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and Building

Construction and Building Materials 22 (2008) 894901


Cement paste characteristics and porous concrete properties

P. Chindaprasirt , S. Hatanaka b, T. Chareerat a, N. Mishima b, Y. Yuasa c

Department of Civil Engineering, Khon Kaen University, 123 Friendship Hwy., Muang District, Khon Kaen 40002, Thailand
Department of Architecture, Faculty of Engineering, Mie University, Japan
Industrial Research Division, Mie Prefecture Science and Technology Promotion Center, Japan

Received 18 November 2006; received in revised form 6 December 2006; accepted 19 December 2006
Available online 5 February 2007


In this paper, cement paste characteristics and porous concrete properties are studied. The results indicate that cement paste character-
istics are dependent on the water to cement ratio (W/C), admixture and mixing time. Cement paste with high viscosity and high ow suitable
for making porous concrete is obtained with the use of low W/C of 0.200.25, an incorporation of 1% superplasticizer, and sucient mixing.
Porous concretes having suitable void ratios are produced with appropriate paste content and ow, and sucient compaction. Good
porous concretes with void ratio of 1525% and strength of 2239 MPa are produced using paste with ow of 150230 mm and top sur-
face vibration of 10 s with vibrating energy of 90 kN m/m2. For low void ratio, high strength porous concrete of 39 MPa is obtained
using paste with low ow. For high void ratio, porous concrete of 22 MPa is obtained using paste with high ow. Furthermore, the
results indicate that the strength of porous concrete could be estimated from strength equation of porous brittle material.
 2007 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

Keywords: Cement paste; Porous concrete; Compressive strength; Void ratio; Compaction

1. Introduction characteristic, volume ratio of coarse aggregate, size of

coarse aggregate and strength of porous concrete have been
Porous or pervious concrete is concrete with continuous studied [17], the optimum condition to produce good por-
voids which are intentionally incorporated into concrete. It ous concrete has not been established. The mix design,
belongs to a completely dierent category from conven- method of mixing and compaction to produce porous con-
tional concrete and hence its physical characteristics dier crete with potentially highest strength and durability at
greatly from those of normal concrete. Porous concrete designed void ratio are still needed. This is mainly due to
can be used in numerous applications such as permeable the fact that porous concrete is a special concrete with dier-
concrete for pavement, base course, concrete bed for vege- ent mix design and compaction allowing continuous voids
tation or living organism, noise absorbing concrete, ther- to be formed with relatively good compressive strength.
mal insulated concrete and other civil engineering and In order to obtain the required continuous void and suf-
architectural applications. cient strength, the most important condition is to keep the
Porous concrete pavement has been used for over 30 continuity of cement paste with coarse aggregate embedded
years in England and the US [1]. The interest and research such that continuous void is maintained [8]. This is achiev-
in porous concrete has been generated worldwide especially able with the use of cement paste with relatively low W/C
in the US and Japan [2]. Although fundamental information and suciently high workability. At low W/C, an improve-
including the inuence of the void ratio, W/C, cement paste ment in the texture and property of paste is obtained with
sucient mixing time and proper mixing.
Corresponding author. Tel.: +66 4320 2355; fax: +66 4320 2355x12. The knowledge on rheology of cement paste is, there-
E-mail address: prinya@kku.ac.th (P. Chindaprasirt). fore, a basic requirement for preparing good cement paste

