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VOLUME 10 ISSUE 2 NOVEMBER 2015 - ISSN: 2349 - 9303

Mix Design of Fly Ash based concrete using

DOE Method
UG/PG Scholar,
VIT University

Scientist, Risk and Reliability
of Structures,

Scientist, Risk and Reliability
of Structures,

Abstract Fly ash is a by-product of burned coal from thermal power stations which possesses cementitious and pozzolonic
properties. Use of fly ash in concrete gives many environmental benefits and it is eco-friendly in nature. Utilization of fly ash is
important as it is a supplementary cementitious material, leading to reduce the use of cement. Fly ash, when used as a partial
replacement to cement, improves the durability of the concrete. From a review of mix design procedures for concrete with fly ash, it is
found that: i) the procedure given in IS 10262 (2009) is ad hoc, and, ii) the procedure given by DOE, which uses the efficiency factor,
is more rational. In this paper, mix design of M40 grade concrete having fly ash of 30% and 40% of the total binder content is carried
out using DOE Department of Environmental method. The concrete cube specimens size of 150 mm x 150 mm x 150 mm size, were
cast and moist cured for 28 days and were tested for compressive strength. Thus a brief comparison of IS, ACI and DOE method is
studied. The results indicate that DOE method can be used for mix design of concrete with fly ash in order to achieve the target
strength at the 28th day test.
Index Terms Compressive strength,Comparison between codes, DOE method,Fly ash, eco-friendly, Supplementary cementitious

Concrete is the most widely used construction material in the
world. The durability of the concrete is a major consideration in
its application in structures with long service life. Concrete
incorporates large amount of natural resources as aggregates and
cement. Cement production consumes huge energy and causes
about 7% of total greenhouse gas emission in the world. Hence,
utilization of supplementary cementitious materials such as fly
ash, slag and silica fume is being researched extensively over the
last few decades to enhance durability and sustainability of
concrete. Flyash is a by-product of the combustion of pulverized
coal and is a pozzolanic material. When it is mixed with Portland
cement and water, it generates a product similar to that formed by
cement hydration but having a denser microstructure that is less
permeable. The fly ash replacement level as 30% and 40% is
recommended for high strength concrete, while it can be used as
more than 50% of total binder for normal strength concrete.
The key to achieving a strong, durable concrete rests in the
careful proportioning, mixing and compacting of the ingredients.
While the addition of fly ash in concrete can enhance durability,
the extent of improvement is dependent on the mix proportioning
and the properties of fly ash. This study has focused on the
compressive strength of concrete containing Class F fly ash. Mix
design of M40 grade concrete having fly ash of 30% and 40% of
the total binder content is carried out using DOE method. The
specimens were cast and were tested for compressive strength
after 28 days of moist curing. The results indicate that DOE
method can be used for mix design of concrete with fly ash.

1.1 Objectives and scope of the present study

To review the effects of addition of fly ash in concrete.
To review the different mix design procedures for concrete
with fly ash.
To carry out mix design of concrete with 0%, 30% and 40%
of fly ash as a cement replacement material.


Fly ash is one of the residues generated in the combustion of
coal. Fly ash is generally captured from the chimneys of power
generation facilities, whereas bottom ash is, as the name suggests,
removed from the bottom of the furnace. In the past, fly ash was
generally released into the atmosphere via the smoke stack, but
pollution control equipment mandated in recent decades now
require that it be captured prior to release. It is generally stored
on site at most US electric power generation facilities. Depending
upon the source and makeup of the coal being burned, the
components of the fly ash produced vary considerably, but all fly
ash includes substantial amounts of silica (silicon dioxide, SiO2)
(both amorphous and crystalline) and lime (calcium oxide,
(CaO). Fly ash is commonly used to supplement Portland cement
in concrete production, where it can bring both technological and
economic benefits, and is increasingly finding use in synthesis of
geopolymers and zeolites.


