System-K™ Concrete Extends Service Life of Concrete Dam Caps

Microfiber-reinforced shrinkage-compensating concrete creates watertight bond between old and new concrete.
Posted on 09/09/2021

Project image

Jennings Randolph Lake and Dam was built by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) to improve water quality along the north branch of the Potomac River and provide flood control. Made of stone and rock, the dam rises 300 ft. (91.4m) from the bottom of Jennings Randolph Lake and stretches more than 2,000 ft. (609.6m) across the valley. The lake and its beaches serve as a recreation destination for visitors and as a water supply source for Washington, D.C.

In 2019, USACE needed to replace eight concrete caps that protect the structural integrity of the concrete anchoring the dam’s spillway gate hinges. Over time, those caps had deteriorated. Structural Engineering Group (SEG) of Sterling, Va., served as engineer and contractor for the project.

When the dam was built during the 1970s and early '80s, the protective caps were placed using a portland cement concrete mix design. For the new caps, SEG specified CTS Cement’s System-K™ microfiber-reinforced shrinkage-compensating concrete. The material was chosen for its net-zero shrinkage and low permeability characteristics to prevent delamination from occurring at the bond line where the old concrete meets the new, and to eliminate shrinkage cracking. The new caps are expected to have twice the design life of the old ones.

System-K concrete is created using Komponent® shrinkage-compensating cement additive, K-Fiber™ and locally sourced portland cement. The use of 1/4-in. synthetic microfibers improves the overall durability of the finished shrinkage-compensating concrete. Using this high-performance cement also increases abrasion resistance by up to 60%. It is ideal for durability and dimensional stability in mass placements, as the heat of hydration of the concrete is not negatively affected. With no tricalcium aluminate (C3A) content, the Komponent additive also improves sulfate resistance where elevated sulfate conditions are a concern.

Each cap was roughly 12 ft. x 6 ft. x 12 in. (3.7m x 1.8m x 305mm). System-K was supplied by volumetric mixer, with 18 cu. yd. (13.8 cu. m.) of concrete pumped and placed in two separate pours. The protective caps were finished via hand trowel and covered with wet burlap and plastic during the wet cure period.

The project was successfully completed in less than two months (Aug. 1–Sept. 15, 2019) in ambient temperatures ranging between 60 and 80 degrees Fahrenheit (16 and 27 degrees Celsius), with no challenges in production, delivery, placement or finishing during construction. All project stakeholders were pleased with System-K’s performance, as well as the overall project efficiency.

USACE is looking forward to decades of protection at the dam with these high-performance concrete caps in place.

For information on how Komponent® can be used to provide a high-performance shrinkage-compensating concreting or grouting solution on your next project, contact a member of the CTS Cement Engineering Team at (800) 929-3030 or

Project at a glance
  • Project Type: Dam
  • Application: Repair & Restoration
  • Location: Keyser, W.Va.
  • Size: 21 cu. yds. (16 cu. m.)
  • Dates: August–September 2019
  • Owner: U.S. Army Corps of Engineers
  • Contractor: Structural Engineering Group
  • Products: Komponent® and System-K™
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