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LIGHTWEIGHT CONCRETE AND APPLICATION IN CONSTRUCTION INDUSTRY

CHAPTER TWO

2.0 LITERATURE REVIEW

2.1 CONCRETE

Concrete is the most widely used man-made construction material. It is obtained


by mixing cement, water and aggregates (and sometimes admixtures) in required
proportions. The mixture when placed in forms and. allowed to cure becomes
hard like stone. The hardening is caused by chemical action between water and
the cement and it continues for a long time, and consequently the concrete grows
stronger with age. The hardened concrete may also be considered as an artificial
stone in which the voids of larger particles (coarse aggregate) are filled by the
smaller particles (fine aggregate) and the voids of fine aggregates are filled with
cement. In a concrete mix the cement and water form a paste called cement water
paste which in addition to filling the voids of fine aggregate acts as binder on
hardening, thereby cementing the particles of the aggregates together in a
compact mass.

The strength, durability and other characteristics of concrete depend upon the
properties of its ingredients, on the proportions of mix, the method of compaction
and other controls during placing, compaction and curing. The popularity of the
concrete is due to the fact that from the common ingredients, it is possible to tailor
the properties of concrete to meet the demands of any particular situation. The
advances in concrete technology have paved the way to make the best use of
locally available materials by judicious mix proportioning and proper
workmanship, so as to produce concrete satisfying performance requirements.

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LIGHTWEIGHT CONCRETE AND APPLICATION IN CONSTRUCTION INDUSTRY

2.2 CLASSIFICATION OF CONCRETE

As mentioned earlier the main ingredients of concrete are cement, fine aggregate
(sand) and coarse aggregate (gravel or crushed rock). It is usual to specify a
particular concrete by the proportions (by weight) of these constituents and their
characteristics, e.g. a 1 : 2 : 4 concrete refers to a particular concrete
manufactured by" mixing cement, sand and broken stone in a 1 : 2 : 4 ratio (with a
specified type of cement, water-cement ratio, maximum size of aggregate, etc.).
This classification specifying the proportions of constituents and their
characteristics is termed prescripitive specifications and is based on the hope that
adherence to such prescripitive specifications will result in satisfactory
performance.

Alternatively, the specifications specifying the requirements of the desirable


properties of concrete such as strength, workability, etc. are stipulated, and these
are termed performance oriented specifica tions Based on these considerations,
the concrete can be classified either as nominal mix concrete or designed mix
concrete, Sometimes the concrete is classified into controlled concrete and
ordinary concrete, depending upon the levels of control exercised in the works
and the method of proportioning concrete mixes.

Accordingly, a concrete with ingredient proportions fixed by designing the


concrete mixes with -preliminary tests are called controlled concrete, whereas
ordinary concrete is one where nominal mixes are adopted. In IS: 456-1978 there
is nothing like uncontrolled concrete: only the degree of control varies from very
good to poor or no control. In addition to mix proportioning, the quality control
includes selection of appropriate concrete materials after proper tests, proper
workmanship in batching, mixing, transportation, placing, compaction and
curing, coupled with necessary checks and tests for quality acceptance.

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LIGHTWEIGHT CONCRETE AND APPLICATION IN CONSTRUCTION INDUSTRY

2.3 PROPERTIES OF CONCRETE

Concrete making is not just a matter of mixing ingredients to produce a plastic


mass, but good concrete has to satisfy performance requirements in the plastic or
green state and also the hardened state. In the plastic state the concrete should be
workable and free from segregation and bleeding. Segregation is the separation
of coarse aggregate and bleeding is the separation of cement paste from the main
mass. The segregation and bleeding results in a poor quality concrete. In its
hardened state concrete should be strong, durable. and impermeable; and it
should have minimum dimensional changes,
Among the various properties of concrete, its compressive strength is considered
to be the most important and is taken as an index of its overall quality. Many
other properties of concrete appear to be generally related to its compressive
strength. These properties will be discussed in detail later in the book.

