Reactive Powder Concrete

In the early 1990s, researchers at the Bouygues laboratory in France developed reactive powder concrete (RPC).

The idea was first established by P. Richard and M. Cheyrezy.

Reactive powder concrete is a composite material with ultra-high-strength and ductility with improved mechanical properties.

In this article you’ll learn:

So, if you’re ready to go with it, this article is for you.

Let’s dive right in.

What is Reactive Powder Concrete?

Reactive Powder Concrete

Reactive Powder Concrete (RPC) is a fibre-reinforced concrete, superplasticizer, silica fume cement combination with a very low water-cement ratio, distinguished by the inclusion of very fine aggregates rather than the regular aggregate.

It is an ultra-high-strength concrete manufactured by replacing the usual aggregate in ordinary concrete with quartz powder, silica fume, steel fibers, and other elements.

The RPC has a high ductility as well as a high strength, it has a compressive strength ranging from 200 to 800 MPa.

It does not contain coarse aggregate but contains cement, silica fume, sand, quartz powder, superplasticizer, and steel fibre with a very low water binder ratio.

Types of Reactive Powder Concrete:

RPCs are classified into two types, i.e., RPC 200 and RPC 800.

They are available in both fibered and non-fibered varieties; fibres are used in RPC to improve the fracture characteristics of the composite material.

RPC PROPERTIES 200RPC         800RPC        
Pre-setting pressurizationNone50 MPa  
Heat-treating  20 to 90°C250 to 400°C  
Compressive strength (using quartz sand)  170 to 230 MPa490 to 680 MPa  
Compressive strength (using steel aggregate)—650 to 810 MPa
Flexural strength30 to 60 MPa45 to 141 MPa

RPC concrete includes Cement, fine sand, quartz powder less than 300 microns in size, silica fume, 1 cm length steel fibres 180 microns in size, and superplasticizer are examples of very fine powders.

The following are the usual component compositions of reactive powder concrete at 200 Mpa and 800 Mpa.

Table 1: Typical Composition of RPC of 200 Mpa

IngredientQuantity (kg/m3)
OPC ( Type V)955
Fine Sand (150 – 400 micron)1051
Silica Fume229
Precipitated Silica10
Super Plasticizer13
Steel Fibers191

Table 2: Typical Composition of RPC of 800 Mpa

IngredientQuantity (kg/m3)
OPC ( Type V)1000
Fine Sand (150 – 400 micron)500
Ground Quartz powder (4 microns)390
Silica Fume230
Super Plasticizer18
Steel Fibers630

Properties of Reactive Powder Concrete Ingredients:

The functions of each element and their selection factors are discussed further below:

1. Cement:

RPC may be made with ordinary Portland cement of medium fineness; cement particle sizes should range from 1 micron to 100 microns.

Cement’s role is to act as a binding material as well as to manufacture main concrete hydrants.

2. Sand:

It should be hard and widely accessible at a modest cost.

Sand particles are the largest particles in reactive powder concrete, and their job is to provide strength to the concrete mix.

3. Quartz powder:

Quartz powder is often found in crystalline form, it was chosen because of its delicacy.

The particle size should be between 5 and 25 microns.

The primary role of quartz is to provide optimum heat resistance to concrete.

4. Silica Fume:

Ferrosilicon industries are the most common source of silica fume, it should be picked in such a way that it has the fewest pollutants.

The particle sizes of silica fume range from 0.1 microns to 1 micron.

Its objective is to fill tiny gaps and enhance concrete flow properties.

It also aids in the formation of secondary hydrates in concrete.

5. Steel Fibres:

Steel fibres with lengths ranging from 13 to 25 mm and diameters ranging from 0.15 to 0.2 mm are used to make reactive powder concrete.

It increases the ductility of the concrete.

6. Super Plasticizer:

In RPC, polyacrylate is utilized as a superplasticizer.

Polyacrylate’s primary role is to reduce the water-cement ratio while also improving the workability of concrete.

Advantages of Reactive Powder Concrete:

  1. RPC concrete is used in situations where weight loss is necessary.
  2. They have low porosity.
  3. It is Impermeable.
  4. They have Limited shrinkage.
  5. It Increased corrosion resistance.
  6. This cement has improved seismic performance.

Disadvantages of Reactive Powder Concrete:

  1. The aggregate replacement materials are somewhat more costly, raising the project cost.
  2. Concrete costs are more when the primary minerals in it are optimized.
  3. As RPC concrete is still in its early stages, its long-term qualities are unidentified.
  4. There is no set code for creating an RPC concrete mix.

Applications of RPC Concrete:

The following are the various applications of RPC concrete as follows:

  • Impact-resistant buildings.
  • Nuclear constructions.
  • Skyscrapers.
  • Corrosion-resistant structures.
  • Pavements.
  • Nuclear radiation shield.
  • Bank and computer centre security.
  • Pedestrian Bridge.
Also read:  Types of Concrete | Concrete Mixer | Types of Sand


RPC concrete is a revolutionary technology that gives new meaning to the term ‘high-performance concrete’.

Its improved mechanical and durability features above ordinary high-performance concrete, it has enormous potential in construction that might potentially replace steel in some situations.

RPC has a microstructure that is ultra-dense that provides better waterproofing and durability, hence it might be a viable choice for industrial and nuclear waste storage sites.

Hello, I'm Rahul Patil founder of, I had studied B.E. Civil. This blog provides authentic information regarding civil structures, equipment, materials, tests & much more.

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