0950-0618/$ - see front matter  2007 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
P. Chindaprasirt et al. / Construction and Building Materials 22 (2008) 894901 895

for making porous concrete [810]. Various researchers in 2. Yield stress and plastic viscosity. Rotating viscosity
this eld often fail to give attention to this. Many sort to measuring equipment was used to measure yield stress
the simple relationship between strength and ow obtained and plastic viscosity of fresh paste. The test was per-
from ow table test. Various optimum ow values between formed right after the ow test.
180 and 280 mm have thus been reported based on dierent 3. Strength and void. Series P paste was tested for com-
conditions of mixing, compaction and incorporation of pressive strength in accordance with ASTM C39 [19]
admixtures [1116]. Systematic study on the property of using cylindrical specimens of 50 mm diameter and
fresh paste suitable for making porous concrete is, there- 100 mm height. The void of the paste was also calcu-
fore, necessary. This can be achieved by examining the lated using the gravimetric method as specied in ASTM
change of rheology due to the inuence of method and C 138 [20]. These values were used for the determination
sequence of mixing and compaction. of the relationship between compressive strength and
The purpose of this study is, therefore, to study the best void ratio of porous concrete.
conditions to produce porous concrete. The rst part deals
with the properties of the fresh paste and the second part 3.2. Concrete
deals with the compaction and vibration of concrete.
3.2.1. Mixing of concrete
2. Materials Flow values of 150, 190 and 230 mm were selected for
cement paste for various W/C ratios to produce porous
Normal Portland cement Type 1 with specic gravity of concrete. From the test on cement paste, a suitable mixing
3.17 and Blaine neness of 3150 cm2/g, and 5.013.0 mm time of cement paste was determined and used for the prep-
diameter crushed limestone (No. 6 according to JIS A aration of porous concrete. The designed void ratio of 15%,
5001 [17]) with specic gravity of 2.70 and void content 20% and 25% with paste to aggregate ratio by volume of
of 42.6% were used in this experiment. Water reducing 0.466, 0.382 and 0.297 were used. The mix proportions of
agent (WR) at a dosage of 0.25% by weight of cement, porous concrete are given in Table 1. After the mixing of
and type F superplasticizer (SP) with no air entraining cement paste for 30 s at 50 rpm and 240 s at 200 rpm (see
agent at the dosages of 0.5% and 1.0% by weight of cement Section 3.1), coarse aggregate was added to the mixture
were the admixtures used. The type and the amount of and mixed at 200 rpm for another 90 s. The mixture was
admixtures including the W/C used in this investigation then placed into 100 200 mm cylindrical mould in one lift.
were selected based on previous work [12]. Surface vibrator was then applied for 10 s to top surface of
the cylinder as shown in Fig. 1. Top surface compaction was
3. Experimental procedures selected as it was simple and could be applied directly to
eld construction. One lift casting was used since this simu-
3.1. Cement paste lates actual placing condition in the eld. The specimens
were demoulded at 1 day and kept in water until testing age.
3.1.1. Mixing of cement paste
Water to cement ratio of 0.200.36, and ow value of 3.2.2. Method of test
150230 mm were selected for cement paste. To establish
a relationship between ow value and W/C, a minimum 1. Void determination. Void of hardened concrete was
of 4 W/C was used to determine the ow for each series measured using test method for porous concrete as sug-
(series N, R, S and P: dosages of admixture were 0, gested by the Committee for Eco-concrete Research
0.25%WR, 0.5%SP and 1.0%SP, respectively). A 30 l dual [21,22]. The reported result is an average of two tests.
action (tilting and rotating) concrete mixer was used, as 2. Compressive strength. Compressive strength of concrete
it was quite ecient in mixing cement and caused mini- was determined in accordance with ASTM C39. The
mum damage to the aggregate. For the study of paste, reported result is an average of three tests.
the mixing method was set at 50 rpm for the rst 30 s
after the addition of cement, water and admixture fol- 3.2.3. Testing of concrete
lowed by the mixing speed of 200 rpm for 60, 150, 240,
330 and 420 s (total mixing time of 90, 180, 270, 360 1. Study of compaction and strength
and 450 s). For this study, concrete with designed void ratio of 25%
and four levels of compaction with applied energy of 0,
3.1.2. Testing of cement paste 6, 36 and 90 kN m/m2 were used. Void and strength of
hardened concrete were measured.
1. Flow value. Right after the mixing of cement paste, ow 2. Study of void distribution with height
value was determined using ow table with a ow cone To study the distribution of void with height of concrete
of 70 mm top diameter, 100 mm bottom diameter, cylinder, the cylindrical specimen was cut into three
60 mm height with 15 impacts in 15 s in accordance with equal portions viz., top, middle and bottom portions
JIS R 5201 [18]. and void of each portion was determined. This series
896 P. Chindaprasirt et al. / Construction and Building Materials 22 (2008) 894901