2.4 GRADES OF CONCRETE

The concrete is generally graded according to its compressive strength. The


various grades of concrete as stipulated in IS: 456-1978 and IS: 1343-1980 are
given in Table 2.1. In the designation of concrete mix, the letter M refers to the
mix and the number to the specified characteristic strength of 150 mm work
cubes at 28 days, expressed in MPa (N/mm²). The concrete of grades M5 and
M7.5 is suitable for lean concrete bases and simple foundations of masonry
walls. These need not be designed. The concrete of grades lower than MIS is not
suitable for reinforced concrete works and grades of concrete lower than M30
are not to be used in the prestressed concrete works.

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LIGHTWEIGHT CONCRETE AND APPLICATION IN CONSTRUCTION INDUSTRY

2.5 ADVANTAGES OF CONCRETE

1. Concrete is economical in the long run as compared to other engineering


materials. Except cement, it can be made from locally available coarse and fine
aggregates.

2. Concrete possesses a high compressive strength, and the corrosive and


weathering effects are minimal. When properly prepared its strength is equal to
that of a hard natural stone.

3. The green concrete can be easily handled and moulded into any shape or
size according to specifications. The form work can be reused a number of times
of similar jobs resulting in economy.

4. It is strong in compression and has unlimited structural applications in


combination with steel reinforcement. The concrete and steel have approximately
equal coefficients of thermal expansion. The concrete is extensively used in the
construction of foundations, walls, roads, airfields, buildings, water retaining
structures, docks and harbours, dams, bridges, bunkers and silos, etc.

5. Concrete can even be sprayed on and filled into fine cracks for repairs by
the guniting process.

6. The concrete can be pumped and hence it can be laid in the difficult
positions also.

7. It is durable and fire resistant and requires very little maintenance.

2.6 DISADVANTAGES OF CONCRETE

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LIGHTWEIGHT CONCRETE AND APPLICATION IN CONSTRUCTION INDUSTRY

1. Concrete has low tensile strength and hence cracks easily. Therefore,
concrete is to be reinforced with steel bars or meshes.

2. Fresh concrete shrinks on drying and hardened concrete expands on


wetting. Provision for contraction joints has to be made to avoid the development
of cracks due to drying shrinkage and moisture movement.

3. Concrete expands and contracts with the changes in temperature. Hence


expansion joints have to be provided to avoid the formation of cracks due to
thermal movement.

4. Concrete under sustained loading undergoes creep resulting in the


reduction of prestress in the prestressed concrete construction.

5. Concrete is not entirely impervious to moisture and contains soluble salts


which may cause efflorescence.

6. Concrete is liable to disintegrate by alkali and sulphate attack.

7. The lack of ductility inherent in concrete as a material is disadvantageous


with respect to earthquake resistant design.

2.7 MATERIAL OF CONCRETE

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LIGHTWEIGHT CONCRETE AND APPLICATION IN CONSTRUCTION INDUSTRY

2.7.1 CEMENT

Cement is a well-known building material and has occupied an indispensable


place in construction works. There is a variety of cements available in the
market and each type is used under certain conditions due to its special
properties. The cement commonly used is portland cement, and the fine and
coarse aggregates used are those that are usually obtainable, from nearby sand,
gravel or rock deposits. In order to obtain a strong, durable and economical
concrete mix, it is necessary to understand the characteristics and behaviour of
the ingredients.

Although all materials that go into a concrete mixture are essential, cement is by
far the most important constituent because it is usually the delicate link in the
chain. The function of cement is first, to bind the sand and coarse aggregates
together, and second, to fill the voids in between sand and coarse aggregate
particles to form a compact mass. Although cement constitutes only about 10
per cent of the volume of the concrete mix, it is the active portion of the binding
medium and the only scientifically controlled ingredient of concrete.

Cement is an extremely ground material having adhesive and cohesive properties,


which provide a binding medium for the discrete ingredients. It is obtained by
burning together, in a definite proportion, a mixture of naturally occurring
argillacious (containing alumina) and calcareous (containing calcium carbonate or
lime) materials to a partial fusion at high temperature (about 1450°C). The
product obtained on burning, called clinker, is cooled and ground to the required
fineness to produce a material known as cement. Its inventor, Joseph Aspdin,
called it portland cement because when it hardened it produced a material

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LIGHTWEIGHT CONCRETE AND APPLICATION IN CONSTRUCTION INDUSTRY

resembling stone from the quarries near Portland in England.

