Flexural strength is sometimes used on paving proj-ects instead of compressive strength; however, flexuralstrength is avoided due to its greater variability. For moreinformation on flexural strength, see “Strength”in Chap-
ter 1 and “Strength Specimens”in Chapter 16.
Water-Cementitious Material Ratio
The water-cementitious material ratio is simply the massof water divided by the mass of cementitious material(portland cement, blended cement, fly ash, slag, silicafume, and natural pozzolans). The water-cementitiousmaterial ratio selected for mix design must be the lowestvalue required to meet anticipated exposure conditions.Tables 9-1 and 9-2 show requirements for various expo-sure conditions.When durability does not control, the water-cementi-tious materials ratio should be selected on the basis ofconcrete compressive strength. In such cases the water-cementitious materials ratio and mixture proportions for therequired strength should be based on adequate field data ortrial mixtures made with actual job materials to determinethe relationship between the ratio and strength. Fig. 9-2 orTable 9-3 can be used to select a water-cementitious mate-rials ratio with respect to the required average strength,
,for trial mixtures when no other data are available.In mix design, the water to cementitious materialsratio,
, is often used synonymously with water tocement ratio
; however, some specifications differen-tiate between the two ratios. Traditionally, the water tocement ratio referred to the ratio of water to portlandcement or water to blended cement.
Two characteristics of aggregates have an important influ-ence on proportioning concrete mixtures because theyaffect the workability of the fresh concrete. They are:1.Grading (particle size and distribution)2.Nature of particles (shape, porosity, surface texture)Grading is important for attaining an economical mix-ture because it affects the amount of concrete that can bemade with a given amount of cementitious materials andwater. Coarse aggregates should be graded up to thelargest size practical under job conditions. The maximumsize that can be used depends on factors such as the sizeand shape of the concrete member to be cast, the amountand distribution of reinforcing steel in the member, andthe thickness of slabs. Grading also influences the work-ability and placeability of the concrete. Sometimes mid-sized aggregate, around the 9.5 mm (
in.) size, is lackingin an aggregate supply; this can result in a concrete with
Designing and Proportioning Normal Concrete Mixtures
0.30.40.50.22.214.171.124Water to cementitious materials ratio605040302010086420
2 8 - d a y c o m p r e s s i v e s t r e n g t h , M P a 2 8 - d a y c o m p r e s s i v e s t r e n g t h , 1 0 0 0 p s i
Air-entrained concreteNon-air-entrained concrete
Fig. 9-2. Approximate relationship between compressivestrength and water to cementing materials ratio for concreteusing 19-mm to 25-mm (
-in. to 1-in.) nominal maximumsize coarse aggregate. Strength is based on cylinders moistcured 28 days per ASTM C 31 (AASHTOT23). Adapted fromTable 9-3, ACI 211.1, ACI 211.3, and Hover 1995.
CompressiveWater-cementitious materials ratio by massstrength atNon-air-entrainedAir-entrained28 days, psiconcreteconcrete
Table 9-3 (Inch-Pound Units). Relationship BetweenWater to Cementitious Material Ratio andCompressive Strength of Concrete
Strength is based on cylinders moist-cured 28 days in accordancewith ASTM C 31 (AASHTOT 23). Relationship assumes nominalmaximum size aggregate of a bout
CompressiveWater-cementitious materials ratio by massstrength atNon-air-entrainedAir-entrained28 days, MPaconcreteconcrete
Table 9-3 (Metric). Relationship Between Water toCementitious Material Ratio and CompressiveStrength of Concrete
Strength is based on cylinders moist-cured 28 days in accordancewith ASTM C 31 (AASHTOT 23). Relationship assumes nominalmaximum size aggregate of about 19 to 25 mm.Adapted from ACI 211.1 andACI 211.3.