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# Steps of Concrete Mix Design BS by CI VI L- GUY on MAY 12, 2010 in MATERI ALS TES TI NG Concrete mix designs is best defined

as a process in selecting suitable ingredients, which is cement, aggregate, sand and water, and determining their relative proportions to give the required strength, workability and durability. The mix designs, which is a performance specification stating required strength and minimum cement content but leaving the grading and details of the concrete mix design to be work out. Objective of Concrete Mix Design

Concrete Mixer – Drum type 140L Two main objectives for concrete mix design:  To determine the proportions of concrete mix constituents of; Cement, Fine aggregate (or normally Sand), Coarse aggregate, and Water.  To produce concrete of the specified properties.  To produce a satisfactory of end product, such as beam, column or slab as economically as possible. Theory of Mix Designs The Process of Concrete Mix Design The method of concrete mix design applied here is in accordance to the method published by the Department of Environment, United Kingdom (in year 1988). There are two categories of initial information required: 1. Specified variables; the values that are usually found in specifications.

M. [ k = 1.64 for 5 % defect ] s = The standard deviation (obtained from CCS 1).  Unit proportions such as the weight of materials. fc ii) Calculate the margin. M = k x s …. fm fm = fc + M ….5 iii) Calculate the target mean strength. Mix parameters such as target mean strength.2. Each stage deals with a particular aspect of the concrete mix design:  Stage 1: Determining the Free Water/ Cement Ratio i) Specify the required characteristic strength at a specified age.. the values normally available from the material supplier. The design process can be divided into 5 primary stages. [ F1 ] where. CCS 1: Approximate compressive strength (N/mm2) of concrete mixes made with a freewater/cement ratio of 0. water-cement ratio and concrete density.. k = A value appropriate to the defect percentage permitted below the characteristic strength. Additional information. Reference data consists of published figures and tables is required to determine the design values including. [ F2 ] .

At the target mean strength draw horizontal line crossing the curve. at the specified age that corresponds to a free water/cement ratio of 0. To obtain the required curve representing the strength.5). it is necessary to interpolate between the two curves in the figure. v) In figure CCS 4. follow the ‘starting line’ to locate the curve which passes through the point (the compressive strength for water/cement ratio of 0.5.where. CCS 4: Relationship between compressive strength and free-water/ cement ratio. . use the table of CCS 1 to obtain the compressive strength. From this point the required free water/cement ratio can be determined. fm = Target mean strength fc = The specified characteristic strength iv) Given the type of cement and aggregate.

this minimum value must be adopted resulting in a reduced water/cement ratio and hence a higher strength than the target mean strength. Stage 3: Determining the Cement Content Cement Content = Free Water Content / Free-water or Cement Ratio ….Stage 2: Determining the Free-Water Content CCS 2: Approximate free-water contents (kg/m3) required to give various levels of workability. . Stage 4: Determining the Total Aggregate Content This stage required the estimate of the density of fully compacted concrete which is obtained from figure CCS 5..6 for un-crushed aggregate and 2. then the specified strength and workability simultaneously be met with the selected materials. Given the Concrete Slump or Vebe time. If the calculated cement content is higher than a specified maximum. If no information is available regarding the relative density of the aggregate. the type and maximum size of the aggregate.7 for crushed aggregate. [ F3 ] The resulting value should be checked against any maximum or minimum value that may be specified. determine the free water content from table CCS 2. This value depends upon the free-water content and the relative density of the combined aggregate in the saturated surface-dry condition. If the calculated cement content from F3 is below a specified minimum. an approximation can be made by assuming a value of 2. try to change the type of cement.

. . The best proportion of fines to use in a given concrete mix design will depend on the shape of the particular aggregate.e. the grading and the usage of the concrete. the sand or fine aggregate content. i. the workability level. With the estimate of the density of the concrete the total aggregate content is calculated using equation F4: Total Aggregate Content = D – C – W …. The figure CCS 6 shows recommended values for the proportion of fine aggregate depending on the maximum size of aggregate.CCS 5: Estimated wet density of fully compacted concrete. [ F4 ] where. the grading of the fine aggregate (defined by the percentage passing a 600 μm sieve) and the free-water/ cement ratio. D = The wet density of concrete ( in kg/m3) C = The cement content (in kg/m3) W = The free-water content (in kg/m3) Stage 5: Determining of The Fine and Coarse Aggregate Contents This stage involves deciding how much of the total aggregate should consist of materials smaller than 5 mm.

