A localized upward slab movement and shattering at a joint or crack. Usually occurs in spring or summer and is the result of insufficient room for slab expansion during hot weather.

Figure 1: Blowup on SR 195 in eastern Washington.

Figure 2: Blowup on SR 195 in eastern Washington.


Roughness, moisture infiltration, in extreme cases (as in the second photo) can pose a safety hazard

Possible Causes

During cold periods (e.g., winter) PCC slabs contract leaving wider joint openings. If these openings become filled with incompressible material (such as rocks or soil), subsequent PCC slab expansion during hot periods (e.g., spring, summer) may cause high compressive stresses. If these stresses are great enough, the slabs may buckle and shatter to relieve the stresses. Blowup can be accelerated by:

  • Joint spalling (reduces slab contact area and provides incompressible material to fill the joint/crack)
  • D cracking (weakens the slab near the joint/crack area)
  • Freeze-thaw damage (weakens the slab near the joint/crack area)


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