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National Seminar cum

Business Meet on Use of Fly

Ash in

March 4 5, 2005
Ramada Plaza, Juhu Beach

Organised by
Fly Ash Utilisation Programme, TIFAC, DST
in association with
Ministry of Power, Ministry of Environment & Forests,
Ministry of Water Resources and Irrigation Department
Government of Maharashtra

National Seminar cum Business Meet on Use of Fly Ash in Hydro Sector
National Seminar cum
Business Meets

March 4-5, 2005, Venue : Ramada Plaza, Juhu Beach, Mumbai

March 4, 2005
09:00 10.00


10:00 11:00


10:00 10:05

Welcome by Dr. Vimal Kumar, Adviser, FAUP, TIFAC

10:05 10:10

About the Seminar by Professor, Anand Patwardhan, ED, TIFAC

10:10 10:20

Address by Shri Jayant Kawale, CMD, MSEB, Guest of Honour

Keynote Address by Shri S.V. Sodal, Secretary, Irrigation (CAD),

Government of Maharashtra

10:35 10:45

Presiding Address by Shri Yogendra Prasad, CMD, NHPC

10:45 10:55

Inaugural Address by Shri Jeyaseelan, Chaiman, CWC

10:55 11:00

Vote of Thanks by Shri V.V. Gaikwad, CE, Ghatghar Project

10:20 10:35

11:00 11:30


11:30 13:30


11:30 11:45

Fly Ash in Hydro Sector An Overview by Dr. Vimal Kumar

11:45 12:15

RCC Dams World Wide Experiences by Dr. Malcolm Dunstan

12:15 12:30

RCC Design Aspects by Shri G.C. Vyas, CWC

Instrumentation in RCC Dams by Dr. V.M. Sharma, Former Director,

Quality Control aspects of RCC Dams by Shri S.B. Suri, Former
Director, CSMRS

12:30 - 12:40
12:40 12:55
12:55 13:15
13:15 14:15


March 4, 2005
14:15 15:45
14:15 14:25
14:25 14:35
14:35 14:45
14:45 14:55
14:55 15:05
15:05 15:15
15:15 - 15:25
15:25 15:35


Introduction of RCC to Ghatghar project by Shri Jan. A. Struble,

Consultant , Patel Engineering
Suitability of Fly Ash for RCC by Shri D.M. More, Director General,
MERI, Nasik
Design & Layout consideration for Lower Dam by Shri P.R. Bhamare,
S.E., CDO, Nasik
Phoenixes from fly ash 3 RCC dams for Ghatghar project by
Shri V.V. Gaikwad, C.E. Ghatghar Project
Ghatghar RCC dams mix design by Shri. V.V. Gaikwad, C.E.
Ghatghar Project
Quality Control at Ghatghar RCC Dams by Shri. V.V. Gaikwad, C.E.
Ghatghar Project

Instrumentation in RCC: Ghatghar by Shri A.D. Solankurkar, TCE

Importance of Thermal Study in deciding optimal utilisation of Fly Ash

at Ghatghar Project by Smt. V M Bendre, Director CWPRS, Pune


16:00 16:30


16:30 17:30


16:30 16:40
16:40 16:45
16:45 17:15
17:15 - 17:30
17:30 18:00

Experience of APGENCO by Professor V.S. Raju, Former Director,

IIT, Delhi

Experience of NPCIL by Shri S.G. Bapat, CE, NPCIL

Design and Construction of RCC dams World Experiences by

Dr. Malcolm Dunstan






March 4-5, 2005

Site visit to Ghatghar Pumped Storage Scheme, Near Nasik



Vimal Kumar1, S.B Suri2, G.C Vyas3, K.S. Nagaraja4

Fly Ash a residue of coal combustion in Thermal Power Station earlier considered as a
industrial waste is in fact a resource material. The concerted efforts in Mission Mode
over last decade have proved beyond doubt the versatility of fly ash for a large number of
gainful applications. Its use in cement/ concrete, building components, mining sector,
agriculture, road construction and manufacture of high value added products have been
amply demonstrated and large scale utilization started.
The potential of fly ash to replace 25 to 50% cement in conventional concrete/ mortars and
upto 70% in roller compacted concrete, makes it an ideal material for hydro sector
constructions. The fly ash concretes are denser, durable, economical and eco-friendly.
The paper presents a birds eye view of (i) development of fly ash utilization scenario in the
country and (ii) the vast opportunities that exist in hydro-sector to drive benefits by use of fly
ash including its use in office/residential complexes and in construction of roads as well as
development of landscapes.

The views expressed are of the Authors and not necessarily of the organisations to which they have
1. Dr. Vimal Kumar, Adviser (Flyash), TIFAC, DST, Government of India, New Delhi -110 016
2. Shri S.B. Suri, Ex-Director, Central Soil Material Research Station, Govt. of India, New Delhi - 110 016
3. Shri G.C. Vyas, Chief Engineer-Design (NWNS), Central Water Commission, Govt. of India, New
Delhi - 11016
4. Shri K.S. Nagaraja, General Manager, National Hydroelectric Power Corporation, Govt. of India,
Faridabad 121 003



Indias 85 utility and more than 25 captive Coal/ lignite based thermal power plants contribute
more than 70% of countrys total electric power generation. Due to vast coal reserves (about
211 billion tonnes), coal is being used as the largest source of energy. As a result of that India
is presently (2005) producing about 110 million tonne of ash every year. This figure is likely to
go up in view of developing nature of Indian economy, which involves large number of energy
intensive infrastructure projects. It is estimated that fly ash generation would increase to around
170 million tonne by 2012.
Fly ash is finely divided residue resulting from combustion of pulverised bituminous coal or sub
bituminous coal (lignite) in thermal power plants. It consists of inorganic mineral constituents of
coal and organic matter which is not fully burnt. It is generally grey in colour, alkaline and
refractory in nature and has a fineness 3000 to 6000 sq.cm. per gram and possess pozzolanic
characteristics. It has found wide acceptance for many applications across the globe including
in cement and concrete as well as for manufacturer of building materials, construction of road/
embankments and in agriculture/ horticulture.
The utilisation of fly ash in India was around 3 % of 40 million tonne annual generation during
1994, the year of formulation of Fly Ash Mission (FAM) of Government of India. As a result of
focused efforts alongwith various organizations, the utilisation has increased to 32 percent of
108 million tonne generation (2004) Hydro-Sector holds vast potential not only for use of fly ash
but to device technical, economical & economical advantages by its use.
The paper provides a birds eye view view of (i) development of fly ash utilization scenario in the
country and (ii) the vast opportunities that exist in hydro-sector to drive benefits by use of fly





Earlier Effects
Prior to 1994, large number of efforts have been made to develop and commercialise
technologies for use of fly ash. Academia, national research institutes, private R&D as well as
industry have been doing some work in this field even prior to 1960s. It was only around 1970s
that fly ash utilisation started getting attention may be due to increase in its generation volume.
Fly ash properties were researched for vide range of applications, inter alia, pozzolanic,
geotechnical, metallurgy, ceramic and agriculture applications.

Scientific results were

published, laboratory trials and even a few field demonstrations were undertaken to
demonstrate the beneficial applications of fly ash. However, most of the work remained
confined within the academia / research arena. A few utilisations of fly ash were made
primarily in mass concrete, brick / block manufacturing and reclamation of low lying areas.
Ministry of Environment & Forests (MoEF), Ministry of Power (MoP) and a few other agencies
took initiatives.

National Waste Management Council (NWMC) and a few other

groups/committees consisting of senior officials of various Ministries/Departments, State

Governments, Research and Development Institutions, Social Workers etc. were formed.
Thermal Power Plants were directed to take actions to enhance ash utilisations and a few fiscal
incentives such as concessional excise duty and sales tax were declared.

Commissioning of Fly Ash Mission

A well researched comprehensive techno-market survey report was prepared by Technology
Information, Forecasting and Assessment Council (TIFAC) of the Department of Science &
Technology, Government of India, during early 1990s for safe disposal and gainful utilisation of
fly ash. The report was widely distributed and discussed among concerned agencies. It
highlighted that only a meager percentage (less than 3 per cent) of ash was being utilised in
the country and the balance was being stored in ash ponds through slurry discharge system.
The report brought to fore that the fly ash that is being considered as a waste material, is in fact
a useful material and can be put to gainful economic applications.


Appreciating the overall concern for environment and the need for safe disposal and gainful
utilisation of fly ash, the Government of India commissioned Fly Ash Mission during 1994 with
Department of Science & Technology (DST) as the Nodal Agency and Technology Information,
Forecasting and Assessment Council (TIFAC) as the Implementing Agency. The Mission
Mode Project is implemented in close association with Ministry of Power & Ministry of
Environment & Forests. The focus is on Technology Demonstration Projects for developing
confidence in fly ash technologies towards large scale adaptation.
The overall complexity of technology transfer, infrastructure support, inter-institutional linkages,
development of market, orientation of Government policies to promote and support fly ash
utilisation, are addressed. Further, as no single utilisation holds the potential to provide a
solution to this mammoth task of safe disposal and gainful utilisation of fly ash, a judicious mix
of a number of applications is evolved (considering impact timeframe, investment requirement,
technical and infrastructure inputs requirements by fly ash utilisation, potential and expected
returns, etc.). A number of disposal and utilisation technologies / applications have been
simultaneously demonstrated. Optimum technologies are facilitated to catelatize projects on a
wider / larger scale. The Fly Ash Mission has also created critical size of engineering teams for
each of the application / disposal areas to provide help for mass replication. The formulation of
national standards and code of practices / guidelines is also addressed to for wider acceptance
and development on self sustaining principle.
The above said has been addressed through 55 Technology Demonstration Projects (TDPs)
indifferent areas of application of fly ash and spread through out the country. The projects are
taken with industry in close association of user agencies technology suppliers, fly ash producer
and experts from academia / R&D in ten THURST AREAS, viz, Utilisation of fly ashes: Roads
& Embankments, Building components, Hydraulic Structures, Agriculture Related Studies &
Applications, Application mining sector. Safe management of unutilized fly ashes: Ash
Ponds & Dams, Reclamation of Ash Ponds for Human Settlement Facilitation of further
work/utilization: Characterisation of Fly ash, Handling & Transportation, Research &



Impact Mode


The Paradigm Shift

The efforts over the last decade have made significant impact. The perception of fly ash has
turned around from a waste material to that of resource material. Its quite evident from the
fact that a meagre 3% utilistion of 40 million tonne of Fly ash generation in 1994 has risen to
32% of 108 million tonne generated in 2004.
The intrinsic worth of fly ash for various gainful applications is now being understood. It is
slowly being taken as a friendly and resource material than a liability. Further, good number of
entrepreneurs, scientists, engineers and user agencies have started coming forwards to work
in the area of fly ash utilisation / safe disposal. R&D institutions have started groups exclusively
working on fly ash.
The spread of ash utilisation over various applicants as it existed during 1994 and as its
development upto 2004 are presented below:
Utilisation Area 2004
(Total Utilisation 32 MnT/Year)

1 Cement Manufacture / Substitution - 49%

2 Low Lying Area Fill

- 17%

3 Roads & Embankments

- 22%

4 Brick Manufacturing


5 Dyke Raising


6 Minefills


7 Agriculture


8 Others



6 7

Utilisation Areas- 1994

Total utilisation 1MnT / year

Cement Manufacture / - 89% Substitution

Low Lying Area Fill

- 10%

Brick Manufacturing

- 1%


In addition to working with a large number of project execution agencies across the country for
technology demonstration projects, a network of 25 laboratories has been developed to provide
facilitation and guidance towards safe management / utilisation of fly ashes.


Training/ Experience Sharing Meets

Training & experience sharing meets including seminars, workshops & conferences are
organized / participated on a regular basis.

2.3.4 Standards
With an objective of wider acceptance and intitutionalisation of demonstrated technologies,
FAUP works very closely with Bureau of Indian Standards (BIS) & other agencies for the
revision of the existing standards and preparation of standards for new products / utilisations of
fly ash. The end results include:
(a) Design guidelines for Use of Fly ash in Road Embankments have been approved and
issued by Indian Roads Congress.


(b) Revision of IS 3812 the standards for specification of fly ash for its use in cement / mortar
/ concrete & fine aggregate have been revised & issued by BIS in view of the
improvements in quality of fly ash over the years. These standards are now numbered as
IS:3812 (Part-1):2003, IS:3812 (Part-2) : 2003 respectively.
(c) Revision of IS:456 code of practice for plain and reinforced concrete has been revised
with use of fly ash.
(d) Minimum and maximum percentages of fly ash in PPC have been enhanced from 10% to
15% and from 25% to 35% respectively.
(e) Review of 45 standards of BIS and guide lines of CWC for hydro sector construction have
been recommended.
The following are a few examples of other policy directives / decisions in this area:

CPWD has issued orders to all the zones to have atleast one construction using fly ash
bricks/ blocks etc.

Notification has been issued by Ministry of Environment & Forests banning the use of top
soil for manufacture of bricks and construction of roads and embankments with in a radius
of 100 kms from a thermal power station.

Use of fly ash based building materials has been made mandatory by MOEF with a time
schedule for achieving a given percentage usage in building construction.

State Governments have commissioned High Power Groups to review & facilitate usage
of fly ash.

A number of states (Orissa, Tamilnadu, Karnataka) have also announced fiscal and policy
incentives for fly ash based products.

Central Government has granted excise & custom duty exemptions/ reliefs.

Use of fly ash is to be explored and incorporated in DPRs of hydro-Power Projects as

decided by Ministry of Power.


Multiplier Effects
The confidence building and awareness created by Fly Ash Mission through its technology
demonstration projects, workshops, seminars as well as association and support of other


agencies has lead to a beginning towards acceptance of fly ash and its products. The
facilitation for large scale adaptation fly ash in various field projects is being provided in terms
of removal of mindset and other bottlenecks, availability of fly ash and up-dating / formulating
standards codes, etc. More than 50 number of field projects have already been facilitated by

Industry Projects in Consultancy Mode

FAM / FAUP also provides expertise / technical support towards management/ resolving of
specific issues regarding safe management and utilization of fly ash. More than 35 consultancy
assignments from the industry have already been completed.
This part of the paper can be summarized that "As a result of recent concerted Mission Mode
effort over last decade, the fly ash utilisation scenario in India, has turned around and is set on
a path of faster growth".



Fly ash and other pozzolana have been used in mass concreting since immemorial, primarily
to address the heat of hydration. However, of late, it has been realized that use of fly ash
provides many more advantages. It makes concrete denser, durable, economical & ecofriendly; as well as faster construction, if Roller Compact Concrete (RCC) is used. The
economies comes through lower consumption of cement, saving in chilling cost & faster


Recent Initiatives

The use of fly ash in cement and concrete has got well established in the country over
last 10 years, especially, as a result of focused thrust imparted by many agencies
along with Fly Ash Mission (FAM) / Fly Ash Utilisation Programme (FAUP), TIFAC,
DST. The permissible percentage of fly ash content in PPC has been increased from
25 per cent to 35 per cent, minimum content of fly ash in PPC has also been increased

from 10 per cent to 15 per cent; use of fly ash in concrete is now accepted as a quality
improvement measure and the fly ash content is accounted in the concrete
composition with respect to the cement content.

The first ever Roller Compacted Concrete (RCC) dams (2 numbers) have been
constructed at Bhandardara near Nashik in the state of Maharashtra under Ghatghar
Pumped Storage Scheme of Irrigation Department, Government of Maharashtra. The
2 dams that have been constructed with RCC replacing 65% of cement with fly ash are
Saddle Dam and Upper Dam. The decision to construct these dams with RCC was
taken by Government of Maharashtra during 1994 at the instance of Fly Ash Mission,
TIFAC, DST to make these dams as the Technology Demonstration Projects
supported by Fly Ash Mission, TIFAC, DST to the extent of adaptation of RCC
technology. The Upper Dam which is 14.5 meter high, 451 meter long and has been
constructed with 35576 m3 of concrete. The corresponding figures for Saddle Dam are
11.50 meter, .288 meter, 14210 m3. The above said two dams have been constructed
with RCC technology with large doses of fly ash with association of a number of
agencies, like, Government of Maharashtra, Fly Ash Mission / FAUP, TIFAC,DST;
Central Water Commission; CSMRS, New Delhi; University of Roorkee (now known as
IIT-Roorkee); MERI-Nashik; CDO, Nashik; CWPRS-Pune; Tata Consulting engineersEPDC (Japan), ASI (USA), Malcolm Dungstan & Associates (UK) and M/s. Patel
Engineering Limited, Mumbai, etc. This has given a good amount of confidence to the
engineers and the decision makers in the country. As a result, Irrigation Department,
Government of Maharashtra is undertaking construction of lower dam 86 meter high,
415 meter long with 6,00,000m3 concrete construction adapting the same RCC
technology and mix design has developed and used in the construction of Upper Dam
and Saddle Dam, the Technology Demonstration Projects of RCC technology under
Fly Ash Mission, TIFAC, DST.
The confidence built has developed interest of many agencies for construction of dams
with RCC technology to harness the benefits such as: denser and durable concrete,
faster construction, economical and eco-friendly construction etc.



APGENCO is undertaking construction of Srisailam Dam with RCC technology and is

considering adaptation of the same technology for construction of Tail Pond Dam for
Nagarjuna Sagar Pumped Storage Hydroelectric Scheme. NHPC, TATA Power and
Greater Mumbai Corporation are also planning dams with RCC technology.
Government of Gujarat is considering use of RCC technology for rehabilitation of


Shri R.V. Shahi, Secretary, Ministry of Power, Government of India appreciating the
vast potential that hydro sector has for utilisation of fly ash as was presented by FAUP
in a meeting convened by him on the subject, constituted a Technical Group for gainful
utilisation of fly ash in the hydro power and hydro resources sector. The Technical
Group has reviewed 45 Standards of BIS and CWC Guidelines relevant to construction
in these two sectors for appropriate incorporation of fly ash and its products towards
large scale utilisation in these sectors.
As recommended by the Technical Group to the Ministry Power, it has been decided
by the Ministry of Power that all hydro-power project DPRs, henceforth, would include
a chapter on Use of Fly Ash. The utilisation of fly ash is to be explored and
incorporated from the initial stages of material investigations. As far as possible, fly
ash is to be used in all projects to harness its benefits.. The impediments, if any
whether technical or logistics are to be addressed and if required the assistance and
guidance / help of Fly Ash Utilisation Programme, TIFAC, DST may be taken. Central
Electricity Authority (CEA) is implementing the decision. CWC is also proposing to
take a similar decision for water resources projects.


The large scale utilisation of fly ash in hydro sector especially in remote areas needs to
be facilitated with logistics and the supply chain. Regular supply of consistent quality
fly ash needs to be ensured. The ash producing agencies and Fly Ash Utilisation
Programme have already started working on this aspect. Ministry of Power has
directed all thermal power plants to install facilities to ensure availability of dry fly ash
on regular basis and of consistent quality. About 50% of power stations have already


established the dry fly ash collection and supply system. Most of the balance power
stations have made temporary arrangements for making available the dry fly ash till
regular systems are put in place.

IS:3812 of BIS regarding specifications of fly ash for use in cement / concrete has also
been revised by FAUP and issued by BIS after due processing / approvals. The
revised standard IS:3812, Part-1 : 2003 provides for supply of IS marked fly ash.


The Government has drawn up an ambitious plan to add 50,000 MW of hydro-power

as well as a large number of water resources sector projects to be implemented by the
end of next 5 year plan. DPRs have been prepared for most of the projects. CEA,
CWC, NHPC, NEEPCO and other agencies including state agencies have drawn up
the implementation plans.


With the above said developments the industry looks ahead to the vast potential of use
of fly ash in hydro sector. To facilitate the regular supply of fly ash of required quality,
more than 20 agencies have come up at different power stations for collection and
supply of fly ash to end users. This segment of fly ash industry is fast developing, the
latest example being, conversion of wet ash collection system of Dahanu Thermal
Power Station (DTPS) into 100% dry collection system with a classifier and bagging
unit. The system has been set up under technical design advise of FAUP, TIFAC and
is under commissioning.


Hydro-Sector Areas for Fly Ash Utilisation

Hydro sector projects have a large number of construction activities. An attempt is made in the
following paragraphs to highlight the vast opportunities that exists in hydro sector for use of fly

Mass Concrete
Mass concrete is one of the first types of concrete in which fly ash was used in India.
Today, there are few mass concrete dams built in any part of the world that do not
contain fly ash or some other type of pozzolana in the concrete.

-11- Partial Re-placement of Cement

Generally the replacement of cement by fly ash at site has been to the extent of about
15 to 20 percent by mass in cement mortar and concrete, the typical examples of such
applications being as follows:




Gurgoan Canal



Source of
Fly Ash


Jawahar Sagar Dam



Delhi 'C'


Kakki Dam





Narora Barrage





Rihand Dam





Sone Barrage





Umium Project


Not available



Chandil Dam




Delhi 'C'

Adoption of fly ash for part replacement of cement (one to one basis) suits only situations
such as mass concrete in river valley projects where long term strength governs the design
of the concrete mix. Fly ash concretes can also be designed to give strengths equal to that
of neat cement concretes at early ages by overdosing the fly ash content suitably.
Preliminary Draft Indian Standard IS:457 (1) provides that fly ash normally may be used in
mass concrete upto 35% of the total cementing materials by absolute volume. By using fly
ash in concrete in massive dam construction, it is possible to achieve a reduction of the
temperature rise without incurring the undesirable effects associated with very lean mixes
viz. harshness, bleeding, tendency to segregation and increased permeability. In addition,
use of fly ash can reduce the thermal stresses by the reduction of the heat of hydration in
mass concrete structures. Improved sulphate resistance & alkali-aggregate reaction
resistance provided by proper incorporation of fly ash into concrete mixes are other
important considerations for incorporation of fly ash in concrete in the construction of
massive concrete dams. FIP (Federation Internationale De la Precontrainte) (2) has
proposed that for the prevention of alkali-aggregate reaction in concrete, not less than 25%

of Portland cement must be replaced by fly ash. Also, as per BS 3892:Part 1:1982 (3),
where there are circumstances in which alkali-silica reactivity needs to be considered, the
use of pulverised fuel ash (at least 30%) may be beneficial. According to Malvar, L.J. et al.
(4), to prevent ASR, it is recommended to include a cement replacement of 25 to 40%
class F fly ash (or class N pozzolana). The class F fly ash should have a maximum 1.5%
available alkali, a maximum 6% loss on ignition(3% would be better), and a maximum 8%
CaO (upto 10% CaO if a minimum replacement of 30% is used). Use of fly ash for
combating alkali-silica reaction is helpful both in the case of mass concrete as well as
structural grade concrete. Tunnel Lining
In Nathpa Jhakri Project (5), when excavation of head race tunnel had proceeded about 1
Km downstream of Wadhal adit, sudden inflow of hot water was encountered on 15th
January, 1995. Temperature of seepage water was about 52 deg.C & total seepage water
was around 100 Litres/sec. Extensive study on seepage water was carried out by CSMRS,
New Delhi both at site and in the laboratory and it was found that not only the hot water but
also the normal (cold) water in the adjoining reaches contained chemicals aggressive to
concrete lining. Cementitious content of 420 Kg/m3 with 30% of fly ash by mass was used
in M 20 A 40 concrete mix for ensuring durability of the tunnel lining concrete.
Fly ash can also be used in concrete for tunnel lining and cement grout for backfill
grouting, pressure (consolidation) grouting and contact grouting. Predominantly Fly Ash Mortars and Concretes
G. Ramakrishna et al. (6) from Andhra Pradesh Engineering Research Laboratories,
Hyderabad indicated that the addition of fly ash to a degree of 180 & 150 percent in lean
and rich mortars may result in saving of cement content to the extent of about 44 and 21
percent, with a reduction in material cost per cubic metre of about 22 and 24 percent,


The work reported by Mather (7) on the use of pozzolana in large quantities has also
revealed that considerable reduction in cement can be achieved in lean mass concrete. A
typical mix studied by him contained 55.8 Kg/m3 of cement and 118.7 Kg/m3 of fly ash and
had developed a compressive strength of about 215.8Kg/cm2 at an age of 90 days,
whereas the control mix with 112.1 Kg/m3 cement and no fly ash had developed a
compressive strength of only 149.8 Kg/cm2 at the same age. It was further reported that a
very lean mass concrete containing 42.1 Kg/m3 of cement & 76.6 Kg/m3 of calcined shale
(Pozzolana) with a one year field strength of 187kg/cm2 was used in the construction of
John Day Lock and Dam of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. From the investigations and
examples quoted above, it may be seen that substantial economies in cement, particularly
in lean mass concrete, where high strengths are not required and the design strengths are
to be achieved only at the age of one year or later, can be realised by using large
quantities of pozzolana as admixture instead of the usual practice of replacing only 20 to
30 percent of cement by pozzolana. Studies conducted by Central Soil and Materials
Research Station (CSMRS), New Delhi have confirmed the findings of Mather. The
experiments carried out by CSMRS (8) indicated that a fly ash mortar with 100Kg/m3 of
cement and 200Kg/m3 of fly ash can develop a compressive strength of about 120 Kg/cm2
at an age of 120 days, & a strength of about 170 Kg/cm2 at an age of one year. This mortar
mix had a water content of about 250Kg/m3. In lean mass concretes, it was found feasible
to economise in cement content substantially (upto about 60 to 70 percent) by using large
quantities of fly ash when strengths are matched at 90 days and beyond.
Available procedures for proportioning concrete with large fly ash contents tend to be
rather elaborate. Iqbal Ali (9) has, therefore, proposed a more generalised and simpler
approach for design of predominantly fly ash mortars, corresponding to a flow of 100%
since it simulates the consistency of mortar normally used for masonry construction, as
well as the consistency of the mortar component of concrete with medium workability. Use of Fly Ash in Portland Pozzolane Cement
Portland pozzolana cement produces less heat of hydration and offers greater resistance
to the attack of aggressive waters than normal Portland cement. Moreover, it reduces the


leaching of calcium hydroxide liberated during the setting and hydration of cement. It is
particularly useful in marine and hydraulic construction and other mass concrete
structures. Portland pozzolana cement can generally be used wherever 33 grades ordinary
Portland cement is usable under normal conditions. The use of fly ash for manufacture of
Portland pozzolana cement (PPC) is an accepted practice. Keeping in view the special
needs of the water resources sector, the Bureau of Indian Standards brought out a
separate Code IS: 14 89 (Part-1) :1991 (10) for Portland pozzolana cement incorporating
fly ash only, on the lines of the British Standard Specification for pozzolanic cement with
pulverised fuel ash as pozzolana viz. BS 6610: 1985 (11). In this Code, the proportion of
pulverised fuel ash is not more than 50% nor less than 35% by mass of total quantity,
against the present provision in IS:1489 (Part-1): 1991 that fly ash conforming to IS:
3812(part-1)-2003 ranging from 15 to 35% by weight of cement can be used in the
manufacture of PPC.
For construction of structures using rapid construction methods like slip form construction,
Portland pozzolana cement should be used with caution since 4 to 6 hours strength of
concrete is considered significant in such construction.

Use of Fly Ash in RCC Works

As per clause of IS:456-2000 (13), fly ash conforming to IS: 3812(part-1)- 2003
may be used as part replacement of ordinary Portland cement in RCC works provided
uniform blending with cement is ensured. Central Water Commission now also permits the
use of either Portland pozzolana cement (fly ash based) or part replacement of ordinary
Portland cement by fly ash in structural grade concrete for all hydraulic structures. Massive
columns in the case of surface power houses are a typical example of mass reinforced
concrete work. Central Public Works Department, New Delhi (14) has also recently
permitted the use of fly ash as part replacement of cement in RCC works where concrete
is obtained from RMC manufacturers for large projects as per guidelines given below:
(i) RCC in Foundation: Part substitution of ordinary Portland cement by dry fly ash may be
allowed in structural concrete obtained from ready mixed plants (IS: 4926-2003) of all
grades in pile foundations and other foundations e.g. raft etc.


(ii) RCC superstructures: The part replacement of ordinary Portland cement by dry fly ash
may be allowed in structural concrete obtained from ready mixed concrete plants (IS:
4926-2003) for structures above ground including structures within 30 cms of ground
level having cement concrete of M30 & higher grade.
(iii) Pre-stressed Concrete Structures: The part replacement of ordinary Portland cement
by dry fly ash may be allowed in pre-stressed concrete structures except for bridges
and flyovers.
The cement quantity to be reduced can be limited to 60% of the quantity of fly ash
being added. However, the substitution is not allowed in concrete subjected to severe,
very severe and extreme exposure conditions.
In view of the above notification issued by CPWD, appropriate amendment is required
in IS:1343-1980 (15) for use of Portland pozzolana cement conforming to IS: 1489
(Part-1)-1991 (fly ash based) in prestressed concrete.

Earth Dams
Based on assessment of geo-technical parameters and techno-economic
considerations, fly ash conforming to IS:3812(part-1)-2003 can be utilised in selected
zones in the downstream casing, especially downstream of filter zone.
The upstream slope protection of earth dams can be ensured by the use of fly ash
based concrete blocks.


Shotcrete/ Gunite
In shotcreting, either Portland pozzolana cement conforming to IS: 1489 (Part-1) -1991
or fly ash conforming to Grade-1 of IS: 3812(part-1)-2003 for part replacement of
ordinary Portland Cement can be used in the pneumatically applied concrete /mortar.
This material can be beneficially used for guniting the upstream face of masonry dams
and for stabilizing rock slopes. Fly ash can also be used in shotcrete for underground


structural support by ensuring compatibility between admixtures and cement-fly ash


Diaphragm Walls for Under-Seepage Control

Either Portland pozzolana cement conforming to IS: 1489 (Part-1)-1991 (Fly ash
based) or fly ash conforming to Grade-1 of IS:3812(part-1)-2003 can be used in the
concrete mix for rigid type of diaphragm walls and in plastic concrete for flexible type of
diaphragm walls for dams, weirs and barrages.

3.2.5 Canals
Either Portland pozzolana cement conforming to IS: 1489 (Part-1)- 1991 (Fly ash
based) or fly ash conforming to Grade-1 of IS: 3812(part-1)-2003 can be used in canal
works in the following situations/materials/structures:

Burnt Clay Tiles Lining

Cement mortar for subgrade, mortar for tile masurry, Sandwitch cement sand
plaster, cement sand plaster over the layer of tiles in single tile lining in bed,
cement concrete at the junction of bed lining & slope lining, cement concrete
coping, etc.


Insitu concrete lining, cement mortar/ concrete in brick/concrete sleepers

under the joints.


Precast concrete tiles, masonry mortar for laying of precast concrete tiles /
stone slab/masonry stone lining.