VOLUME 10 ISSUE 2 NOVEMBER 2015 - ISSN: 2349 - 9303
Aluminium oxide Al2O3
Iron oxide Fe2O3
Calcium oxide CaO
Magnesium oxide MgO
Sulphur trioxide SO3
Available alkalis Na2O and K2O
Free CaO

Fly ash is a solid, fine-grained materials resulting from

the combustion of pulverized coal in power station furnaces. The
material is collected in mechanical or electrostatic separators. The
term fly ash is not applied to the residue extracted from the
bottom of boilers. Fly ashes capable of reacting with Ca (OH) 2 at
room temperature can act as pozzolanic materials. Their
pozzolanic activity is attributable to the presence of SiO2 and
Al2O3 in amorphous form. Fly ashes may be sub-divided into two
categories, according to their origin,

When a fly ash is burned at about 1000 C, it suffers a loss of

weight through the presence of carbonates, combined water in
residual clay minerals, and combustion of free carbon. The
oxidation of Sulphur and Ferrous compounds may produce an
increase in weight, which must be taken into account in the
general balance. The combined effects are termed the loss on
ignition. It has been confirmed that carbon is the most important
component of ignition loss. The carbon content in fly ash
determines the water requirement for mortar and concrete. The
amount of water necessary to obtain a paste of normal
consistency is greater when the carbon content is high. In general,
it may be stated that the lower the carbon content percentage, the
better will be the fly ash. Class F fly ashes may contain a greater
amount of carbon than those belonging to Class C. The carbon
contained in fly ash has high porosity and a very large specific
surface and is able to absorb significant quantities not only of
water, but of organic admixtures in concrete, such as waterreducing agents, air-entraining agents, set retarders, etc.

Class F: Fly ash normally produced by burning anthracite or

bituminous coal which meets the requirements applicable to this
class. Class F fly ash has pozzolanic properties.
SiO2+Al2O3+Fe2O3 70%
Class C: Fly ash normally produced by burning lignite or subbituminous coal which meets the requirements applicable to this
class. In addition to pozzolanic properties, Class C fly ash also
possesses some cementitious properties. Some Class C fly ashes
may have lime contents in excess of 10 %.
SiO2+Al2O3+Fe2O3 50%
2.1 Mineralogical Composition
The chemical and mineralogical composition of fly ashes
depends upon the characteristics and composition of the coal
burned in the power plant. Owing to the rapid cooling of the
material, fly ashes are composed chiefly (5090%) of mineral
matter in the form of glassy particles. A small amount of ash
occurs in the form of crystals. Unburned coal is collected with the
fly ash as particles of carbon, which may constitute up to 16% of
the total, depending on the rate and temperature of combustion,
the degree of pulverization of the original coal, the fuel/air ratio,
the nature of the coal being burned, etc. Low-angle X-ray
diffractometric can be used to ascertain the glass phase. Infra-red
and Mossbauer Spectroscopy, X-ray diffraction and other
specialized techniques provide powerful tools for researching the
crystalline phases in fly ash. The most important minerals found
in fly ashes from bituminous coal are:
Magnetite 0.86.5 %
Hematite 1.12.7%
Quartz 2.28.5 %
Mullite 6.59.0 %
Free calcium oxide up to 3.5 %

2.3 Workability
Fly ash is spherical in shape and reduces the water content of the
concrete with the same slump. This spherical shape helps to
reduce the friction in the concrete and increases the workability,
improved pump ability of the concrete. Fly ash in concrete
increases the fines and reduces the water content with reduced
bleeding effect.
2.4 Permeability
The addition of fly ash and lime in the concrete blocks the
capillary voids and reduces the permeability of the concrete.
2.5 Heat of hydration
In concrete when cement mixes with water a chemical reaction
initiates and a binding material is formed and sets with the
concrete. This process is exothermic and thus increases the
temperature of the concrete mass. When fly ash is present it plays
a dual role in the strength development fly ash reacts with the
lime and forms the C-S-H gel which improves the addition
strength to the concrete. The unreacted fly ash reacts as micro
filling in the concrete mass and fills up the matrix which results
in increased strength. The large temperature rise in concrete mass
will exert temperature stresses and lead to micro cracks but when
flyash is used the heat liberated is low and thus reduces the micro
cracks and increases the soundness of the concrete.

2.2 Chemical Composition

Fly ashes are particularly rich in SiO2, Al2O3 and Fe2O3, and also
contain other oxides such as CaO, MgO, MnO, TiO2, Na2O, K2O,
SO3, etc. Fly Ash with a high content of CaO (15 to 40%) may be
regarded as potentially hydraulic and capable of causing
unsoundness in mortars and concrete. The methods for sampling
and testing fly ash for use as a mineral admixture in Portland
cement concrete.
Chemical analysis must determine:
Moisture content (105 C)
Loss on ignition (1000 C)
Silicon dioxide SiO2


VOLUME 10 ISSUE 2 NOVEMBER 2015 - ISSN: 2349 - 9303
ASTM C-618-03 specifies the chemical composition and
physical requirements for the fly ash used as a mineral admixture
in concrete. The standard requirements are given in table 2.


