Graduation Year


Document Type




Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.)

Degree Granting Department

Civil and Environmental Engineering

Major Professor

Austin Gray Mullins, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Michael J. Stokes, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Abla Zayed, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Scott Campbell, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Travis Doering, Ph.D.


bentonite, development length, Monte Carlo Analysis, polymer, slurry


Drilled shafts are large cylindrical cast-in-place concrete structural elements that can be favored due to cost-effectiveness. These elements however, require strict quality control during construction to ensure a stable excavation. Drilling fluid is often used in construction to attain this stability. Drilling fluid, or slurry, can be ground water or salt water, but is typically made from a mixture of water and mineral or polymer powder to form a viscous fluid slightly more dense than ground water. During concreting, the drilling fluid is displaced by the heavier concrete, which is tremie placed at the base of the excavation from the center of the reinforcement cage. While concrete used for drilled shafts should be highly fluid, it does not follow an ideal, uniform flow. The concrete rather builds up inside the reinforcement cage to a sufficient height before then pressing out radially into the annular cover region. This concrete flow pattern associated with drilled shafts has been shown to trap slurry around/near the steel reinforcement and affect reinforcement bond strength.

Presently there are no specifications relating to slurry effects on reinforcing bar bond strength from the American Concrete Institute (ACI) or the American Association of State and Highway Transportation Officials (AASHTO). This dissertation analyzes longitudinal reinforcing bar concrete bond strength data recorded from 268 specimens constructed with tremie-placed concreting conditions in varying drilling fluids. Reinforcement used for testing were No. 8 deformed rebar. Based on the results found from this analysis, this dissertation recommends the use of a slurry modification factor to current bond strength and development length specifications.