Brick Lining for water courses and field channels

Use of burnt clay fly ash building bricks or pulverised fuel ash-lime bricks in
place of common burnt clay building bricks.Masorry mortar, cement plaster,
M10 Grade concrete lining in bed over 100 microns LDPE film, M 10 Grade
concrete lining in walls.


CLC Tiles for canal lining : Cellular lightweight concrete (CLC) tiles are
manufactured in nominal standard size of 500X500X 75/50 mm in fly ash

based CLC of density 1,650 Kg/m3. This density ensures 28 days compressive
strength of around 200Kg/cm2. The CLC mix used for precasting is reinforced
with optimum quantity of quality polypropylene fibres to enhance the various
performance characteristics of the finished tiles. The design of the tile is such
that it has plain surface on the top side and a depressed waffle conctruction on
the backside. The tiles have an inbuilt tongue and groove provision on edges,
which would enable dry joining of tiles feasible. The joints between tiles on
water face are sealed with an acrylic based sealant applied with a gun. Fly ahs
content is to an extent of over 25% of total dry ingredients (16).

Prestressed concrete, RCC or masonry or a combination of these materials for

construction of syphon barrels.


Top cover of precast concrete tiles, insitu cement concrete, stone slabs or
bricks over polyethylene film lining.


Superpassages, Aqueducts and Outlets


Soil-cement- fly ash lining in place of soil-cement lining.


Syphon Aqueducts


Canal structures
Lime concrete lining using all classes of lime from A to E and fly ash
Based on assessment of geo-technical parameters and techno-economic
considerations, fly ash conforming to IS:3812-1981 can be used for the repairs
of unlined canal embankments and for the maintenance of canal banks, roads
and ramps in the case of lined canals.


Construction and Maintenance of River Embankments (Levees)

In case of zoned embankments, after assessment of the geotechnical parameters of
fly ash and based on techno-economic considerations, fly ash conforming to IS:38121981 can be used in selected zones of the embankments on the country side beyond
downstream filters.
Pond ash conforming to IS: 3812-1981 can be used as backfill material.


Fly ash concrete blocks can be used for rip rap of the embankment. Fly ash to the
extent of 35 % by weight of cementitious material can be used for casting insitu,
colcreting or precasting of concrete blocks.

Curtain Grouting and Consolidation Grouting of Rock Foundations.

In cement grout for pressure grouting of rock foundations in river valley projects, fly ash
conforming to grade of IS:3812(part-1)-2003 for part replacement of ordinary Portland
cement or as Portland pozzolana cement conforming to IS:1489 (Part1)-1991 in place
of ordinary Portland cement can be used. In case early strength is important in the
grouting job, fly ash may be considered to behave as an inert non-cementing filler.

3.2.8 Surface Hydroelectric Power Stations

Fly ash conforming to grade 1 of IS: 3812(part-1)-2003 for part replacement of cement
or as Portland pozzolana cement can be used in concrete for construction of the
substructure including foundation, intermediate structure including spiral casing and
generator support, superstructure including roof, auxiliary rooms etc.

Relief Wells for Earth Dams on Pervious Soil Foundations

In the masonry for construction of masonry wall with cover around the relief well, burnt
clay fly ash building bricks and pulverized fuel ash-lime bricks can be used in place of
common burnt clay building bricks & stones. For masonry mortar, Portland pozzolana
cement (Fly ash based) can be used.

3.2.10 Grouting of Pervious Soils

For grouting of pervious soils for control of seepage, cement and fly ash or Portland
pozzolana cement in place of ordinary Portland cement can be used, depending upon
grout- ability of the strata based on grain size distribution.


3.2.11 Grout Curtains for Earth, Rockfill, Masonry and Concrete Gravity Dams
In grout curtains in alluvium and rock when used as principal measure of seepage
control, fly ash may be used both as a filler and as an admixture and in both the
instances, it will produce cementitious properties in the grout mix when the finely
divided siliceous residue reacts chemically with ordinary Portland cement. The
maximum amount of fly ash should not exceed 35% of the ordinary Portland cement by
weight or Portland pozzolana cement can be used in place of ordinary Portland
3.2.12 Concrete and Masonry Barrages
Part substitution of ordinary Portland cement by fly ash or use of Portland pozzolana
cement can be adopted for all concrete works and masonry mortar.
In case ordinary Portland cement is used for casting insitu, colcreting or precasting of
concrete blocks, it can be replaced by fly ash to the extent of 35% by weight.
Pond ash can be used as backfill material.
3.2.13 Concrete Structures for the Storage of Liquids
Portland pozzolana cement conforming to IS:1489 (Part-1)-1991 can be used for
construction of concrete structures, plain, reinforced or pre stressed concrete, for
storage of water.
3.2.14 Self-Compacting Concrete
Recently self-compacting concrete has been developed in Japan (17). This concrete
requires more fines content as compared to normal concrete. Large volumes of fly ash,
partially to substitute cement and partially as filler, can be used to produce selfcompacting concrete. In Italy, such concrete is being produced in ready mixed
concrete plants. Typical M40 grade concrete with high fly ash content (45-60%)
alongwith super-plasticizer and a modified cellulose-based viscosity modified
admixture (VMA) has been produced. The super-plasticizers used were polycarboxylic


ether polymer based. Such concretes have high workability, slump in the range of 200220 mm, but at the same time cohesive and non-segregating. This concrete can be
used for tunnel lining & concreting of structures at inaccessible locations, especially in
the context of power house concreting.
3.2.15 Roads & Embankments

Ash can be used in the following applications:

Core fill material for road/rail embankment construction

As reinforced fill material

Stabilization of soil sub-grade

Sub-base/base course of flexible pavements

Construction of semi-rigid/rigid pavements

Indian Roads Congress (IRC) had brought out special publication No.58
in March, 2001 for use of ash in road embankments. Ministry of Road
Transport & Highways has directed NHAI & state PWDs to include use
of ash in their specifications of road construction. IRC has also brought
out Rural Road Manual under PM's Gramin Sadak Yojana which
provides for use of ash in road works (18).

The design of fly ash embankment is similar to earthen embankment

(18). Salient features of IRC-SP: 58 are mentioned below:

For embankments of height upto 3m, core of embankment is to be

constructed with pond ash as fill material

For embankments of height more than 3m, intermediate soil layers

of minimum 200mm thickness are to be provided. The vertical
distance between such layers may vary from 1.5 to 3m.

Side cover of 1 to 3m is to be provided as ash is easily erodable.

-21- Advantages of using ash in road construction are listed below (18):

Lower density than earth resulting in lower overburden pressure,

advantageous in weak / clayey subsoil.

Hardly any measurable settlement over time due to low

compressibility of compacted ash.

Speed of construction is faster as it can be compacted in wide

range of moisture content.

Work can be taken up even in rainy season due to quick draining

properties of loose ash.

Assured availability of ash free of cost.

Eco-friendly since it replaces soil being borrowed from agricultural

lands. Fly Ash Admixed Concrete for Pavements (19)

Fly ash admixed concrete can be used for constructing rigid pavements in
many ways. These include dry lean fly ash concrete/lean cement fly ash
concrete (IRC 74), fly ash cement concrete pavements, fly ash admixed
concrete paving blocks, roller compacted concrete, etc. Judicious use of fly
ash as on admixture goes a long way in construction of durable concrete
roads. Use of Triple Blend Technology (20)
India is now producing concrete of over 80 MPa compressive strength.
Designs are being produced with concretes of grade M 60, M 65, M 70 &
higher. The use of triple blends, Portland cement, fly ash & silica fume, can
give concretes of high strength and very low permeability. Such concretes
are ideal for use in stilling basins, plunge pools etc.

-22- Concrete Masonry Units

Fly ash also be utilised in large quantities in the manufacture of building
blocks for the housing colony of the project. IS: 2185 (Part 1 to 3) (21,22,23)
permit use of fly ash in case of hollow and solid concrete blocks, hollow and
solid light-weight concrete blocks and autoclaved cellular aerated concrete
blocks, respectively.

The awareness of fly ash applications, especially in cement & concrete area, directly
relevant to hydro-sector projects is fast 'gaining acceptance in India'. In addition to use
of fly ash in mass concrete, Roller Compacted Concrete & other hydro-structures, the
hydro sector holds vast potential to use fly ash & its products in construction /
development of office / residential complexes, roads, land development & horticulture
works etc.
The recent developments including policy initiatives / directives of the Government and
actions by industry signal a positive move toward harnessing the potential of beneficial
use of fly ash in hydro sector. It needs to be pursued & implemented.



IS:457 Preliminary Draft Indian Standard 'Code of Practice for Plain & Reinforced Concrete for
Dams & Other Massive Structures' (First Revision of IS:457)


Sudhindra, C., Suri, S.B. & Nair, K.N., "Strained Quartz A Menace for Durability of Concrete
for Hydraulic Structures", International Symposium New Materials & Techniques in Dam
Construction, 5-7 March, 1987, Central Board of Irrigation & Power, Madras.


BS:3892 - Part-1:1982, "British Standard Pulverized Fuel Ash for Use as a Cementitious
Component in Structural Concrete".


Malvar, L.J., Cline, G.D., Burke, D.F., Rollings, R., Sherman, T.W. & Greene, J.L., "Alkali Silica Reaction Mitigation : State of the Art & Recommendations", ACI Materials Journal,
September-October, 2002, pp.480-489.


Singh, Ranjodh, "Use of Fly Ash in Production of Concrete for Tunnel Lining in Nathpa Jhakri
Project A Case Study", National Seminar on Utilization of Fly Ash in Water Resources Sector,
Proceedings, 11 & 12 April 2001, CSMRS, New Delhi, pp.167-172.


Ramakrishna, G., Oshman Ahmed, M. & Yadav, T., "Utilisation of Large Quantities of Fly Ash in
Concrete & Mortar Mixes", Proceedings, Forty Eighth Research Session of Central Board of
Irrigation & Power, Hyderabad, 11-14 March 1980, Vol.III (Soil & Concrete), pp.69-95.


Mather, B., "Use of Concrete of Low Portland Cement Content in Combination with Pozzolana
& Other Admixtures in Construction of Concrete Dams", Journal of the American Concrete
Institute, Proceedings, Vol.71, No.12, December, 1974, pp.589-599.


Melkote, R.S. & Bhanuprasada Rao, P., "Large Economies through Predominantly Fly Ash
Concretes & Mortars", Proceedings, Forty Fifth Annual Research Session of Central Board of
Irrigation & Power, Hyderabad, June, 1976, Vol.III (Soil & Concrete), pp.81-95.


Iqbal Ali, "Fly Ash Makes Cement Go Farther", All India Seminar on Cement Manufacture,
January 19-21, 1981, Vol.III, organised by Cement Research Institute of India.


IS:1489 (Part-1) 1991, "Specification for Portland Pozzolana Cement, Part-1, Fly Ash Based",
(Third Revision), (Amendment No.3).


BS :6610 : 1985, "British Standard Specification for Pozzolana Cement with Pulverized Fuel
Ash as Pozzolana".



IS:3812(part-1)-2003, "Specification for Fly Ash for Use of Pozzolana & Admixture", (First


IS:456-2000, "Code of Practice for Plain & Reinforced Concrete", (Fourth Revision).


Circular No.CDO/SE(RR)/Fly Ash (Main)/387 dated May 13, 2004 issued by Central Designs
Organisation, Central Public Works Department.


IS:1343-1980, "Code of Practice for Prestressed Concrete", (First Revision), (Amendment



Kadkade, D.G. & Singh, G.B., "Tiles of Fly Ash Based Cellular Lightweight Concrete for Canal
Lining", National Seminar on Utilization of Fly Ash in Water Resources Sector, Proceedings, 11
& 12 April, 2001, CSMRS, New Delhi, pp.265-274.


Maiti, S.C., "Advances in Concrete Materials", NBM & CW, August, 2003, pp.77-82.


Mathur, A.K., "Overall Scenario of Fly Ash Production & Government Initiatives", Training
Programme on Use of Fly Ash in Construction Practices, 21-23 April, 2004 organised by
National Council for Cement & Building Materials, Ballabgarh.


Sikdar, P.K., Kumar, Satendar & Guru Vittal, U.K., "Uses of Fly Ash in Plain & Reinforced
Concrete Pavements", National Seminar on Utilizaion of Fly Ash in Water Resources Sector,
Proceedings, 11 & 12 April, 2001, CSMRS, New Delhi, pp.150-156.


Lewis, Robert C., "Improved Performance & Durability Through the Combined Effects of Fly
Ash & Micro-silica", National Seminar on Utilization of Fly ash in Water Resources Sector,
Proceedings, 11 & 12 April, 2001, CSMRS, New Delhi, pp.234-242.


IS:2185 (Part-1)-1979, "Specification for Concrete Masonry Units : Part-1 Hollow & Solid
Concrete Blocks", (Second Revision) (Amendment No.1).


IS:2185 (Part-2) -1983, "Specification for Concrete Masonry Units : Part -2 Hollow & Solid Light
Weight Concrete Blocks", (First Revision).


IS:2185 (Part-3) 1984, " Specification for Concrete Masonry Units : Part -3 Autoclaved
Cellular Aerated Concrete Blocks", (First Revision).


Vimal Kumar and Chandi Nath Jha "Multifarious Applications of Fly Ash Mission Mode
Approach", Fly Ash Mission, Proceedings of 'Workshop on Utilization of Fly Ash' at University of
Roorkee, April, 1998.


TIFAC "Techno Market Survey on Fly Ash Bricks", 1995


TIFAC "Techno Market Survey on Fly Ash Pre-fabrications technologies and market"



Vimal Kumar, B.K. Rao & Preeti Sharma "Fly Ash as Raw Material", Fly Ash Mission,
proceedings of International conference at CBIP, New Delhi, January, 1998.


Vimal Kumar, B. K. Rao & K.A. Zacharia "Fly Ash : Techno Economic Viability", Fly Ash
Mission, proceedings of International Conference at CBIP, New Delhi, January, 1998.


Vimal Kumar, C N Jha, P Sharma Fly ash A Fortune for the Construction Industry, New
Delhi, 1999.


Vimal Kumar, P Sharma, Mukesh Mathur Fly Ash Disposal: Mission beyond 2000 A.D., Fly
Ash Disposal and Deposition: beyond 2000 A.D. New Delhi, 1999.


Fly Ash Management Vision for the New Millennium, Second International Conference on
Fly Ash Disposal & Utilisation, New Delhi, February 2000.



Er. G.C. Vyas1

Er. P.K. Saxena2

Er. Darpan Talwar3

The Roller compacted concrete dams (RCC) have gained world wide acceptance in
relatively short time of a few decades due to their low cost and rapid method of
construction. Over 266 RCC dams located in at least 38 countries have been/are
being constructed (up to Dec 2002). RCC dams are broadly classified into four
categories according to percentage of cementitious material content in the concrete
mix. Majority of dams constructed have fly ash as cementitious material. Simplicity
of overall planning and design of appurtenant works will have a significant effect on
desired benefits of a RCC dams. The design philosophy of gravity dam using RCC is
fundamentally similar to concrete dams. However, there are certain aspects of design
which are peculiar to RCC dams. The number of joints between the relatively thin
layers and related quality control can have a large influence on the over all stability of
a dam in terms of uplift water pressure, tensile and shear (cohesion) strength at the
joints between layers. This paper illustrates design aspects as well as instrumentation
to be adopted for RCC dams.
The roller compacted concrete (RCC) dams have by now emerged as a viable
alternative to concrete gravity dams; they have gained worldwide acceptance in a
relatively short time in a few decades due to their low cost and rapid method of
construction. More than 266 RCC dams located in at least 38 countries including
India have been constructed or are being constructed till date.
While, the majority of the RCC dams built are gravity dams, recently arch and arch
gravity dams using RCC are also coming up.
The design of a gravity dam using the RCC is fundamentally no different from the
design of conventional concrete gravity dam. However there are certain aspects of
design which are peculiar to RCC dams. These and other considerations are discussed
in the subsequent paras.
About 266 RCC dams have been constructed or being constructed so far. In majority
of RCC dams constructed, fly ash has been used as a mineral admixture/ cementitious
material in conjunction with cement to produce concrete which has a lower heat of
hydration. The RCC dams are broadly classified into four categories based on the
cementitious material content (cement and mineral admixture) as shown in table-1.

Chief Engineer (Designs), Central Water Commission, New Delhi

Director, Hydel Civil Design, Central Water Commission, New Delhi
Deputy Director, Hydel Civil Design, Central Water Commission, New Delhi

content (kg/m3)
content (%)
thickness (mm)

content RCC


content RCC

content RCC

< 99

120 - 130

100 -149


0 - 40

20 35

20 - 60

30 - 80


750 - 1000




15 - 50

20 - 75


De Mist Kraal
Les Olivettes


Transverse Joint
30 -
spacing ( m)
Willow Creek

Although the above classifications are based on the cementitious content, each
category has slightly different philosophy towards the design and construction of
The low cementitious RCC dam uses upstream watertight membrane to reduce the
seepage through the body of the dam particularly at the joints between the layers.
This membrane can either be a concrete facing (up to 500 mm wide) placed at the
same time as the interior concrete and cast against conventional formwork, pre-cast
concrete panels with or without an attached geo-membrane. Bedding mixes (concrete
or mortars with higher cementitious contents) are frequently placed between each lift
near the upstream face to improve and reduce the seepage between the layers of RCC.
The RCD method is used in Japan. The final structure is similar to traditional gravity
dam with 15 m wide monoliths, although these are post-formed by cutting the joints
as opposed being preformed with form work. The method of construction is 10 to 15
percent faster than traditional gravity dams.
The design philosophy of medium/ high paste RCC dams is that the concrete should
be watertight. Thus the RCC has to be designed to bond layer to layer to have an insitu permeability equivalent to that of traditional concrete dam. In the same way as in
RCD dam, contraction joints are formed through the dam but these are at large
spacing. After observing the performance of RCC dams all over the world, the
present trend is to construct medium/high paste RCC dams for medium/large heights,

Another category termed as hard-fill dam is being advocated where high seismic
loading and relatively weak foundation are involved. This type of dam can be
described as cement stabilized rock-fill dam with flatter upstream slope (same as
downstream slope) than that of traditional gravity dam.
Gravity Dams: The design criteria/ parameters for RCC dams, though similar to that
of traditional concrete dams, do have their own characteristics that must be taken into
account in the design process. Material properties such as elastic modulus, Poissons
ratio, Co-efficient of thermal expansion and unit weight etc. are similar to traditional
concrete dam as these depend mainly on the aggregates used. The use of vibratory
rollers for compaction instead of immersion type vibrators does not change the basic
design concepts for dams. However, it affects construction procedures.
The important design considerations in RCC dams are:
Shear Strength at lift surfaces
Temperature studies for RCC
Seepage control
Bonding between successive RCC lifts
Generally, shear strength along the horizontal joints between the layers is critical
because of the "layered" method that is used in the construction of RCC dams. The
shear strength of RCC is dependent upon its tensile bond properties (cohesion) and
angle of internal friction. Minimum shear strength occurs at the construction joints
and along the inter-face between two successive lifts of RCC.
With the high cementitious content RCC, good cohesion is achievable but low
cementitious RCC can have low cohesion and may lead to higher permeability. The
design values should be chosen based on thorough testing of material or careful
extrapolation from other projects with similar materials. Some of the lean RCC dams
have also-been designed using a value of zero cohesion at lift joints i.e. in Copperfield
& Craigbourne dams. However, in such a design a lower factor of safety can be
adopted which is the normal factor of safety multiplied by the ratio of residual
strength to peak strength. Table 2 indicates engineering properties like compressive
strength, shear strength etc. as obtained in some of the select RCC dams.
Table 2 Engineering properties of select RCC dams
Willow Creek interior
Middle Fork
Upper Stillwater
Elk Creek






Shear strength
C = 0.77
= 630
C = 0.69, = 450
C = 0, = 450
C = 0, = 450
C = 2.07
C = 0.35

Other criteria

FS (shear) = 2.0 min.

FS (shear) = 2.0 min.
Static Tension = 1.24 MPa
Dynamic tension = 2.41

For preliminary designs which require cohesion between lift joints, typically upto 1.5
MPa, particular attention will be required for the RCC mix selection and lift
treatment. For a traditional gravity dam, the dam-foundation interface is usually the
most critical section for stability evaluation. However because for potentially weaker
horizontal joints between the layers, it is also necessary to check stability for other
critical sections.
For final design, values of tensile and shear strength parameters at lift joints shall be
determined by conducting full scale insitu direct shear test for various confining
pressures or on drilled cores taken from RCC full scale trials and tested in shear and
direct tension etc.
For high and medium height RCC dams, full scale trials are strongly recommended.
These trials must be designed specifically for a particular project.
Important considerations that must be addressed before proceeding with the design
works include the basic purpose of the dam and the requirements in respect of cost,
economy, water-tightness, operation and maintenance etc.
Arch dams:
The potentially weaker horizontal joints between the layers of RCC dams are not as
critical as the gravity dams because of the different mode of load transfer. The
temperature stress caused due to difference in ambient temperature and stabilization
temperature is more complicated in RCC dams and need to be evaluated in details
using FE analysis. The arch gravity dams have a thicker section and are therefore
more prone to trap heat due to heat of hydration of the cementitous material inside the
body. One of the approach has been to provide radially oriented transverse joints at
suitable interval and grouting after allowing the dam to cool down to its final
operating temperature.
Because stress levels in arch dams are normally higher than in gravity dams, it is
usually necessary to design such dams with an RCC having greater strength.
Consequently higher cementitious contents are required which may increase heat of
hydration. The selection of mixture proportion of such an RCC needs careful
consideration and may need additives to keep the temperature to acceptable levels.
Seismic Aspects:
The analysis of RCC dams for seismic loading conditions is identical to that for
traditional concrete dams. In seismic design of concrete dams there are certain good
practices such as eliminating or minimizing geometrical discontinuities in the dams
and reducing dead load at the top of the dam. These practices are equally applicable to
RCC dams. The tensile and shear strength requirements at the horizontal lift joints for
seismic loading can be important in seismic prone areas and proper measures have to
be taken during construction to accommodate these requirements. In such case, high
paste RCC may be desirable.
Thermal Considerations:
Cracks tend to develop in large unreinforced concrete structures if the structure is not
properly designed for temperature and crack control. The principal factors affecting
uncontrolled cracking are the peak internal temperature reached soon after placement,
the average annual ambient temperature to which the mass will eventually cool, creep,
the modulus of elasticity, and the degree of restraint acting at the crack location.

These cracks usually appear during the first or second winter season and generally
initiate at exposed surfaces adjacent to the foundation (where the restraint is the
greatest). From there, they propagate inwards and upwards with continuing cooling of
the mass. If the change in volume is sufficiently large, the cracking can penetrate the
full thickness of the dam and become a source of leakage.
The most effective method to prevent massive concrete from cracking, apart from
reducing the heat generation within the body of the dam, is to reduce the difference in
temperature between the peak temperature reached after concrete placement, and the
final stabilised temperature, thus limiting the temperature drop of the structure. The
allowable temperature drop is a function of the block size and geometry, relative
location with respect to the foundation, relative stiffness of the concrete and the
foundation rock, tensile strength and creep behaviour of the concrete, rate of
temperature drop, etc. Field studies have indicated that block size plays a major role
in the formation of thermal cracks in mass concrete.
Because of the different construction technique, the temperature distribution and
corresponding thermal stresses in RCC dams are different from those of a traditional
concrete dam and hence these are one of the major design considerations. Studies of
the heat generation and temperature rise of massive RCC placements indicate that
rapid placement of layers can have a beneficial effect on crack reduction due to the
more consistent temperature distribution throughout the mass when compared to more
traditional ways of placing large volumes of concrete.
For the final design of large and medium -sized RCC dams, it is a practice to carry out
finite-element analysis to evaluate the thermal stress and crack potential. The physical
model should give a good representation of the dam body with its foundation,including galleries and other internal openings.
Factors, that are recommended by various experts to be modelled and that may have a
significant effect on temperature developments are:

Placing temperature of the RCC

Adiabatic temperature rise and heat of hydration
The construction programme
Environmental heat losses & gains including heat gain by solar radiation
Heat loss by radiation and convection (including wind effects), evaporation of
curing water and conduction to the foundation.
Heat losses to the reservoir by conduction and convection Heat loss through
the galleries

Temperature Control
Peak temperatures in the RCC dams can be controlled by a combination of the
following measures:

Optimization of the proportions of cement and mineral admixture to reduce

the heat of hydration to tolerable limits.
Reducing the peak temperature by lowering the initial placing temperature of
the concrete mixture through cooling the coarse aggregate by chilled water, air
or ice.

Scheduling the construction of the thermally critical part of the structure

during winter time or at night to minimize temperature rise due to heat
Evaporative cooling through curing water.
Post cooling to accelerate cooling process. Post cooling is often not required in
gravity dams.

Contraction Joints:
The principal function of vertical contraction joints is to control cracking due to
volume change, foundation restrain and foundation irregularities. Majority of the early
dams did not contain the contraction joints but gradually there has been a swing
towards RCC dams in which contraction joints are formed from the upstream to the
downstream face. All RCD dams have joints at 15-m centres but the spacing of joints
if provided in RCC dams has ranged from 20 to 75 m. There are three main methods
by which contraction joints are formed in RCC dams:
i) Post-forming the contraction joints by vibrating steel or plastic crack intruders
into RCC after spreading RCC (in RCD dams & in some RCC dams) or after
compaction (most RCC dams). This method has been adopted in 70% of the
RCC dams.
ii) Formed contraction joints against form work in a similar fashion to traditional
concrete dams. This has been used in 15% of RCC dams.
iii) Using various methods of incorporating a plastic sheet in RCC during spreading
occasionally by placing sheet over the steel frame. This has been used in 10% of
the RCC dams.
Galleries and Drainage:
The inclusion of galleries in RCC dams interfere with efficient placement and
compaction of RCC. However, since they provide the only immediate interior access,
release the uplift pressures and the resulting economy in the section, may be in
incorporated when justifiable and preferably eliminated in low height dams (upto
30m) which can be economically designed to withstand full uplift pressures.
Winchester Dam is a good example of an RCC dam with no gallery.
In higher dams it is unavoidable, primarily because internal vertical porous drains in
the body of the dam and foundation drainage yield benefits in respect of both
economy and stability. In such case its location should be well conceived and
coordinated with the practical aspects, of construction. As far as possible, it should be
located at a single level, preferably by ditching in foundation. Multiple galleries
should be avoided wherever feasible.
Spillways and Outlets:
The layout of appurtenant structures like spillway, outlet works etc and the methods
that are to be used for the treatment of joints between the layers need to be thoroughly
planned so that the advantages of the rapid method of construction by roller
compacted methodology are not lost. Normally the outlets could be located in
trenches and the intake on the u/s so that the construction of the RCC dam can go on
independently and without any obstruction.

With ever-increasing hydraulic requirements, the cost of spillways is a major

economic factor in dam design and construction. Spillways must be designed to pass
the design flood and all lesser-capacity flows safely and economically. Indian Code
on Guidelines for fixing Spillway Capacity (BIS No. 11223 - 1985) in general,
recommends an inflow design flood for the safety of the dam based on gross storage
and hydraulic head. Factors like the type of dam are not discussed in the above BIS
code. The layout of spillway would depend upon topography, hydrology, economics
and other such factors.
Three types of downstream spillway surfaces have been used for RCC dams. They

The traditional smooth conventional surface, e.g. Copperfield dam.

Stepped spillway of conventional concrete, e.g. Upper Stillwater dam.
An unformed exposed RCC surface e.g. Galesville dam.

With the traditional concrete spillway, the objective is to provide a smooth flow
surface for prevention or minimization of cavitation damage. The stepped spillway
design is more widely used in RCC dams. The rough stepped surface produces a
highly turbulent, well-aerated boundary layer that eliminates negative pressures and
prevents cavitation damages.
With the advent of the RCC construction method and the relatively easy incorporation
of conventional concrete steps concurrent with horizontal RCC placement, a renewed
interest in stepped spillways has developed. The steps improve hydraulic behaviour of
the flow and reduce the velocity of the water, leading to less potential for cavitation
and less-expensive stilling basins when compared to smooth spillway chutes.
The steps act as roughness elements to minimize flow acceleration and terminal
velocity. Turbulence induced by the steps helps speed the development of a boundary
layer and induces entrained air to bulk the flow. Cavitation potential is thus, reduced
by both the reduced velocity and the cushioning effect of the entrained air.
It has been seen that the height of spill over stepped spillways is normally restricted to
a few meters only (Max 3 m.) and hence this may warrant an excessive length on
ungated spillway where resorted to. Individual cases will determine the best option,
given the topographic and other constraints besides the inflow design flood that has to
be catered for.
Lift Thickness:
The design lift thickness depends primarily on the construction equipment available
and the consistency of RCC mixture. It is defined as the thickness of the RCC that is
compacted at one time. In determining a lift thickness, the purpose is to provide a
thickness that can be compacted to the required density uniformly throughout the lift
with readily available equipment considering the consistency of the RCC mixture.
The most typical RCC lift thickness to date has been 300 mm. This includes nearly all
completed lean RCC dams as well as high paste RCC dams. The horizontal lifts are
generally sloped slightly upstream to allow for drainage.
Seepage Control and Upstream Facing:

There can be large variations in the co-efficient of permeability of RCC dams

depending upon the method of construction. This co-efficient determines the seepage
through the dam. Large amounts of seepage may be acceptable for flood control dams
as long as the stability is not impaired; but this however may be the cause for serious
concern in a storage dam. Therefore, seepage control is an important consideration in
the design of RCC dams.
The various methods chosen for reducing or controlling seepage have produced a
great variation in the designs of RCC dams. The basic form of seepage reduction can
be divided into two categories:
(1) Those solutions that rely upon the entire interior RCC mass for the dam's
(2) Those that rely on an impermeable or relatively impermeable upstream face
or membrane as the primary water barrier.
For secondary seepage control the upstream facing designs may also include partial or
full bedding mixes between lifts and some form of drainage collection system
downstream from the face. Lean RCC dams generally require bedding mixes on lift
joints for seepage control. On the other hand, high paste RCC dams do not require any
such treatments.
Various methods used for forming the faces of RCC dams are:
a) Facing concrete against formwork:
It is the most popular method of forming the face of RCC dams. The sequence of
placement recommended is as under:
First place facing concrete
Then place RCC
iii) Vibrate the facing concrete
iv) Then roller compact the RCC including the interface with facing
b) RCC against formwork :
This is particularly popular in Spain in which high paste RCC is used. Excellent
finish is obtained provided the RCC has sufficient paste and is sufficiently
workable. Grout - enriched vibratable RCC (GEVR) is a recent development in
this direction. It was primarily developed at the 128 m - high Jiangya dam in
c) Slip forming of facing elements:
This method eliminates the need of formwork and separates the forming of the
face from the placement of RCC. The RCC can usually be compacted against the
facing elements within 4 to 8 hours (depending upon site conditions). It is more
applicable to wide valleys and was used for Upper Stillwater dam.
d) External membrane:
In order to provide an impermeable barrier, an external membrane has been fixed
on the upstream face of some lean RCC dams. The membrane completely covers
the u/s face and it is fixed separately after completion of the dam.

e) Pre-cast concrete blocks:

Pre-cast blocks have been used for the d/s face and in a few cases for the spillway
of RCC dams. This is equivalent to the use of pre-cast concrete panels on the u/s
face. Usually, the concrete blocks are interlocking so that the support for the new
block is obtained from the previously placed blocks. This method of forming the
face is becoming popular in China.
f) Unformed downstream face: A number of RCC dams have unformed
downstream faces. The RCC is allowed to form its natural angle of repose which
is between 0.80: 1 and 1.00: 1. However the last RCC dam to have unformed
downstream face was Zintel Canyon (USA) in 1992. The method is presently not
Bonding Successive Lifts: RCC to RCC Bonding:
Because RCC dams are constructed in a series of compacted lifts, bonding of the
successive lifts is important both from the stability and performance standpoint.
Poorly bonded lifts have lower shear resistance due to low or no cohesion at the
interface, have less tensile resistance for seismic loading and offer a path for
horizontal seepage.
The principal factors that affect bonding are:

Condition of the lower RCC lift surface

Time delay between placement of RCC lifts
Consistency of the covering RCC
Compaction or consolidation of the covering RCC.

