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Head-to-Head: Cor-Tuf UHPC vs. Conventional UHPC

UHPC Mix Strongest Concrete

Head-to-Head: Cor-Tuf UHPC vs. Conventional UHPC

By Doug Darling


Ultra-High Performance Concrete (UHPC) is the strongest concrete available today. But until now, UHPC could not be mixed, transported, or poured like traditional concrete, causing contractors and construction professionals to hesitate when considering its use.

Cor-Tuf UHPC is a proprietary UHPC mix that overcomes all of the barriers associated with conventional UHPC products. Cor-Tuf UHPC can be mixed, transported, and poured just as you would traditional concrete—even using the same machinery.

With the global market for UHPC expected to grow at a Compound Annual Growth Rate (CAGR) of 7.3 percent over the next five years and the strong government support for the use of UHPC, contractors and builders need to become familiar with the material and the available options. 

Cor-Tuf UHPC vs. conventional UHPC

There are numerous ways in which Cor-Tuf UHPC is superior to conventional mixes. 

Mass production using conventional methods

Many conventional UHPC mixes cannot be mass-produced. In fact, many produce their UHPC in 50-pound bags, which quickly becomes an issue when working on large concrete structures.

Cor-Tuf UHPC, however, is capable of mass production. We are using Super Sacks that hold approximately one ton of material when we produce a batch. In addition to using Super Sacks, we are also designing our batch plants to accommodate silo-style mixing and distribution to more efficiently and cost effectively pour larger batches.

Pourability

Many conventional UHPC products are not flowable; in other words, they can’t be poured. That’s why many of them have not been used on large projects, such as bridges and pilings.

Cor-Tuf UHPC is different. It is flowable, pourable, and pumpable! So it can (and has) been used to make large structures. It pours the same as regular concrete, but you get all of the added benefits of strength, durability, and workability. 

Consistency

Small batches require constant measuring and mixing of ingredients to make sure you get the required strength and pourability of the final product. When this is being done in small 50-pound bags, the margin for error becomes quite large.

Consider how many batches you would need to mix for a bridge or other large structure. It becomes nearly impossible to make sure each batch is identical. This makes the end product susceptible to variances that negatively impact quality and durability.

Since Cor-Tuf UHPC is produced in large quantities, these consistency issues do not exist. You get a uniform mix every time, so you can be confident you’re getting the strength and quality you expect.

Testing has proven Cor-Tuf’s consistency. Even between batches, there is no line of demarcation. If, for example, you’re casting a large beam and need to use several batches, you can get a border between pours with conventional UHPC mixes or even with traditional concrete. With Cor-Tuf UHPC, there are no cold joints.

Cold joints are points of weakness that occur when the first batch of concrete begins to set before the next batch is poured, so the batches do not adhere properly to each other. When Cor-Tuf is used, you get one consistent piece all the way through. This means the end product is stronger overall and less susceptible to deterioration. 

Mixing time

Conventional UHPC typically takes 20 minutes to mix. Combine this with the small batch process problem, and you end up with a lot of downtime on a job site. Pours are done in stages, a process which reduces quality and causes workers to sit idle waiting for the next batch to be ready.

Cor-Tuf UHPC, however, mixes in about five minutes, and in much larger batches. Downtime on the site is virtually eliminated. 

Machinery

Many contractors and builders are hesitant to use a new product such as UHPC because they don’t want to change their familiar process or machinery. This is completely understandable. Your workforce is accustomed to a certain process and is well-versed in how to operate existing machinery efficiently and safely.

While many conventional UHPC products cannot be mixed, poured, or transported with standard machinery, Cor-Tuf UHPC can. In fact, we recently ran tests demonstrating this.

In these tests, Cor-Tuf UHPC was mixed in a standard mass-production-batch plant. From there, it was transported and poured from a standard Tuckerbilt transporter—the same as you would use for traditional concrete. 

Working time

Most conventional UHPC products have a working time of less than an hour. This creates logistical issues, especially when you’re dealing with small batches that take 20 minutes to mix.

Cor-Tuf UHPC has a working time of well over an hour. Better yet, the product can be engineered to increase or decrease this time if needed for a given project. Jobs are thus more efficient with less strain on supply chain logistics. 

Customization

Cor-Tuf UHPC can be engineered into a unique mix design to meet the needs of any project. Increases in strength come from the proprietary combination of integrated fibers worked into the mix. A variety of fibers can be used to achieve desired strength.

If you need a self-leveling mix or if you need the concrete to stand up once poured, Cor-Tuf UHPC can be engineered to perform in either manner. We can also tailor the mix to increase or decrease the working time once poured. There are an infinite number of variations. You get the exact mix needed for any given job. 

Quality control

When dealing with a non-proprietary mix, there is no guarantee of what you get. Variances in the quality and mix can ruin a project.

Cor-Tuf UHPC has strict quality control procedures in place; it is a company priority. We know how important consistency is in order to become the world’s most reliable UHPC provider. The product is only available through licensed dealers and distributors, each of whom are thoroughly educated on the product.

We educate everyone in the field, from salespeople all the way down to those pouring on the site. We work hand-in-hand with newly certified distributors, walking them through the entire process. We even accompany them on the job site for months, to make sure there is absolutely no question about the quality of the end product.

We are also setting up an education facility in Florida to further these educational endeavors. Cor-Tuf UHPC is 100 percent committed to strict quality control measures and procedures.

Contractors and builders no longer need to turn away from using UHPC on projects. Cor-Tuf UHPC is pourable and can be mixed in large batches. This can all be done with traditional concrete machinery. Realizing the immense strength and other gains of UHPC are now possible in every concrete pour—without changing your processes or machinery. The future of concrete has arrived!

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