provides practical guidance on understanding mass concrete, how to manage concrete temperatures, and prevent or minimize temperature-related cracking.

EB001_thDesign and Control of Concrete Mixtures, 15th EditionEB001 
For more than 85 years, the publication has been the cement and concrete industry’s primary reference on concrete technology. The fully revised 15th edition published in 2011 highlights the many advances that have occurred in the past decade while providing a concise, current reference on the fundamentals of concrete technology and construction. This book is a “must have” for anyone involved with concrete.

Gajda, John, Mass Concrete - How Do You Handle the Heat?CTLGroup.

CTLGroup offers expertise and a collection of articles on mass concrete.

ACI Committee 207 examines mass concrete in detail.