The lower RCC surface must be kept continuously moist but without ponding water to
ensure bond. Excessive surface moisture is detrimental to bond development but
drying of the surface may lead to no bond.
In certain design practices, one specifies joint treatment and use of bedding mixes on
the basis of a maturity factor. In USA this is in degree-Fahrenheit-hour. In the rest of
the world degree-Centigrade-hour is commonly used. There is no consensus of
opinion regarding the limits of the maturity factor. This may be because the
conditions are so specific that each dam has to be considered as unique. The maturity
factor would depend upon many factors:

The mixture (water content, quantity of paste, type of cementitious

material, retarders etc.
Workability and potential for segregation
Compaction methods and equipment
Ability to get back to the same location for placement of the successive lift
Effectiveness of curing etc

Three classes of joint treatment have been designed as follows:


A fresh (or hot) joint - This is a joint that occurs when the RCC layers are
being placed in rapid succession and the RCC is still workable when the
next layer is placed.


An intermediate (or warm or prepared) joint - This is the condition that

occurs between a fresh joint an a true "cold" joint
A cold joint


A general summary of the joints in RCC dams along with treatment etc. in terms
of maturity factor is given in Table -3.
Type of RCC
Lean RCC
Maturity Factor
Bedding Mix
Maturity Factor

Fresh joint

Intermediate joint

Cold joint

< 100 oC-hr

Clean with vacuum

100-250 oC -hr.
clean with vacuum
Partial for upstream

250 oC-hr
Water clean surface
Full mix over
whole surface.

Not used

Medium paste RCC

Maturity Factor
< 200 oC-hr.
Clean with vacuum
Bedding mix
High paste RCC
Maturity Factor
< 300 oC-hr
Clean with vacuum
Bedding Mix

Not used

All joints treated as

cold joints Green
cut of whole
Full mortar over
whole surface

200-500 oC-hr
Low pressure water
Partial for u/s section.
300-800 oC-hr
Low pressure water

>800 oC-hr Green

cut of whole
None or full
bedding mix.

Instrumentation data is an essential part of safety monitoring and evaluation of the
project and is useful for monitoring the behaviour of the dam during the construction
and operation. Instrumentation needs to be carefully planned so as not to interfere
with RCC construction. Ideally installation should be planned to coincide with the
planned construction breaks e.g. for maintenance etc or should be designed so that
they can be installed as a separate activity to the main construction.
The instrumentation in RCC dams is similar to that in traditional concrete dams.
However more emphasis is usually placed on thermal conditions because of more
rapid method of construction. Thermocouples are preferred for temperature
measurements and long-base strain gauges (at least 1m long) for crack width
measurement. In order to determine a representative profile of these parameters in the
RCC these should not be used sparingly.

For measurement of deformation of dam, telltale signs can be fixed on the dam faces
soon after compaction of layers of RCC dam is finished. Regular observation shall be
taken by Theodolite/total station instruments and then analyzed.
Installation of extensometers and inverted plumb lines from the gallery also do not
interfere with the RCC placement. This may also be true for the direct plumb-lines
providing the plumb-line well is not formed during the construction but drilled after
construction. In addition 2 or 3 dimensional joint meters can be installed in the
galleries on as many joints as is considered appropriate.
RCC dams by now have emerged as a viable alternative to concrete gravity dams.
Though the design of a dam using RCC is fundamentally no different from the design
of traditional gravity dams, there are certain aspects of design which are peculiar to
RCC dams and need careful consideration so as to prevent uncontrolled cracking. The
present trend is to construct medium/ high paste RCC dams from the consideration of
long term durability. The layout of spillways, instruments, outlets etc needs to be
thoroughly planned so that the advantages of rapid method of connection are not lost.
Instrumentation data is an essential part of safety monitoring and evaluation of the
project and is useful for monitoring the behaviour of the dam during the construction
and operation. The instrumentation in RCC dams is similar to that of the traditional
dams with more emphasis on monitoring of thermal conditions.
The authors wish to express their gratitude to Shri S.K. DAS, Member (D&R), CWC
for providing guidance in bringing out this paper.
1. Roller compacted concrete dams- State of the art and case histories Bulletin
No 126 CIGB ICOLD 2003
2. Roller compacted concrete dams Design parameters and methods of
analysis, spillway and energy dissipaters, opening in dams, thermal
consideration/temperature rise studies Dr B.K. Mittal et al, 2004
3. Instrumentation for concrete structures US army corps of engineers
publication No EM 1110-2-4300
4. Engineering and Design - Gravity Dam Design - US army corps of engineers
publication No EM 1110-2-2200
5. Concrete Dams Dr H.D. Sharma

Dr. V.M.Sharma
Chief Consultant
Advanced Technology & Engineering Services
(A division of AIMIL)
A-8, Mohan Co-operative Industrial Estate
Mathura Road, New Delhi 110044
Roller-compacted concrete dams emerged as a viable new type of dam during the 1980s.
They have gained acceptance worldwide in a relatively short time mainly because of their
low cost and rapid method of construction. The amount of instrumentation provided in
the dam depends on site and operational conditions as well as the owners needs.
Instrumentation takes on greater significance with higher dams, poorer or more complex
foundation conditions, and locations where a dam failure would have significant
consequences. The type, number, and location of the instruments are selected on the basis
of their reliability and cost. The primary function of instrumentation is to monitor its
safety. The other important function is to determine the validity of design assumptions.
Instrumentation is provided in roller compacted concrete dams based on two main
considerations. First to monitor the performance of completed dams. Second to determine
the validity of design assumptions. Some of these considerations are briefly discussed
Monitoring Performance of Completed Dams.
Any dam is subjected to external loads that cause deformations and seepage through the
structure and its foundations. Loads and the dams response to them must be monitored
for any signs of abnormal behaviour, and this response must be known well in advance so
that corrective action could be taken before the problem becomes a threat to the safety of
the dam.
The instrumentation programme should be determined by the dams designers, who best
understands the the dams purpose, design assumptions, and potential problems. The
designer is in the best position to determine which items should be monitored all the
times to help evaluate the safety of the dam and what information is needed over the long

term to check design assumptions. Some of the main considerations in respect of roller
compacted concrete dams are as follows:
Seepage or Leekage Control
The various methods chosen for reducing or controlling seepage have produced the
greatest variation in design solutions for RCC dams. The basic form of seepage reduction
can be divided into two categories,

those solutions that rely upon the entire interior RCC mass for the dams
impermeability, and
those that rely on an impermeable or relatively impermeable upstream face
or membrane as the primary water barrier.

For secondary control of seepage, the upstream facing design includes a partial or full
bedding mixes between lifts, and some form of drainage collection system downstream
from the face.
Willow Creek, which was the initial example of a lean RCC dam, and Upper Stillwater,
which was the first high-paste-content RCC dam, are both examples where the entire
RCC section was considered in design as the water-retaining element.
Lessons learned from Seepage and Seepage-related phenomena
Seepage and seepage-related phenomena from early RCC dams have taught designers a
numbers of lessons (Reference Roller-Compacted Concrete Dams by Hansen and
Reinhardt) :
1. Initial seepage volumes from early lean RCC dams were in some cases more than
2. The amount of seepage through the RCC has been reduced considerably with time
due to external effects such as siltation into voids and natural internal autogenous
healing due to production of additional concrete gel and calcification after contact
with seepage water.
3. Where measured seepage has increased significantly, it is usually due to leakage
passing through a newly formed crack.
4. Side effects of seepage such as visual wet spots, calcium hydroxide leaching,
calcium carbonate buildup, or passing reservoir-induced gases through the dam
have generally created more public concern than the total seepage through the
dam and foundation.
5. As expected, seepage is greater with increased head, with increased wetted
surface area, and during cold weather when the RCC mass shrinks, thus causing
greater crack widths.
6. RCC dams can be designed to have equal seepage to dams constructed of
conventionally placed concrete.

7. Designs incorporating conventional concrete faces with water-stopped joints

(including the RCD method) and membrane-faced precast concrete panels have
proved to provide a high level of water tightness.
8. Leakage through cracks can be repaired more efficiently than seepage through the
entire RCC dam. Leakage through cracks also has less opportunity to leach out
calcium hydroxide from the dam in the initial stages due to higher seepage
9. The permeability of the RCC material can be improved with higher cementitious
contents, higher sand contents and construction methods to minimize voids in the
compacted mass concrete.
10. Construction control is extremely important in ensuring that the planned design is
executed in a manner to minimize seepage. Special attention could be placed on
installing water-stops and applying sealants at planned joints or grooves.
11. The contact of the dam with its base foundation or abutments as with any dam is a
prime potential seepage path and care must be taken to ensure that this
intersection has a higher degree of water-tightness.
Cracking in any non-reinforced concrete dam can be expected. From a design standpoint
joints or crack inducers can be installed in the dam to take care of cracking. Cracks that
extend below the waterline and have sufficient width to pass water are of greatest concern
to dam designers. Therefore, leakage and cracking performance are directly related.
Cracks in gravity dams are generally vertical and transverse to the dams axis and pose
no threat to the structural stability of the dam.
From the performance of RCC dams in service, the following conclusions can be made,
most of which are self-evident. (For Reference see Roller-Compacted Concrete Dams
by Hansen and Reinhardt.
1. There is less potential for cracking in RCC dams than in conventional concrete
due to less contraction of the RCC dams combined with generally lower elastic
modulus and higher creep rates for RCC. The lesser amount of shrinkage is due to
lower water and cementitious contents in RCC mixtures as compared to
conventionally placed concrete.
2. Most cracking in RCC dams can be attributed to thermally induced stresses.
Cracking occurs when the thermal stresses exceeds the tensile capacity of
concrete. Cracking can occur with a temperature drop of as little as 11 degrees
Celcius from the peak RCC temperature for lean weaker mixes to as much as 20
degrees Celcius for stronger mixes. Cracking in conventional concrete are also
influenced by drying shrinkage stresses.
3. The spacing between cracks apparently depends upon the tensile strength of the
RCC, with greater spacing noticed in dams constructed of high-strength RCC
such as Upper Stillwater Dam than those of lower-strength mixes (i.e. Willow
Creek). With increased crack spacing comes greater individual crack width as the
total volume reduction must be accommodated in fewer cracks or joints.
Obviously, wider cracks have a greater potential for leakage.

4. Full-section transverse contractions joints with upstream water-stops and drain

holes are effective means of controlling cracking through the entire RCC dam.
When the spacing between joints is too great, cracking will occur between the
joints. Crack width of uncontrolled cracks is less than the width of the induced
cracks in the transverse joints.
5. Cracks invariably will occur in intentionally planned transverse contraction joints
or at a point of reduced dam section where the overall tensile resistance of the
section is less. This crack location can be at a re-entrant angle in the foundation
rock, producing a stress concentration, through a central spillway section, at a
transverse entrance adit, or at a planned groove in the conventional concrete face.
6. Initial cracking can usually be attributed to the internal temperature restraint
condition, where the temperature of mass concrete is much higher than at the
exposed face of the dam. These cracks invariably start at the dams crest where
the section of the dam is at a minimum and there is a greater exposed surface area
to cool. Then the cracks propagate both upstream and downstream faces.
7. Greater cracking than initially predicted by thermal analysis has occurred due to
delays in the construction schedule, forcing placement during warmer weather,
thus producing higher peak temperatures in the concrete than anticipated. Also,
the thermal analysis being used does not appear to properly account for radiant
heat effects on RCC surface.
Besides leakage and cracking, the other main considerations for providing
instrumentation in RCC dams are structural deformation and displacement. Thus the total
instrumentation required in RCC dams from the monitoring performance point of view
comprise of the following:
1. Seepage or Leakage. Following instruments can be used for this purpose
a. Wier These can be constructed at the outlet of the drainage tunnel
or in the galleries through the abutment or foundation.
b. Flume These can be constructed downstream of the dam and used for
measuring the total seepage through the dam.
c. Calibrated container with a stop watch. These can be used at any location
where water is flowing continuously, such as at drain holes.
2. Uplift Pressure. Uplift pressure can be measured with the help of piezometers
These can be vibrating wire type and can be installed at the junction of
the dam and the foundation or inside the body of the dam, particularly at
the level of lift joints.
3. Crack or Joint width Unfortunately the crack or joint width can only be
measured after it has formed. Further development of crack or joint can
be measured with extensometers or jointmeters. These instruments can be
installed with one leg on either side of the crack or joint. In situations
where access to both sides is not available, offset points can be marked
on the same side of the crack and readings taken.
4. Water level Measurement of water levels is required to calculate the hydraulic
load on the upstream side due to reservoir and on the downstream side
due to tail water. These levels can be measured with the help of staff


gauges, floats and pressure balances which can be installed on the

upstream face of the dam and the stilling basin respectively.
Structural deformation and Displacement. These parameters are measured in
conventional dams as well. Surveying Instruments are used for this purpose
Targets or brass cap monuments are mounted on dam crest or downstream
of abutment. Plumb bobs or inclinometers can be installed inside holes in
the dam made specially for this purpose.

Validity of Design Assumptions

The second category of instruments is installed to determine the validity of the
design assumptions. One of the main concerns here is the measurement of
temperature of concrete as the construction proceeds.
Thermal Studies.
Thermal computational methods can range from a sophisticated computer-aided
finite element analysis to hand computation methods. Most major RCC dams have
enjoyed some form of a finite element analysis to determine temperature
distributions within the concrete structure from which stresses and strains are
In conducting a thermal analysis, it is necessary to determine certain properties of the
RCC mixture and to develop a detailed construction schedule. Properties required
include specific heat, diffusivity, conductivity, coefficient of thermal expansion,
adiabatic temperature temperature rise at various ages, tensile strength at various
ages, as well as modulus of elasticity and creep coefficients at various ages.
The planned construction schedule is required because expected air temperatures are
an input required for the analysis. If there is a delay in the start of construction, or
construction is not progressing as fast as anticipated, or both, it may be necessary to
recalculate the temperature within the mass.
Controlling Temperature Rise
The maximum internal temperature rise can be limited either by reducing the
temperature rise of the RCC mixture or by reducing the placement temperature.
Consistent with the requirements of strength and permeability, the use of low-heat
cement, a reduction in total cementitious material, and an increase in pozzolan
percentage will reduce the temperature rise of the mixture. Precooling the aggregates
by water cooling, cooled air spray and using ice to satisfy water requirements, or
placing the RCC at night are methods to reduce the placing temperature of the RCC
mixture. Night placement also aids with minimizing radiant heat effects on the
exposed upper surface.

Cracking due to Thermal Stresses

Assuming that the thermal study produces a reasonably accurate prediction of the
magnitude and location of temperature peaks, the next step is to determine whether
the subsequent temperature decrease will produce cracking. If cracking is indicated, a
greater challenge is to determine the location and width of the crack and what, if
anything, to do about them.
Tensile stresses which are proportional to strains within the elastic range can be
estimated from the temperature studies with restrain factors taken into account. A
thorough analysis can be quite complex if all time-dependent variables, such as creep
and the changing properties of every RCC lift are considered.
Manual calculations of tensile stresses can be estimated from the following formula,
sigma = R.E.b.delt
where sigma = temperature stress
R = degree of restraint
E = modulus of elasticity of RCC
b = coefficient of thermal expansion of RCC
delt = temperature drop of RCC
The degree of external and internal restraint R can be taken from the charts in figure
a and b, which were produced by Fujisawa and Nagayama. (1985)
Instrumentation to Determine Validity of Design Assumptions
Taking the above discussion into consideration, following instrumentation is
provided for determining the validity of design assumptions.

Concrete Temperature Concrete temperature is measured with

vibrating wire type thermometers or thermo-couples.
These instruments are embedded in the body of the dam
at per-determined grid points. It is desirable if a time
history of temperature can be prepared.
2. Foundation Distortion and Displacement. These are measured with
multiple-position borehole extensometers and plumb
lines. These are put at points of potential movement.
3. Dam Stress and Strain These are measured with the help of stress and strain
meters. The instruments are placed at the points of
maximum stresses, which are calculated on the basis of
operational loads.
4. Vibrations/Seismicity These are measured with the help of Seismographs. The
seismographs are installed in enclosures on abutments or
top of the dam. Ideally, time history of seismic event
should be determined.

Instrumentation of Upper Stillwater Dam

Since Upper Stillwater dam was the U. S. Bureau of Reclamations first RCC dam,
elaborate instrumentation was included to accurately monitor the dam performance.
A brief outline is included to identify parameters monitored.
Instruments were initially installed in the dam at four locations termed as A, B, C,
and D lines. Line B was located in the maximum height section of the dam. Line C
was located just right of the spillway. The other stations were each located nearer
abutments. Instrumentation included at each station was as follows,


Line A

Line B

Line C

Line D


1. Foundation Piezometers


2. Dam Piezometers

3. Inclinometers

4. Extensometers

5. Thermocouples




6. Stress/Strain meters


Extensometers were installed in pairs in the gallery and extended into the foundation,
one vertically and one angled at 45 degrees towards the downstream. Anchors were
located in the foundation to detect movement if it occurred at known geologic
features. Inclinometers were drilled vertically from the crest 100 feet (30 m.) into the
In addition to the instruments listed above, collimation targets and elevation bench
marks were locatedon the dam crest to monitor deflections.
Modern Trends in Instrumentation
Recent developments in the monitoring systems have come from the deployment
either of knowledge engineering technologies or of technologies for acquisition and
integrated transmission of data, images and status signals.
The most recent artificial intelligence techniques lead to the realization of expert
systems able to support the technician during the analysis of aquired information, in
order to synthesize the diagnoses of evolving dangerous situations.
An expert system can actually contribute to some activities such as :

containing qualitative models of possible behaviours of a dam system and

simultaneously dealing with qualitative and quantitative models
following diagnostic lines of reasoning and explaining the dam behaviour by

means of the afore-mentioned models.

treating the signals coming from the monitoring systems by classifying and
interpreting them according to the general dam behaviour.
employing and gathering quantitative and qualitative data coming from different
sources such as monitoring systems or visual inspections.

As for the integration of different information, some experiences involve the

management of video displays for the continuous and remote control of important
and significant areas of the dam, inside and outside it.
Kenneth D. Hansen and William G. Reinhardt (1991) Roller-Compacted Concrete
Dams. McGraw Hill Inc.
Fujisawa, T. and Nagayama, J. (1985) Cause and Control of Cracks by Thermal
Stress in Concrete Dams. ICOLD Fifteenth Congress vol II Q 57, Lausanne.
Alan T. Richardson (1993) Performance of Upper Stillwater Dam. Proceedings of
workshop on Influence of Creep on Design, Performance and Safety of Concrete
Dams organized by CSMRS. at New Delhi.


S.B. Suri

Quality control aspects of RCC dams especially using high paste content concrete are
covered in the paper. Activities requiring attention before, during & after
construction of the dam are highlighted. Issues concerning materials testing & RCC
quality control tests are discussed. The case history encompassing quality control
activities performed during construction of 91 m high Upper Stillwater Dam in Utah
(U.S.A.) is presented briefly.


Quality control programme for RCC dams should be planned prior to construction,
strictly implemented and monitored during construction and confirmed after
construction. RCC placing rates can be significantly higher than conventional
concrete. Placing rates in excess of 590 m3/hr have been achieved on some projects in
the U.S.A. Some smaller structures have been constructed in only a few days or
weeks, RCC placing normally being a round-the-clock operation. All RCC materials
conforming to the specification requirements including the aggregate quarries must be
approved in advance.
High paste content RCC currently being the choice material for construction of RCC
dams in the world, the discussion covered in this paper is oriented to focus on this
RCC technology.


All RCC materials should meet the specification requirements prior to placing (1).
The test frequency should be established based on the size of the structure and the rate
of RCC production. For small structures, materials may be accepted based on the
manufacturers certification. Larger structures may require testing at the point of
manufacture in order to keep up with the high output necessary to maintain

Cementitious Materials

Cement should conform to the relevant Indian Standards. Fly ash shall conform to
grade 1 of IS:3812 (2). Non- prequalified sources should be pretested before
construction begins. Main considerations for cement selection are the need for low
heat of hydration and low alkali content in the cement to reduce heat generation

within the structure and obviate problems related to alkali-aggregate reaction in


Chemical Admixtures

RCC mixes may incorporate water reducing or set retarding water reducing
admixtures conforming to the specification requirements listed in IS:9103 (3). These
admixtures increase RCC workability and have set-retarding characteristics,
particularly when used with low lime content fly ash. The dosage rate may depend on
the cement to pozzolana ratio and concrete mix proportions. Chemical admixtures
may not be effective at normal dosage rates for extremely dry RCC mixes.
Air-entraining admixtures are not commonly used in RCC mixes because of the
difficulty in generating the air bubbles of the proper size and distribution with the mix
having no-slump consistency.


The quality and grading of aggregates significantly affect the fresh and hardened
properties of RCC. The grading of both sand and coarse aggregate affects the
workability, and the ability to effectively compact or consolidate RCC.
RCC mixes are proportioned with a wide range of aggregate gradings, particularly
with respect to the percentage of material passing the 75 micron I.S. Sieve. The
aggregate quality control programme must accommodate the different grading
Evaluation of aggregate physical properties as per the requirements of IS:383 (4)
should be completed prior to RCC mix proportioning. The aggregate sources should
be approved prior to beginning of construction. For small jobs, locally available
sources should be inspected and approved before being used in RCC.
Moisture content and grading tests are performed during initial processing and
stockpiling of aggregates. Producing sufficient aggregates at a stable moisture
condition is important to accommodate high RCC production rates. Varying moisture
contents in stockpiles will result in varying the workability of RCC. A 6 Kg/m3
increase or decrease in moisture can change the compacting characteristics of RCC.
Overly wet stockfiles limit the available water which may be batched as ice and thus
require more expensive cooling methods such as liquid nitrogen injection.


Water for mixing and curing purposes should conform to clause 5.4 of IS: 456 (5).
Adequacy of source both with respect to quantity and quality should be ascertained
before start of construction.








Before construction begins, the following items should be considered (6):

Site Layout-Site layout should facilitate the anticipated production rates including
haul roads for equipment access or belt conveyor setup.
Batchplant- Batchplant layout should provide easy access to aggregate stockpiles.
Aggregate Production- Aggregate production should begin early. For small jobs (less
than 15,200 m3), about 50 percent of the aggregates are stockpiled prior to beginning
of RCC placing.
Staffing- Laboratory and inspection personnel should be adequately staffed and
trained in anticipation of possible 7 days, round-the-clock operation. Laboratory
personnel should make the necessary preparations for licensing and storing nuclear
density gauges.
Communications- The owner and project staff should meet with the contractor to
review RCC placing requirements and jobsite practices include safety requirements
and plan the prequalification test section.

Excavation, Grouting and Preparation of Foundation (6)

Excavation- Foundation excavation should begin far enough in advance of RCC

placing so that the rapid increase in dam height does not overtake the ability to
prepare the foundation without delays. This may not be a problem for steep sloping
foundations, but is a major problem for gentle slopes where a small increase in
elevation encompasses a large surface area of foundation.
Grouting Grouting and foundation cleanup should be completed so as to not interfere
with RCC placing. Because the RCC is placed from one abutment to the other, these
activities may have to work up both slopes concurrently.
Foundation Preparation- The foundation should be prepared with overhangs cut back
to accommodate large equipment. If the foundation is too irregular, place dental
concrete in areas inaccessible to equipment. As a general rule, dental concrete is
placed in advance of RCC. Leveling concrete is usually placed either just before or
just after RCC in 0.3 or 0.6 m lifts to fill in depressions and bond to the foundation or
other structures. RCC may be placed adjacent to or on top of the leveling concrete
before it has reached its initial set. A 50 to 100m thick layer of bedding concrete
may be placed similar to a slush grout on the foundation with the RCC placed over it.
An alternative to placing leveling or bedding concrete on the foundation concurrently
with RCC is to perform final foundation cleanup and cover the foundation with a
layer of conventional concrete or shotcrete. The concrete is cleaned by air or highpressure water jet just prior to placing RCC. This method was used at Freeman
Diversion Dam over a siltstone foundation and is particularly advantageous to gentle

foundation slopes. It has the advantage of not having the RCC placing activities chase
the foundation cleanup crew up the abutment slope.

RCC Prequalification Test Section (1,6,7)

The purpose of the prequalification test section is for the contractor to demonstrate
equipment to be used and procedures for mixing, handling, and placing RCC and
conventional concrete. It also serves as a training and practice session for both quality
control and construction personnel. This includes placing leveling concrete, facing
concrete and forming systems, and RCC. A prequalification test section is preferred
over starting immediately on the dam because the most critical section of the structure
usually is at its base. An alternative is to place the prequalification test section in a
non-critical section of the dam such as foundation replacement or as part of the
stilling basin.
The prequalification test section is normally constructed in advance of RCC dam
construction so that drill cores can be obtained for analysis, such as evaluating
consolidation and bonding at lifts and compressive strength.
Typically, the prequalification test section is two to four lifts high and includes at
least one lift joint requiring joint surface cleanup. The facing system should also be
evaluated in the test section. This (forming & placing facing concrete) must be
properly synchronized for continuous RCC dam construction.
The workability and density of the RCC mix are evaluated by laboratory testing and
any mix proportion adjustments can be fine tuned in the prequalification test section.
This may include adjusting the water content, cement plus fly ash content, or sand
coarse aggregate ratio. The prequalification placement can be used to determine
density requirements such as the AMD (Average Maximum Density).
Methods of evaluating consolidation at the lift joints include coring or digging test
trenches. Some problems are encountered on jobs with low strength and/or high
pozzolana contents due to poor core recovery. A double-tube core barrel increases
core recovery, particularly at lift joints.
A major goal in test section construction is to evaluate the RCC mix performance (i.e.
mix segregation, mix proportions and compactability), and to determine the minimum
number of passes of the vibratory roller for full compaction with the designed mix and
planned layer thickness.


A variety of RCC quality control tests have been developed to accommodate
the wide range of mix proportions and aggregate gradings. Some tests are adapted
from concrete quality control tests & other from soil cement or soil mechanics.
Suggested tests and test frequencies are given in Table-1.



Consistency Tests

The Vebe apparatus is used to measure the consistency of no-slump concrete. This
also gives an indication of the workability and ease of consolidating the concrete in
place. Consistency is defined as the ability of fresh concrete to flow. The most
common consistency test is the slump test, which is not applicable to no-slump RCC.
The standard Vebe apparatus for conventional no-slump concrete has been modified
for the less workable RCC. Fresh RCC is placed in a 1/3 ft3 (9.4 l) cylindrical steel
container under a 50lb (22.7 kg) surcharge. The sample is vibrated until it fully
consolidates under the surcharge. The Vebe consistency is the time it takes to fully
consolidate the sample as indicated by a ring of mortar around the periphery of the
surcharge. The density of fresh RCC is determined from the consolidated sample.
ASTM Designation C 1170
(9) includes procedures for testing RCC with and
without a surcharge. The Japanese VC test is similar to the Vebe test.
The Consistency of RCC can vary from stiff to extremely dry. Some mixes may have
even less workability than extremely dry and the Vebe procedure may not be
applicable. A Vebe consistency in excess of 2 minutes is considered the extreme limit
of the test procedure. Normally, RCC mixes will have a consistency of 10 to30
seconds when the Vebe test is used. Mixes with a Vebe consistency of about 15
seconds will consolidate in about 6 passes with a 10-ton dual-drum vibratory roller.
Fresh RCC with a 15 second Vebe time will compress about 25 to 50 mm after the
first pass with the roller. Drier mixes will require greater compactive effort and will
leave a less noticeable depression with the roller during compaction.
The consistency of RCC will vary with changes in water content, aggregate grading
and entrained-air. The procedure takes approximately 15 minutes to complete,
including the density test.

Density Tests

The density of RCC is measured from fresh samples obtained at the mixing plant and
in-place either before or during the compaction process. The density can be measured
from the Vebe sample or from consolidated cylinders.
The in-place density of RCC is determined with a nuclear density gauge. Two types
of apparatus are commercially available, a single-probe and a dual-probe
nucleardensity gauge. Photons emitted by a radioactive source housed in source probe
are counted by a detector. For a given material, the density is proportional to
count rate of photons. The detector is located in the gauge housing for the singleprobe gauge & in a second probe for the dual-probe gauge. The single-probe gauge is
normally used for routine density testing when the lift thickness is 300mm or less.
The dual-probe gauge is used primarily for thicker lifts. Conducting tests with a
single-probe nuclear gauge is fast, normally less than 5 minutes. This makes it an
ideal apparatus for fast-placed RCC construction.




