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UNIVERSITY OF WASHINGTON

Department of Construction Management

CM 425 CONCRETE TECHNOLOGY


Professor Kamran M. Nemati

PROPORTIONING CONCRETE MIXES

CM 425 - Concrete Technology

Proportioning Concrete Mixes

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UNIVERSITY OF WASHINGTON Department of Construction Management Professor Kamran M. Nemati Spring Quarter 2012

PROPORTIONING CONCRETE MIXES


I. INTRODUCTION

In designing concrete one attempts to optimize the cost for a given level of
strength and durability.

This translates into trying to achieve the lowest possible water and cement
contents with the largest fraction of coarse aggregate (CA) which in turn has the maximum quantity of fine aggregate (FA) filling the interstitial spaces.

This leads the designer into specifying:


1) as stiff mixes as practical under the proposed concrete mixing and casting conditions; 2) maximum permissible size of coarse aggregate; and 3) adequately sized and properly proportioned FA and CA. II. TRIAL METHOD OF PROPORTIONING

This is the simplest approach to mix design. It is as follows:


1) Select an appropriate w/c ratio. [Strength & Durability 1/(w/c)] 2) Make a small trial mix with the selected w/c ratio & obtain the desired wet consistency (i.e., slump & workability). 3) It often proves useful to make several trial batches to achieve the most economical mix with the desired properties. III. ACI METHOD OF PROPORTIONING CONCRETE MIXES

The ACI Standard 211.1 is a Recommended Practice for Selecting Proportions for
Concrete. The procedure is as follows:

Step 1. Choice of slump.


If slump is not specified, a value appropriate for the work can be selected from Table 9-1 which is reproduced from the text book below*, (note that the table numbers are given from the text book rather than the ACI standard).
*

P.K. Mehta and P.J.M. Monteiro, Concrete Structure, Properties, and Materials, Prentice Hall, 2nd Edition, 1993.

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Proportioning Concrete Mixes

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III. ACI METHOD OF PROPORTIONING CONCRETE MIXES (Continued...) TABLE 9-1 - RECOMMENDED SLUMPS FOR VARIOUS TYPES OF CONSTRUCTION

Types of Construction

Slump (in.) Maximum* Minimum

Reinforced foundation walls and footings 3 1 Plain footings, caissons, and 3 1 substructure walls Beams and reinforced walls 4 1 Building columns 4 1 Pavements and slabs 3 1 Mass concrete 2 1 * May be increased 1-in. for methods of consolidation other than vibration.

Step 2. Choice of maximum size of aggregate.


Large maximum sizes of aggregates produce less voids than smaller sizes. Hence, concretes with the larger-sized aggregates require less mortar per unit volume of concrete, and of coarse it is the mortar which contains the most expensive ingredient, cement. Thus the ACI method is based on the principle that the MAXIMUM SIZE OF AGGREGATE SHOULD BE THE LARGEST AVAILABLE SO LONG IT IS CONSISTENT WITH THE DIMENSIONS OF THE STRUCTURE.

In practice the dimensions of the forms or the spacing of the rebars controls
the maximum CA size.

ACI 211.1 states that the maximum CA size should not exceed:
1) one-fifth of the narrowest dimension between sides of forms, 2) one-third the depth of slabs, 3) 3/4-ths of the minimum clear spacing between individual reinforcing bars, bundles of bars, or pre-tensioning strands.

Special Note: When high strength concrete is desired, best results may be
obtained with reduced maximum sizes of aggregate since these produce higher strengths at a given w/c ratio.

Step 3. Estimation of mixing water and air content.


The ACI Method uses past experience to give a first estimate for the quantity of water per unit volume of concrete required to produce a given slump.

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CM 425 - Concrete Technology

Proportioning Concrete Mixes

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III. ACI METHOD OF PROPORTIONING CONCRETE MIXES (Continued...)

In general the quantity of water per unit volume of concrete required to


produce a given slump is dependent on the maximum CA size, the shape and grading of both CA and FA, as well as the amount of entrained air.

It is interesting to note that the water content is not greatly affected by the
amount of cement in the concrete mix proportions. The approximate amount of water required for average aggregates is given in Table 9-2.

TABLE 9-2 - APPROXIMATE MIXING WATER AND AIR CONTENT REQUIREMENTS FOR DIFFERENT SLUMPS AND MAXIMUM SIZES OF AGGREGATES Water, lb./yd3 of concrete for indicated maximum sizes of aggregate
Slump, in.
3/8

in.*

in.*

in*

1 in.*

1 in.*

2 in.*

3 in.*

6 in.*

Non-air-entrained concrete
1 to 2 3 to 4 6 to 7 More than 7* Approximate amount of entrapped air in non-airentrained concrete, percent 350 385 410 -3 335 365 385 -2.5 315 340 360 -2 300 325 340 -1.5 275 300 315 -1 260 285 300 -0.5 220 245 270 -0.3 190 210 --0.2

Air-entrained concrete
1 to 2 3 to 4 6 to 7 More than 7* Recommended average total air content, percent for level of exposure: Mild exposure Moderate exposure Severe exposure 305 340 365 -295 325 345 -280 305 325 -270 295 310 -250 275 290 -240 265 280 -205 225 260 -180 200 ---

4.5 6.0 7.5

4.0 5.5 7.0

3.5 5.0 6.0

3.0 4.5 6.0

2.5 4.5 5.5

2.0 4.0 5.0

1.5** 3.5** 4.5**

1.0** 3.0** 4.0**

* These quantities of mixing water are for use in computing cement factors for trial batches. They are maxima for reasonably well-shaped angular coarse aggregates graded within limits of accepted specifications. The slump values for concrete containing aggregate larger than 1" are based on slump tests made after removal of particles > 1" by wet-screening. (Note that the two footnotes were not reproduced in the textbook.)