2.7.1.1 Types of Cements


i. Rapid-hardening Portland Cement
ii. Portland-slag Cement
iii. Low-heat Portland Cement
iv. Portland-pozzolana Cement
v. High-strength Portland Cement
vi. Super Sulphate Cement
vii. High-alumina Cement
viii. Waterproof Cement
ix. White Portland Cement
x. Coloured Portland Cement
xi. Hydrophobic Cement

2.7.2 AGGREGATES

Aggregates are generally cheaper than cement and impart greater volume
stability and durability to concrete. The aggregate is used primarily for the
purpose of providing bulk to the concrete. To increase the density of the
resulting mix, the aggregate is frequently used in two or more sizes. The
aggregates provide about 75% of the body of the concrete and hence its
influence is extremely important.

Aggregate was originally viewed as an inert, inexpensive material dispersed


throughout the cement paste so as to produce a large volume of concrete. In fact,
aggregate is not truly inert because it’s physical, thermal and, sometimes,
chemical properties influence the performance of concrete, for example, by

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LIGHTWEIGHT CONCRETE AND APPLICATION IN CONSTRUCTION INDUSTRY

improving its volume stability and durability over that of the cement paste. From
the economic viewpoint, it is advantageous to use a mix with as much aggregate
and as little cement as possible, but the cost benefit has to be balanced against the
desired properties of concrete in its fresh and hardened state.

2.7.2.1 Classification of Aggregate

1. Classification according to the Geological Origin:-


i. Natural aggregate
ii. Artificial aggregate

2. Classification according to size:-


i. Fine aggregate
ii. Coarse aggregate
iii. All-in-aggregate
iv. Single-size-aggregate

3. Classification according to shape:-


i. Rounded aggregate
ii. Irregular aggregate
iii. Angular aggregate
iv. Flaky and elongated aggregate

4. Classification based on unit weight:-


i. Normal-weight aggregate
ii. Heavyweight aggregate
iii. Lightweight aggregate
iv. Bloated clay aggregate
2.7.3 WATER

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LIGHTWEIGHT CONCRETE AND APPLICATION IN CONSTRUCTION INDUSTRY

Generally, cement requires about 3/10 of its weight of water for hydration. Hence
the minimum water-cement ratio required is 0.35. But the concrete containing
water in this proportion will be very harsh and difficult to place. Additional water
is required to lubricate the mix, which makes the concrete workable. This
additional water must be kept to the minimum, since too much water reduces the
strength of concrete. The water-cement ratio is influenced by the grade of
concrete, nature and type of aggregates, the workability and durability.

If too much water is added to concrete, the excess water along with cement comes
to the surface by capillary action and this cement-water mixture forms a scum or
thin layer of chalky material known as laitance. This laitance prevents bond
formation between the successive layers of concrete and forms a plane of
weakness. The excess water may also leak through the joints of the formwork and
make the concrete honeycombed. As a rule, the smaller the percentage of water,
the stronger is the concrete subject to the condition that the required workability
is allowed for.

2.7.3.1 Effect of impurities in water on properties of concrete:-

1. Suspended particles
2. Miscellaneous inorganic salts
3. Salts in sea water
4. Acids and alkalies
5. Algae
6. Sugar
7. Oil contamination.
2.8 ADMIXTURES

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LIGHTWEIGHT CONCRETE AND APPLICATION IN CONSTRUCTION INDUSTRY

BS 2787: 1956 ‘Glossary of term for concrete and reinforced concrete’ gives the
following definition for the term ‘admixture’, with ‘additive’ given as an
alternative term with the same definition:

‘A material other than coarse or fine aggregate, cement of water added in


small quantities during the mixing of concrete to produce some desired
modification in one or more of its properties’.

Admixtures are the materials other than the basic ingredients of concrete, cement,
water, and aggregates. The use of admixture should offer an improvement not
economically attainable by adjusting the proportions of cement and aggregates,
and should not adversely affect any property of the concrete. Admixtures are no
substitute for good concreting practice. An admixture should be employed only
after an appropriate evaluation of its effects on the particular concrete under the
conditions in which the concrete is intended to be used. It is often necessary to
conduct tests on the representative samples of the materials for a particular job
under simulated job conditions in order to obtain reliable information on the
properties of concrete containing admixtures.