Fly Ash





Physical / Chemical Properties
Physical / Chemical Properties
Chloride Content
Performance Tests
Specific Gravity & absorption
Moisture Content
Consistency & Density
In place Density
Mix Proportions
Compressive Strength

1/ Lot
1/ Lot
1/ Lot
1/Shift or 1/Day
Before Each Shift
1/Shift or Every
750 m3
1/Shift or Every
750 m3

Both gauges have limitations due to the design and gauge geometry. The single-probe
gauge takes the average density of the lift from the bottom of the inserted probe to the
top surface. However, the density result is heavily weighted to the more easily
compacted top of the lift than the lower portion of the lift which is more difficult to
compact. A 10 percent drop in density in the bottom 50 mm of the lift may only be
recorded as a 1 percent drop in overall density. The change in density with depth may
be evaluated somewhat by testing at full depth compared to the mid-depth density.
The single-probe gauge can measure up to 300mm. The moisture content is
determined at the surface, in the backscatter mode.
The geometry-related problems are avoided with the dual-probe gauge. The density is
measured horizontally from the source probe to the detector probe at the same depth.
Thus, individual strata may be measured at different depths. The moisture content is
also measured with depth in the detector probe. The dual-probe gauge can measure up
to 600mm. Though more desirable than the single-probe gauge, the dual-probe
apparatus is more difficult and time consuming to use.
For effective evaluation of compaction, it must be possible to determine the maximum
air-free density of the RCC for comparison with nuclear gauge density test results.
The maximum air-free density of the concrete can be computed by adding the SSD
batch weights of a sample of materials (cement, fly ash, water, chemical admixture &
aggregates) & dividing by their total unit volume. The in-place density should
approach 98 to 99 percent of this value.
The density measured by nuclear gauges is affected by the chemical composition of
the concrete constituents and may not be the true density. The gauge must be
corrected for chemical composition error by measuring the density of fresh concrete
in a calibrated container according to ASTM C 1040 (10). The accuracy of the
moisture reading is affected by hydrogen, lowering the individual test accuracy.
However, trends in moisture content changes can be tracked with the nuclear gauge.

Some attempts to use the sand cone density for RCC have had little success. The
material squeezed in the excavated hole, resulting in tests in excess of the theoretical
air-force density. This test is slower than the nuclear density test.

Making Test Specimens

RCC test specimens are cast according to ASTM C 1176 (11) unless the workability
is too dry to effectively consolidate a representative sample. RCC is placed in
cylindrical moulds in three layers on the vibrating table under a 20 lb (9.1 Kg)
The density of RCC can also be measured from consolidated test specimens. RCC
specimens should be consolidated to about 99 percent of the theoretical air-free
density (unless it is air-entrained).

Determining RCC Mix Proportions


Batch-Type Mixing Plants

Modern batch-type mixers are relatively straight forward to calibrate and operate. The
primary variables are matching aggregate feed rates and storage capacities to the high
production rates. Mixer efficiency tests are used to determine the minimum allowable
mixing time.
Mix proportions are input from computer controls and recorded by load cells.
Multiple job mixes can be stored and adjusted by the computer controls. Samples of
fresh concrete should be obtained according to IS: 1199 (12).

Continuous Mixing Plants

Through relatively easy to calibrate and operate, continuous mixing presents some
problems for determining mix proportions. Mix proportions are entered as a percent
by total mass of concrete and converted to a continuous feed rate in tons/hr (Kg/hr).
Samples of RCC must be correlated to a feed rate, rather than measured individually
for a separate batch. Unless fed by separate conveyors, aggregates are combined prior
to being weighed.
Bulk mix proportions must be determined by cumulative timed weighing over a
specific length of time. The plant must be calibrated at the minimum, average and
maximum production rates expected. The production feed must be maintained at a
constant rate to accurately determine mix proportions. The production rate should be
kept at a constant rate for best accuracy.
Some indirect test methods are used to check the cement and water content. ASTM
methods C 1078 (13) and C 1079 (14) can be used to determine the cement and water
content of fresh concrete by chemical titration. The heat of neutralization test as per
ASTM D 5982 (15) can also be sued to determine the cement content of freshly
mixed concrete. All methods must be calibrated for given ingredients. These methods
are not effective for determining the pozzolana content which limits the applicability
for many mass RCC mixes.



The temperature of mass RCC is important to control thermal shrinkage cracking. The
temperature of RCC is controlled by the temperature of concrete ingredients &
average ambient conditions. The temperature is usually specified in the specifications
and recorded in place either just prior to or after compaction.

Strength Testing

Strength tests are normally performed at RCC dam sites. Test specimens may have
extremely low early-age compressive strengths, which makes stripping moulds and
capping specimens difficult. Some mixes may have less than 1.4 MPa compressive
strength at 3 days age. High-pozzolana mixes may have extended setting times.
Most QC programmes specify one set of tests per shift or day. This may represent
tests taken from every second or third lift. Tests are usually performed at 7, 28,90 &
180 days and 1 years age. Because of the high production rates, strength testing is of
limited value as a QC tool. Accelerated tests give 90 days strength in about 7 days.


Quality Control during RCC placement involves two operations: inspection
and testing. In addition to inspection activities, a comprehensive testing programme
should monitor the aggregate properties, RCC mix proportions, fresh concrete
properties, hardened concrete properties and in-place compaction. The frequency and
extent of testing should be established according to the size of the project, the
sensitivity of the design to variations in quality and the rate of RCC production.
Experience has shown RCC mixes to manifest greater variation in quality than most
conventional concrete mixes. This should be compensated for by sufficient overdesign factors for strength requirements.
Fresh RCC properties may very with daily, weekly or seasonal fluctuations in ambient
weather conditions. The variations generally affect water requirement, compaction
characteristics during construction & the quality of the concrete. Normally,
construction activities continue throughout a variety of warm, cold, wet or dry
weather conditions. Quality control personnel should ensure that continuous
adjustments in moisture and, if appropriate, in other mix proportions are made to
adapt to these conditions. Communication between shifts about these adjustments is
also important.

RCC Placing

Before RCC is placed, the previous layer should be completed and foundation and
joint cleanup approved.
Transporting RCC RCC has been transported from the batch plant to the site by
conveyors, end dump trucks, scrapers and front end loaders. Conveyors have the
advantage of being the quickest method of transporting RCC and cut down on joint
surface clean up and the number of hauling units required. If possible, hauling trucks
should not leave the lift surface. Otherwise, a tire cleaning station will have to be set
up just before trucks are allowed back onto the lift.

Placing RCC RCC should be placed from one abutment to the other. Frequently,
the RCC is placed in lanes adjacent to each other to make up the entire width of the
cross section. One-half lanes should be avoided because it causes additional
equipment tracking on the compacted surface.
Depositing and Spreading RCC RCC should be dumped by truck or front end loader
and spread with a dozer approximately 350 to 400 mm in depth. The depth after
spreading may depend on the amount of dozer spreading over the uncompacted
surface. At Upper Stillwater Dam, RCC was spread to about 400 mm depth since
there was very little dozer spreading and at Santa Cruz Dam, RCC was spread to
about 350 mm depth. As the lift progresses outward, the RCC is dumped onto the
previously spread, uncompacted layer and pushed forward. This helps remix
segregated aggregate. Street pads are recommended for dozers. Motor graders are
not recommended for spreading.
Compacting RCC RCC should be compacted within 15 minute after spreading. If
RCC is not placed and spread adjacent to the uncompacted concrete for 15 minute, the
edge should be compacted also. If more than 1 hour passes, the compacted edge
should be coated with a bonding mortar prior to resuming placing.
Special Compaction Areas - Some areas have more difficult compaction problems,
primarily due to poor access by large roller or safety concerns. These areas include:

At abutment contacts
At the RCC facing contact
Adjacent to appurtenant structures

Lack of complete consolidation in these areas often leads to undesirable seepage.

Smaller rollers, walk-behind rollers, power tampers (wackers), or plate vibrators must
be used to consolidate the RCC. This may require compacting in thinner lifts with
smaller rollers.
The required number of roller passes should be determined in the pre-qualification
test section or AMD control section. The first pass should be in the static mode. This
compresses the lift and thus helps prevent the roller from bogging down. Additional
passes should be in the vibrating mode. The high frequency (1800-3200 vib/min),
low amplitude (0.4 to 0.8 mm) setting has been effective for RCC. The amplitude
setting may have to be adjusted depending on the workability of the mix. RCC mix
with a 15 second Vebe time will compress the surface about 25 mm during the first
vibrating pass.
Nuclear density tests should be performed as soon as practicable with consideration
for safety and not interfering with other placing activities. The nuclear gauges must
be either attended or secured at all times. The lift may be re-rolled, if it fails to
meet the required density.

Joint Surface Cleanup Requirements

The compacted RCC lift can take on many different surface conditions, depending on
mix proportions, weather conditions and the time interval between lifts. Since most

RCC mixes do not bleed, it is possible to place successive layers without extensive
joint cleanup used on conventional concrete. Some typical joint surface conditions
which can be expected are as follows:



Freshly placed, plastic concrete. Typically, this surface condition will occur
when multiple lifts are placed each day or when the setting time of the mix is
retarded by admixtures or cool weather. The surface will still be mobile under
a vibratory roller.
Hardened, low-strength lift surfaces are encountered when one or two lifts
are placed daily, or when RCC is only placed in one shift per day such as at
night to meet temperature requirements. The lift surface can be easily
damaged in this condition because the RCC has set, but has low strength.
Hardened construction joints occur one or two days after placing the last lift
such as after a weekend shutdown. The lift is similar to standard concrete
construction joints, but may have a lower strength.
Damaged lift surface due to construction traffic or contaminated by
equipment fluids or precipitation.

Cleanup Procedures Specifications usually require different types of cleanup for the
different joint conditions.
Standard cleanup The surface should be clean and free of loose materials which can
interfere with bonding. This can be achieved by vacuum or forced air jet. This
conditions applied to all surface conditions and normally is associated with a specific
time limit such as 8 hours or 500 degree-hours, depending on ambient weather
Standard cleanup / bonding mortar (or bedding concrete) This applies to conditions
where the joint has set up, but can be damaged and follows the standard cleanup time
limit. This requires standard cleanup, followed by washing, if necessary. A 13 mm
layer of bonding mortar or 25 mm layer of bedding concrete is spread on the
saturated, surface-dried lift surface ahead of the RCC. The mortar should have a fluid
consistency which can be broomed onto the surface. This treatment is used for a lift
which is greater than eight hours and less than about three days old.
High-pressure cleanup / bonding mortar - This cleanup follows an extended
shutdown when the lift is about three days old. The lift surface is treated much the
same way as conventional concrete. The surface is cleaned by high-pressure water
jet, followed by the standard cleanup and bonding mortar. The surface can be
damaged by too much high-pressure jetting if it is low in strength.
Contaminated joint The lift may be treated using any of the above methods,
depending on the age of the joint and cause of the problem. It may be necessary to
remove the entire lift of RCC if contamination is extensive such as a heavy rainstorm
or large oil leak.



Control Charts (7)

Control charts are one of the most effective methods of tracking, displaying &
interpreting quality control test data and their use should be required by the project
specifications. Many quality control tests can be directly input to computers &
displayed as real-time information. Nuclear density & moisture test results can be
saved in most commercial gauges & test results can be fed into a computer after each
shift to give a shift moving average. Control charts identify representative trends.


Inspection is the first opportunity to observe an RCC problem & institute
measures to correct it. Any problems which delay RCC placing stop all production.
Delays can be attributed to many factors such as:

Joint cleanup
Foundation preparation & cleanup
Equipment breakdown
Insufficient quantities of materials

Since the placing rates are high, it is not possible to wait for standard 28-day test
specimens to be broken to assure quality concretes. This requires emphasis on good
inspection practices at the RCC batch plant & on the dam. Good communication
between the owner, engineer, inspection staff & contractor is essential.

Major Inspection Activities

The major RCC inspection activities include the following:


Foundation cleanup
Cleanup of the RCC lift joint
Mixing & transporting RCC for placing
Placing RCC in the required lift thickness
Maintaining workability & minimizing segregation of RCC
Ensuring sufficient compaction by vibratory rollers
Ensuring compaction at abutments & along dam faces
Curing the lift surface
Ensuring safety



Quality control after placement should include periodic inspections to ensure
that the RCC is being continuously moist cured & properly protected against damage.

Curing RCC

A fine water spray may be used to moisten the RCC prior to compaction if it beings to
surface dry, but may not be used to add additional water for workability. After
compacting, the surface should be cured with a fine spray for a minimum of 14 days
or until the next lift is placed. RCC does not bleed like conventional concrete and can

be covered quickly with plastic to reduce evaporation or protect the surface from the


The RCC surface should be protected from freezing, drying or precipitation.

Covering the surface with plastic and insulating mats is effective. The small
additional cost for covering the fresh RCC surface with plastic is easily offset by the
high cost of cleanup and production delays. If rain is imminent, the RCC should be
compacted quickly and the fresh concrete surface covered. The area where the RCC
will be placed when production resumes should also be covered to avoid delays.


[U.S.A.] (17)


Salient features of important quality control activities conducted during

construction of 91 m high Upper Stillwater Dam are summarized below.
Nearly 1.1 million m3 of RCC was placed at this dam in 11 months of
construction between 1985 & 1987.


Quality Control Tests Performed During Each Shift at Upper Stillwater



Grading & moisture content of aggregates

Yield quantities / cu. yd.
Consistency of RCC by Vebe Test
Density by Vebe method
Density by single probe nuclear density gauge
Compressive strength of hardended concrete


Duties of Inspection Staff at the Dam Site

Monitor all concrete placement activities for conformance with specification

Joint cleanup prior to placing
Tolerances of RCC lifts including loose dumped RCC & the compacted
Removal of any segregated aggregates
compaction Required roller passes & density
Curing the compacted lift surface

Stockpiling of Materials

Short construction season

RCC placement in two shifts per day, 7 days per week
Peak placing rate > 8,410 m3 / day
Supply of 1,650 tons or
50 truck loads /day of fly ash

Stockpiling of materials at site essential


Test Frequency for Concrete Construction Materials for Upper Stillwater



Test Frequency


1 sample every 25 tons

(full tests performed by U.S.A.C.E)

(Class F Fly Ash)

1 sample every 360 tons

(full tests performed by U.S.A.C.E.)


Manufacturers Certification

Fine Aggregate

1 test every 3 hours during production

Coarse Aggregate

1 test every 3 hours during production


Temperature Control


No post cooling as for block construction


Replacing a large percentage of cement with pozzolana

Placing RCC during cooler part of the day & / or year
Cooling RCC mix with ice or liquid nitrogen
Cooling the aggregates


RCC dam was allowed to crack in both the vertical & horizontal directions.
As the dam cools with time, these cracks open up until the dam temperature
stabilizes. Vertical cracks leak unless grouted.


Peak temperature rise in Upper Stillwater Dam recorded 90 day after

placement = 21.7 0C.


Creep Equation
I/E + F (K) ln (t+1)
Elastic + Creep strain in millionths inches per inch per lb/in2
Modulus of elasticity at age K, lb / in2.
Age of concrete when load is initially applied.
A constant for any loading age representing the rate of creep
deformation with time
Age in days after loading


Density Requirements for Upper Stillwater Dam


Average density by single probe nuclear density gauge 99% of AMD

(average maximum density), provided that:



Only one in the last 10 tests <98% of AMD &



No tests are less than 95% of AMD


Concrete gravity dams designed using high paste content RCC involve a minimum
cross-section of the dam, in order to achieve economy through lower volume of high
quality concrete. The construction speed is also very fast. This requires greater
emphasis on quality control & inspection practices for the RCC dams than for other
concrete gravity dams constructed using conventional block construction technology.



Sharma, V.M., Suri, S.B., Chandrasekaran, N. & Sthapak, A.K., Roller

Compacted Concrete for Dams, Civil Engineering & Construction Review,
Jan.1995, pp.42-47.
IS:3812-1981, Specification for Fly Ash for Use as Pozzolana & Admixture,
(First Revision).
IS:9103-1999, Specification for Admixtures for Concrete, (First Revision).
IS:383-1970, Specification for Coarse & Fine Aggregates from National
Sources for Concrete, (Second Revision).
IS:456-2000, Plain & Reinforced Concrete Code of Practice, (Fourth
Dolen, Timothy P., Quality Control Testing & Inspection of Roller
Compacted Concrete, Workshop on Influence of Creep on Design,
Performance & Safety of Concrete Dams, Vol.I, July 1993, New Delhi.
ACI Committee 207, Roller Compacted Mass Concrete, ACI Manual of
Concrete Practice, 1999, pp.207.5R-1 to 207 5R-47.
ACER Technical Memorandum No.8, Guidelines for Designing &
Constructing Roller Compacted Concrete Dams, U.S. Deptt. of the Interior,
Bureau of Reclamation, 1987.
ASTM Designation C 1170-91, Standard Test Methods for Determining
Consistency & Density of Roller Compacted Concrete Using a Vibrating
ASTM Designation C 1040, Test Methods for Density of Unhardened &
Hardened Concrete in Place by Nuclear Methods.
ASTM Designation C 1176, Test Method for Casting No Slump Concete in
Cylinder Moulds Using Vibrating Table.
IS:1199-1959, Methods of Sampling & Analysis of Concrete.
ASTM Designation C 1078, Test Method for Determining Cement Content
of Freshly Mixed Concrete,
ASTM Designation C 1079, Testing Methods for Determining Water Content
of Freshly Mixed Concrete.
ASTM Designation D 5982, Test Method for Determining Cement Content
of Soil Cement (Heat of Neutralization Method).
Dolen, timothy P., Mixture Proportioning Concepts & Quality Control for
RCC Dams, Workshop on Influence of Creep on Design, Performance &
Safety of Concrete Dams, Vol.I, July 1993, New Delhi.
Dolen, T.P., Richardson, A.T. & White, W.R., Quality Control / Inspection
Upper Stillwater Dam, Roller Compacted Concrete II, ASCE, New York,
February 1988, pp.277-293.


Your Introduction to RCC

(aka RCC-101)
Jan A. Struble
ASI-RCC, Inc. County Road 319
Buena Vista, Colorado USA 81211
PH: 001-719-395-8625
04 March 2005
ASI-RCC, Inc. is a General Contractor with a majority of its contracts in Dam and
Water Resource related projects.
ASI-RCC completed its FIRST RC Dam in 1986 in Parachute, Colorado, USA.
Since that time, we have completed 13 RCC Dams, more than any other contractor in
the world.
- RCC stands for Roller Compacted Concrete, not Reinforced Conventional Concrete.
- It is a 0 slump concrete.
-The 2 main reasons for using RCC are cost and time savings.
1. COST: The cost savings is in the use of Fly Ash, not cement for the
cementatious material.
2. TIME: You can put in place more RCC than Conventional concrete in the
same period of time.
For example: at the Ghatghar Upper Dam, 20,474 cubic meters was placed in 24 days.
853 cubic meters a day with a single 120 cum batch plant. Currently at the Ghatghar
Lower Dam, the placement has been as high as 2,350 cubic meters in 24 hours with 2120 cubic meter batch plants.
- The making/mixing of RCC can be done with:
o Conventional drum type mixers
o Conventional Pan Mixers
o Twin Shaft mixers
All have advantages and disadvantages depending upon the mix design and the rate of
product needed.
- The delivery of RCC can be accomplished by various methods.
o Truck
o Conveyor
o Specialized equipment
o Chutes
o Crane
o Or a combination of methods.
The conveyor system is generally the preferred method because it is faster.

- When the RCC is delivered to the placement location, conventional dozer spreads it.
The level and thickness is controlled by laser leveling/guidance equipment. Generally
the accepted thickness is 300mm.
- Once the RCC is spread, it is compacted with conventional rollers. Rollers can be of
the double drum style or the single drum style. Experience has found that the single
drum works as well as the double drum and is much more manageable for turning.
Smaller double drum rollers are used in tight locations and against the formwork.
- Once completed, it is very difficult to tell the difference in cores between RCC and
Conventional concrete. The difference: It takes the RCC longer to reach its design
strength. It can take up to 180 days.
- The looks and shape of RCC dams can be as varied as conventional dams. But, RCC
is used for the Gravity styles of dams.
- The upstream face of RCC can be:
o Precast
o Scraped to achieve the natural look.
o Slipped Crete (curb and gutter machine)
o Conventional Concrete
- RCC Dams can have the same features as conventional dams:
o Penstocks
o Outlets
o Intake structures
o Drain Systems
o Joint systems
o Instrumentation
o Galleries
- KEY RCC features/points:
o No RCC project is alike. You cannot copy all the specifications
and futures.
o No Dam is alike
o Location changes
o Climate changes
o Aggregate changes
o Crushing equipment changes.
o Books ONLY serve as guide lines
o Each project is Engineered to Its location
o Get out side Engineering advice ahead of time and with RCC
- Owner also has responsibilities:
o Provide Site access
o Provide enough ground space for the work

RCC is WORK!!!

Provide the Aggregate source

Possibility of providing the aggregates
Clear and reasonable specifications
Mix designs
BE Involved.

Suitability of fly ash for

Roller Compacted Concrete Dam
- a case study for Ghatghar Pumped Storage Scheme
D. M. More
Director General
C. L. Narkhede Scientific Officer
Maharashtra Engineering Research Institute, Nashik, Maharashtra
For the first time in India, construction of two storage dams in Roller Compacted
Concrete - namely Upper Dam and Lower Dam - under Ghatghar Pumped Storage
Scheme are undertaken by Irrigation Department, Government of Maharashtra
contemplating generation of 250 M/W Hydro Power. Mix Design of RCC was carried
out at MERI, Nashik under the guidance the Consultant for prescribed compressive
strength of 150 kg/cm2 at 91 days and other parameters. Final mix design for 220
kg/cm2 cementitious material (40% cement + 60% fly ash) was recommended. Huge
quantity of fly ash will be required for everyday construction work as speed of work
is fast and construction period is short. Fly ash from one or two locations of a thermal
power station will not be sufficient to provide such large volume of fly ash. Therefore,
Fly ash from different locations and nearby thermal power stations will have to be
used as and when need arises. Mixes were run for Five fly ashes from different
locations of Eklahare and three fly ashes of Dahanu T. P. S. and Pozzocrete fly ash of
Grade 63 & 83 and results were compared with the prescribed requirements. It was
observed that all fly ashes satisfy the prescribed requirements. However, Dahanu fly
ashes are better than Eklahare fly ashes. Pozzocretes gave much better results than
above 8 fly ashes and there is scope to reduce the grade of pozzocrete to economise
the cost with no compromise to quality requirements.
The development of Roller Compacted Concrete (RCC) primarily for hydraulic
structures has progressed rapidly in the past few years. The RCC combines the
principles of Concrete Technology and Geo-technical engineering using waste
materials such as fly ash as part replacement material to cement to produce a very
strong and cost effective material for construction of large massive structures. The
RCC has high potential of large-scale utilization of fly ash, which is at present
causing a grave environmental concern for its safe disposal.
The use of RCC has allowed many new dams to become economically feasible due
to reduced cost realized from the rapid construction methods and comparatively
lower cement content. It has also been very useful in economically rehabilitating
existing dams having the problems with stability and inadequate spillway capacity.
For the first time in India, construction of two storage dams in Roller Compacted
Concrete - namely Upper Dam and Lower Dam - under Ghatghar Pumped Storage
Scheme are undertaken by Irrigation Department, Government of Maharashtra
contemplating generation of 250 M/W Hydro Power. Mix Design of RCC was
carried out at MERI, Nashik. Mix designs were conducted considering 40% to 70%

cement replacement by flyash and 180, 200, 220, 240 kg/m3 cementitious contents.
Final mix design evolved contains 60% cement replacement by flash from Eklahare,
Nashik TPS for 220 kg/m3 cementitious content (40% cement + 60% flash) and for
0.523 water/cement ratio, gaining

150 kg/cm2 compressive strength at 91 days,

Density more than 2500 kg/m3,
Modulus of Elasticity comparable to conventional concrete

Huge quantity of fly ash will be required for everyday construction work as speed of
work is fast and construction period is short. One or two stages and units of
thermal power stations will not be sufficient to provide such large volume of fly
ash. Therefore, Fly ashes from different stages and units and nearby thermal power
stations will have to be used as and when need arises. This paper presents the
research done for assessing the suitability of fly ash from
different stages and units of Eklahare, Nashik & Dahanu Thermal Power Stations
(which are equidistant from the Project site) and Pozzocrete fly ash of grades 63 &
83 ( processed fly ash produced by Dirk India Ltd at Eklahere thermal power
station) for the final RCC mix design carried out for Ghatghar Pumped storage
Five fly ashes of Eklahare and three fly ashes of Dahanu T. P. S. and Pozzocrete
Grade 63 & 83 were selected for the study. All physical and chemical properties of
fly ashes were carried out. Mixes were run for these fly ashes and various properties
of fresh concrete and hardened concrete were carried out and presented here-inbelow.


The Project envisages of construction of Two reservoirs.
i) Upper reservoir is 14.50m high above the deepest foundation level and 478m in
length. The volume of concrete involved is about 35,000 cum and construction
of dam is completed..
ii) Lower reservoir is 81m high and 390m in length. The volume of concrete
involved will be about 6,00,000 cum and construction of dam is in progress.
The scheme provides for an installation of two reversible pump turbines/generator
power units in an underground powerhouse, each of which has capacity to generate
125 MW of Hydro power. The water conductor system consists of approach
channel, intake structure and single inclined shaft to lead water to the two power
units. The tailrace discharge is taken through tailrace channel to the lower reservoir.
Cost of the scheme is just about 146 crores. RCC work of Saddle dam was
completed in 36 days and Upper dam was completed in 54 days. Construction of
Lower dam is in progress and is expected to be completed in 15 months. With the
conventional technique of UCR masonry, Upper dam would have taken around

three years and Lower dam ten years. Also, delay in commissioning of power units
per year amounts to loss of revenue of about 69 crores by hydropower generation .
In addition, use of fly ash in replacing 60% cement will save crores of Rupees on
consumption of cement with conventional method. This indicates the economy in
cost and time that can be achieved due to construction of dams by R.C.C. technique.


3.1 Cementitious materials : Cement and Fly ash used are as follows
3.1.1 Cement (OPC) :- Manikgarh 43 grade (for mixes 1 and 2) and L & T 43 grade
(For Mixes 3 to 10) Ordinary Portland Cements were used. Cements were tested
for physical and chemical properties as per IS :4031-1967 and test results are
given in Table No. 1 & 3.
3.1.2 Fly ash :- For Mixes at Sr. No. 1 to 5, the fly ashes from Eklahare Thermal
Power Station, Nashik was used and for Mixes at Sr. No. 6 to 8, fly ashes from
Dahanu was used. The physical and chemical properties are tested as per
IS:3812-1966 and are given in Table No. 2 & 3.
3.1.3 Pozzocrete fly ashes :- Dirk India Ltd., Mumbai has processed the fly ash of
Eklahare TPS, Nashik and marketed under brand names Pozzocrete 63 grade
and Pozzocrete 83 grade. Field authorities has requested to carry out the
suitability of Pozzocretes also. These fly ashes were tested for physical and
chemical properties and results are presented in Table no. 2 and 3. Pozzocrete
63 was used in Mix no. 9 and Pozzocrete 83 was used in Mix no. 10.

Table 1. Physical properties of Cement.

Specific Fineness
Gravity cm2/g


Min. 2250

Setting time
Min. 30

Comp. Strength in
kg/cm2 @ days
7 28

Max. 600 230 330



Limits as per Is: 4031-1967






236 381

555 Manikgarh 43 gradwe OPC

used for mix no. 1 & 2.






326 460

585 L&T 43 grade OPC used

for mix no. 3 to 10.

Table 2. Phygical properties of Flyash





Cement Reactivity
Comp. Strength in kg/cm2 @ 28 days
Control Mix



Fly ash Mix

Minimum 80%
of control


Limits as per


246 (81.73%)
243 (80.73%)
306 (101.66%)
273 (97.50%)
280 ( 100.00%)

Used in mix no. 1

Used in mix No. 2
Used in mix No. 3
Used in mix No. 4
Used in mix No. 5





268 (89.03%)

Used in Mix No. 6





246 ( 81.73%)

Used in Mix No. 7



291 (92.97%)

Used in Mix No. 8



293 (91.85%)

Used in Mix No. 9



314 (98.43%)

Used in Mix No 10




Table 3. Chemical properties of Cement and fly ash

Sr. Silicon Aluminium Iron Calcium Magnecium Sulfur R 2O3 = Insoluble Loss on Remarks
Oxide Oxide
Oxide Oxide
Trioxide (Al 2O3+ Residue Ignition
No. SiO2
Al 2O3
Fe 2O3 CaO
Fe 2O 3)







Max. 5%

Fly ash from Eklahare TPS, Nashik
-5 66.51
-Fly ash from Dahanu TPS
6 68.94
-8 69.28
-Pozzocrete 63
9 61.04
-Pozzocrete 83
10 58.05
-Note :- For Fly ash, SiO2 + Al2O3 + Fe2O3 Should be Min. 70%



Limits as per IS :
Manikgarh 43 grade
L & T 43 grade

Max.12% Limits as per IS :



Used in Mix No.1

Used in Mix No.2
Used in Mix No.3
Used in Mix No.4
Used in Mix No.5



Used in Mix No.6

Used in Mix No.7
Used in Mix No.8



Used in Mix No. 9



Used in Mix No10

3.2 Aggregates
3.2.1 Fine Aggregate (crushed sand):- As per the guidelines given by RCC
consultant (EPDCI, Japan), 100% crushed sand was used in these mixes. The
sand was tested for physical properties as per IS:383-1982 and results are given
in Table No.4.
Table 4. Physical properties of fine aggregate (Crushed sand)

Specific Fineness
Absorption gravity
SSD basis.

Grading individual % retained on sieves

4.75 2.36 1.18 600
mm mm mm
8.5 21




micron micron micron





3.2.2 Coarse Aggregate :- Coarse aggregates are tested for their physical properties
as per IS:383-1982 and results are given in Table No.5. The quantity of coarse
aggregates and fine aggregate were slightly adjusted to match with the specific
gravity of cement, fly ash as well as coarse and fine aggregates. Size of coarse
aggregates and their proportions are as follows
50 mm to 20 mm
20 mm to 10 mm
10 mm to 5 mm

52 %
26.40 %
21.60 %

Table 5. Physical properties of Coarse aggregate

Grading Individual % retained on sieves
12.5 10
6.3 4.75 2.36
mm mm mm mm mm mm mm mm mm mm


































Water :- Potable water is used for mixing the concrete.


Admixture :- The fixed dose of admixture Plastiment-R (a set retarding and

water reducing admixture) is used with 0.40% by weight of cementitous content
in these mixes.


4.1 The mix design approved by the consultant has following mix proportions based
on SSD condition of fine and coarse aggregate.
Concrete mixes with 220 kg/m3 cementitious content (Ingredients for 1 m3 quantity)
Coarse aggregate in kg
Fly ash
Water Admixture
50 to 20
20 to 10
10 to 5

gravity on
SSD basis.