Table 1
Mix proportion of porous concrete
Series Mixes Void ratio (%) Paste/aggregate volume ratio W/C (%) Water (kg/m3) Cement (kg/m3) Paste ow (3 mm)
Series N (0% admixture) N15F1 15 0.466 28.1 126 449 150
N15F2 31.1 133 427 190
N15F3 34.1 139 400 230
N20F1 20 0.382 28.1 103 368 150
N20F2 31.1 109 350 190
N20F3 34.1 114 334 230
N25F1 25 0.297 28.1 80 286 150
N25F2 31.1 85 273 190
N25F3 34.1 89 260 230
Series R (0.25% WR) R15F1 15 0.466 26.3 122 463 150
R15F2 31.0 133 428 190
R15F3 35.7 142 398 230
R20F1 20 0.382 26.3 100 379 150
R20F2 31.0 109 350 190
R20F3 35.7 116 326 230
R25F1 25 0.297 26.3 78 295 150
R25F2 31.0 85 273 190
R25F3 35.7 91 254 230
Series S (0.5% SP) S15F1 15 0.466 23.6 115 485 150
S15F2 25.3 119 471 190
S15F3 26.9 123 458 230
S20F1 20 0.382 23.6 94 398 150
S20F2 25.3 98 386 190
S20F3 26.9 101 375 230
S25F1 25 0.297 23.6 73 310 150
S25F2 25.3 76 300 190
S25F3 26.9 79 292 230
Series P (1.0% SP) P15F1 15 0.466 21.1 107 509 150
P15F2 22.0 110 500 190
P15F3 23.9 115 483 230
P20F1 20 0.382 21.1 88 416 150
P20F2 22.0 90 409 190
P20F3 23.9 94 395 230
P25F1 25 0.297 21.1 68 324 150
P25F2 22.0 70 319 190
P25F3 23.9 74 308 230
Note: Aggregate content = 1550 kg/m3.

used concrete with designed void ratio of 15%, 20% and 3. State of bottom surface and strength
25%; 1.0% SP; ow values of 150, 190 and 230 mm; and Void at the bottom surface of concrete cylinder indicates
four levels of compaction with applied energy of 0, 6, 36 the condition of porous concrete. The bottom surface of
and 90 kN m/m2. concrete cylinder was dyed with color stamp pad. The
dyed bottom surface was then dried, photographed and
compared. The strength of concrete was also determined.
This series used concretes with designed void ratios of
15%, 20% and 25%, ow values of 150, 190 and
230 mm; 1.0% SP; and vibrating energy of 90 kN m/m2.

4. Experimental results

4.1. Cement paste characteristics

4.1.1. Flow value

Fig. 2 shows ow value of cement paste with dierent
admixtures, dosages and mixing time. For all series, there
exists a linear relationship between ow value of paste
Fig. 1. Compaction process of porous concrete. and W/C. The ow increases with an increase in W/C ratio.
P. Chindaprasirt et al. / Construction and Building Materials 22 (2008) 894901 897

450sec versus W/C shifts to the left with the use of SP and also
with increase in the amount. The use of SP eectively
220 reduced W/C and thus improves the strength of paste,
which is highly desirable.
180 180sec
90sec 4.1.2. Viscosity
Total mixing time Except for time dependence, rheology of cement paste is
(a)mix N
normally described with Bingham model involving yield
260 stress and viscosity. The result of the yield stress and vis-
cosity against ow value of cement paste is shown in
220 Fig. 3. As expected, yield stress and plastic viscosity
increase with a reduction in the ow of paste. An incorpo-
180 ration of 0.25% WR only slightly increases these values.
Incorporation of SP signicantly increases both yield stress
Flow value (mm)