Fig. 1. Hydration Process of Cement when mixed with water.

First calcium silicate mixes with water to produce the C-S-H Gel
and calcium Hydroxide. Then the dicalcium silicate mixes with
water to produce excess C-S-H gel with free Calcium hydroxide.
2.6 Advantages of fly ash in cement concrete
1. Reduction in heat of hydration and thus the reduction of
thermal cracks and improves soundness of concrete mass.
2. Improved workability and pumpability of concrete
3. Converting the excess lime into binding material through
hydration process
4. Improved impermeability.
5. Reduced cement requirement for the same strength and
reduced cost of concrete

Class F

Class C






SO3 max%




Moisture content




Loss on Ignition %




2.7 Quality of fly ash

To utilize the fly ash as a pozzolonic replacement in cement
concrete and mortar, Bureau of Indian Standard has formulated IS
3812 Part 1 2003, where in the quality of the class F and class C
fly ash with respect to its chemical and physical composition
have been specified in Table 1 and Table 3

2.8 Effect of quality of fly ash on concrete properties

The characteristics of fly ash depend on the coal burnt, degree of
pulverised coal, rate and temperature of combustion. The
important things which affect the performance of fly ash concrete
1. Loss of ignition(LOI)
2. Fineness
3. CaO content
2.8.1 Loss of Ignition
When fly ash is burnt at 1000 C, it suffers a loss of weight in the
presence of carbonates, combines water in residual clay and the
combustion of free calcium. This combined effect is called as
LOI. The carbon content in fly ash has a very high porosity and
specific surface area and also it is able to absorb the water as a
admixture significantly. Thus lower the LOI better the fly ash.
2.8.2 Fineness
Fineness of fly ash is termed as specific surface area and it is
determined by the Blaine method. This method is based on the


VOLUME 10 ISSUE 2 NOVEMBER 2015 - ISSN: 2349 - 9303
resistance offered by the material to overflow. Higher the surface
area, higher the fineness. It is also determined by the wet sieve
analysis method on 45 micron sieve. Finer the fly ash more
reactive surface area will be available to react with lime. Thus it
can be concluded saying that finer the fly ash lower the carbon
content, greater the pozzolonic activity and greater strength in
concrete with same workability.

4.2 DOE Method

The British method of concrete mix design referred as DOE
Method (Department of Environmental Method) which gives
the mix design method for normal concrete. This method also
provides the modifications to the mixes with air-entrainment
concrete, fly ash or GGBS based concrete. The stages in mix
proportioning as per DOE method for normal concrete with fly
ash is discussed below,

2.8.3 Calcium content

Fly ash contains large amount of non-crystalline particles and
glassy small particles. The four major crystalline phases are
quartz, mullite, magnate and hematite. The reactivity of fly ash is
based on the glassy or non-crystalline particles. Pozzolonic
reactivity is more in high calcium fly ash than the low calcium fly
ash. The reactivity of the high calcium fly ash is high because the
chemical composition of the glass particles present than in the
low calcium fly ash.

Stage 1: Free water/ cement ratio required for strength

Determine the target mean strength of concrete using
characteristic compressive strength of concrete cubes at 28 days
and standard deviation(S),
fck=fck+ 1.65 S


Obtain the free water cement ratio using the target strength and
the value of strength of that mix made with fee water cement
ratio of 0.5 using the specified age, the strength class of cement
and the type of aggregates to be used.

The materials used in the study are Fly ash class F and OPC 53
grade cement with coarse aggregate and fine aggregate.

When fly ash used, DOE method assumes that the fly ash based
concrete will have the same strength is a Portland cement
concrete of similar workability,

3.1 Cement
OPC 53 grade cement is used in this entire study with the specific
gravity of 3.25, initial and final setting time was 50mins and 360

Where W, C and F are free water, cement and fly ash

respectively. W/C is the free water cement ratio of the ordinary
Portland cement concrete. F is the mass of fly ash required to
produce the same target strength.