4.2 Concrete mixes using 60% fly ashes from from Eklahare TPS, Dahanu TPS and
Pozzocretes were carried out. The Ve Be time was kept between 25 to 30 seconds.
4.3 Casting the Specimen : The specimens cast were of 15cm dia x 30cm high
cylinders for Compressive strength and Modulus of Elasticity and 15 cm dia. x 15
cm high cylinders for Permeability test. The specimens were cast in 3 layers of
concrete, each layer being compacted on a vibrating table with surcharge load of
9.80 kg kept on the concrete.
4.4 Curing : Curing is the process of preventing the loss of moisture from the
concrete whilst maintaining a satisfactory temperature regime for heat of
hydration . Specimen were cured in water till the day of testing.
4.5 Testing : Specimens were tested for following parameters and results are given
Table no. 6
i) compressive strength at 7, 28, 56, 91, 132, 180 and 365 days;
ii) Modulus of Elasticity at 21 and 91 days and
iii) Permeability at 91 days.
Following points were observed from Table no. 6 and Graph no. 1.
5.1 Workability : All the mixes with Ve Be time values between 25 to 30 seconds
gives good workability.

Density : All the mixes gives density more than 2500 kg/cum.

5.3 Compressive Strength

5.3.1 Use of fly ashes from Eklahare, Nashik TPS shows the compressive strength
between 149kg/cm2 to 161 kg/cm2 with average value of 154 kg/cm2 at 91 days.
5.3.2 Use of fly ashes from Dahanu TPS shows compressive strength between 152 to
186 kg/cm2 with an average of 167 kg/cm2 at 91 days.
5.3.3 Use of Pozzocrete 63 grade fly ash shows compressive strength of 167 kg/cm2
at 56 days as compared to desired 150 kg/cm2 at 91 days.
5.3.4 Use of Pozzocrete 83 grade fly ash shows compressive strength of 177 kg/cm2
at 28 days as compared to desired 150 kg/cm2 at 91 day.
5.3.5 Following points are noted from above results.
i) Fly ashes from Eklahare TPS, Dahanu TPS and both grades of Pozzocrete fly
ash satisfy the criterion of achieving compressive strength of 150 kg/cm2 at 91
days and hence, all of them are suitable for approved mix design.
ii) Dahanu TPS fly ashes give slightly more compressive strengths than Eklahare,
Nashik TPS fly ashes.

iii) From Graph no. 1, it is seen that Pozzocrete 83 grade gives much more strength
than Pozzocrete 63 grade and Pozzocrete 63 gives more strength than fly ash
from Eklahare TPS and Dahanu TPS.
iv) Pozzocretes are finer and more reactive than normal fly ashes and they give
more strengths at early days. Hence, there is a considerable scope of reducing
the grade of Pozzocretes to achieve the prescribed compressive strength and
thereby, reducing considerable cost of Pozzocrete.
5.4 Modulus of Elasticity
No specific limits are given in Indian standards regarding Modulus of Elasticity.
However, Modulus of Elasticity for concrete ranging between 1.4 x 10-5 kg/cm2 to
4.5 x 10-5 kg/cm2 is considered for Roller Compacted Concrete.
It is seen from the Table 6 that Modulus of Elasticity value ranges from 1.45 x
10-5 to 3.23 x 10-5 kg/cm2 for fly ashes from Eklahare and Dahanu TPS and 2.69
X 10-5 to 4.47 X 10-5 kg/cm2 for Pozzocrete 63 & 83 grades at 91 days which are
comparable to those with conventional concrete.
5.5 Permeability
Permeability values for conventional concrete ranges between 10-9 to 10-12 m/sec
which are considered for Roller Compacted Concrete.
It is seen from Table no. 6 that the permeability values ranges from 0.115 X 10-9
m/sec to 1.44 X 10-9 m/sec at 91 days for 10 kg/cm2 pressure for fly ashes and
Pozzocretes and which appears to be satisfactory.
Following are the recommendations based on the studies conducted,
6.1 All concrete mixes satisfy the criterion of compressive strength of 150 kg/cm2 at
91 days for fly ashes of Eklahare & Dahanu TPS. In other words, fly ash samples
from the selected locations of Eklahare and Dahanu TPS are suitable for
replacement of cement up to 60% in RCC mixes with water cement ratio 0.523
and Ve Be time between 25 to 30 sec.
6.2 Pozzocrete 83 give more compressive strength than Pozzocrete 63. Both the
grades gave more strengths at early days as compared to normal fly ash.
6.3 Pozzocrete 63 gives compressive strength of 167 kg/cm2 at 58 days. Reducing the
grade of Pozzocrete below 63 grade, can satisfy the prescribed compressive
strength of 150 kg/cm2 at 91 days and can be economical in cost.
6.4 The density and workability of all the concrete mixes are satisfactory.
6.5 The average permeability of RCC mixes at 91 days for 10 kg/cm2 pressure is
6.6 Elasticity values at 91 days are comparable to conventional concrete.


Table 6 : Concrete mixes using Eklahare TPS, Dahane TPS and Pozzocretes


Location V B Compressive strength kg/cm2 at days

of Fly
132 180
158 186 207
149 174 189
150 183 204
152 180 195
161 192 212
Average 48
154 183 201


Elasticity kg/cm2
At days
91 365


at 90 days






0.75 x 10-9
0.96 x 10-9
0.47 x 10-9
1.39 x 10-9
1.44 x 10-9


Unit 1
Unit 2
Unit 1+2 28
Average 63








0.32 x 10-9
1.38 x 10-9
0.11 x 10-9













105 177










0.87 x 10-10




































P. R. Bhamare
Suptd. Engineer ( M.D. Circle )
C.D.O., Nashik
V. D. Kulkarni
Sub. Div. Engineer
C.D.O., Nashik

I. S. Chaudhari

Roller compacted concrete dams have emerged as a viable new type of dam.
RCC dams have gained acceptance worldwide in a relatively short time due to
speed of construction, rapid placing techniques and economy in cost by use
of fly ash. In India, first RCC dam is built at Ghatghar Project located in
Maharashtra. The project envisages construction of pumped storage scheme
of two units of 125MW capacity by building two reservoirs and three R.C.C.
dam, a saddle dam, a 14.5 m. high dam on the Pravara river near village
Ghatghar (Upper reservoir) and a 86 m. high dam across a local nalla near
village Chonde ( Lower reservoir ). The total volume of R.C.C. placement is
about 6.5 lakh cum.
This paper describes specific considerations in overall design and layout of a
R.C.C. dam(Ghatghar Project) vice-versa a conventional concrete dam.

INTRODUCTION :Roller compacted concrete dams have emerged as a viable new type of dam.
In India First RCC dam is constructed at Ghatghar Project Located in
Maharashtra. The project envisages construction of pumped storage scheme of
two units of 125MW capacity by building two reservoirs, one on the Pravara
river near village Ghatghar ( Upper reservoir ) and the other across a local
nalla near village Chonde ( Lower reservoir ). Both the Upper and Lower
dams are proposed in roller compacted concrete.
Salient features of upper dam and lower dam are enclosed vide appendix-I.


DESIGN OF RCC DAM :Design considerations such as geology, hydrology, hydraulics, foundation
treatment are common to concrete dams irrespective of construction method
i.e. conventional or Roller construction though they have their own
characteristics that must be taken into account in design process.
The overall design should be kept as simple as possible in order to fully utilise
the advantage of the rapid method of construction using RCC.

Material properties such as elastic modulus, Poissons ratio, coefficient of

thermal expansion and unit weight are similar to those of traditional dam
concrete since they depend to a great extent on the aggregates used.
Generally, shear strength along the horizontal joints between the layers is
more critical because of the layered method that is used in the construction
of RCC dams.
In addition, because of the construction technique, temperature distributions
and the corresponding thermal stresses in the dam are very different from
those of a traditional concrete dam. This is one of the major design
considerations and is often investigated using Finite Element Method (FEM)
To ascertain the design parameters and to know the no. of passes of roller for
compaction of R.C.C. it is necessary to construct a test section of the same
constituting materials as that of R.C.C. section. After knowing the in-situ
design parameters changes in the construction methodology & layout
consideration can be thought for.
In case of Ghatghar project the saddle dam No. 1 was constructed in R.C.C.
Before construction of saddle dam No. 1 two test sections were constructed.
The deficiency of segregation observed in test sections was rectified in mix
design for saddle dam No. 1.

RCC MIX DESIGN :For the good quality of RCC, proper mix design is very essential. The trials
were taken in the laboratory of Maharashtra Engineering Research , Institute,
Nashik (GOM) under the guidance Dr. Dunstan and depending upon the
compressive strengths result of cylinders a mix was derived. As per this mix
design 220 Kg. of cementitious material per cum. of concrete was decided to
use, out of which quantity of cement is 88 kg./cum. and fly-ash 132 Kg. The
mix designed at MERI was fine tuned by Dr. Dunstan after placement of test
section as segregation was observed in test sections and retardation duration
was not sufficient to have hot joint between two layers. Depending on actual
gradations of the aggregate, a workable mix was evolved to use it in Saddle-I.
RCC gravity dams are designed to the same criteria as a traditional concrete
gravity dams with respect to stability and allowable stresses in the concrete.


LAYOUT CONSIDERATIONS :i) Overall cross-section of dam :A dam to be constructed by RCC method shall be such a structure as to be safe
against anticipated loads & shall also possess watertightness similar to
conventionally constructed. Concrete used in the dam shall possess required
strength, unit weight, watertightness & durability.
Top Width :The conventional concrete dam are generally designed with top width of
N.O.F. as 5.50 m to suit the carriage way width of bridge. For R.C.C dams
the top width is provided considering free roller movement. In case of

Ghatghar Hydro Project the top width for N.O.F. section with R.C.C. is
provided as 8.0 m.
Stepped Overflow Section :In case of roller compacted concrete dams, the advantage of layered
concreting can be taken to provide stepped spillway if the unit discharge is
less than 15 cumecs. By providing stepped spillway the substantial energy of
spilling water can be dissipated partly. For dissipation of residual energy
nominal energy dissipation is required. This economises cost of work.
In case of Ghatghar Project, the unit discharge for spillway of Lower dam is
1.80 cumecs. Hence stepped spillway is provided. The roller compacted
concrete is proposed in horizontal layers of 300mm. The advantage of this
construction method is taken in providing stepped spillway with height of
steps as 600 mm. Due to provision of stepped spillway the energy is
dissipated and only 10m. long apron is required for dissipation of residual
energy. This energy dissipation arrangement is economical and is also tested
on model in MERI Nashik.
ii) Galleries and shafts :Design requirements for R.C.C. galleries and adits are commensurate with
those of traditional concrete dams. In case of conventional concrete dams
construction of galleries do not pose any obstruction to the construction of
spillway portion. However inclusion of galleries in R.C.C. dams interfere in
efficient placement and compaction of R.C.C.
For Ghatghar Lower dam initially foundation drainage gallery was proposed
with longitudinal slopes parallel to the foundation line. This was modified
later by providing horizontal galleries with vertical shafts considering efficient
placement of R.C.C.
Fig. 1 & 2 enclosed show the conventional gallery layout and modified gallery
In case of R. C. C. dams where galleries are necessary, the layout of gallery
should be designed taking into account the effects on RCC placement
operations. If possible, the gallery should be located at a reasonable distance
from the upstream face to allow construction equipment to operate in the area
Galleries can also be provided by use of gravel in-fill that is later mined out.
The most popular method is placing of facing concrete against form work.
Pre-cast concrete panels or blocks can also be used as covers for galleries.
Provision of such pre-cast covers do not hamper the placing and rolling of
In case of Ghatghar Project the foundation drainage gallery and
inspection gallery of internal size 1.8 m x 2.6m are proposed. At the top of
gallery precast reinforcement concrete covers are proposed.
A figure showing the Longitudinal section of dam & gallery shafts is
appended vide fig.-2.

iii) Appurtenant structures and inserts:-(Structures in the dam)

Appurtenant structures and inserts like outlets can provide obstacles to RCC
placement. The preferred practice for RCC dams is to locate any insert that
has to pass through the dam in or along the rock foundation to minimise
delays to RCC placement.
Conduits usually are constructed of traditional concrete prior to initiating RCC
placement. The avoidance of large inserts in the dam simplifies the
construction, minimises programme disruptions and can maximise savings.
As in the case of composite dam, comprising of earth dam and masonry dam,
there can also be a combination of conventional concrete dam and R.C.C.
dam. Upper dam of Ghatghar Project can be illustrated as an example in this
regard. In case of Upper dam of Ghatghar Project the spillway has been
provided in conventional concrete where as non overflow section has been
provided in roller compacted concrete.
Lower dam of Ghatghar project is a classic example of composite construction
where in for over flow section, R.C.C. is proposed upto the pier foundation
level. The spillway piers and bridge are proposed in conventional concrete.
iv) Instrumentation:The instrumentation in an RCC dam is similar to that in a traditional concrete
dam. More emphasis is usually placed on the thermal conditions in an RCC
dam and therefore frequently more thermocouples are provided in an RCC
dam than in a comparable traditional concrete dam. However, the inclusion of
instrumentation in the dam body can interrupt the continuous placement of
RCC. Ideally installation should be planned to coincide with planned
construction breaks, e.g. for maintenance of construction plant etc., or should
be designed so that they can be installed as a separate activity to the main
Installation of inverted plumb lines from the gallery also do not interfere with
the RCC placement.
Unless carefully planned, installation of embedded instruments such as strainmeters, thermocouples and piezometers can interfere with RCC construction
and their installation should be carefully considered during construction.
Thermocouples are preferred for temperature measurements and long-base
strain gauges (at least 1 m long) for crack-width measurements.
For Ghatghar Project the instrumentation proposed comprises of pore
pressure meters, stress & strain meters, normal & inverted plumb lines,
seismograph system, joint meters and thermocouples.
v) Thermal consideration :For R.C.C. dam thermal analysis is necessary in view of deciding placement
temperature of concrete and spacing of contraction joints.
The most effective method to prevent massive concrete from cracking, apart
from reducing the heat generation within the body of the dam, is to reduce the
difference in temperature between the peak temperature reached after concrete
placement, and the final stabilised temperature, thus limiting the temperature
drop of the structure. The allowable temperature drop is a function of the
block size and geometry, relative location with respect to the foundation,

relative stiffness of the concrete and the foundation rock, tensile strength and
creep behaviour of the concrete, rate of temperature drop, etc.
Accurate modeling of the construction process is thus important in predicting
the early temperature of the dam body. The principal function of vertical
contraction joints is to control cracking due to volume change, foundation
restrain and foundation irregularities.
Post formed contraction joints through the whole dam created by vibrating
crack inducers into the RCC either after spreading or after compaction - this is
the most common approach.
vi) Seismic aspects :The analysis of RCC dams for seismic loading conditions is identical to that
for traditional concrete dams. The tensile and shear strength of the horizontal
lift joints required for seismic loading may be higher than those under static
Proper measures have to be taken during construction to
accommodate these requirements. For considering the seismic parameters the
site-specific studies are required to be carried out. In case of Ghatghar Project
Maximum Credible Earthquake (MCE) and Design Based Earthquake (DBE)
have been evaluated on the basis of the above studies and recommendations
have been made for seismic analysis of the dams.
iii) Contraction joints :The principal function of vertical contraction joints is to control cracking due
to volume change, foundation restrain and foundation irregularities. There are
three general forms of contraction joints namely post-formed, formed &
induced joints that have been used in RCC dams.
Post-formed contraction joints through the whole dam created by vibrating
crack inducers into the RCC either after spreading or after compaction - this is
the most common approach.
Formed contraction joints against formwork in a similar fashion to
traditional concrete dams.
Induced joints in which only part of the joint is formed, usually near the
faces, allowing thermal movement to create the rest of the joint if so required.
In case of conventional concrete dams the transverse joints are generally
spaced from 15 to 25 m. based on the I. S. provisions. No exhaustive thermal
analysis is generally carried out to decide the spacing of contraction joints. In
case of roller compacted concrete dams the detail thermal analysis is necessary
to decide the spacing of contraction joints. In case Ghatghar project, for upper
dam joint spacing was provided as 25 m. The joints spacing was reviewed for
Lower dam which is now proposed at 15 m. interval.
viii) Joints between layers of RCC :Horizontal joints are inevitable in RCC dams because of the layered method of
construction. Each layer is the thickness of material compacted. The
performance of an RCC dam will almost entirely be dictated by the
performance of the horizontal joints between the layers. If there is no
segregation when the RCC is placed and spread & if there is intimate contact
between the two layers and if there is sufficient energy from the vibratory
roller to turn that contact into good bond, the RCC will perform as a

monolithic structure with a performance at least to that of a traditional

concrete dam.
ix) Formation of faces for R.C.C. dam :a) Pre-cast concrete panels :Pre-cast concrete panels have been used on the upstream face of a number of
dams. This method of forming a face is relatively expensive and the fixing of
the panels and the welding of the membrane can become the factor that
dictates the rate of placement of the RCC.
b) Slip forming of facing elements :The use of an off-set paver to slip-form facing elements to create the faces of
an RCC dam has the two advantages of eliminating the need for formwork and
separating the forming of the face from the placement of the RCC. The RCC
can usually be compacted against the facing elements within four to eight
hours .
c) Pre-cast concrete blocks :Pre-cast concrete blocks have been used for the downstream face (and in a few
cases for the spillway) of RCC dams.
In case of Ghatghar Project the R.C.C. is placed against form work on
upstream & downstream side of N.O.F. for Upper dam. The same method is
proposed to be adopted for Non-overflow section and Overflow section of
lower dam.

CONCLUSIONS :Main features in design and layout of R.C.C. dam are as follows.
i) Similarity in design :The design considerations such as geology, hydrology, requirement gallery,
foundation treatment and design of dam section etc. for roller compacted
concrete dam is same that of conventional concrete dam.
ii) Inserts :The design of inserts structures such as galleries and outlets etc. should be
planned such that it should pose minimum / least hindrance to continuos
placement of R.C.C. Due thought may also be given to the proposal of
providing inserts structures in conventional construction methods for avoiding
obstruction in placement of RCC.
iii) Joint spacing :In case of conventional concrete dam the contraction joints are spaced at 15 m.
to 25 m. whereas in case of R.C.C. dam the contraction joint spacing is based
on thermal studies. For Ghatghar Project the contraction joint are proposed at
15 m. interval.
iv) Stepped spillway :In case of RCC, the advantage of concreting in layers can be taken to provide
stepped spillway as energy dissipation arrangement provided unit discharge
criteria for stepped spillway is satisfied.

Acknowledgement :Authors express their gratitude towards Shri N. D. Vadnere, Principal

Secretary, Irrigation Department, Government of Maharashtra, Mumbai &
Shri S. V. Sodal, Secretary, C.A.D.A., Irrigation Department, Government of
Maharashtra, Mumbai and Shri R. M. Landge, Chief Engineer (Projects &
Vigilance) and Joint Secretary, Irrigation Department, Government of
Maharashtra, Mumbai and Shri V. V. Gaikwad Chief Engineer, Koyna
Project, Pune for encouragement and guidance vested by them.


Appendix - I
Salient features of Ghatghar Project

Total Length
Maximum height
Length of left N.O.F.
Length of right N.O.F.
Spillway Gated/ungated
No. of gates/ length
Length of Overflow
Design flood
Control levels
a) T.B.L.
b) M.W.L.
c) F.R.L.
d) Crest Level
e) Deepest foundation level

Upper dam
15.20 m
287.00 m
5 Nos. of
12 x 4 m each
70.80 m
900 cumecs

Lower dam
89.00 m
206 cumecs

757.50 m
756.25 m
756.00 m
753.00 m
742.30 m


National Seminar Cum Business Meet

On Use of Fly Ash in Hydro Sector
March 4-6, 2005, Venue : Ramada Plaza, Juhu Beach, Mumbai





Chief Engineer
Koyna Project,

Superintending Engineer
Ghatghar Hydro Electric Project Circle

Executive Engineer
Ghatghar Pumped Hydro
Electric Project Division No.1,

ABSTRACT : Roller compacted Concrete (RCC) is the key word of Modern

Dams. India has also gone for its first ever RCC dams for Ghatghar Hydro Electric
Project, by Water Resources Department of Government of Maharashtra.
Ghatghar Pumped Storage Scheme is of 250MW comprising two units of 125MW
each. Ghatghar Hydro Electric Project is unique of its kind in India. The use of fly
ash is for first time in RCC technology for building three dams. The use of fly ash
in large scale is also for first time in Hydro Sector.
Out of three RCC Dams two dams namely Saddle Dam, Upper Dam, have been
completed in May-2003 and June-2004 respectively. Saddle Dam was built with
circa 1900 M.T. of fly ash within 38 working days. Upper Dam was built with circa
4700 M.T. of fly ash within 54 working days. Thus 6600 M.T. of high volume of fly
ash was used first time in India. The expected fly ash use in construction of these
three dams is of the order of 1,00,000 M.T.
All the three dams are being built one after another in the increasing order of
height and volume of RCC placement. The lessons learned from Saddle and
Upper Dam, regarding construction methodology, adequacy of plant and
equipments, results of strength obtained are useful for Lower Dam. On successful
completion of these two dams the level of confidence is definitely increased to
adopt of RCC technology and thereby massive use of fly ash in upcoming new
dams in Hydro Sector. The use of fly ash will give rise to these three dams like
1.0 HISTORY FOR USE OF FLY ASH : The department of Science and
Technology Govt. of India, New Delhi constituted a committee for the fly ash
utilisation and disposal in 1995. This committee recommended the construction of
RCC Dam for Ghatghar Project. The construction of Upper Dam with RCC has
been included as a pilot project in the detailed project report prepared by Task
Force on Hydraulic structures, Central Soil and Materials Research Station, New
Delhi. The construction of dam with RCC technology, which is not only uses fly
ash as a construction material, but also facilitates the faster construction.
2.0 GENERAL : Three RCC. Dams namely Saddle Dam, (11.5 m) 14210 m3
Upper Dam (14.5m) 35576 m3 and the Lower Dam (86.0 m) 600,000 m3 is being
built in the same order for Ghatghar Pumped Storage Scheme. Ghatghar Pumped
Storage Scheme is the first ever largest Scheme (250 MW) of Government of

Maharashtra comprising two units of 125 MW each. The underground

Powerhouse complex is in advanced stage of construction. In order to commission
the Powerhouse the construction of all three dams needs to be completed. This
has lead to adopt this new technique of RCC Dam. The saddle and Upper Dam is
located near the origin of river Pravara at Ghatghar close to the westerly natural
slope of Sahyadri ranges at M.S.L.750 m. It provides storage of 5.87 M m3 of
water required for the operation of pumped storage scheme. Two saddles on right
fringe of Upper reservoir, open out on the westerly slope, out of which on saddle is
already build in Colgrout masonry. The Saddle No.1 is 288 m, long with maximum
height of 11.5 m, above the deepest foundation has been completed in April 2003.
The Upper Dam is a gravity dam 451 m long with 14.5 m maximum height above
the deepest foundation. The Upper dam has been completed in June-2004.
The Lower Dam is located down the continental divide across Shai-river, near
Village Chonde at M.S.L. 350m which is at the foot hill of Sahyadri ranges. It
provides storage of 3.80 Mm3 of Water The lower Dam is a gravity dam 415m long
with maximum height of 86 m above deepest foundation. The work of RCC
placement is in progress.
3.0 DESIGN : All the three dams are designed basically as gravity dam. The
Lower main dam having maximum height of 86 m is provided with foundation
gallery, and foundation drainage holes, inspection gallery, ventilation shaft, lift
shaft etc., as per the conventional gravity dam. The other two dams with low
height are not provided with such openings.
All the three dams are to be constructed using high paste RCC with layer
thickness of 300 mm. Further to make the dam impermeable 0.5m-1m wide facing
both upstream and downstream is proposed to be formed in grout enriched
vibrated RCC (GEVR). All the three dams are being constructed by one and the
same contractor, Patel Engineering Ltd (India) in association with ASI (USA). The
design of the dam is done by Tata Consulting Engineers (INDIA) as an Indian
counter part of EPDC (JAPAN) who is the prime consultant. Malcolm Dunstan and
Associates (U.K.) is the consulting Engineer for RCC dam.
4.0 TRIAL MIX PROGRAMME : Since all three dams are the first RCC Dam in
India, an extensive Trial mix programme was undertaken and several hundred
specimens were tested. During the programme considerable number of mixes
were prepared using different combinations of cement and fly ash. The trial mix
programme was developed in three stages.
Stage - I : In the late 1998 trial mix programme was undertaken at MERI, Nashik
several mixes were tried in order to investigate the optimum gradation, optimum
workability and water contents and optimum cementitious contents. After these
factors had been determined, 23 mixes were tried with the same total
cementitious contents (Nominally 220 kg/m3 but actually 228 kg/m3) and same
water content of 121 kg/ m3. Two different cements were tried, Manikgarh G-43
and L & T G-43 and two fly Ashes from different locations from Nashik Thermal
Power Station. Second series of 12 mixes was then tried with four different
fly ash cementitious ratios and three different total cementitious contents
(186, 207 and 248 kg/ m3)

Stage-II : Trial mix programme was undertaken at MERI in February-2001. In this

series five mixes were tried. All with the same mix proportion. It is apparent from
all the mixes of MERI that there is significant long term strength development and
increase in strength with age increases the greater the proportion of fly ash within
the cementitious contents. It is probable that there will be further development of
strength beyond the age of a year. It has been found that the majority of RCC
containing fly ashes that have a low early age strength, such as that from Nashik,
will have long term strength, development.
Test Section 1 : Based on MERI mix Test Section 1 was carried out in March
2002. Test section 1 was successful in understanding methodology & sequence of
operation and training the staff. Also new procedure for GEVR was decided in
Test Section 1.
Test Section 2 : Test section 2 was carried out in October 2002 based on mix by
field lab., though there was increase in strength of specimen as well as in-situ
core strength. The test section 2, was not successful in getting a continuos core,
due to segregation observed at lift joints.
Stage II A : At this juncture in December-2002, Malcolm Dunstan and Associate
(MD&A) were invited for guidance. The objective of the trial mix programme
carried out by MD&A was to optimize the gradation and workability of the RCC so
that cohesive RCC could be obtained with little potential for segregation and one
that could be used for GEVR. At this stage actual strength of RCC was considered
to be less important because it was to be used initially in the Saddle dam in which
the stresses required are less stringent than the upper dam and much less
stringent than the Lower Dam. Two main changes were made to the specified
mixture proportion, first the gradation was changed and second mix was made
much workable. The actual optimize gradation is compared to the suggested limit.
This mix suggested by Dr.Dunstan of MD & A was designated as G 85.
A small trial of the proposed RCC was undertaken with the mix suggested by
MD&A. A number of load of RCC were dump from truck on to the surface of test
section-2. The RCC was spread in layer and compacted by 4 passes of the
double drum vibratory roller (1 static and 3 vibratory). All the nuclear densiometer
reading were in excess of 2500 kg/m3. Although the trial was only small it was
sufficient to show that RCC with the gradation proposed and with the workability
proposed could easily be handle and could be roller compacted to a high density.
The surface of RCC after Roller compaction was satisfactory. The same mix was
decided to be adopted for placement of saddle dam as a full Scale trial.
Stage II B : In November-2003, further to successes of the RCC mix G 85 in the
Saddle dam only two mixes are to be considered for Lower dam, the G 85
kg cement + 132 kg fly ash) and G 100 (88 kg cement + 152 kg fly ash). Three
different cement were studied ; L & T, ACC and Ambuja. Low lime fly ashes from
two different sources was also studied from NTPS (Pozzocrete 40) Nashik and
from Dahanu.
5.0 FULL-SCALE TRIAL : The full-scale trial was done for layer 1-2-3 with mix
proposed by MD&A (Table 3) for saddle dam in December-2002. It was found that
both the cylinder density and In-situ densities are very much higher than those
found during the first two test sections. This was because the water contents of
the mix was higher and thus theoretical air free density was Lower than that of

mixes used in two test sections. The reasons for higher densities was that the
RCC was much more compactable and thus there were lower air voids.
The objective of the full scale trial was to investigate all the construction procedure
in particular the joint treatment between the layer and the training of personnel
who were suppose to work at the Upper Dam and Lower dam. The first trial was
constructed between 9 to 27 March 2003 and consisted of 19 layers of 300mm
compacted thickness with a total volume of 6780 m3 in left hand side (LHS)
portion. Similarly the second half of saddle right hand side (RHS) portion was
started on 22nd April 2003 and completed on 9th May 2003. The RCC volume of
7431 m3 was placed in RHS. Thus this full scale trial of RCC placement for
complete saddle dam for the placement of RCC volume of 14200 m3 gave good
learning curve to all of the supervisor of department and the contractor and the
installed a crushing plant of 100 T/hr initially and subsequently added one more
90 T/hr for Upper dam and Saddle. A batching plant of 64 m3/hr was installed for
placement of Saddle and RHS portion (15000 m3) of Upper dam.
The contractor subsequently installed one 120 m3/hr. 'SCHWING' batching plant
for LHS portion (25000 m3) of Upper dam. The minimum capacity for crushing
plant was specified as 220 T/hr (Draw out) Therefore aggregate productions was
less resulting into delay of RCC placement for Saddle and Upper dam, so also
was the case with batching plant. The specified capacity for batching plant was
100 m3/hr. Due to lack of fine tuning maximum output was 60 m3/hr in the year
2003. However after proper adjustment of this batch plant in the year 2004 this
was increased upto 80 m3/hr.
For Lower dam initially two batching plant of 120 m3/hr have been installed and a
third batching plant of 160 m3/hr capacity is being added. The three ice plants of
90 TPD are being installed near these three batching plants. The ice flakes will be
used during hot season.
The various plants and equipments used and proposed are shown in (Table 1)

Batching plants for Lower Dam - Jan 2005

Lower Dam in progress - Jan 2005

Table1 : Plant & Equipments for RCC dams


For RCC production (off dam)


Coarse aggregate draw out

Fine aggregate draw out
Cement storage

Crushing Plant


Fly ash storage



Concrete manufacturing

Batching plants


RCC transportation
Cooling System

Belt conveyor
Chilling plant
Ice plant
Wet belt system




Saddle &
Upper Dam
100 TPH
90 TPH
in bags

Lower Dam
250 TPH +120 TPH
90 TPH + 90 TPH
350 MT + 115 MT +
430 MT
250 MT + 80 MT +
300 MT
120 m3/Hr + 120
M3/Hr + 160 m3/Hr

in jumbo
64 m3/Hr +
30 M3/Hr +
120 m3/Hr
100 M3/Hr
20 TR

300 M3/Hr
54 TR
90 TPD
1100 TR

For RCC placement (on dam)

Dumpers (10 T / 18 T )
Dozer (lesser guided)
Wheel loader (2cum)
Double Drum Vibratory Roller (10 T)
Double Drum Vibratory Roller (2.5 T)
Joint cutter (Jack hammer type)
Immersion vibrator
Nuclear Density Gauge
Mechanical Broom
Grout Mixer
Plate compactor
Mobile Crane (for form work)
Water blaster

Saddle Dam &

Upper Dam
4 Nos
2 Nos
1 No
2 Nos
1 No

Lower Dam
6 Nos
3 Nos
5 Nos
3 Nos
2 Nos
12 Nos
2 Nos
2 Nos
2 Nos
4 Nos
2 Nos
1 No