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The volume of mix is multiplied with the constituent contents obtained from the concrete mix design process to get the batch weights for the trial mix. in a firmly held slump cone. water added and the cement. The slump tests are conducted to determine the workability of fresh concrete. the tests on mix are proceeding.. When the mix is ready.CCS 6: Recommended proportions of fine aggregate according to percentage passing a 600 μm sieve. Slump Test apparatus for Concrete Workability Tests on Trial Mix Design 1. The final calculation. to determine the fine and coarse aggregate is made using the proportion of fine aggregate obtained from figure CCS 6 and the total aggregate content derived from Stage 4. 2. equation F5. fine and course aggregate are mixed in a mixer for 1 minute. Firstly. Then. . [ F5 ] Coarse Aggregate Content = Total Aggregate Content – Fine Aggregate Procedures of Design Mixing Production of Trial Mix Design 1. Fine Aggregate Content = Total Aggregate Content x Proportion of Fines …. The mixing of concrete is according to the procedures given in laboratory guidelines. The volume of mix. 5. On the removal of the cone. which needs to make three cubes of size 100 mm is calculated. 2. fine and course aggregate and water mixed approximately for another 1 minute. the difference in height between the uppermost part of the slumped concrete and the upturned cone is recorded in mm as the slump. cement. Concrete is placed and compacted in three layers by a tamping rod with 25 times. 3. 6. 4. The volume of mix is sufficient to produce 3 numbers of cube and to carry out the concrete slump test.

The top surface finished with a trowel and the date of manufacturing is recorded in the surface of the concrete. The procedures for making and curing are as given in laboratory guidelines. s = 8 N/mm2. s from the figure CCS 3. The cubes are cured before testing. Then. M is calculated as below: M = k x s = 1. Thinly coat the interior surfaces of the assembled mould with mould oil to prevent adhesion of concrete. target mean strength.3. the mould is striped and the cubes are cured further by immersing them in water at temperature 19 to 21oC until the testing date. After 24 hours.64 x 8 = 13. The Calculations Here is one example of calculation from one of the concrete mix design obtained from the laboratory. Each mould filled with two layers of concrete. k = 1. we obtained the standard deviation. we specified 30 N/mm2 at 7 days for the characteristic strength. Three cubes are prepared in 100 mm x 100 mm each. 4. fm = fc + M = 30 + 13. Compressive strength tests are conducted on the cubes at the age of 7 days. the mean compressive strengths are calculated.64 for 5 % defect. We have to fill in all particulars in the concrete mix design form with some calculations… CCS 3: Relationship between standard deviation and characteristic strength. The concrete all are covered with wet gunny sacks. From the formula F1.12 = 43. each layer tamped 25 times with a 25 mm square steel rod. The cubes are stored undisturbed for 24 hours at a temperature of 18 to 220C and a relative humidity of not less than 90 %. Firstly.12 N/mm2 . The margin. fm is calculated as below: Target mean strength.12 N/mm2 With the formula F2. So. Then.

