★ Results for wave propagation in lightweight concrete (LWC) are presented. ★ The compressive strength of LWC is assessed by the ultrasonic pulse velocity (UPV). ★ The influence of different mix design parameters is analyzed. ★ A simplified expression to estimate the compressive strength from UPV is suggested. ★ High correlation coefficients are obtained, regardless the concrete composition.
In this paper the compressive strength of a wide range of structural lightweight aggregate concrete mixes is evaluated by the non-destructive ultrasonic pulse velocity method. This study involves about 84 different compositions tested between 3 and 180 days for compressive strengths ranging from about 30 to 80 MPa. The influence of several factors on the relation between the ultrasonic pulse velocity and compressive strength is examined. These factors include the cement type and content, amount of water, type of admixture, initial wetting conditions, type and volume of aggregate and the partial replacement of normal weight coarse and fine aggregates by lightweight aggregates. It is found that lightweight and normal weight concretes are affected differently by mix design parameters. In addition, the prediction of the concrete's compressive strength by means of the non-destructive ultrasonic pulse velocity test is studied. Based on the dependence of the ultrasonic pulse velocity on the density and elasticity of concrete, a simplified expression is proposed to estimate the compressive strength, regardless the type of concrete and its composition. More than 200 results for different types of aggregates and concrete compositions were analyzed and high correlation coefficients were obtained.