1 No
-1 No
2 Nos
1 No
1 No

Power Requirement for Lower dam : The estimated Power requirement for
various Plants & Equipments will be as follows (Table 2) :
Table 2 : Power requirement for various plants & equipments

Batching plant I & II (120 m3/hr)
Pneumatic system
RCC delivery system (1st season)
Chilling plant I, II (34 TR)
Batching plant III with pneumatic system
Additional delivery system (2nd season)
Ice plant I, II & III (30 TPD)
Chilling plant III (54 TR)
Lighting load
Crushing plant
Work shop colony
Crusher @ quarry 1 (250 TPH)
Wet belt conveyor (1100 TR)
Chilling plant for aggregate
Crusher @ quarry 2 (120 TPH)
Water supply for Lower Dam



Load (KVA)



Total :


Retarders : If the initial stage of an RCC can be retarded the placement of
concrete become much easier. For test Section 1 & 2, plastiment-R was used as
a set -retarder and with the given materials the initial set was only of 4 hours.
Even after increasing the dosages from 0.8% to 1% it was not found possible to
retard initial set much beyond 5 hours thus this was not found adequate. There for
with preliminary trial mixes an exercise was simultaneously undertaken using
CONPLAST R as a set-retarder. This exercise was very successful and it was
found to be possible to delay the initial set for 20 hrs. During full scale trial, for
Saddle Dam dosages of 1.2% of weight of total cementitious contents was used
for layer 1-2 -3, however it was found that it was not possible to compact the layer
by vibratory compacting roller even after several hours. Therefore, dosages were
further reduced to 1.0% for the next layers in the Saddle Dam. The same dosages
are adopted for Upper and Lower dam.
Cylinder compressive strength : The early age cylinder compressive strength of
the specimen manufactured from the RCC placed in Saddle dam, were lower than
those from TS 1 & 2 and were lower than that required for lower dam though low
strength will be adequate for saddle dam in which the stresses will be lower than
the lower dam, because the height of the saddle dam is small strength may be
sufficient for upper dam which is only 3m higher than the Saddle. However, after
resuming the work of RCC placement of saddle dam a different mix evolved by
field engineers was tried.
Aggregate Cooling System : Initially the specifications required that placement
temperature of RCC is not more than 27oC. To achieve this the aggregates were
covered by weather sheds and were cooled by chilling water to 10oC. This system
was used for Saddle and Upper dam located in relatively higher elevation where
the ambient temperature was low. For Lower dam the aggregates will be cooled to
10oC on wet belt. The wet belt system is being installed.
Transportation Of RCC : The batching plant was installed at Upper Dam
location which is at a distance of 2 km from the Saddle. The transportation of fresh
RCC was done by the dump trucks with capacity of 4m3. A special arrangement
was done to the rear of the trucks to reduce the potential for segregation when the
concrete was dumped. The trucks were covered to avoid dust and to protect from
solar radiation. A stacker-conveyor was installed at the center of Saddle to convey
the RCC from specially raised platform to saddle. A hopper was installed at a fixed
point from where the RCC was again discharge into intra-dump trucks in the body
of a dam. A pair of intra dump trucks was used for conveying the RCC to the point
of placement.
For Lower dam a conveyor belt delivery system is installed from three batching
plant to a truck unloader point on LHS side. Due to limitations of space available
on site inclination of delivery system is 18o.
RCC Placement The RCC discharged at the point of placement by the Intra
dump trucks was spread to the required thickness (340 mm uncompacted, to
achieve 300mm after compaction) The thickness of layer was assured by
automatic laser guided system connected to blades of dozers. The RCC was
placed in 8m wide strip parallel to the axis of the dam. As width was less there
was not possibility of a joint either parallel or perpendicular of dam axis. The

placement was carried out continuously 7 days a week and 24 hrs a day. The
RCC placement of Saddle Dam was done for 14210 cum within 38 working days
with circa 1900 M.T. of fly ash while the RCC placement of Upper Dam was done
for 35576 cum within 54 working days with circa 4700 M.T. of fly ash.
The RCC placement for Lower Dam has been started on 14th December 2004 and
circa 65,000 Cum has been done within 44 working days with circa 9,000 M.T. of
fly ash.
Curing : The RCC was cured continuously by using sprinkling the water into air in
order to keep the surface of a layer always in moist condition. A saturated surface
dry (SSD) condition was maintained till the placement of next layer. After
completion of RCC placement of Saddle continuous curing was done for 40 days.
Horizontal Joint Treatment : As per different exposure time the horizontal joint
were treated in a different way. For exposure time of less than 24 hrs. Only loose
aggregate were removed and pounded water was squeezed. For exposure time
of more than 24 hrs, an exposed aggregate finish was achieved for cold joints.
When the concrete had stopped for a long time high pressure water blaster
(40 Mpa) was used depending upon mean temperature of the month, joints were
classified as hot, worm, cold and super cold, and were treated accordingly. In
saddle there was only one planned cold joint after layer 1,2,3, in RHS portion.
While in Upper dam there is only one planned cold joint at the end of working
season in June 2003.
Contraction Joints : The contraction joints are vertical joint perpendicular to axis
of a dam. These joints have been specified at 50 m for Upper and Saddle dam by
Central Water Power Research Station, Pune (CWPRS Pune) and for these
spacing of contraction joints the maximum placement temperature worked out as
17oc. However it was not found possible to achieve 17oC placement temperature
with existing cooling system of sprinkling water and providing weather shed. The
placement temperature observed was 20 to 25oC. as against of permissible temp.
as per specification of 28oC. In order to negotiate this, contraction joints are
further reduce to 25 m. In saddle dam and Upper dam at each layer, galvanized
steel crack inducer was inserted at the location of each contraction joints. The
crack inducers were 500 mm long and 200 mm high. These plates were inserted
in a freshly laid layer with the help of jackhammer very easily. Learning from
lesson of Upper dam as the ambient temperature of Lower dam is high, joint
spacing is been kept at 15 m.
Materials : A rapid placement of good mix without segregation & with least
numbers of cold joints is the governing criteria to achieve better quality of RCC. In
order to have continuous placement it is necessary to plan and achieve required
inventory. The materials required for RCC are aggregates, cement, fly ash,
admixture, and water. In addition to this material like PVC water stops and GI
plates are required for contraction joints in RCC. It is important that all the related
activities such as foundation clean up, access and delivery of materials and
embedded parts be planned and programmed well ahead of time. RCC has
comparatively low ratio of man-hours to volume of RCC because of mechanised
activities. The plant layout should be carefully planned to have minimum energy

requirements, minimum haul distances and minimum exposure of fresh RCC to

The RCC placing rates are generally high hence large stockpiles are preferred to
avoid reduced speed of placement and cold joints. Some designers specify for
production of more than 30% of aggregates prior to start of RCC placement. For
Lower dam three sizes of CA i.e. 50-20, 20-10, 10-5 mm are being used with
crushed sand as FA. The stockpile of 6.3 lakh MT was created before
commencement of RCC. Huge area of 25 acres is acquired for stockpiling. The
crushed aggregates are transported by dump trucks to feed the bins of batch
plants. The aggregates are pre-cooled before transportation.
Considering continuous and rapid placement of RCC it is mandatory to plan for
sufficient storage silos for cement and fly ash, bulk transportation and pollution
free unloading arrangements. For lower dam 1080 MT and 1360 MT silos are
erected for storing cement and fly ash. Fly ash is procured from Eklahre Thermal
Power Station, about 150 km and transported by 15 bulkers of 25 MT capacity.
The fly ash from Dahanu TPS is also planned to use if required. Fly ash is being
an unloaded pneumatically.
The admixture i.e. retarder CONPLAST-R which is being used is stored in 4 tanks
of 20T. It is mixed in water to be added in the batching plants. The dose of
retarder is fixed depending on speed of placement with minimum dose of 1% of
cementitious material.
The upper dam storage is more than sufficient to cater the construction water
requirement of lower dam. Adequate storage tanks and pipelines are constructed
for the purpose.
Construction : The RCC placement of lower dam is started on 14 Dec 2004.
Considering the present capacity of plants it is decided to divide construction in
two halves by providing shuttering at middle contraction joint. A level difference of
4.8m is being kept between two parts. This splitting makes it possible to place one
layer in 8 to 10 hours and to have a hot joint between two layers. The conveyor is
the mean used for transportation of RCC from batch plants to dam site. The RCC
placement for full length will be thought upon after addition in plant capacities and
reduction in layer quantities.
It is planned to complete the placement of lower dam in two seasons. RCC
placement of 2.5 to 3.5 lakh cum will be placed this year and the balance quantum
is planned in next season. The continuous placement of RCC is possible because
of less cement content in the RCC mix, which is replaced by fly ash.
Construction planning for first season for Lower Dam : In first phase
(1st season) the RCC placement of circa 2,50,000 m3 will be placed from RL
263.10 to RL 292.0 m. The RCC is planned to be placed in two .halves i.e.
splitting in two .halves at RD 250.50 m. The surface is initially cleaned to receive
RCC. After erecting shutters at RD 250.50 m, the RCC is delivered on the dam
body (Right-side) through series of conveyors, dump trucks for onward dispatch to
the desired locations. Total seven lifts will be placed upto bottom of foundation
gallery (FG1) at RL 265.20 m from 263.10 m. (Fig1). After attaining RL 265.20 m,
the shutters are removed & shifted with the help of cranes to the Right side. All the
equipments are lowered to the left side at RL 263.10 m with the help of steel ramp
/ cranes. The surface treatment at left side is given to receive RCC. The RCC is
placed on left side in seven lifts upto RL 265.20 m. In the mean time form work of
foundation gallery is erected on right side.

Then again shutters are erected upto RL 268.20 m. All the equipments are placed
at right side after giving lift joint treatment with the help of mechanical broom,
water blaster. The RCC is placed on right side in 19 lifts upto RL 268.80m. In this
way as per site situation the RCC is being placed in two sides. After
commissioning of third batch plant of 160m3/hr by March-2005, the RCC will be
placed in single lift without split.
9.0 QUALITY CONTROL : The quality control was exercised effectively through
well equipped Quality Control Laboratory installed at Upper dam site. The
personnel involved in this were trained and the supervisor had responsibility for
evaluating and controlling the following on a daily basis.

Proper aggregate gradation.

Quality of cement and fly ash.
Mixture proportion and variability at the mixing plant.
Temperature and water content of fresh concrete. both at mixing plant and
placement points.
Fresh density and workability of the RCC (in terms of the Vee Be time) in-situ
Compressive and direct tensile strength.

Water Content : The water content of the RCC was measured by Quality control
personnel for each and every mix and compared with an allowable range for each
set of mixture proportion. These ranges were evolved during the full-scale trial of
saddle for different hours of the day and night. At the time of test section 1 & 2,
and quality control personnel were more cautious about the strength rather than
the workability of RCC and mix evolved in the field Quality control Lab. has
reduced water content. The result was good strength in the RCC matrix, but low
workability, which laid to the problems in achieving well-bonded joints. However
after the advice of MD&A they realized the importance of workability.
As the water content was reduced, the workability decreased and loaded Vee Bee
time increased. At the time of TS 1 and TS 2 Vee Bee time was 20-25 seconds
however for Saddle land Upper Dam it was between 10-15 seconds.

Density in kg/m3

For Lower Dam Vee Bee time is 8-10 seconds.

In-situ density : The in-situ density at depth 150 and 300 mm measured for layer
No.1 to 23 of Saddle dam for both GEVR & RCC shown that for high paste
content RCC the minimum in-situ density is easily achieved with the 12 T single
drum vibratory roller and workability is less than loaded Vee Be time for 10 to 15
seconds. In saddle the in-situ density was 2583 kg/m3. In Upper dam it was 2540
kg/m3 while in Lower dam it is 2587 kg/m3.
Compressive strength : The compressive strength result of cylinders taken at
the mixing plant during construction of Saddle dam for the 220 kg/m3 cementitious
contents mix have shown the strength 209 kg/Cm2 for 180 days while In-situ core
strength was found 204 kg/cm2. For Upper dam Cylinder compressive strength is
212 kg/cm2 for 180 days while in-situ core strength was found 181 kg/cm2. For
Lower dam average cylinder compressive strength for 28 days found to be
92 kg/cm2 for the work done upto end of Jan-2005.

Completed Saddle dam - May 2003

Completed Upper dam - June 2004



The Saddle and Upper dams are amongst the best, if not the best first RCC
dams to be constructed in any country to date as per Dr. Malcolm Dunstan.
The Saddle dam has been constructed as a full-scale trial. The in-situ
properties are excellent. The cores recovered from the Saddle dam are of
continuos 2.5 m length with strength 204 kg/cm2 (180 days).
The Upper dam has been constructed extremely rapidly (54 working days)
and in-situ properties are excellent. Core recovered is of 2.5 m continuos
length and strength is 181 kg/cm2. (180 days).
The RCC mix proportion G 85 (88 kg of cement + 132 kg of fly ash) was
found excellent, cohesive and workable with available material for Saddle
and Upper dam. G 85 mix also found to be appropriate with available
material at Lower dam site. However due to thermal consideration the G 75
mix (75 kg of cement + 160 kg of fly ash) is being used.
In order to complete Lower dam within two seasons (15 months) the
minimum nominal capacity of the concrete plant has been increased to
400 m3/hr from the existing 240 m3/hr.
In order to have continuos RCC placement for 24 hours per day aggregate
cooling system like wet belt system has been installed first time in India.
All three batching plants have been supported by ice plants of 30 TPD.
The quality control is exercised effectively through well equipped laboratory
and trained supervisors.
Logistic for transportation from Rock to RCC is well planned to minimise
cycle time.
Good RCC can be achieved by experiencing feel of concrete at placement
where the layer on which you are standing shall be always spongy like a

Acknowledgements : The authors are thankful to Mr.N.D.Vadnere, Principal

Secretary (Water Resources Department) and Mr.S.V.Sodal, Secretary,
(Command Area Development) Govt. of Maharashtra for their valuable guidance
and permission to publish this paper.
References :
Report on construction methodology
for Upper and Lower dam
Report on RCC mix design for
Ghatghar Project
Report on Value-Engineering proposal
for the Upper and Lower Dam
Roller Compacted Concrete Dams

Mr. Malcolm Dunstan

MERI Nashik Dec-2000
Dr.Malcolm Dunstan
Dec-2002 and Feb-2003
ICOLD bulletin 126

National Seminar Cum Business Meet

On Use of Fly Ash in Hydro Sector
March 4-6, 2005, Venue : Ramada Plaza, Juhu Beach, Mumbai
Chief Engineer
Koyna Project,

Superintending Engineer
Ghatghar Hydro Electric Project

Executive Engineer
Ghatghar Pumped Hydro
Electric Project Quality Control
Division, Shahapur

Abstract : Roller compacted concrete(RCC) has proven to be cost effective material

and Construction of RCC dams has become popular throughout the world in last two
decades. India has also gone for its first ever RCC Dam for Ghatghar Pumped Storage
Scheme. Mix design plays vital role in economy of RCC dam. RCC Mix is to be
invariably based on materials available in vicinity with due regard to cost
considerations and design objectives. Suitable RCC Mix consistent with site specific
materials is a conscious effort made in laboratory with number of experiments and
study of interrelated parameters. For the first time, fly ash is being used in RCC mix
design for Dams of Ghatghar Project.
The RCC Mix Design first carried out in MERI laboratory with number of trials for
optimizing cement and fly ash ratio for design strength. This mix was the guiding mix
before actual use. The experience gained in various Mixes tried @ field laboratory for
Saddle Dam was useful while going to mix design for Upper Dam. So also various
mixes tried in Upper Dam was useful for selecting suitable Mix for Lower Dam.
Actually both these dams can be considered as full-scale trials for Lower Dam. The
sand and aggregate gradation, its gap gradation and water content in mix is a vital
factor for adjustment of mix. This papers describes how the good cohesive mix is
developed with available material by proper mix design to get workability and design
strength for Lower Dam.
1.0 Introduction: Ghatghar Pumped Storage Scheme envisages construction of two
RCC dams of 14 m Ht. & 86 m Ht. Roller compacted concrete is defined as concrete
of zero slump consistency and hence compacted by vibratory rollers RCC differs from
conventional concrete principally in consistency, cement content and method of
compaction. For the effective consolidation of RCC, it must be dry enough to support
the weight of the vibratory equipment and wet enough to permit distribution of the
paste through out the mass. The RCC is particularly adaptable for the use in massive
structures and is gaining worldwide acceptance in gravity dam construction. More
than two hundred dams have been built or under construction with this technique
world over.
The RCC, which is used to construct gravity dams falls between two categories i.e.
low paste concrete and high paste concrete. Ghatghar dams has cementitious content
more than 150 kg/cum hence it is a high paste dam.

Ghatghar lower dam is of 86 m height. For such dam height as per design, average
strength required for concrete is not more than 10 MPa. However for durability and
water tightness, it would be desirable to aim for 15Mpa.As per MERIS trial mixes,
for fly ash replacement ratio and strength gives cementitious content of 220 kg/cum
value for desired compressive strength.
2.0 Mix Design: Philosophy and approach adopted in preparing mix design is as per
ICOLDs Bullettin on RCC Dams, accordingly there are four main requirements for
an RCC to be used in a water retaining structure and two additional factors that
should be considered. The four requirements are, Impermeability, density, strength
and most important the ability to be transported, spread and compacted without
detrimental segregation. The two other factors are: durability, should the RCC be
exposed to the environment and not completely protected by encapsulation by facing
concrete or some other protection, and construction conditions. Ideally the method of
design should determine the minimum cost solution that conforms to all the
requirements of the concrete.
A major concern in RCC mix design is the potential for incomplete bonding between
the layers. The low-slump consistency of RCC, particularly those containing
aggregates larger than 38mm and a low cementitious content, create a difficulty for
bonding fresh to hardened concrete. This problem has been accommodated by
reducing the time interval between layer placement (especially for leaner mixtures),
by providing supplemental joint treatment such as bedding mixes, or by increasing the
paste content of the mixture. Reducing segregation during transportation and
placement is essential to eliminate rock pockets at the joint interface.
2.1 Permeability : The property that has caused greatest concern to Designers of
RCC dams is the in-situ permeability of RCC. Although the permeability of the parent
(un-jointed) material may be low, it is the joints between the layers that are the main
cause of the difficulty.
2.2 Density: Although the density is mainly dependent upon the Relative Density of
the aggregates to be used in the concrete, any entrapped air will lead to a loss of
properties and also, if the air content is significant, to a greater volume of concrete
having to be placed. The entrapped air in the roller-compacted concretes shall not be
more than 2%. A wide range of densities can be obtained using particular materials
mixed in different proportions. The gradation of the fine aggregate is critical for RCC
mix because of the importance of reducing the void ratio to a minimum.
2.3 Strength: A design age of 91 or 180 days is usually defined for RCC. These ages
allow for some of the long-term strength development of concretes containing fly ash.
There is however further development of strength beyond these ages and this further
increase can be considered to be an additional Factor of Safety. The choice of design
age will be site specific depending upon the time of loading of the structure, the
mixture proportions used, etc.
RCC strength is dependent upon the quality and grading of the aggregates, the
proportions of cement, flyash, and water, and the degree of compaction. For most
mixtures, the compressive strength of RCC is a function of the water/cementitious

ratio. There are a number of general relationships that can be used as a first
approximation during the development of the mixture proportions. RCC mixtures
should be proportioned to produce the design compressive strength plus a margin
based on expected strength variation.
The compressive strength of RCC is measured by cylinder specimens. Specimens can
be prepared using a vibrating table for high-cementitious content mixtures, or can be
compacted by tamping/vibrating hammer for lower-cementitious content mixtures.
2.4 Segregation : A major objective in the proportioning of RCC mixtures is to
produce a cohesive mixture with the least possible tendency to segregate. Higher
cementitious-content and more workable mixtures are usually more cohesive and less
likely to segregate. The total gradation and shape of the aggregate should therefore be
carefully considered in order to maximize the loose bulk density of the coarse
aggregate and thus reduce the potential for segregation. Limiting the maximum size of
aggregate also helps reduce the potential for segregation.
2.5 Workability : Sufficient workability is necessary to achieve compaction or
consolidation of an RCC. Workability is most affected by the paste portion of the
mixture (i.e. cement, fly ash, water and the aggregate fines. Workability of RCC
mixtures is normally measured using a modified Ve Be apparatus. These tests produce
a vibration time for the specific mixture that is a measure of the workability of the
RCC, and is used as a similar control as the slump test is used for traditional concrete.
The tests also give a measure of the fresh density of the concrete. RCC mixtures with
the degree of workability necessary for ease of compaction and production of uniform
density from top to bottom of the lifts, for bonding with previously-placed lifts and
for support of compaction equipment, generally have a Ve Be time of 10 to 30
The water demand for a specific level of workability will be influenced by the size,
shape, texture and gradation of aggregates and the volume and nature of the
cementitious and fine materials.
2.6 Durability : The RCC mixture should provide the required degree of durability
based on the exposure conditions, the materials used and the expected level of
performance RCC should be free of damaging effects of alkali-aggregate reactivity by
proper evaluation and selection of materials.
2.7 Construction conditions : Construction requirements and equipment are
considered during the design of the mixture proportions. For example due to high air
temperatures at the site care is taken to design a mixture that will maintain its
workability over time and one with as much retardation as possible so that when
successive layers are placed the horizontal joint has not reached condition that will
make bond between the layers suspect.
3.0 Approaches to mixture proportioning : There are two approaches to mix
proportioning viz. a) soil approach & b) concrete approach. In case of Ghatghar
project Concrete approach is used.

3.1 Concrete approach to selection of mixture proportions

Methods of selection : There are several methods that use the concrete approach
for the design of the mixture proportions of RCC. All the methods have similarities
and follow similar procedures although there are minor differences. The general
procedure is as follows:
1. Optimize the gradation of the fine and coarse aggregates to produce minimum
voids in each using additional fines in the fine aggregate if necessary (usually
using the compacted bulk density for the fine aggregate and the loose bulk density
for the coarse aggregate)
2. Choose an appropriate paste/mortar ratio so that the voids in the fine aggregate are
filled, or slightly over-filled (the ratio is generally in the range of 0.38 to 0.46)
with paste and that there is adequate material passing the 45 micron sieve.
3. Proportion the Portland cement, mineral admixture (if any), water and admixture
(if any) to obtain the required mean strength to obtain the proportions of the paste.
4. Establish the volume of coarse aggregate to obtain the required workability, using
the loaded Ve Be apparatus.
5. Check that there is sufficient cementitious material (and a proportion of fines, if
used) to provide the design permeability.
6. Check that the fine aggregate/coarse aggregate ratio is close to the optimum.
7. Check that the heat of hydration is within the expected limits.
8. Make any adjustments that are necessary and re-check the design.
3.2 Proportioning the coarse and fine aggregates for minimum voids : The
proportioning of coarse aggregates depends upon the combined effects of the bulk
density of the aggregate (i.e. the solids in volume of loose or compacted aggregate)
the surface area of the particles and the particle shape. Prior to the design of the site as
possible) should be separated into several sizes. The bulk density shall be high in
order to have a low void ratio and low potential segregation.
In order to minimise the void ratio of the fine aggregate, either the material can be
split into two sizes which can be combined in varying proportions, and/or
considerable care can be taken with the design of the aggregate production plant to
produce the best shape and/or gradation, and /or mineral fines can be added to the fine
aggregate to reduce the void ratio.
3.3 Proportioning the paste : The water content of RCC can vary widely depending
upon many factors including the maximum size of aggregate, the gradation and shape
of the aggregates the amount and quality of any mineral fines in the mixture, the
amount, proportions and quality of the cementitious materials and whether any
admixtures are being used. Nevertheless the initial water content of the mixture
should be determined by experience of the materials being used or similar materials
previously used.

3.4 Determining the paste/mortar ratio: The void ratio of fine aggregate as
determined using the compacted bulk density test normally ranges from 34 to 42%.
The actual void ratio may be somewhat smaller due to the inefficiency of the
measurement, but it makes little difference since cement, fly ash must fill all voids in
fine aggregates
4.0 Trial Mix Programme for Ghatghar Project : Since all three dams are the first
RCC Dam in India, based on above philosophy and approach an extensive trial mix
programme was undertaken and several hundred specimens were tested. During the
programme considerable number of mixes were prepared using different
combinations of cement and fly ash. The trial mix programme was developed in three
Stage-I In the late 1998 trial mix programme was undertaken at MERI Nashik several
mixes were tried in order to investigate the optimum gradation, optimum workability
and water contents and optimum cementitious contents. After these factors had been
determined, 23 mixes were tried with the same total cementitious contents (
Nominally 220 kg/m3 but actually 228 kg/ m3) and same water content of 121 kg/ m3.
Two different cements were tried, Manikgarh G-43 and L & T G-43 and two fly
Ashes from different locations from Nashik Thermal Power Station. Second series of
12 mixes was then tried with four different fly ash cementitious ratios and three
different total cementitious contents (186, 207 and 248 kg/ m3)
Stage-II trial mixes programme was undertaken at MERI in February-2001. In this
series five mixes were tried. All with the same mix proportion. It is apparent from all
the mixes of MERI that there is significant long term strength development and
increase in strength with age increases the greater the proportion of fly ash within the
cementitious contents. It is probable that there will be further development of
strength beyond the age of a year. It has been found that the majority of RCC
containing fly ashes that have a low early age strength, such as that from Nashik, will
have long term strength, development.
Test Section 1: Based on MERI mix (Table 1) Test Section 1 was carried out in
March 2002. Test section 1 was successful in understanding methodology & sequence
of operation and training the staff. Also new procedure for GEVR was decided in Test
Section 1.
Table 1: Details of Mix by MERI



% fly





Coarse aggregates

20-10 mm





Water Admixtur


Test Section 2 : Test section 2 was carried out in October 2002 based on mix by field
lab. (Table 2), though there was increase in strength of specimen as well as in-situ

core strength. The test section 2, was not successful in getting a continuos core, due
to segregation observed at lift joints.

Table 2: Details of Mix by field lab




% fly





Coarse aggregates






Water Admixtur


Mix design experiments at field laboratory : The results of Test Section
No.1 were analysed in light of mix design parameters. Accordingly a detailed mix
design exercise at field lab was carried out by Quality Control Wing. Keeping the
cementious material same as per MERI design, other parameters like gradation of
aggregates, sand aggregate ratio, specific gravity correction and water absorption
were studied and different mixes were cast at field laboratory. Based on the 28 days
strength results; following observations were made. These observations are based on
aggregates devised from basaltic rock with spe. gravity around 2.7 for course
aggregate and 2.6 for fine aggregate (crushed). Cement used was of 43 grade O.P.C.
and fly ash of Thermal Power Station near Nashik which is classified as 40 grade.

Observations :
R.C.C. mix is very sensitive to gradation of aggregates. Course aggregates
should not be more than 50 mm and percentage passing through 40 mm
should be around 80-90 % to avoid segregation.

Sand aggregate ratio is a vital factor and sand % between 33 to 38% may be
adopted if combined aggregate gradation is within limit. However, maximum
rodded density will get for 35-36% of sand

F.M. of sand should lie between 2.2 to 3.0 F.M. around 2.8 gives consistent

Ve Be time is very much related to water in the mix. Ve Be time between 10

to 15 seconds gives good workable mix.

For consistent results uniform gradation, uniform material properties plays

vital role.

In the laboratory, mixes are compacted by vibratory table at 98% of TAFD

(Theoretical air free density). The vibration was around 120 seconds.

Stage II : After the test section 2 it was observed that with the above mix strengths
were adequate but the mix was having segregation; At this juncture, Malcolm
Dunstan and Associate (MD&A) were invited for guidance. The objective of the trial
mix programme carried out by MD&A was to optimize the gradation and workability
of the RCC so that cohesive RCC could be obtained with little potential for
segregation and one that could be used for GEVR. At this stage actual strength of
RCC was considered to be less important because it was to be used initially in the

Saddle dam in which the stresses required are less stringent than the upper dam and
much less stringent than the Lower Dam. Two main changes were made to the
specified mixture proportion, first the gradation was changed and second mix was
made much workable. The actual optimize gradation is compared to the suggested
limit. This mix was designated as G-85.
Table 3: Details of Mix by MD & A (G 85)



% fly





Coarse aggregates

Water Admixture

50-20 mm








A small trial of the proposed RCC was undertaken with the mix suggested by MD
A number of load of RCC were dump from truck on to the surface of test
section 2. The RCC was spread in layer and compacted by 4 passes of the double
drum vibratory roller (1 static and 3 vibratory). All the nuclear densiometer reading
were in excess of 2500 kg/m3. Although the trial was only small it was sufficient to
show that RCC with the gradation proposed and with the workability proposed could
easily be handle and could be roller compacted to a high density. The surface of RCC
after Roller compaction was satisfactory. The same mix was decided to be adopted
for placement of saddle dam as a full Scale trial.
6.0 Full - Scale Trial : The full-scale trial was done for layer 1-2-3 with mix
proposed by MD&A as shown in Table 3 for saddle dam in December-2002. It was
found that both the cylinder density and In-situ densities are very much higher than
those found during the first two test sections. This was because the water contents of
the mix was higher and thus theoretical air free density was Lower than that of mixes
used in two test sections. The reasons for higher densities were that the RCC was
much more compactable and thus there were lower air voids.
The objective of the full scale trial was to investigate all the construction procedure in
particular the joint treatment between the layer and the training of personnel who
were suppose to work at the Upper Dam and Lower dam. The first trial was
constructed between 9 to 27 March 2003 and consisted of 19 layers of 300mm
compacted thickness with a total volume of 6780 m3 in left hand side (LHS) portion.
Similarly the second half of saddle right hand side (RHS) portion was started on 22nd
April 2003 and completed on 9th May 2003. The RCC volume of 7431 m3 was placed
in RHS. Thus this full scale trial of RCC placement for complete saddle dam for the
placement of RCC volume of 14200 m3 gave good learning curve to all of the
supervisor of department and the contractor and the designer. During this learning,
following activities were learned

Calibration of nuclear densiometers and measuring the in -situ densities.

Optimization of dosages of set-retarder
The optimization of the exposure time between layer
The insertion of joint crack inducers.
The use of interface against abutment: Upstream and downstream GEVR.

The optimization of water contents in different hours of day and night.

The optimization of number of passes of vibratory rollers.