The admixtures ranging from addition of chemicals to waste materials have been
used to modify certain properties of concrete. The properties commonly modified
are that rate of hydration or setting time, workability, dispersion and air-
entrainment. The admixture is generally added in a relatively small quantity.

2.8.1 FUNCTIONS OF ADMIXTURES

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LIGHTWEIGHT CONCRETE AND APPLICATION IN CONSTRUCTION INDUSTRY

1. To accelerate the initial set of concrete, i.e. to speed up the rate of


development of strength at early ages,
2. To retard the initial set,
3. To increase the strength of concrete,
4. To improve the workability,
5. To reduce the heat of evolution,
6. To increase the durability of concrete, i.e. its resistance to special
conditions of exposure, like repeated freezing and thawing cycles,
7. To control the alkali-aggregate expansion, to decrease the capillary
flow of water through concrete and to increase its impermeability to
liquids,
8. To improve the penetration and pumpability of concrete,
9. To reduce the segregation in grout mixtures,
10. To increase the bond between old and new concrete surfaces,
11. To increase the bond of concrete to the steel reinforcement,
12. To inhibit the corrosion of concrete,
13. To increase the resistance to chemical attack,
14. To produce cellular concrete,
15. To produce coloured concrete or mortar for coloured surfaces,
16. To produce concrete of fungicidal, germicidal and insecticidal
properties,
17. To produce nonskid surfaces, and
18. To decrease the weight of concrete per cubic metre.

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LIGHTWEIGHT CONCRETE AND APPLICATION IN CONSTRUCTION INDUSTRY

2.9 SPECIAL CONCRETE AND CONCRETING TECHNIQUES

Notwithstanding its versatility, cement concrete suffers from several drawbacks,


such as low tensile strength, permeability to liquids and consequent corrosion of
reinforcement, susceptibility to chemical attack, and low durability. Modifications
have been made from time to time to overcome the deficiencies of cement
concrete yet retaining the other desirable characteristics. Recent developments in
the material and construction technology have led to significant changes resulting
in improved performance, wider and more economical use.

The improvements in performance can be grouped as:


i. Better mechanical properties than that of conventional concrete, such
as compressive strength, tensile strength, impact toughness, etc.
ii. Better durability attained by means of increased chemical and freeze-
thaw resistances,
iii. Improvements in selected properties of interest, such as
impermeability, adhesion, thermal insulation, lightness, abrasion and skid
resistance, etc.

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LIGHTWEIGHT CONCRETE AND APPLICATION IN CONSTRUCTION INDUSTRY

2.9.1 SPECIAL CONCRETE

1. Lightweight concrete
2. Ultralightweight concrete
3. Vacuum Concrete
4. Waste material based concrete
5. Mass concrete
6. Shotcrete or guniting
7. Ferrocement
8. Fibre reinforced concrete
9. Polymer concrete composites (PCCs)
10. Sulphur concrete and Sulphur-infiltrated concrete
11. Jet (Ultra-rapid hardening) cement concrete
12. Gap-graded concrete
13. No-fines concrete

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LIGHTWEIGHT CONCRETE AND APPLICATION IN CONSTRUCTION INDUSTRY

2.10 WORKABILITY TEST

Unfortunately, there is no acceptable test which will measure directly the


workability as defined earlier. The following methods give a measure of
workability which is applicable only with reference to the particular method.
However, these methods have found universal acceptance and their merit is
chiefly that of simplicity of operation with an ability to detect variations in the
uniformity of a mix of given nominal proportions.

2.10.1 SLUMP TEST

The mould for the slump test is a frustum of a cone, 305 mm (12 in.) high. The
base of 203 mm (8 in.) diameter is placed on a smooth surface with the smaller
opening of 102 mm (4 in.) diameter at the top, and the container is filled with
concrete in three layers. Each layer is tamped 25 times with a standard 16 mm
diameter steel rod, rounded at the end, and the top surface is struck off by
means of a screeding and rolling motion of the tamping rod. The mould must be
firmly held against its base during the entire operation; this is facilitated by
handles or foot-rests brazed to the mould.

Immediately after filling, the cone is slowly lifted, and the unsupported concrete
will now slump - hence the name of the test. The decrease in the height of the
centre! of the slumped concrete is called slump, and is measured to the nearest 5
mm.