3.2 Fly Ash

The Class F fly ash is used. Fly ash is purchased from the Ennore
Thermal Power Plant near Chennai and was used in the study.
3.3 Aggregate
Good quality river sand was used as a fine aggregate. The
fineness modulus, specific gravity and dry density are 2.32, 2.68
and 1690 kg/m3, respectively. Coarse aggregate passing through
20mm and retained 10mm sieve was used. Its specific gravity and
dry density was 2.7 and 1550 kg/m3.

Stage 2: Free water cement required for workability

Either the use of specified free water content or obtain the
maximum free water content, which will provide the desired
workability for concrete made with the given fine aggregate type,
coarse aggregate type and maximum size of coarse aggregate.

3.4 Chemical Admixture

Master Rheo build 1125 is composed of synthetic polymers
specially designed to allow considerable reduction of mixing
water while maintaining control on extend of set retardation , it is
preferred admixture for triple blend binder system based high
performance concrete (HPC) mixes. It is chloride free, we have
used 1% of chemical admixture in the concrete mixing to get the
required slump.

When the coarse and fine aggregate of different types are used,
the free water cement content is estimated by the expression
W=2/3*Wr + 1/3* Wc
Where Wr and Wc are the content based on fine aggregate type
and coarse aggregate type respectively.
When fly ash is used in concrete the water content can normally
be reduced by 3% of water content for each 10% proportions of
fly ash in the combined cement and fly ash.
Stage 3: Estimation of cement content and Fly ash content
The proportions of fly ash (p) is specified as percentage of the
combined weight of cement and fly ash
The Portland cement content is determined from the equation


4.1 Criteria for mix design
The selection of the concrete proportions involves in an
economical and requirements like workability strength durability
and appearance for the particular condition. When mass concrete
is proportioned consideration should be given for heat of
hydration also.

Cement content= (100-p) W/ (100-(1-k) (W/(C+kF))

Where W/(C+kF) is derived from stage 1. The free water content
W is obtained from stage 2.



VOLUME 10 ISSUE 2 NOVEMBER 2015 - ISSN: 2349 - 9303
The pfa content of the mix is determined from
pfa content = pc/(100-p)


In this study, mix design of the M40 concrete is carried out using
DOE method. The target slump was 75-100 mm. Mix design of
concrete with 0%, 30% and 40% fly ash is carried out. The mix
proportions are given in Table 4.

Compare the W/(C+F) ratio with the specified maximum free

water cement ratio and lower of these two values is selected
Stage 4: Determination of total aggregate content
Estimate the density of the fully compared using the free water
content and the specific gravity of the combined aggregate.

5.1 Testing of the fresh concrete

After the concrete is mixed in the mixer machine for the
respective mix design the fresh concrete is tested for slump value.
The slump is taken as soon as the as concrete is mixed. Three
layers we filled the concrete and tampering is done for 25 times
for each layer. The slump is found for each trail mix and we kept
the slump to be 75mm to 100mm.

The total aggregate content is determined from the following

The total aggregate content =D-(C+F)-W
D = the wet density of concrete (Kg/m3)
Stage 5: Determination of fine and coarse aggregate content
Obtain the proportion of the fine aggregate depending on the
maximum size of the coarse aggregate, the workability, level the
grading of the fine aggregate and the free water cementitious
materials ratio.

5.2 Testing of the hardened concrete

Tests were done as per the following codes of bureau of Indian
standards. The compressive strength on cubes were tested after
28 days of curing as per IS 516-1959. For compressive strength
test, cubes of specimen size 150mm*150mm*150mm were cast
and for M40 grade concrete. The mixes were having the different
proportions of fly ash varying of 30% and 40%. Table vibration is
given to the moulds. The specimens were levelled and finished on
the top surface of the concrete. After 24 hours of casting the
specimens were de moulded and kept for moist curing for 28

In this method the grading of fine aggregate content is defined by

the percentage passing 600 micron passing friction has become
known as the most critical parameter.
Determine the fine and coarse aggregate depending on the
following equations
Fine aggregate content = total aggregate * proportions of
Coarse aggregate content= total aggregate content fine
aggregate content.