6.1 Retarders : If the initial stage of an RCC can be retarded the placement of
concrete become much easier. For test Section 1 & 2, plastiment-R was used as a set
-retarder and with the given materials the initial set was only of 4 hours. Even after
increasing the dosages from 0.8% to 1% it was not found possible to retard initial set
much beyond 5 hours thus this was not found adequate. There for with preliminary
trial mixes an exercise was simultaneously undertaken using CONPLAST R as a setretarder. This exercise was very successful and it was found to be possible to delay
the initial set for 20 hrs. During full scale trial, for Saddle Dam dosages of 1.2% of
weight of total cementitious contents was used for layer 1-2-3, however it was found
that it was not possible to compact the layer by vibratory compacting roller even after
several hours. Therefore, dosages were further reduce to 1.0% for the next layers in
the Saddle Dam.
6.2 Cylinder compressive strength : The early age cylinder compressive strength of
the specimen manufactured from the RCC placed in Saddle dam, were lower than
those from TS 1 & 2 and were lower than that required for lower dam though low
strength will be adequate for saddle dam in which the stresses will be lower than the
lower dam, because the height of the saddle dam is small strength may be sufficient
for upper dam which is only 3m higher than the saddle. However, after resuming the
work of RCC placement of saddle dam a different mix evolved by field engineers was
tried for layer No.4 to 9. This was based on the strength of manufactured laboratory
Cylinders and was found to meet the criteria for 7 day strength, being more than 40
kg/ cm2. However, MD&A pointed out that it is not the strength of manufactured
laboratory cylinder that is important in RCC dam but in-situ strength particularly insitu vertical direct tensile strength across the joints. Hence from layer No.11 to 23,
mix proposed by MD&A was used. The last three layers 21,22,23 for LHS were tried
with different mixes of G-85, G-100 & G-150 respectively as proposed by MD&A
Stage II B : Preliminary trial mix programme for lower dam was started in
Jan.2003.The aim was to ascertain the suitability of materials available on lower dam
site. As mentioned earlier no. of trials were taken by changing cementitious material
proportion as well as type of cement & fly ash. After analysing the results and
properties of aggregates following mix was finalised.
Table 4


% fly





Coarse aggregates
50-20 mm

20-10 mm

10-5 mm








Note: All ingredients in above table are in kg/cum

7.0 Mixture Proportions: With above mix work on Lower dam is started in
December 2004, but segregation was observed and mix was not cohesive as fines
were less. There are several reasons why a change to the mixture proportions was

necessary. Firstly to reduce the heat of hydration in the dam and second unless there
was some way of utilising the cone produced fine aggregate a shortage of aggregate
would have stopped the construction of the dam.
Stage II C - The mix trial I,II, IIB programme for lower dam was aimed at designing
mix by changing parameters like cement type ,fly ash type and using different
aggregate mixture proportions. The stage-IIC trial mix programme was completed
some time ago and was designed to investigate the strength of RCCs with various
levels of cement content within the cementitious content. A detailed review of the
results of this programme has revealed that there is not a great difference between the
long-term strength of a G70 (70+150) RCC and the standard G85 (88+132) RCC.
Consequently a G75 (75+160) RCC was tried in the dam with a fine aggregate
consisting of two thirds VSI produced material and one-third cone-produced material.
This was found to be cohesive and worked well. The only problem seemed to be some
bleeding. With a dosage of 1.3%, the RCC was still flexible after 24 hours. Thus a
reduction in dosage would be permissible. Nevertheless this high dosage was very
beneficial during the breakdown at the night.
8.0 Conclusions : The mix design for any RCC dam is a site specific exercise with
certain objectives. Mix is to be designed and adjusted according to availability of
materials & adequacy of equipments and the ambient temperature conditions. But it is
the ultimate in-situ properties that has been achieved, that really matters. The ICOLD
bulletin on 'The state-of-the-art of RCC dam' states that " When considering the
material (an mixture proportion) for an RCC dam, the designer must bear in mind
that it is the in situ properties, including those at horizontal joints between the layers
that are important and not the properties that might be achievable in the laboratory".
The performance of full-scale trial is therefore be reviewed on the basis of what the
ICOLD bulletin considers to be important, i.e. in -situ density, the in-situ permeability
the in-situ performance at the joint and handiability. The in-situ properties of RCC for
Saddle dam and Upper dam have shown that they are well upto the mark. The average
compressive strength achieved for Saddle dam was found to be 204 kg/cm2 while for
Upper dam it was found to be 181 kg/cm2 for 180 days. The coefficient of variation
was found to be 18%. At the moment execution of Lower dam is being done on the
basis of experience gained during this long learning curve. In general, the full-scale
trial has boosted the level of confidence for every one who has participated in this
process with a view to achieve an excellent RCC dam. This step by step approach has
facilitated in building the confidence level and heading towards perfection. The
lessons learnt from each earlier dam regarding the mix design, results of strength
obtained are useful for designing mix for construction of 86 m high Lower dam which
is in progress today.
9.0 Acknowledgements: The authors are thankful to Mr.N.D.Vadnere, Principal
Secretary (Water Resources Department) and Mr.S.V.Sodal, Secretary, (Command
Area Development) Govt. of Maharashtra and Mr.S.N.Huddar, Chief Engineer (WR)
and Joint Secretary for their valuable guidance and permission to publish this paper.

References :

ICOLD bulletin 126 The state of the art of RCC dam Oct-2004
MERIs report on RCC mix design for Ghatghar Project Dec-2000
Dr. Malcolm Dunstan report on Ghatghar Project - Dec-2002,Nov-2003,Jan-2004

National Seminar Cum Business Meet

On Use of Fly Ash in Hydro Sector
March 4-6, 2005, Venue : Ramada Plaza, Juhu Beach, Mumbai


Chief Engineer
Koyna Project,

Superintending Engineer
Ghatghar Hydro Electric Project

Executive Engineer
Ghatghar Pumped Hydro
Electric Project Quality Control
Division, Shahapur

Abstract : The RCC is a zero slump concrete mix dry enough to be roller compacted
like earth dam to get the desired density and strength after final setting. The material
composition of RCC is like conventional concrete viz., aggregates, cementitious
material, water and admixture but with low cement content and addition of mineral
admixture like fly ash. The mix is relatively dense with lower percentage of water.
The utilization of fly ash reduces the heat of hydration. This enables the construction
at rapid rate. However it needs rigorous quality assurance programme to produce a
good quality mix.
For Saddle Dam 420 Vee Bee tests were carried out and the Vee Bee time was found
to be 10-13 seconds. The field density was found to be 2568 kg/m3. The Cylinder
compressive strength was found 209 kg/cm2 for 180 days. The standard deviation was
found to be 38.54 kg/cm2. For Upper Dam 2250 Vee Bee tests were carried out and
the Vee Bee time was found to be 9-17 seconds. The field density was found to be
2559 kg/m3. The Cylinder compressive strength was found to be 212 kg/cm2 for 180
days. The standard deviation was found to be 39.23 kg/cm2. In-situ permeability tests
were carried out for both Saddle and Upper Dam and less than one lugeon. This
shows stringent quality control exercised in field for quality assurance of RCC.
This paper illustrates various quality control procedures, adopted to determine fresh
density, workability, compressive strength and permeability test. The quality control
was exercised through well equipped Quality Control Laboratory at both Upper and
Lower dam sites. The successful completion of the Saddle and Upper dam has given
valuable experience of quality control, which is being used for Lower Dam.
1.0 General: Quality Control is customarily considered to be an activity performed
during RCC placement, is also important that the degree of control be considered
during design, specification, planning and the initial phases of construction of an RCC
dam. Quality Control is required on the assembled RCC batching and mixing plant.
High standards of manufacture, assembled and maintenance are required to ensure
continuous production of concrete with consistent properties. For producing good
quality RCC mix the quality control checks starts right from selection of the material.

All the materials should be selected to satisfy the design requirements of strength,
serviceability, safety, durability and finish with due regards to functional
Ghatghar PSS envisages construction of three RCC dams. The two dams has been
already constructed i.e. saddle & upper dam. As per mix design for these dams the
course and fine aggregates occupy about 85 to 88% of total RCC volume. The
selection of aggregates and control of aggregate grading are important factors
influencing the in situ quality and properties of RCC mix. Strength of concrete
depends on water cement ratio. As the maximum size of aggregate becomes larger,
unit water content requirement reduces and so the unit volume of cement. For
Ghatghar 40 mm maximum size aggregate is used.
Crushed sand is being used as fine aggregate. Gradation of course and fine aggregate
plays very important role in concrete, well graded aggregates will reduce segregation
and require minimum quantity of cementitious materials. Cementitious material
consist of cement and fly ash. During laboratory design mix trials various
combinations of cement and fly ash were studied and as per mix design cement + fly
ash is taken at 220 kg/m3, out of which cement is 88 kg/m3 and fly ash is 132 kg/m3,
i.e., use of fly ash is 60% of cementitious material, The quality standards set forth for
various constituents of RCC mix are as follows.
2.0 Duties of Quality Control Engineer: For quality control of Ghatghar project
two laboratories have been installed. One at Lower dam and one at upper dam. The
quality control staff perform active role in the following construction activities.


Control on Batching Plant to get the uniform mix of concrete & adjustment
in mix .
Foundation clean up
Interface against the abutment
Consolidation of concrete around water stops and embedded items
Cleanliness of each lift and moisture condition of the surface
Placing and spreading of grout for GEVR.
Monitor the time period between mixing and placement.
Monitor air and RCC Temperature.
When unsatisfactory work is being done immediately bring to the attention
of contractors supervisors
Placement density, number of passes of roller.
All tests should be carried as per frequencies laid down in specification.

Cementitious Materials

3.1 Cement : Cement should satisfy the strength and other criteria as per I.S. 269 and
I.S. 8112. As usual cement which is older than one month should be tested to know
the quality. In any case cement older than two months is not used. Ordinary portland
cement (43 Grade) of L&T (Ultra Tech) is being used.

3.2 Fly ash: Fly ash should be as per I.S. 1727. Mainly lime reactivity is important
parameter and is should not be less than 4 N/mm2 and loss on ignition below 10%.
Fineness should be more than 2500 cm2/gm.
For construction of upper and lower dam fly ash from nearby Nashik Thermal Power
Station is used, which satisfy the above norms.
Cementitious materials shall be free from lumps and other deleterious matter. Before
a concrete placement is started, sufficient cementitious material shall be in storage,
preferably 10 days requirement, at the batch plant to complete the placement. Bulk
cementitious material shall be stored in dry, watertight, properly ventilated bins/silos
until the cementitious materials are batched.
3.3 Coarse and Fine Aggregates: More than 85% part of RCC is of fine aggregates
and coarse aggregates hence, quality of aggregates plays major role. The important
parameters are specific gravity, water absorption, flakiness index and elongation
index, Size and shape of aggregates. Higher density can be achieved with higher
specific gravity of aggregates. The engineering properties of aggregates are checked
atleast once in a week or as per necessity and mix is adjusted accordingly.
Gradation of aggregates is of vital importance for RCC, proper gradation is the heart
of mix. To get cohesive, workable and consistent mix uniformity in gradation is
important. The individual gradation of all types of aggregates should be within the
specified limits including gap gradation. The planning of placement is entirely based
on the quantity of available graded material. The gradation is checked at batching
plant and at crusher twice a day. The fineness modulus of sand is kept between 2.5 to
2.8 also the combined gradation of aggregates is observed. A typical combined
gradation is shown in the graph (Fig 2). The sand follows zone II of IS 383, a typical
envelope curve for sand is as shown (Fig 1). The fines in sand i.e. fraction below 75
micron is kept limited to 15% in individual grading & 5% in combined grading.

The moisture content of aggregates vary depending on weather conditions and

temperature of chilled water. The moisture content of aggregate is checked hourly to
adjust the water content of the mix.
3.4 Retarder as an Admixture: This is another important test to know the initial set
time of RCC. The RCC work is carried out in layers, hence to get the homogeneity it
is very essential that next layer should be placed and compacted till the previous layer
is live. To extend the setting time of concrete, retarder at rate of 1% of wt. Of
cementitious material being used, giving initial set of 16 hours as shown in graph (Fig
3). The joint treatment is avoided if RCC placed and compacted within initial set.
Accordingly RCC placement was planned to have no planned joints.

Fig 3 : Determination of a retarder dose for RCC

3.5 RCC Mix Adopted : For Saddle Dam mix as per Table No.1 is used
Table No.1


Flyash 50-20 MM 20-10 Mm 10-5 Mm C.Sand Admixture Water

G 85









For Upper Dam various mix adopted for different layers for full scale trial see Table
Table No.2

Cement Flyash

G 85




G 100 A




G 150





10-5 MM C.Sand Admixture Water















4.0 Testing of RCC

4.1 Sampling : When testing RCC or specification compliance, it is important to
properly sample the RCC in order to obtain a representative sample. There are two
primary locations for sampling.
1. After mixing and prior to placement
2. From the RCC lift at the placement area.
It is important to select the representative sample from lift placement area.
4.2 Mix Consistency By Ve Be Test : The Ve Be test provides measure of RCC mix
consistency or workability. The Ve Be time is the time required for a ring of mortar to
appear on periphery of the surcharged plate, which corresponds to time necessary to
fully consolidate the RCC sample under surcharged load of 10 Kg. During
construction of Saddle & upper dam the Ve Be time was kept between 8 to 18 sec.,
depending upon the temp, relative humidity and solar radiations, which yielded
workable concrete at placement. (Photo 1)
The vibrations of Ve Be continued for 2 minutes and Ve Be density is calculated in
the lab. This should be 97.5% of theoretical air free density (TAFD) This gives idea
about the density of mix and proportioning of aggregates.
4.3 Field Density By Nuclear Densiometer : Only check of quality at site is
measurement of density by nuclear densiometer. The density observed by densiometer
should be more than 98 % of TAFD (Theoretical air free density), if the density falls
below 98 % it is to be modified by additional roller passes but in no case it should be
bellow 98%. For saddle & upper dam, densities observed were more than 98 % of
TAFD (theoretical air free density) and were quite uniform, which shows uniform
compaction by single drum 10 T roller with 1 Plain + 3 vibratory passes. Under or
Over vibration may cause decrease in density, which was not seen for both the dams.
The graph (Fig 4) indicates the density behavior of saddle dam. The placement

densities are more than the confidence level of 98% of TAFD. The TAFD of the mix
used was 2574, the acceptance level of 98% of 2574 is 2522. At GEVR care was
taken to consolidate the RCC by vibrators, to achieve the desired density.

4.4 Cylinder Preparation: 21 nos. of cylinders are casted per layer of RCC. The
cylinders are casted to know the strengths and other parameters of RCC at various
ages. The primary objective of cylinder preparation is to duplicate the compaction
effort and consequently the in place density of RCC after compaction in the field.
The engineering properties of no slump RCC are more variable than conventional
concrete. Measurement of wet density of RCC cylinders can be used to evaluate the
uniformity of cylinders prepared for testing. Variation in cylinder wet densities are
normally within a range of + 2 % of mean weight.
4.5 Moisture Content: Moisture content of RCC is checked daily. The moisture
content of RCC provides valuable information required for calculating RCC mix
proportion and w/c ratio, it indicates uniformity and workability of RCC. The water
content is calculated by drying method in lab and by nuclear densiometer at site. The
moisture content of the RCC for saddle dam varied in the range 8% to 10%.
4.6 Compressive Strength Testing : The cylinders casted are tested for compressive
strengths 7, 28, 56, 91, 180 & 365 days, which provides database to evaluate
uniformity of product with time as well as the trend in strength results with time,
which is shown by graph (Fig 5). Variations in compressive strength data can indicate
a change in RCC mix that may require further investigations and adjustments.

The field cores were to be taken @ 56, 91 & 180 days and observed for joints,
segregation, uniformity and consistency of the mix. The field cores were capped by
Sulpher and tested for compressive strength. The field cores were found to be joint
less and without segregation, showing good quality of RCC (Photo 6). The core
strengths are generally more than cylinder strengths,
Some Important Observations of Saddle Dam
Table No. 3





Total Qty of RCC Placed (m3)




Total placement time (hrs)




Placement average (m3/hr)




Average placement temp. min/max




Average air temp.




Average Ve Be time (sec)




Average Nuclear Density @ 150 mm depth





Average Nuclear density @ 800 mm depth




Average % moisture content of RCC




Average 91 days cylinder strength Kg/cm




Average 180 days cylinder strength Kg/cm2




Average 180 days core strength Kg/cm2



4.7 Permeability Test : Water intake test for 91 days and 180 days was taken in the
core holes taken for in situ permeability by giving pressure equal to 1.75 times the

water head, the water loss is measured to know the permeability. Also cores of 15 cm
dia. are tested in lab for permeability. With permeability apparatus.
4.8 In Situ Permeability : In-situ permeability tests have been undertaken in the
three full-height core holes drilled in the Saddle Dam. In addition a very
comprehensive series of in situ permeability tests have been undertaken in the LHS of
the Upper Dam. (Table No. 4)
Table No. 4
Permeability (Iugeon)
Saddle Dam

0 0.5

0.5 1.0

1.0 3.0

3.0 5.0


Upper Dam (LHS)





Of the 96 tests undertaken in the LHS of the Upper Dam 70 (i.e. nearly three quarters)
did not have any water intake at all and only one had an in-situ permeability in excess
of one lugeon and that result was less than the specified three lugeons. In-Situ
permeability tests can only give an upper limit (there is the small possibility of water
loss through the lower packer) nevertheless the results to date, in particular in the
LHS of the Upper Dam show an effectively totally impermeable structure.
4.10 Other Properties : This includes the testing of properties such as split tensile
strength, direct tension test to know the joint strength and its percentage with
compressive strength. Testing of Modules of elasticity and Poisson ratios. All these
tests to be carried out on cores at 180 days age.
5.0 Validation : The cores of RCC Dam were taken for confirming and validation
compressive strength results Upper & Saddle Dam. It is observed that the core results
are in confirmation with cylinder results. Most of the time core results are more than
cylinder results which shows that field compaction by vibratory roller is more
effective than compaction in lab. The following data testifies this.

5.1 In Situ Strength of Cores : A very detailed analysis has been undertaken of the
strength of the cores taken from the Saddle and Upper Dams- realcrete should be our
main concern and the results of tests on labcrete should only be used to make a
determination of the in situ properties.
All the core strengths have been plotted in Figure 7 and a best fit line developed
through all the points. The 91-day core strength are relatively consistent as are the
365-day strengths. The best-fit relationship is a near straight line with a 365-day in
situ core compressive strength of 250 kg/cm2. This is well in excess of the required
175 kg/cm2.


Conclusions :


To arrive at a proper mix, No. of full scale trial mixes are required to be casted
in the laboratory. Also to observe the effect of various components, single
component is varied at a time. Consistent 30 mixes showing std. deviation
limited to 5% can be selected.


Gradation of coarse aggregate & sand, plays very important role. It is utmost
necessary to check the gradations twice a day. The consistency of the mix
largely depends upon uniform gap gradation. The strength results of Saddle &
upper Dam shows variation due to changes in gradation at various times.


The RCC mix is very sensitive to change in water content. Change in water
content of 1 to 2 lit, changes the entire mix behavior, hence it is necessary to
observe the moisture content of all aggregates hourly & apply the correction as
per required Ve Be


The dosage of retarder should be fixed by taking various trials of % retarder to

be used check for initial set. For Both the dams retarder dose of 1% of wt. of
cementious material is used.


The Ve Be density in the laboratory should be more than 97.5% of TAFD also
the density observed at site by nuclear densiometer should be more than 98%
of TAFD. This is the only criteria to check quality assurance at site. For Both
the Dams densities observed were well above 98% TAFD.


The placement temp. was restricted to 28OC for both Dams & all the time it
was below 28OC. This was possible due to use of chilled mixing water,
precooling of aggregate, shading of aggregate, shading of cement & fly ash


The compaction with single drum vibratory roller was also effective as double
drum vibratory roller. With 1 plain + 3 vibratory passes of single drum roller,
desired density was achieved.


The cylinder strength & core strengths are more than the required values. For
RCC core strengths are more reliable than cylinder strength. The cores
extracted from Saddle dam observed to be jointless, which represents the
homogeneity amongst the layers. No segregation was observed on extracted

9.0 Acknowledgements : The authors are thankful to Mr.N.D.Vadnere, Principal

Secretary (Water Resources Department) and Mr.S.V.Sodal, Secretary, (Command
Area Development) Govt. of Maharashtra and Mr.S.N.Huddar, Chief Engineer (WR)
and Joint Secretary for their valuable guidance and permission to publish this paper.

MERI report RCC mix design for Ghatghar project December 2000.
RCC bulletin No.126 ICOLD on the state of art report on RCC dam
Quality control report for saddle dam-June 2004
Quality control report for Upper dam-Feb. 2005
Malcohm Dunstons report May 2004


Photo 1 : Ve Be test

Photo 2 : RCC Layer Placement

Photo 3 : Compaction by the roller passes

Photo 4 : In-situ Density by Nuclear


Photo 6 : Core of Saddle Dam

Photo 7 : Core of Upper Dam

Photo 5 : GEVR & Joint

Instrumentation In RCC Dams Of Ghatghar

Project A Case Study
A.D.Solankurkar 1
P.B.Phanasgaonkar 1
The structural behavior of dams can be effectively monitored by installing
instruments specially designed for such applications. The instrumentation
system design calls for detailed study of the type, size and dimensions of the
dam and the region in which it is located. The Ghatghar Pumped Storage
Project near Nashik in Maharashtra, India includes three dams Saddle,
Upper and Lower Dams, which are Roller Compacted Concrete (RCC) Dams.
TCE Consulting Engineers Limited, Mumbai, alongwith EPDC, Japan and
Special Advisor Dr. Malcolm Dunstan, U.K. are consultants for design and
planning of this project. The construction of Saddle and Upper Dam is
complete and the work on Lower Dam of 90 m height is in progress. State-ofthe-art instrumentation system is being provided for these Dams. The
Instrumentation system contains various instruments for measuring
displacement, uplift pressure, seepage flow, dam body temperatures, seismic
vibrations, lake level and weather. The signals are connected to a centralised
PC based Data Acquisition system which will process and store the
information and display it on a PC based monitoring station.
This project gave an insight regarding special care to prevent damage to
delicate instruments during roller compacting. In case of Upper Dam, the
actual measured data on body temperatures, obtained from embedded
temperature detectors provided very interesting and useful information in
studying the thermal activities arising at site from the usage of fly ash vis--vis
the laboratory results. The Instrumentation system will be useful for observing
the long term behavior of the dam over the years and will also provide a good
reference for studying the use of fly ash in RCC Dams.

TCE Consutling Engineers, Limited, Mumbai

Matulya Centre A, 249, S.B.Marg,
Lower Parel (W), Mumbai 400 013
Tel: (91-22) -5662 4743
Fax: (91-22) -5662 4723
E-mails: adsolankurkar@tce.co.in

Useful life of a dam is of the order of 80 to 100 years. Dam is a large size
structure responsible for impoundage of huge amount of water. The dams
which are in weak condition, hold a potential threat of breach which can
cause devasting effects such as enormous loss of property and human life.
Hence it is important to monitor the health of the dam structure during
installation, at the time of putting it in operation and throughout its life. The
dam safety monitoring is achieved effectively by using modern
instrumentation system.
Need for Instruments
There is a need to provide instrumentation for the dam so that, the behavior of
the dam under the operating conditions can be compared with the design
parameters and the results predicted by the designers. Such comparison
helps in taking decisions regarding remedial measures as necessary. Special
purpose devices developed specifically for this purpose are used for
measurements of structural parameters of the dam. The information obtained
from the instruments gives quantitative information of the dam safety
parameters and indicate the behavior of the dam with variations in ambient
conditions and water levels in its reservoir and also indicate the effect of aging
and is useful for long term monitoring.
The necessity of the measuring instruments is also a codal / regulatory
Development of Technologies
Historically, instruments using mechanical and hydraulic devices were used
for measuring the dam structure parameters. The instruments were bulky and
unreliable due to failure of mechanical components. The accuracy,
repeatability and response time was poor. The readings were locally
available. With advancement in the technology, the instruments using
electrical signals have overcome all the disadvantages of the old technology.
The electrical signal from the instruments can be transmitted over a long
distance and it is possible to obtain the readings at a central location, which
makes them user friendly. The accuracy and response time are good due to
improved transducers. With the advent of computers and microprocessor
based equipment, the signal from the instruments are used to generate the
database, which is stored and used for analysis.
Dam Condition Monitoring
The dam condition is effectively monitored by the performance regarding the
following parameters:
Movement and displacement of the dam
Temperature changes within the dam body
Uplift pressure beneath the dam

Leakage flow measurements

Stresses within the dam body
Response of the dam structure to seismic events
Other important site data includes water level in the reservoir and
meteorological data.
Various instruments generally provided for the concrete dams are described
Normal Pendulum
Normal pendulum is used for measurement of displacement of dam top with
respect to the lower part which is one of the most important measurement.
Any tilt or movement between the two portions and its magnitude will be
known by using the normal pendulum. They are located where maximum
structural deflections are anticipated. The suspension point is located in upper
monoliths and the reading point is in a gallery. They are installed in a vertical
shaft formed by embedding rigid pipes. The suspension weight is kept in
dashpot filled with oil for damping the movement. A tilt in the dam results in
shifting the suspended weight which are measured by travelling microscopes
in X and Y directions provided on a observation table. Zero reading is taken
with the reference plumb mounted opposite to each microscope. The
accuracy of measurement is 0.1 mm.
For the remote reading and electronic data logging, automatic pendulum coordinator unit is used. It consists of a motor driven carriage carrying two pairs
of infrared transmitter and receiver. The carriage is driven by a lead screw
across the plumb line at preprogrammed time. The position of the carriage is
recorded by a potentiometric transducer, when the beam is broken by the
plumb line. The position of the wire thus read, with respect to the measuring
table is reported as the change in X and Y direction.
Inverted Pendulum
Inverted pendulum are provided for measuring the displacement of the dam
body with respect to the foundation. The anchoring point is at the foundation /
base of the dam and is connected by the plumb line to a float assembly. The
float is kept in an oil reservoir and movement of the plumb line is tracked in
the same manner as the normal plumb line.
Stress Measurements
The stress in the dam arise from the chemical reactions and changes in
temperatures and pressure exerted by water in the reservoir. Stress
measurement is important to monitor safety of the dam. Stress is measured at
a few points distributed in the lowermost part of the dam where stresses are
highest. The stress sensor consists of a flat circular capsule containing a fluid
and connected to a pressure transducer incorporating vibrating wire
technology. In vibrating wire technology, the principle used is that the
frequency of vibrations of the wire changes with the stress applied. The
frequency signal is connected to the central monitoring system over cables.

Strain Meter
The strain meters are provided to monitor the magnitude and distribution of
compressive and tensile strains and their variations. The strain gauge sensors
are embedded transducers either of strain gauge type or vibrating wire type.
They consist of a rosette of sensors in different orientation so as to measure
the strains in X, Y and Z directions. The number of sensors in a rosette is upto
5 nos. In the vibrating wire strain meter, the sensing wire is vibrated by a
magnet and the frequency of the vibrations wire is sensed by the electronic
circuit. The frequency variations are proportional to the strain applied.
Joint Meters
Joint meters are used to measure the opening of the joints in the dam
structure and movement of the joints. Both strain gauge type and vibrating
wire type sensors are available. Generally vibrating wire type joint meters are
used due to its robustness and long life. It consists of a vibrating wire
transducer enclosed in a below, which in turn is protected by a long tube. The
joint meter measures the joint movement parallel to its axis and hence the
longitudinal axis of the gauge should be parallel to the major direction of joint
movement. One end of the joint meter is tied to a socket embedded in the
surface whose movement is to be monitored and the other end is anchored to
the other face of joint. The data obtained from the joint meters is useful for
taking decisions on grouting.
Pore Pressure Meters
Pore pressure meters are used to measure pore water pressure. It gives
important information regarding region and pattern of seepage after
impounding of the reservoir. The data is useful as guideline in seepage
control measures. Decrease of the pore pressure indicates the formation of cracks
or establishment of flow channels in the body of dam The pore pressure meter
consists of piezometers having a stainless steel diaphragm behind a porous
filter element. The diaphragm is connected to a electrical transducer, either
strain gauge or vibrating wire type sensor. The deflection of the diaphragm is
proportional to the pore pressure exerted on the diaphragm. Vibrating wire
type is preferred since it is rugged and has a long life.
Uplift Pressure Meters
Uplift pressures are a significant factor in the stability beneath and within
concrete dams. These are normally controlled by provision of uplift pressure
relief drainage between galleries and in the foundation downstream of the
grout curtain. Assumptions are usually made in the design about the
effectiveness of drainage and the worst case uplift pressures expected to act
on the structure. However, because of the uncertain nature of foundation rock,
it is normal practice to install uplift pressure measurement devices in the dam
foundation and sometimes also within the dam body.