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LIGHTWEIGHT CONCRETE AND APPLICATION IN CONSTRUCTION INDUSTRY

2.10.2 COMPACTING FACTOR TEST

The degree of compaction, called the compacting factor, is measured by the


density ratio, i.e. the ratio of the density actually achieved in the test to the density
of the same concrete fully compacted.

The upper hopper is filled with concrete, this being placed gently so that, at this
stage, no work is done on the concrete to produce compaction. The bottom door
of the hopper is then released and the concrete falls into the lower hopper. This
hopper is smaller than the upper one and is, therefore, filled to overflowing and
thus always contains approximately the same amount of concrete in a standard
state; this reduces the influence of the personal factor in filling the top hopper.
The bottom door of the lower hopper is released and the concrete falls into the
cylinder. Excess concrete is cut by two floats slid across the top of the mould, and
the net mass of concrete in the known volume of the cylinder is determined.

2.10.3 VEBE TEST

The name Vebe is derived from the initials of V. Bahrner of Sweden who
developed the test. The test is covered by BS 1881: Part 104: 1983 and is referred
to also in ACI Standard 211.3-75 (revised 1980). The slump cone is filled in the
standard manner, removed, and a disc-shaped rider (weighing 2.75 kg (6Ib)) is
placed on top of the concrete. Compaction is achieved using a vibrating table with
an eccentric weight rotating at 50 Hz so that the vertical amplitude of the table
with the empty cylinder is approximately ±0.35 mm (±0.014 in.).

Compaction is assumed to be complete when the transparent rider is totally

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LIGHTWEIGHT CONCRETE AND APPLICATION IN CONSTRUCTION INDUSTRY

covered with concrete and all cavities in the surface of the concrete have
disappeared. This is judged visually, and the difficulty of establishing the end
point of the test may be a source of error. To overcome it an automatically
operated device for recording the movement of the plate against time may be
fitted, but this is not a standard procedure.

2.10.4 FLOW TABLE TEST

The apparatus consists essentially of a wooden board covered by a steel plate with
a total mass of 16 kg (about 35 lb). This board is hinged along one side to a base
board, each board being a 700 mm (27.6 in.) square. The upper board can be lifted
up to a stop so that the free edge rises 40 mm (1.6 in.). Appropriate markings
indicate the location of the concrete to be deposited on the table.

The table top is moistened and a frustum of a cone of concrete, lightly tamped by
a wooden tamper in a prescribed manner, is placed using a mould 200 mm (8 in.)
high with a bottom diameter of 200 mm (8 in.) and a top diameter of 130 mm
(about 5 in.). Before lifting the mould, excess concrete is removed, the
surrounding table top is cleaned, and after an interval of 30 sec. the mould is
slowly removed. The table top is lifted and allowed to drop, avoiding a significant
force against the stop, 15 times, each cycle taking approximately 4 sec.

In consequence, the concrete spreads and the maximum spread parallel to the two
edges of the table is measured. The average of these two values, given to the
nearest millimetre, represents the flow. A value of 400 indicates a medium
workability and 500 a high workability. Concrete should at this stage appear
uniform and cohesive or else the test is considered inappropriate for the given
mix. Thus the test offers an indication of the cohesiveness of the mix.

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LIGHTWEIGHT CONCRETE AND APPLICATION IN CONSTRUCTION INDUSTRY

2.10.5 BALL PENETRATION TEST

This is a simple field test consisting of the determination of the depth to which
a 152 mm (6 in.) diameter metal hemisphere, weighing 14 kg (30 lb), will sink
under its own weight into fresh concrete. A sketch of the apparatus, devised by
J. W. Kelly and known as the Kelly ball.

The use of this test is similar to that of the slump test, that is for routine checking
of consistence for control purposes. The test is covered by ASTM Standard C
360-82 and is rarely used in the UK. It is, however, worth considering the Kelly
ball test as an alternative to the slump test, over which it has some advantages. In
particular, the ball test is simpler and quicker to perform and, what is more
important, it can be applied to concrete in a wheelbarrow or actually in the form.
In order to avoid boundary effect, the depth of the concrete being tested should be
not less than 200mm (8 in), and the least lateral dimension 460mm

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