the free-water content is estimated by the expression: Free-water Content. we can obtained the free-water content from table CCS 2 at slump 10 – 30 mm and maximum size aggregate 10 mm.40 = 1142. the approximate free-water content for the un-crushed aggregates is 180 kg/m3 and for the crushed aggregates is 205 kg/m3. Because of the coarse and fine aggregates of different types are used.52 – 188. the fine and course aggregate content can be obtained by calculation: Fine Aggregate Content = Total Aggregate Content x Proportion of Fines = 1868.15 kg/m3 The percentage passing 600 μm sieve for the grading of fine aggregate is about 60 %. C = Free Water Content / Free-water or Cement Ratio = 188. Cement = 418. For the fine and course aggregate.45 at the target mean strength 43. we specified the slump test for slump about 20 mm and the maximum aggregate size we used in laboratory is 10 mm. For the specified above. Next.38 = 700. Then.74 x 0. which is. For OPC ( 7 days ) using crushed aggregate. Wf = Free-water content appropriate to type of fine aggregate Wc = Free-water content appropriate to type of coarse aggregate Cement content also can obtained from the calculation with the expression at F3: Cement Content. The proportion of the fine aggregate can be obtained from the figure CCS 6. the laboratory’s fine aggregate is un-crushed and for coarse aggregate is crushed before producing concrete.The type of cement is Ordinary Portland Cement (OPC). which is 38 %.33 kg/m3. from the figure CCS 5 with the free-water content 188. obtained that concrete density is 2450 kg/m3. water/cement ratio = 36 N/mm2.45 = 418.12 N/mm2.5 free-water ratio is plotted and obtained the free-water ratio is 0.52 kg .15 – 700. the curve for 42 N/mm2 at 0.33 kg/m3 where. Then.7.75 kg/m3 The quantity per m3 can be obtained.40 kg/m3 Coarse Aggregate Content = Total Aggregate Content – Fine Aggregate = 1843.52 kg/m3 We assumed that the relative density of aggregate (SDD) is 2. we obtain the free-water/ cement ratio from table CCS 1. W = 2/3 Wf + 1/3 Wc = (2/3 x 180) + (1/3 x 205) = 188. from the figure CCS 4. The total aggregate content can be calculated by: Total Aggregate Content = D – C – W = 2450 – 418.33 = 1843.33 / 0. After that. Then.

70) / 3 = 33.9 N/mm2 After 7 days of curing.29 kg The Results of Mix Design Slump Test = True Slump of 55 mm… All the 3 concrete cubes produced were then cured for 7 days.00375 m3 The quantities of trial mix = 0.87 For cubes after 7 days of curing.37 2 33. When the free water/cement ration is high. the compressive cube test is carried out. excessive water causes “honey-comb” effect in the concrete produced.1 x 0.70 (32.006 + 0.1 x 0. After that.61 kg Coarse aggregate (10 mm) = 4.00075 = 0.75 kg The volume of trial mix for 3 cubes = [(0. Cement = 1. Discussions Upon Concrete Mix Designs Although our compressive strength passes the specific requirements. workability of concrete is improved.57 kg Water = 0.12 = 28. the compressive strength of concrete cubes produced by the mix design method pass the specific strength requirements.71 kg Fine aggregate = 2.75 N/mm2 < 33. in which is.37 + 33. However. Few suggestion upon several steps to avoid the problems previously faced: .Water = 188. we still identified several factors which contribute to the lacking of compressive strength of concrete mixes produced in the experiment. However. compressive strength should not be less than 2/3 target mean strength.00375 m3.33 kg Fine aggregate = 700. The concrete cubes become porous. and hence its compressive strength is well below the design value. The results are as follows: Sample Compressive Strength Average 1 32. the main factor is the condition of aggregates whether it is exposed to sunlight or rainfall. = 2/3 × 43.40 kg Coarse aggregate (10 mm) = 1142.54 3 35.54 + 35.1) x 3] + [25% contingencies of trial mix volume] = 0. improper mixing methods and some calculation errors. Other possible reasons include over compaction.

The Conclusion 1. By using the concrete mix design method.  Compaction should be done carefully. theoretical values are not always suitable.All the raw materials. fine and coarse aggregate according to specified proportion. if the aggregates are wet or saturated. The concrete produced did not fulfill the compressive strength requirements due to several reasons. For example. Standard reference for the concrete mix design is as accordance to British Standard. we have calculated the quantities of all ingredients. cement. vice versa. that is water. as either under or over-compaction will bring significant negative effect on the concrete produced. 2. BS 5328: 1981 : Methods of Specifying Concrete including Ready-Mixed Concrete  . and sand should be protected from precipitation or other elements which may affect its physical properties.  The quantity of ingredients may be adjusted if necessary. aggregates. less amount of water should be added. which is cement. some steps mentioned above should be taken into consideration to overcome this problem. Furthermore.