and plastic viscosity. The increase is more with an increase
(b) mix R in SP dosage. The SP dosage of 1.0% by weight of cement
gives the best result with paste of highest yield stress and
plastic viscosity.
4.2. Porous concrete properties
4.2.1. Compaction and strength
140 The relationship between total void and vibrating
(c)mix S energy is given in Fig. 4. The void ratio of the concrete is
100 initially around 50% for all mixes. With vibration, the void
ratio reduces and the reduction is more with an increase in
vibration energy. The void ratios reduce to approximately

300 Series P
140 Series S
(d) mix P Series R
Yield stress (Pa)

16 20 24 28 32 36 40 200 Series N
W/C (%)
Fig. 2. Relationship between ow value and W/C of paste.

An increase in the mixing time also increases the ow value
of paste. The improvement in ow through mixing is the 0
desired property of paste for porous concrete. This makes 6.0
paste more homogenous and improves the strength. How-
ever, mixing time should not be too long as this would 5.0
increase manufacturing time and cost. For this test set
Plastic viscosity (Pa.S)

up, the total mixing time of 90 s is too short as the ow 4.0

value is low in all cases. A total mixing time of 180 s shows
drastic improvement in ow but could still be improved. A 3.0
total mixing time of 270 s shows relatively good ow for all
mixes and is therefore recommended as minimum mixing 2.0
time for paste.
Incorporation of water reducer (Fig. 2b) slightly aects 1.0
ow pattern in comparison to that of normal paste as
can be seen from a small dierence in the range of W/C. 0.0
100 150 200 250 300
On the other hand, the use of SP signicantly aects the
characteristics of ow of paste as W/C is greatly reduced Flow value (mm)
as shown in Fig. 2c and d. The reduction is increased with Fig. 3. Relationship between yield stress, plastic viscosity and ow value
an increase in the amount of SP used. The graph of ow of paste.
898 P. Chindaprasirt et al. / Construction and Building Materials 22 (2008) 894901

60 30
Series P Series P
Series S Series S
40 Series R 20 Series R
Series N Series N

20 10

flow value=150 mm flow value=150 mm

0 0
60 30

Compressive strength (MPa)

Void ratio (vol%)

40 20

20 10

flow value=190 mm
flow value=190 mm
0 0


flow value=230 mm
0 flow value=230 mm
0 20 40 60 80 100 0
0 20 40 60 80 100
Vibrating energy (kN.m/m2)
Vibrating energy (kN.m/m2)
Fig. 4. Relationship between total void ratio and vibrating energy.
Fig. 5. Relationship between compressive strength and vibrating energy.

slightly lower than 35% and 30% for vibrating energy of 6

and 36 kN m/m2, respectively. The designed void of 0.25 is 4.2.2. State of void distribution with height
obtained with the use of SP. Slightly higher void ratio is As surface vibration is used, variation in void along the
obtained for concrete with no admixture and with WR with height of concrete cylinder is expected. The results of void
the vibrating energy of 90 kN m/m2. The result conrms of top, middle and bottom portions of porous concrete
that for a wide range of designed mix proportions, the with 1.0% SP are presented in Fig. 6. Without vibration,
vibrating energy of 90 kN m/m2 is suitable as far as total voids of top, middle and bottom portion are not very dif-
void is concerned. ferent as they depend solely on the placing of concrete
The relationship between vibrating energy and compres- into cylindrical mould. With vibrating energy, void of
sive strength is given in Fig. 5. Compressive strength top portion is smallest, followed in turn by the middle
increases with an increase in vibrating energy as a result and bottom portions, respectively. This indicates that sur-
of a reduction in void. The obtained strength is also depen- face vibration results in a large compaction of top portion
dent on the ow value of paste and type and amount of which directly receives vibrating energy. Vibrating energy
admixture used. The strength is slightly higher with the is then transferred to middle and bottom portions of con-
use of paste of higher ow. The strengths of 1317, 1518 crete but with less intensity. On the average, the results of
and 1522 MPa are obtained with paste of ow values of the voids show a dierence in the void ratio slightly less
150, 190 and 230 mm, respectively. For each ow value, than 10% between top and bottom portions with vibra-
higher strength concrete is obtained with the use of admix- tion energy of 90 kN m/m2. At the end of vibrating com-
tures. The use of WR slightly increases the strength, paction, average voids of concrete are very close to the
whereas the use of SP signicantly increases the strength designed void.
and the increase is more with an increase in dosage. The At void ratio of 25%, the designed mixtures for all three
result again suggests that the designed mix proportions, ow values of 150, 190 and 230 mm contain sucient
vibrating energy of 90 kN m/m2 and 1.0% SP are suitable amount of paste to cover aggregate particles and to con-
as far as strength is concerned. nect aggregate and voids forming a continuous mass. For
P. Chindaprasirt et al. / Construction and Building Materials 22 (2008) 894901 899