4.3 Comparison between IS, ACI and BS mix design methods

Up to 35% of cementitious material by mass is accepted in IS
method but ACI allows Class C to 35% and class F to 25 %
replacement by mass. BS method can be used for designing
concrete mixes up to 50% by mass to the total cementitious
material. Selection of water cement ratio in curves is absent in
data. Both the IS and ACI method does not take the cement
strength into consideration. But the DOE method takes both the
two cement classes strength into consideration in selecting the
water cement ratio. Water content is obtains by equation
W=2/3Wf + 1/3Wc in DOE method. In IS and ACI they dont
consider the fine aggregate type. No guidelines are given by both
the IS and ACI method for adjustment of water content when fly
ash is used but DOE method gives the adjustment percentage.
Water content should be reduced by 3% for every 10% proportion
of fly ash to the cementitious material. Slump is not considered in
proportioning of fine and coarse aggregate in IS and ACI method
but in DOE method slump is considered and grading of fine
aggregate is based on the % passing a 600 micron sieve. Thus
DOE method gives a suitable way in mix design procedure for
achieving the desired target strength on 28th day for fly ash

Figure 2: Specimens in mould after casting

After 28 days these cubes were taken from curing and tested
digitally in compression strength test machine as per IS 5161959. The failure load is noted from the machine. In each mix
three cubes were tested for and the average value is reported.



VOLUME 10 ISSUE 2 NOVEMBER 2015 - ISSN: 2349 - 9303
[1] A. Oner , S. Akyuzb, R. Yildiza,(2004)An experimental study
on strength development of concrete containing fly ash and
optimum usage of fly ash in concrete Cement and Concrete
Research , Vol.35, Issue 6, pp 11651171.
[2] Ali Ergun (2011), Effects of the usage of diatomite and waste
marble powder as partial replacement of cement on the
mechanical properties of concrete, Construction and Building
Materials, 25(2), pp 806812.
[3] IS 516-1959, Indian Standard METHOD OF TESTS
[4] Gambhir M.L. Concrete Technology Tata McGraw Hill
Company, New Delhi.
[5] IS 456:2000 Code of practice for plain and reinforced concrete
(fourth revision).
[6] IS 10262:2009 Code of concrete mix proportioning guidelines
(first revision).
[7] Kulkarni V R (2007) Roll of fly ash in sustainable development,
[8] Malhotra, V.M., and P.K. Mehta. High- Performance, High
Volume Fly Ash Concrete. Supplementary Cementing Materials
for Sustainable Development, Inc., Ottawa, Canada, 2002, 101
[9] Malhotra V.M. and A.A. Ramezanianpour, 1994, Fly Ash In
Concrete, published by Canadian centre for mineral and energy
technology (CANMET).
[10] Building Research Establishment, Design of Normal Concrete
Mixes, Second Edition.
[11] Fly ash For cement concrete, Resource For High Strength and
Durability of Structures at Lower Cost, Ash Utilization Division ,
NTPC Limited.
[12] IS 3812-2003, Pulverized Fuel Ash specification, part 1 for use
as pozzolana in cement, cement mortar and concrete.
[14] Effect of Partial Replacement of Cement by Fly Ash, Rice
Husk Ash with Using Steel Fiber in Concrete,R. S. Deotale, S. H.
Sathawane, A.R. Narde

Figure 3: Compressive strength test

Table 4: Mix Proportions

Ingredients \ Mix Designation
Fly ash
Effective water-binder ratio
Cement content in kg/m
Fly ash content in kg/m
Chemical admixture (Master Rheo
Build 1125)
Water content in kg/m
Fine aggregate content in kg/m3
Coarse aggregate content in kg/m3
Cementing efficiency factor of fly ash











5.3 Experimental results

The results of M40 grade concrete with varying proportions of fly
ash in it is tested for the compressive strength test and the values
are given below in the Table 5. The results suggest that the DOE
method can be used for mix design of concrete with fly ash.


Table 5: 28th Day compressive strength

28 day Compressive strength (N/mm2)







The beneficial effects of adding fly ash, an industrial by product,
in concrete is discussed. An experimental program is undertaken
to study the mix design of fly ash based concrete using DOE
method. Mix design for M40 concrete with 0%, 30% and 40% fly
ash (of the total cementitious material) was carried out. The 28
day compressive strength test results suggest that the DOE
method can be used for the mix design of fly ash based concrete
with specified strength and workability.
This paper is being published with the kind permission of the
Director, CSIR-Structural Engineering Research Centre, Chennai.