Uplift pressure meters are installed by inserting in a standpipe which is

inserted to required depth. The seepage water from the internal pores enters
the stand pipe and exerts pressure on the diaphragm of the piezometric
This measurement is useful for long term monitoring of actual pressures in
order to confirm that drains continue to act effectively and that uplift pressures
remain within the design assumptions.
Temperature Monitoring
With any concrete dam, higher than ambient temperatures from hydration of
cement are locked into the structure during construction and subsequent
cooling and contraction of the concrete can cause cracking of the structure
and subsequent leakage. It is therefore normal practice in concrete and RCC
dams to monitor temperatures developed within the dam body to compare
these with the temperatures assumed in calculating thermal stresses in the
design. Number of temperature sensing points is generally large in order to
get profile of temperature changes in the dam body. The importance of these
stresses declines within a few years of construction and the need for
monitoring reduces. Monitoring on a regular basis is not normally required
beyond a few years after construction.
Temperature sensors are resistance thermometers, thermocouples, vibrating
wire type temperature sensors and fiber-optic type sensors. The technology of
thermocouple and resistance temperature detector is well established. Use of
fiber-optic sensors for temperature measurement is a somewhat new concept.
In this method, the fiberoptic temperature cable is embedded in the concrete
during laying of various layers. The advantage of fiber-optic sensors is that
they provide temperature data over their lengths as compared to the point
measurements by conventional means. The sensors of the thermometers are
embedded and there is no access to them after the construction is competed.
The temperature profile and the variations with time are obtained by recording
the temperature readings on a data logger.
Leakage Measurement
Seepage measurement is done to determine the condition of the dam. The
results of the seepage measurement should be correlated with external
factors including reservoir water level, rainfall and temperature. Changes in
the pattern of seepage flows that cannot be accounted for are often a first
indication of structural problems. Generally, V-notch weirs are provided for
seepage flow measurement. The readings of level at the V-notch are taken by
an ultrasonic level sensor and flow is inferred from the same.
Seismic Vibrations Monitoring
Seismograph measurement is done for all types of dams. This measurement
determines the effect and response of the dam structure to seismic events
and thus is useful in studying the stability of the structure. The measurement
system comprises of strong motion accelerometers. Generally one
accelerometer sensor is provided at the top of the dam, one at the bottom and

one in the free field. The sensors are connected to a central recording system
which records the data and stores in its memory. The readings are correlated
with each other by use of software package which forms integral part of the
Reservoir Level Measurement
Water level measurement is done in the dam reservoir for operational purpose
and the level data is used in establishing the relationship between water level
variation and the structural parameter variations being monitored. In most of
the dams, spillway gates need to be operated by the operating personnel
based on the dam level and rate of change of level during flood conditions.
Non-contact type level sensor using ultrasonic / Radar technology are
nowadays provided for level measurement. They give accuracy of about +/- 2
cms. The readings are available on a remote reading facility.
Weather monitoring station
Integrated automatic weather monitoring station is provided in the vicinity of
the dam reservoir or on the top of the dam to monitor the following parameters
as a part of meteorological observations:
i) Ambient Temperature
ii) Wind velocity
iii) Wind direction
iv) Humidity
v) Barometric pressure
vi) Rainfall
The data from all the above instruments are connected to a central data
logger and is recorded in the memory. The data can be retrieved at a later
date by the site personnel.
Central Data Monitoring
The Central Data Monitoring is done on a PC based data monitoring station.
The data monitoring contains delicate and sensitive electronic and
computerised equipment and hence is kept in an air conditioned cabin above
the top of the dam. It consists of a central data processing unit which receives
signals from all the instruments installed for the dam, processes them, stores
the readings in the memory. The processed data and readings are displayed
on the PC in graphic form for easy viewing by the engineers.
The central data processing unit contains various modules such as input
modules, signal processing module, multiplexer, communication module and
storage module. The software for viewing and recording is generally Windows
based to make it user friendly. The facility for alarm are provided. The trends
of variations in the measured values of dam parameters can be viewed on the
screen of the PC. The software provided for the analysis of the dam safety
parameter are used for deriving useful results based on the measured values.
Ghatghar Dams A Case Study

Ghatghar Pumped Storage Project is coming up in Maharashtra (India), near

Nashik. In this project, three dams are being constructed viz. Saddle, Upper
and Lower Dams. All the three dams are roller Compacted Concrete (RCC)
Dams. The combination of fly ash and cement used for the construction of
these dams is 60:40. The construction of Saddle and Upper Dam is
completed in 2004 and the work on Lower Dam of 90 m height is in progress.
State-of-the-art instrumentation system is being provided for these Dams. The
number of instruments and transducers are as given in the table below:
Stress Meters
Strain Meters
Joint Meters
Pore Pressure Meters
Uplift Pressure Meter
Normal Plumb Line
Inverted Plumb Line
Thermocouples (Refer Note)
Seismograph system
Leakage measurement systems
Reservoir Level Meter
Weather Monitoring Station

24 Nos.
24 Nos.
03 Nos.
24 Nos.
15 Nos.
01 No.
01 No.
173 Nos.
01 No.
06 Nos.
01 No.

The distribution of these sensors is shown in Figure 1.

The types, quantities of instruments and their distribution in the dam is
generally in line with the criteria based on IS 7436 Guide for types of
measurements for structures in river valley projects and criteria for choice and
location of measuring instruments Part 2 : concrete and masonry dams.
The signals from all the instruments are connected to a central data
acquisition and processing unit. The power supply to the instruments
connected is also provided from the data processing unit and provides
interface for the same. A PC based data monitoring station is connected to
the data processing unit. All the features of a modern data monitoring station
are provided.
The installation of instruments requires meticulous planning. The instrument
sensors or their installation fixtures have to be kept ready as the concrete is
being poured for respective portion and layers. The instruments have to
carefully handled during installation and heavy material activities, since they
are delicate in nature.
Utility of the Data From Instrumentation System

The instrumentation provided for these dams becomes a very good source of
information which will become a reference for future construction of dams
using fly ash. The data becomes specially valuable since the fly ash ratio is
substantial. The quantities and types of instruments are quite adequate for
generating useful data. The instrumentation system is modern and will be able
to provide the data directly generated and logged by instruments having good
accuracy. Thus the data will be dependable.
One of the interesting application was of immediate use for the construction of
Lower Dam. The adiabatic temperature rise as per theoretical calculations
and also laboratory results was 13 0 C in the case of Upper dam. However,
the temperature meters which gave actual site results, showed a temperature
rise of 27 0 C. Based on this site results, the placement temperatures were
lowered and the contraction joints were also revised.
Future of Dam Safety Monitoring Instruments
The working mechanisms of the instruments have undergone a sea change
over the few decades. The bulky mechanical instruments giving local readings
are replaced by sleek and reliable instruments providing good accuracy.
Central data monitoring and automatic data logging facilities are available.
Presently instruments working on vibrating wire are commonly used.
Instruments based on fiber-optic sensors are being manufactured. As this
technology gets established, the cost of sensors, signal processing unit etc.
will be reduced. The technological support will be locally available and its use
will increase. It will offer advantages of faster response, higher accuracy and
more reliability.
Dam safety monitoring Instruments provide valuable information regarding
health of the structure. The data gathered by direct measurements over the
years is useful in monitoring the structural behavior vis--vis the design
parameters. The qualitative and quantitative information is used for taking
remedial measures in case any of the structural parameters start showing the
signs of alarming conditions.
The Ghatghar Dam is a model case of a dam which has been provided with
state-of-the-art instrumentation system. It will provide important information
regarding structural behavior of the dam which is constructed by substantial
use of fly ash.
The authors are thankful to Chief Engineer, Koyna Project and Management
of TCE Consulting Engineers Ltd. for giving us opportunity and permission to
write this paper.


V M Bendre (Mrs.)
Director, CWPRS, Pune

V. V. Gaikwad
Chief Engineer, Koyna Project, Pune.

Use of fly ash has gained worldwide acceptance in construction of Roller

Compacted Concrete (RCC) dams in which cement can be replaced by fly ash in
significant percentage. The addition of fly ash in RCC mix improves bonding
characteristics, reduces the temperature rise significantly besides making concrete
impermeable. Though RCC dam has got an advantage of speedy construction, the
small lift height and short lift interval in RCC dam construction induces excessive
thermal gradients, which is the potential cause of cracking. It is for the first time in
India two RCC dams are being constructed by replacing cement to the extent of 70%
by fly ash with acceptable strength under Ghatghar Pumped Storage Scheme
(GPSS), Maharashtra. The expected fly ash utilization in the construction of these
dams is of the order of 1,00,000 M Tonnes. Thermal studies were carried out in
CWPRS for these RCC dams. Three mixes with cement to fly ash ratios 66:154,
88:132 & 110:110 using fly ash from Eklahare thermal power station, and two mixes
with cement to fly ash ratio 88:132 and 70:150 using fly ash Pozzocrete 40 / 63 were
studied. The laboratory studies and analysis using in- house computer programs
helped in estimating suitable placement temperature for the final RCC mix of 70:150
proportion limiting induced thermal strain thus avoiding thermal cracks. The relevant
studies are presented in this paper.
Roller Compacted Concrete (RCC) technique(1) for construction of large dams
is widely used worldwide. The technique facilitates speedy construction and is
economical in overall cost. The lift heights are relatively small and the time interval
between lifts, the lift intervals are short. This however poses problem of


dissipation thereby developing excessive thermal stresses causing cracks.

Replacement of cement by fly ash in large proportion in concrete mixes is effective in
(i) achieving workability at low water cement ratio thus facilitating in rolling

(ii) effective bonding of rolled layers

(iii) minimizing thermal stresses and (iv)

reducing the permeability. However, the heat dissipation problem in RCC dams
warrants evaluation of thermal properties of the RCC mix and subsequent thermal
analysis critically to estimate suitable placement temperature to avoid cracking.
It is for the first time in India, RCC technology has been proposed for
construction of dams under Ghatghar Pumped Storage Scheme, Maharashtra. The

envisages, two reservoirs viz : upper reservoir

near village Ghatghar in

District Ahmednagar and the lower reservoir near the village Chonde (Budruk) in
District Thane (Figure 1). The dams





proposed to be constructed in RCC.


upper reservoir dam across

river Pravara is 14.5 metres high

and 478 metres long whereas the
lower reservoir dam across a small
stream Shahi Nalla is 78 metres

Fig 1 Ghatghar Pumped Storage Scheme

high and is 390 metres long. The quantities of RCC involved in upper and lower
dams are 35,000 cum. and 5,75,000 cum. respectively The project on its completion
is aimed to generate hydro power of 250 MW.
Number of RCC mixes were studied for selecting for construction of these
dams. The mixes varied in cement to fly ash ratio. Initially three mixes with cement
to fly ash ratios of 30:70, 40:60 and 50:50 using L & T 43 grade cement and fly
ash from Eklahare thermal power station, Nasik, Maharashtra were referred. The fly
ash used was in three grades, blended in the ratio 70:20:10. Based on the results
of the studies of these mixes, RCC mixes with cement to fly ash ratio 88:132 and
70:150 using pozzocrete 63 / pozzocrete 40 (processed fly ash), were further
The quantities of ingredients in kilograms per cubic metre of concrete of the
various RCC mixes evaluated are also given in Table 1.


Coarse Aggregates






Fly Ash


Mix Type

Quantities of the constituents of the mix in Kg/cum. of RCC




















































Eklahare fly ash # Pozzocrete 60 % Pozzocrete 63

Plastimet +Conplast


150 mm diametre and 300 mm height concrete cylindrical specimens were
cast by using relevant compacting procedure i.e. vibrating the mould on vibration
table for 25 seconds for each of the three layers under the surcharge load of 11 kg.
The compressive strength of these cylindrical specimens was determined at different
curing periods. The results are given vide Table 2. The required field strength was
125 kg/cm2 at 90 days curing period.
Table 2
Strength Properties
Cylinder compressive strength
( Kg / cm 2 )
7 days
28 days
90 days
88_132 org
88_132 mod
*Slow gain of strength due to increase in admixture dosage
Mix type




The thermal properties viz. adiabatic temperature rise and diffusivity are
required to assess the probable temperature rise in concrete and to estimate the
temperature losses when concrete is placed in lifts at definite intervals. The
coefficient of thermal expansion is required in estimating the induced strain due to
temperature changes inside concrete mass. The experimental procedure along with
the equipment employed are described in subsequent paragraphs.
4.1 Adiabatic Temperature Rise
About 0.283 cum (one cubic feet) of freshly mixed RCC sample sealed in a
polythene bag was kept in a plastic container and was surrounded by an insulating
material. The plastic container in turn was placed in an adiabatic calorimeter.
Adiabatic calorimeter consists of an oven with automatic proportionate
temperature controller (Photo1). Sensitive temperature detectors (PRTD) are used
for measuring the temperature of the

concrete as well as

the temperature

surrounding the concrete. The temperature








temperature of the oven are continuously

observed / recorded by means of PC based
monitoring system. Proper circulation of air
inside the oven is maintained to ensure








Photo 1 Adiabatic Calorimeter

temperature of oven in such a manner that

the maximum difference between the two temperatures does not exceed 0.20C to
achieve the adiabatic condition. The temperature rise in the concrete mix was
monitored and recorded for a period of seven days in case of RCC mixes without
admixture. When admixture is added the retarding action slows hydration process
thus lowering rate of gain of heat. For such RCC mixes the temperatures were
monitored for a period of about 30 to 40 days. The adiabatic temperature rise curves
for the RCC mixes studied are given in Fig-2.

From these curves the ultimate

temperature rise (T0) and the rate of rise per hour (m) were estimated and are given
in Table 3.

Values of T0 and m
Mix type

( 0C )

88_132 org
88_132 rev

( per hour )

F IG 2 :- A D IA B A T IC T E M P E R A T U R E R IS E C U R V E S

8 8 _ 1 3 2 r e v m ix


T e m p e r a t u r eC r i s e


7 0 _ 1 5 0 r e v m ix


G H 3 m ix


8 8 _ 1 3 2 o r g m ix


G H 2 m ix


G H 1 m ix





T im e in d a y s





4.2 Diffusivity
Quantity of heat diffused through concrete in given time interval depends on
diffusivity of the concrete. In absence of its direct measurement it is taken as :h2 = k / C x
Where h2 is diffusivity, k is conductivity, c is specific heat and is density of
concrete. Diffusivity is expressed as

rate of temperature change in metre square

per hour. It mainly depends upon the mineralogical composition of the aggregates.
Experimentally diffusivity is determined by uniformly cooling a cylindrical
specimen which is preheated to predetermined temperature. The equipment used
for determining diffusivity consisted of water bath. Arrangements are provided to
use same water bath as heating chamber and as a cooling chamber by arranging
draining of hot water after prescribed time and letting in cold water at required
temperature and rate (Photo-2).

Concrete cylinders of 203 mm (8) diameter and 406 mm (16) height of the
respective mixes were cast and cured for seven days. The cured concrete specimen






Thermometers were placed at the center of

specimen and in water bath to measure
temperature of specimen and that of water.
The water in the bath was then heated to a




maintained at this temperature till equal

temperatures at the centre and at the

Photo 2 Diffusivity test set up

surface of specimen were obtained so as to

ensure uniform temperature along lateral and longitudinal axis of specimen. Hot
water was then flushed out quickly and cold water at uniform temperature was let in
constantly at a rate of about 30 to 35 litres / minute. The temperature in the interior of
the specimen was recorded at every one minute interval up to a period of one hour.
From these observations, cooling history of each specimen for different heating
temperatures, was obtained.

Using the cooling history so obtained the part of

original temperature difference remaining, (/0) was plotted against time in minutes
where (/0) is the ratio of temperature of specimen after one hour cooling minus
temperature of cooling water to Initial temperature of

heated specimen minus

cooling water temperature. The best fit curve was drawn through the points so
obtained. A typical curve is shown in Fig 3. From the standard plot (Fig 4) between
h2t/D2 and /0 developed vide USBR (2), where D is diametre of cylinder ( 203 mm), t
is time of cooling (1 hour) the diffusivity h2 is determined. Diffusivity values for the
five RCC mixes under study are given in Table 4.








































0.07 0.08 0.09 0.1





Values of diffusivity ( h2 )
( m2/hour )

Mix type
88_132 org
88_132 rev
4.3 Coefficient of Thermal Expansion

Linear change in dimensions is observed when concrete specimen is

subjected to temperature change. This change is expressed in terms of coefficient
of thermal expansion expressed as millimeter per millimeter per degree centigrade.
It depends upon the composition of concrete and varies over a wide range under
different storage conditions.
For experimental determination of coefficient of thermal expansion, 150 mm
diameter x 300 mm

long concrete specimens were cast. These specimens were

cured in water for a period of seven days. The distance between the two reference
inserts positioned in the specimen at predetermined distance (gauge length 200
mm) was measured to a accuracy of 0.001 mm. The samples were then kept in a hot
water bath. After 24 hours of continuous heating for predetermined temperature
these samples were taken out from the water bath and the distance between the
two reference inserts



measured . The difference between the two

readings indicated change in the length with respect to the gauge length.


specimen indicated increase in the length. The coefficient of thermal expansion ()

is calculated from the measurements by using the standard formula:
Rh - Rc
= -----------G .T
= coefficient of thermal expansion of concrete 10-6/deg.C
Rh = length reading at higher temperature in mm.
Rc = length reading at lower temperature in mm.
G = gauge length between inserts in mm.
= difference in temperature of specimen between the two length readings in 0C.

The values of coefficient of thermal expansion for the concrete mixes under
study are given in Table 5.
Values of coefficient of thermal expansion ()
Mix type

( mm/mm/ 0 C )
9.63 x 10 -6
9.70 x 10 -6
9.78 x 10 -6
88_132 org
9.70 x 10 -6
88_132 rev
8.60 x 10 -6
7.30 x 10 -6
On the basis of the results of the studies, it was decided to continue the
studies using RCC mixes having cement to fly ash ratio of 88:132 and 70:150. It was
also decided to make use processed fly ash of uniform grade instead of blended fly
ash. Hence further studies were carried out on these mixes using processed fly ash
pozzocrete 40/63 from M/s Dirk India.
Strain is induced in concrete when change in its volume occurs due to
temperature changes. If this strain exceeds the tensile strain capacity of concrete,
the concrete will crack. The threshold strain value is the tensile strain capacity of
concrete. The major factors affecting the strain capacity of concrete are the cement
content, rate of loading and type, shape and characteristics of aggregates.
A number of laboratory methods are available for determining strain capacity
of concrete. The two used most commonly are the slow loading of beam method
and the specific creep method. Analytically it is determined by using strength and
elastic properties of concrete.
5.1 Experimental determination of Tensile Strain Capacity (3)
Concrete beams of size 15 cm x 15 cm x 70 cm of RCC mix under study were
cast. After a curing period of 7 days, one of the beams was tested to failure under a
rapid rate of loading using a flexure test setup (Rapid test -7 days) as described in
IS - 516. Concurrently loading of the second test beam was started applying initial

load corresponding to about 20 % of 7 days flexural strength followed by weekly

load increments corresponding to about 7 % of predicted 90 days flexural strength
which resulted in failure of beam at approximately 90 days period (Slow test - 7 to
90 days). Specimen surface was sealed to prevent it from drying during test period.
Upon failure of the second beam by slow test, the third beam was tested to failure on
the same day under the rapid test procedure (Rapid test - 90 days).


compressive strain and the tensile strain were measured using strain gauge
technique. The total strain measured at failure while loading the beam incrementally
(slow loading) consists of instantaneous strain and the strain due to creep. This
strain indicates the tensile strain capacity of concrete. The test set up is shown in
Photos 3 & 4 and the values are given in Table 6.

Photos 3 & 4-Tensile strain capacity slow loading beam test setup

Values of coefficient of Tensile strain capacity
Mix type

88_132 org
88_132 rev

Tensile strain capacity

By slow loading By slow loading
7-90 days
28-90 days
97 x 10 -6
63 x 10
94 x 10 -6
110 x 10
115 x 10 -6

5.2 Specific creep method Creep test

The tensile strain capacity obtained by testing of beams was also verified by
specific creep method in case of 70:150 mix. Three RCC specimens of size 150 mm
diameter x 300 mm height were loaded at curing age of 7 days at predetermined
stress of about 1/3 the compressive strength at 7 days. The load was sustained for
90 days. The deformations of the specimens were measured every 24 hours and
continued till 90 days. The deformation due to shrinkage was also measured. The
experimental set up is shown in Photos 5 & 6. The creep strain thus determined was

Photos 5 & 6 -Specific Creep - Creep test setup

used to compute specific creep i.e. creep per unit stress (Csp(7-90)). The ultimate
strain capacity was evaluated by this method using the expression given below:

Ultimate Strain capacity, e90 =


fr7 + fr90
+ ------------- Csp(7-90)

fr7, fr90

= Flexural strength of concrete at 7,90 days


= Modulus of elasticity at 90 days curing

The ultimate strain capacity determined by this method is given in Table - 7.


Ultimate strain capacity of 70-150 RCC mix by specific creep method
fr7 (Kg/cm2)

(90 days)
fr90 (Kg/cm2)


Modulus of
(90 days)
E90 (Kg/cm2)

Specific Creep

2.5 x 105

3.2 x 10-6



For estimation of suitable placement temperature in order to limit the induced
tensile strains due to temperature changes within strain capacity of concrete, the
permissible temperature drop which is the difference between maximum temperature
attained by the inner core of the dam, Tmax and final stable temperature Tstable
(average annual temperature) is computed. The computations are as follows:6.1 Induced Strain Eind
The induced strain due to change inside concrete mass is given by the relation
Eind = R . .
Where R is the restrain factor, is coefficient of thermal expansion of concrete
The induced strain equated with tensile strain capacity e90, thus,
e90 = R . . or the permissible temperature drop would thus be
= e90 / S. R .
S, a factor of safety is suitably introduced which is generally taken as 1.5 for thermal
6.2 Permissible maximum temperature Inside dam ( Tper)
This is the sum of final stable temperature Tstable and the permissible
temperature drop ,
per = Tstable +
The permissible temperature drops and the permissible maximum temperatures
estimated for the RCC mixes under study are given in Table 8.


Table 8
Temperature drop and Maximum Permissible Temperature

Drop, T 0C
maximum temp.
inside dam

org mix

88_132 rev mix

70_150 mix




















6.3 Maximum temperatures attained inside the dam Tmax

The temperature (Tmax) that the inner core of the dam would attain when
placed at a temperature Tp would be sum of Tp, the ultimate temperature rise due to
heat of hydration and the effective losses due to dissipation of heat by lift to
surroundings and to adjacent lifts. The temperature attained in a dam constructed in
lifts at definite lift intervals can be computed by any of the methods viz: (i) Definite
integral method (ii) Finite difference - Schmidts method (iii) Finite element method
(iv) Carlsons method. The USBR methods computes maximum temperatures in a
single lift for given exposure period, air temperature, placement temperature, lift
height . The Schmidts methods gives distribution of temperature inside dam for the
same parameter but placed lift wise.
USBR method was used to compute maximum temperature inside the dam.
From the computed values, range of placement temperatures which is within the
maximum temperature attained, is within the permissible maximum is obtained. From
the range of placement temperatures so obtained, computations by



are done for estimating suitable placement temperature to be adopted

for construction of dam. The computed maximum temperatures by USBR method for
the RCC mix 70_150 are given in Table 9.




Theory of heat dissipation / heat distribution

The temperature distribution inside the dam is governed by the heat flow
equation described below :The heat dissipation / distribution equation in two dimensional form can be written: d 2 d 2
K 2 + 2 = S

d 2 d 2 d
h2 2 + 2 =
dy dt


= temperature in 0C
t = time in sec.
S = specific heat ( Kcal / kg / 0C)
= density of concrete ( kg/m3)
K = thermal conductivity ( Kcal / m /sec )
h2 = K/ S = diffusivity ( m2 / sec )
Equation (1) can be written in one dimensional form as :-


2 d
dx 2
Schmidts method of solution of heat equation

A quick and easy method of solution of the one dimensional heat equation is
given by Schmidt which is widely used in determining temperature distribution in
concrete mass at any given time. The finite difference form of the one dimensional
heat equation can be expressed as below:

= h

1 + 3 2

( x )2

2 h 2 t 1 +
( x ) 2

If time interval


( 4 )

t and distance interval x are selected suitably to make:-

2h 2 t
(x )2
Which implies t = (x)2 / 2h2


Then , 2 + becomes equal to (1+3)/2


The above notations are explained by the following sketches:


1 3


(a) Points selected for computation


Initial temperatures at time t


Temperatures of point 2 after

time , 2 + =(1+3)/2

If 1, 2 & 3 are the temperatures at any time t of the three collinear points
1,2 and 3 ( each separated by a distance x }at any section of the dam ,then the
new temperature (2+) of the middle point 2 at time t + t will be the average of
the temperatures of the points 1 and 3 at time t i.e. new temperature of point 2 will
be (1+3)/2). It shall be noted that the time interval t and distance interval x are
to be chosen as given by equation (5).This procedure can suitably be extended to
determine the temperature distribution inside the dam at any time. The temperature
F ig u r e 5 : T e m p e a r tu r e s in


fo r lift in te r v a l 1 6 h o u r s

P la c e m e n t T e m p = 1 7







20 C

21 C


22 C

23 C


24 C

25 C

26 C

















distribution for

RCC mix 70_150

using this method are given in Figure 5 for

different curing water temperatures.


The studies indicate decrease in adiabatic temperature rise with increase in

proportion of fly ash in the RCC mix. The decrease in temperature rise
permits the placement of concrete at higher temperature resulting in economy
and progress of construction.

The increase in fly ash content has a marginal effect on compressive strength.

Comparison of result of Studies on RCC mixes 88_132 and 70_150 indicated

that increase in fly ash has also improved the tensile strain capacity of
concrete, which will be beneficial in permitting concrete to be placed at higher
placement temperatures.

Higher dosage of admixture in the concrete mix to improve bonding of

compacted layers delays setting of concrete. This therefore prolongs
hydration process and shows increase in ultimate adiabatic temperature rise.

While using fly ash in abundance in massive concrete structures, it is

essential to study the proposed RCC mix critically from the point of view of
thermal analysis and estimation of suitable placement temperature.

It is advisable to determine the relevant properties mainly the tensile strain

capacity, adiabatic temperature rise, diffusivity and coefficient of linear
expansion of the proposed mix in laboratory rather than to presuming them on
the basis composition. Assumed value has a wide range which may lead to
erroneous results.

The placement temperature of 170C was recommended for the final RCC

1. Kenneth, D. H., William, G. R., Roller Compacted Dams, Chapter -1, "
Development of a new type of Dam", 1991, pp. 1-13.
2. United States Bureau of Reclamation , " Cooling of Concrete Dams : Final
Report, Boulder Canyon Project, Part VII - Cement and Concrete
investigations, " Bulletin No.3, Denver, 1949, pp. 236.
3. Houghton, D.L.," Determining tensile strain capacity of Mass Concrete, "
ACI Journal, Proceedings V.73, No. 12, December 1976, pp.691-700.
4. Central Bureau of Irrigation and Power, Publication No. 215, Structural
Behaviour of Concrete and Masonry Dams, Chapter - 9, " Thermal Stresses
in Gravity Dams ", New Delhi, March -1990, pp. 107-130.


Table No. 9

LIFT HEIGHT = 0 . 3 m


















Concept of Self-Compacting Concrete

S.G. Bapat
Chief Engineer (Civil-Designs)
Nuclear Power Corporation of India Ltd.
Introduction :
NPCIL aims at producing power at reasonable rate without affecting flora and
fauna. To meet the requirement of reasonable rate, the construction period has to be
reduced, which in turn will reduce interest during construction. This will reduce
capital cost and the unit cost will come down. To meet this goal, NPCIL adopts
innovative techniques for speeding up construction. With this in mind, selfcompacting concrete was developed and used at Kaiga Atomic Power Project Unit3&4. This will enable to reduce construction time.
Why SCC ?
The Nuclear Power Plant structures are designed considering safety against
radiation hazard. In view of this, the structures are required to be designed for higher
seismic loads than conventional structures. Conventional structures are designed as
per IS:1893 with appropriate importance factors. However, for designing nuclear
power plant structures, site specific spectra is developed on the basis of past history of
seismic events, the faults in the area by considering the same as active etc. In view of
this seismic loading for which the structure is designed, becomes very high compared
with loading considered for design of conventional structures. The percentage of steel
goes up leading to congestion of reinforcement, particularly at column beam junction.
When normal concrete is used for construction of these structural elements, number of
construction joints are required to be increased to ensure proper placement and
compaction. To Overcome this problem, self-compacting concrete was developed
and successfully used at Kaiga Atomic Power Project Unit-3&4 and also developed
and proposed to be used at Rajasthan Atomic Power Project Unit-3&4.
Definition :
Self-compacting concrete is the one, which is capable of getting compacted
without any external efforts like vibration, floatation, poking etc.
Guiding principle :
The guiding principle for this type of concrete is that the sedimentation
velocity of a particle is inversely proportional to the viscosity of the floating medium
in which the particle exists.
Relation of SCC and Fly-ash :
The SCC needs large powder content. If the cement is used to meet the
requirement of the powder content, it will lead to other problems arising out of high

cement content. The economical option of meeting the requirement of higher powder
content is to use fly-ash.
Ingredients :
The ingredients of SCC are same as those for the conventional concrete except
that it is having high powder content and comparatively low coarse aggregate content.
Additional ingredient is viscosity modified agent (VMA). VMA acts as a stabilizing
agent and it also controls bleeding by changing the viscosity of the mix and
influencing the shear resistance. This helps in keeping aggregate particles in floating
state for a longer time and avoiding segregation.
Development :
The development of self-compacting concrete mix proportion was done as per
EFNARC specifications and guidelines. These are the only guidelines available on
the subject. No other codes, either national or international are available. The
EFNARC guidelines give approximate method to be followed for mix proportion. It
also gives the desired parameters in green state of concrete. Extensive trials were
conducted at concrete testing laboratory of Kaiga Atomic Power Project-3&4. The
selection of super-plasticizer and VMA is an important activity. Initially, SNF based
admixture with diutan gum as VMA was tried. It was found to be difficult to control
the setting time. In addition, the quantity of diutan gum required per cu. m. of
concrete is very small (approx. 60 gm per cu. m.) and one can be always doubtful of
proper dispersal of such a small quantity in 1 cu.m. batch of concrete. In view of this,
poly-carboxylic ether based super-plasticizer with poly-acrylic based VMA was tried
and found to be suitable. Following mix proportion was selected.












VMA (kg)

Similar efforts were done at Rajasthan Atomic Power Project unit-5&6 and
following is the mix proportion selected.
M 25










VMA (kg)
4.27 /0.45

Mock ups:
After finalizing the mix, full scale mock-ups were conducted. Very congested
column beam junction was selected for one mock up, thin wall element was selected
for second mock up and L-beam was selected for third mock up.
It was observed during concreting and after removal of shutter that:


Concrete can be placed from 5.0 m height without segregation

Concrete can flow horizontally about 12.0 m without segregation
Concrete flows in highly congested area and fills the forms completely
The reinforcement gets completely encapsulated.
Finish is very good
No honeycombing observed.

Implementation of concept :
After successful mock ups, the concept of SCC was implemented in actual
construction of safety related Pump House, Turbine Building, Control Building,
tunnels etc.
Quality Control :
During actual construction, samples were cast, as a quality control measure.
Following are the test results.
No. of Sample
Average Value (MPa)
Standard Deviation

KAIGA-3&4 *
28 Day 56 Day

RAPP-5&6 **
7 Day 28 Day

* Field results
** Laboratory trial results
It can be seen that

The strength results are consistent

Standard deviation is very small, which indicates that the quality control is
Strength gain from 28 day to 56 day is substantial.

Apprehension on concept of SCC

Major apprehensions are

shutter removal period will get enhanced on account of use of fly ash
Cost will be high

NPCILs experience is contrary to the above mentioned apprehensions. Setting

time was observed to be around 10 hrs. whereas, setting time of conventional
concrete, at Kaiga, is around 9 hrs. Thus there is no appreciable change in setting
time. It was possible to safely remove shutters for column after about 15 hrs. As
regards to cost, it is true that shuttering needs strengthening as concrete remains in
liquid stage for longer time, which exerts high liquid pressure at bottom of shutter.
However, this cost gets compensated by elimination of efforts of vibration. Also

possible defects due to over vibration or under vibration are eliminated thereby saving
cost on repair / finishing. It can thus be seen that the cost of SCC is comparable with
cost of conventional concrete.
It can be concluded that

The concept of SCC can be adopted on all the major projects for getting
reduction in construction time and for getting enhanced quality and
durability. SCC is more impermeable compared with conventional
concrete. Typical RCPT value is around 1000 coulombs for SCC when
compared with over 3500 coulombs for conventional concrete
Concept of SCC is most suited for hydraulic structure where high level of
impermeability is desired.
SCC can be effectively placed in most congested areas and also where
normal methods of vibration are not possible.