Vibrating Energy 90 kN.m/m2, 36 kN.m/m2, 6 kN.m/m2, 0 kN.m/m2

P25F1 P25F2 P25F3

P20F1 P20F2 P20F3

P15F1 P15F2 P15F3

0 10 20 30 40 50 0 10 20 30 40 50 0 10 20 30 40 50
Void ratio (%)
T = Top portion, M = Middle portion, B = Bottom portion

indicates paste dripped at the bottom of cylinder

Fig. 6. Void ratio at dierent part of porous concrete with 1.0% SP.

void ratios of 20% and 15%, dripping of paste at the bot- pressive strengths of concrete decrease as void ratios
tom surface was observed as shown in the circles in increase. The strengths of porous concretes with designed
Fig. 6. In these cases, voids at bottom portion are much less void ratios of 15%, 20% and 25% are between 3844, 29
than the other two portions as a result of high content and 35 and 1522 MPa, respectively. At full compaction, void
high ow of paste. This is not desirable and need to be pre- patterns at the bottom surface of concrete cylinders are dif-
vented as porous nature of concrete at bottom part is ferent depending on the designed void ratios and ow val-
destroyed. ues of paste. For the designed low void ratio of 15%, the
P15F3 mix with paste of high ow value of 230 mm shows
4.2.3. Void at bottom surface low void at the bottom surface of concrete cylinder. Exam-
The results of compressive strengths and state of the ination of the surface reveals that concrete is lled with
voids at the bottom surface are shown in Fig. 7. The com- paste and little void is left. Mix P15F2 with paste of mod-
erate ow value of 190 mm also contains relatively low
voids at the bottom surface. The low voids are caused by
Flow value
State at bottom portion
Compressive strength relatively high ow of paste and high paste content. Under
(mm) (N/mm2)
full vibration, paste with tendency to ow downward starts
F3 (230) 38 31 22* to drip and lls the voids resulting in non-porous concrete
at the bottom part of concrete. Although the strengths of
mixes P15F3 and P15F2 are high at 38 and 44 MPa, they
F2 (190) 44 35* 18
are not good porous concretes as the porous characteristics
are not maintained at the bottom of concretes. Mix P15F1
F1 (150) 39* 29 15 with paste of low ow value of 150 mm, however, shows
appropriate void distributed across the bottom surface. It
Designed void is a good porous concrete with relatively high strength of
15 20 25 15 20 25
ratio (vol.%)
39 MPa.
* desirable area For the designed moderate void ratio of 20%, the P20F3
Fig. 7. State at the bottom of porous concrete and compressive strength mix with paste of high ow value shows low void at the
(1.0% SP, 90 kN m/m2 vibrating energy). bottom surface. The strength of this mix is high at
900 P. Chindaprasirt et al. / Construction and Building Materials 22 (2008) 894901

