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RCC – The Right Choice for Heavy Duty Pavements

Date Posted - 26th Apr 2018 |  Category - Additional Resources

The Right Choice for Heavy Duty Pavements




Roller-compacted concrete, or RCC, takes its name from the construction method used to build it. It’s placed with conventional or high-density  asphalt paving equipment, then compacted with rollers. RCC has the same basic ingredients as conventional concrete: cement, water, and aggregates, such as gravel or crushed stone. But unlike conventional concrete, it’s a drier mix stiff enough to be compacted by vibratory rollers. Typically, RCC is constructed without joints. It needs neither forms nor finishing, nor does it contain dowels or steel reinforcing. These characteristics make RCC simple, fast, and economical.


These qualities have taken roller-compacted concrete from specialized applications to main- stream pavement. Today, RCC is used for any type of industrial or heavy-duty  pavement. The reason is simple. RCC has the strength and performance of conventional concrete with the economy and simplicity of asphalt. Coupled with long service life and minimal maintenance, RCC’s low initial cost adds up to economy and value.

ROOTS IN LOGGING                                     

RCC got its start in the Seventies, when the Canadian logging industry switched to environ- mentally cleaner, land-based log-sorting methods. The industry needed a strong pavement to stand up to massive loads and specialized equipment. Yet economy was equally important: log-sorting yards can span 40 acres (16 hectares) or more. RCC met this challenge and has since expanded to other heavy-duty applications. Today, RCC is used when strength, durability, and economy are primary needs: Port, intermodal, and military facilities; parking, storage, and staging areas; streets, intersections, and low-speed roads.


The high strength of RCC pavements eliminates common and costly problems traditionally associated with asphalt pavements.

RCC pavements:

  • Resist rutting
  • Span soft localized subgrades
  • Will not deform under heavy, concentrated loads
  • Do not deteriorate from spills of fuels and hydraulic fluids
  • Will not soften under high temperatures


RCC owes much of its economy to high- volume, high-speed construction methods. Large-capacity mixers set the pace. Normally, RCC is blended in continuous-mixing pugmills at or near the construction site. These high-output pugmills have the mixing efficiency needed to evenly disperse the relatively small amount of water used. Dump trucks transport the RCC and discharge it into an asphalt paver, which places the material in layers up to 10 inches (250 mm) thick and 42 feet (13 m) wide. Compaction is the most important stage of construction: it provides density, strength, smooth- ness, and surface texture. Compaction begins immediately after placement and continues until the pavement meets density requirements.

Curing ensures a strong and durable pave- ment. As with any type of concrete, curing makes moisture available for hydration—the  chemical  reaction that causes concrete to harden and gain strength. A water cure sprays or irrigates the pavement to keep it moist. A spray-on membrane can also be used to seal moisture  inside. When appearance is important, joints can be saw cut into the RCC to control crack location. If economy outweighs appearance, the RCC is allowed to crack naturally. Once cured, the pavement is ready for use. An asphalt surface is sometimes applied for greater smoothness or as a riding surface for high-speed traffic.


For RCC, economy was the mother of invention. The need for a low-cost, high-vol- ume material for industrial pavements led to its development. Low cost continues to draw engineers, owners, and construction managers to RCC. But today’s RCC owes much of its appeal to performance: The strength to withstand heavy and specialized loads; the durability to resist freeze-thaw damage; and the versatility to take on a wide variety of paving applications. From container ports to parking lots, RCC is the right choice for tough duty.



High flexural strength (500 to 1000 psi) (3.5 MPa to 7.0 MPa) – Supports heavy, repetitive loads without failure and spans localized soft subgrade areas, which reduces maintenance costs and downtime.

High compressive strength (4,000 to 10,000 psi) (28 MPa to 69  MPa) – Withstands high concentrated loads and impacts from heavy industrial, military, and mining applications.

High shear strength- Eliminates rutting and subsequent repairs.

High density, low absorption –  Provides excellent durability, even under freeze-thaw conditions; eliminates seepage through pavement.

Low water content, low water/cement ratio – Increases strength, reduces permeability, and enhances durability and resistance to chemical attack.

Aggregate interlock – Provides high shear resistance at joints and uncontrolled cracks to prevent vertical displacement or  faulting.

No steel reinforcing or dowels – Speeds and simplifies construction, reduces costs, and eliminates the need for preventative measures taken to minimize corrosion of reinforcing steel.

No forms or finishing – Speeds construction, reduces cost, minimizes labor.

No formed or sawed joints – Speeds construction, reduces cost. (To enhance appearance, joints can be sawn into RCC  pavement.)

Hard, durable, light-colored surface – Resists abrasion, eliminates need for surface course and reduces cost. The light color reduces lighting requirements for parking and storage areas.


Portland Cement Association

5420 Old Orchard Road Skokie, Illinois 60077-1083

VOICE 847.966.6200  FAX 847.966.8389



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