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Proportioning Concrete Mixes

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III. ACI METHOD OF PROPORTIONING CONCRETE MIXES (Continued...)

Step 4. Selection of water/cement ratio. The required water/cement ratio is determined by strength, durability and
finishability. The appropriate value is chosen from prior testing of a given system of cement and aggregate or a value is chosen from Table 9-3 and/or Table 9-4. TABLE 9-3 - RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN WATER/CEMENT RATIO AND COMPRESSIVE STRENGTH OF CONCRETE

Compressive strength at 28 days, psi


6000 5000 4000 3000 2000

Water/cement ratio, by weight Non-air-entrained Air-entrained concrete concrete


0.41 0.48 0.57 0.68 0.82 ---0.40 0.48 0.59 0.74

TABLE 9-4 - MAXIMUM PERMISSIBLE WATER/CEMENT RATIOS FOR CONCRETE IN SEVERE EXPOSURES Structure wet continuously or fequently exposed to freezing & thawing* Structure exposed to seawater

Type of Structure Thin sections (railings, curbs, sills, ledges, ornamental work) & sections with less than 1-inch cover over steel All other structures

0.45

0.40

0.50

0.45

* Concrete should also be air-entrained.

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III. ACI METHOD OF PROPORTIONING CONCRETE MIXES (Continued...)

Step 5. Calculation of cement content. The amount of cement is fixed by the determinations made in Steps 3 and 4
above.

Step 6. Estimation of coarse aggregate content. The ACI Method uses the principle that The same maximum size and
grading will produce concrete of satisfactory workability when a given volume of coarse aggregate, on a dry-rodded basis, is used per unit volume of concrete.

This has been incorporated in the ACI standard in Table 9-5. The most economical concrete will have as much as possible space occupied
by CA since it will require no cement in the space filled by CA. TABLE 9-5 - VOLUME OF COARSE AGGREGATE PER UNIT OF VOLUME OF CONCRETE
Maximum size of aggregate (in.) 3/8 1/2 3/4 1 1 2 3 6

Volume of dry-rodded coarse aggregate* per unit volume of concrete for different fineness moduli of sand
2.40 0.50 0.59 0.66 0.71 0.75 0.78 0.82 0.87 2.60 0.48 0.57 0.64 0.69 0.73 0.76 0.80 0.85 2.80 0.46 0.55 0.62 0.67 0.71 0.74 0.78 0.83 3.00 0.44 0.53 0.60 0.65 0.69 0.72 0.76 0.81

* Volumes are based on aggregates in dry-rodded condition as described in ASTM C29 Unit Weight of Aggregate. These volumes are selected from empirical relationships to produce concrete with a degree of workability suitable for usual reinforced construction. For less workable concrete such as required for concrete pavement construction they may be increased about 10 percent. For more workable concrete, such as may sometimes be required when placement is to be by pumping, they may be reduced up to 10 percent.

The ACI method is based on large numbers of experiments which have


shown that for properly graded materials, the finer the sand and the larger the size of the particles in the CA, the more volume of CA can be used to produce a concrete of satisfactory workability.

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Proportioning Concrete Mixes

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III. ACI METHOD OF PROPORTIONING CONCRETE MIXES (Continued...)

In practice Table 9-5 can be used to estimate the volume of CA, on a dryrodded unit volume basis, which can be used in a mix. Thus for a one cubic yard mix one multiplies the number in Table 9-5 by 27 to obtain the volume fraction, on a dry-rodded unit weight basis, in the mix.

This volume must then be converted into a weight fraction by using the dryrodded unit weight of the CA being used in the design. DO NOT USE THE REGULAR BULK SPECIFIC GRAVITY.

This dry weight is then used in the next step. Step 7. Estimation of Fine Aggregate Content. At the completion of Step 6, all ingredients of the concrete have been
estimated except the fine aggregate. Its quantity can be determined by difference if the absolute volume displaced by the known ingredients-, (i.e., water, air, cement, and coarse aggregate), is subtracted from the unit volume of concrete to obtain the required volume of fine aggregate.

Then once the volumes are know the weights of each ingredient can be
calculated from the specific gravities.

A second, less exact method of estimating the fine aggregate content is


discussed in the text book under the weight method.

In this course we will only use the more exact absolute volume method. At this stage of the process there is a complete description of the mix
proportions, but the moisture content is assumed to be SSD (saturated-surface dry) for the FA and air-dry for the CA.

Step 8. Adjustments for Aggregate Moisture. Aggregate quantities actually to be weighed out for the concrete must allow
for moisture in the aggregates. Usually the air-dry condition for the CA is close enough for use in laboratory, but the FA is often 2% or 3% above or below SSD.

This means that a correction must be made before a laboratory batch of


concrete is made.

Step 9. Trial Batch Adjustments. The ACI method is written on the basis that a trial batch of concrete will be
prepared in the laboratory, and adjusted to give the desired slump, freedom from segregation, finishability, unit weight, air content and strength.

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