31 MPa, but it is not a good porous concrete mix as the the voids and also moves downwards. At this point, com-
porous characteristics at the bottom part is not obtained. paction is completed. For concrete with appropriate
Mix P20F2 with paste of moderate ow value shows designed void ratio and paste ow, good porous concrete
appropriate void distributed across the bottom surface. is formed with slightly less void at the top portion followed
Similarly, mix P20F1 shows satisfactory void distribution by the middle and the bottom portions, respectively. For
across the bottom surface. However, its strength is concrete with unmatched void ratio and paste ow, the
29 MPa which is signicantly lower than that of P20F2 obtained porous concrete either contains too much voids
concrete. Therefore, the best mix for the designed moderate as a result of too little paste as well as not sucient ow,
void ratio is P20F2 with strength of 35 MPa. or too little voids as a result of excess paste and dripping
For the designed high void ratio of 25%, the voids at the during vibration.
bottom parts of cylinders of mixes P25F1 and P25F2 are
excessive. This results in low strengths of these mixes at 4.2.5. Relationship between void ratio and compressive
15 and 18 MPa which are undesirable. Mix P25F3 with strength
paste of high ow shows appropriate void distributed It is generally accepted that compressive strength of con-
across the bottom surface. In addition, the strength of this crete is related to strength of paste and aggregate, and void
mix is highest at 22 MPa in this group. Therefore, the best ratio. For porous concrete with good aggregate, strength of
mix for the designed high void ratio is P25F3. Good por- paste is an important factor as strength of aggregate is gen-
ous concretes with desirable strength and appropriate voids erally higher than that of paste. After mixing, paste covers
are obtained from mixes P15F1, P20F2 and P25F3 as aggregate and acts as one unit with air voids formed within
shown in Fig. 7. the paste matrix. Under the load, the presence of void acts
as weaknesses in cement matrix and produces concentra-
4.2.4. Compaction pattern of porous concrete tion of stress and crack formation [23,24]. Examination
From the result of this experiment, the following com- of fracture pattern of concrete sample failed under com-
paction pattern of porous concrete can be deduced. Paste pressive strength test reveals that the fracture surfaces are
with sucient uidity and adherence properties is thor- almost entirely in cement paste. As paste behaves like a
oughly mixed with single size aggregate. After casting, a brittle material, the relationship between compressive
suciently thick layer of paste still covers aggregate surface strength and void ratio of a porous brittle material sug-
forming a continuous mass of porous concrete. Stage 1: gested by Ryshkewitch [25] and Duckworth [26] can there-
before vibration and compaction, paste covering coarse fore be used for porous concrete.
aggregate touches each other very lightly and the contact r r0 expbV 2
area is small as shown in Fig. 8. Stage 2: with progress of
vibration, fresh porous concrete is compacted gradually where r is compressive strength (MPa), r0 is compressive
starting from top to bottom. Concrete at the top undergoes strength at zero void (MPa), V is void (%) and b is exper-
compaction more than the other parts and the contact area imental constant.
of paste covering aggregate increases. Stage 3: with su- The strength and the air void of series P pastes were
cient vibration, a large number of adjacent aggregate at found to be 135 MPa and 1.0%. The tting of the curve
the top starts to get closer to each other. A large number as shown in Fig. 9 results in the values of r0 = 152 MPa,
of aggregates touch each other and the excess paste lls b = 0.084 with the goodness of t of R2 = 0.96. Therefore,
if the quality of coarse aggregate and paste can be con-
trolled, the strength characteristic of porous concrete can
be estimated. It should be noted here that, concrete with

: Cement past
: Data of porous concrete
Compressive strength (N/mm2)

: Data of porous concrete

neglected in curve fitting
120 due to excessive dripping

y = 152e
80 2
R = 0.96


0 20 40 60

Total void ratio (%)

Fig. 9. Relationship between total void ratio (%) and compressive

Fig. 8. Compaction process by top surface vibrating compaction. strength.
P. Chindaprasirt et al. / Construction and Building Materials 22 (2008) 894901 901

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