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6.1 6.2 Introduction

Transporting, Deposition, Curing and Finishing of Concrete

Transportation of Concrete
6.2.1 6.2.2 6.2.3 6.2.4 Importance of Transportation Precautions in Transporting of Concrete Transporting Operations Safety during Transportation of Concrete


Placement or Deposition of Concrete

6.3.1 Importance of Placing Concrete 6.3.2 Precautions while Placing Concrete 6.3.3 Preparation of Surface before Placing Concrete

6.4 6.5

Compaction of Concrete Curing of Concrete

6.5.1 6.5.2 6.5.3 6.5.4 6.5.5 Importance of Curing Objects of Curing Methods of Curing Effects of Delayed Curing Duration of Curing

6.6 6.7

Finishing of Concrete Joints in Concrete Construction

6.7.1 Construction Joints 6.7.2 Expansion Joints 6.7.3 Contraction Joints

6.8 6.9

Formwork Summary

6.10 Answers to SAQs

In previous unit, you have studied the concreting operations like storing of ingredients of concrete, batching of ingredients of concrete and mixing of ingredients of concrete. You have also studied the types of mixer. In this unit, you will study the concreting operations like transportation of concrete, deposition of concrete, compaction of concrete, curing of concrete and finishing of concrete. You will also study the different joints in the concrete work and formwork.

After studying this unit, you should be able to appreciate the importance and precautions to be taken during the transportation of concrete, describe the transporting operations, 101

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appreciate the importance of placing of concrete, explain the steps taken for preparation of surface before placing concrete, discuss the different types of vibrators, appreciate the importance and objectives of curing, describe the methods of curing, duration of curing and effects of delayed curing, explain the finishing operations, and explain the purpose of providing the joints in concrete construction.


The process of carrying the concrete mix from the place of its mixing to final position of deposition is called as transportation of concrete. The time factor is very important in case of transportation of concrete. The concrete mix should be transported as quickly as possible.

6.2.1 Importance of Transportation

The concrete mix should carry from its mixing place to final position of placement in a very short time. It will minimize the loss of water by evaporation. It will also not allow the concrete to become stiff. The mix can be transported either manually or mechanically. In case of manual labour, the concrete is transported in iron-pans, wheel barrows, etc. Pumps or trucks or belt conveyors are used to transport the concrete mechanically. The concrete mix required at lower levels is transported by chutes and at upper levels is hoisted by means of barrow lifts attached to the scaffolding.

6.2.2 Precautions in Transporting of Concrete

The following precautions should be observed during transporting of concrete from the mixing place. (a) When water is added to cement, the process of hydration starts and with the passage of time, the cement-water paste starts solidifying thus making concrete stiffer. Concrete should be transported as quickly as possible to the formwork within the initial setting time of cement. The process of mixing, transporting, placing and compacting concrete should not take more than 90 minutes in any case. No water should be lost from the mix during transportation. The concrete mix should be protected from drying in hot weather and from rain during transport from the place of mixing to the position of placing. The cost of transportation should be as low as possible. Segregation of concrete should be prevented under all circumstances. Ready Mixed Concrete in which the segregation is observed, should not be placed in any case.

(b) (c) (d)

(e) (f)



The concrete should be kept agitated in truck mixer in order to prevent it from becoming stiff if more time is likely to be spent during transportation. The permissible duration of transport of concrete should be determined in the laboratory.

Transporting, Deposition, Curing and Finishing of Concrete


6.2.3 Transporting Operations

The following are the transporting operations used for concrete in order to discharge it directly into the position where it is required. (a) (b) (c) (d) (e) (f) Transport of concrete by pans, Transport of concrete by wheel barrows, Transport of concrete by tipping lorries, Transport of concrete in containers, Transport of concrete by belt conveyors, and Transport of concrete by pumps.

Transport of Concrete by Pans Iron pans are used for transportation of concrete. This method is adopted where the quantity of mix is small and access to the point of placing is restricted. This method is slow as well as costly. Transport of Concrete by Wheelbarrows The capacity of wheelbarrows varies from 70 liters to 80 liters. Steel wheelbarrows with pneumatic tyres are used for moderate distances. Transport of Concrete by Tipping Lorries This method is widely used for the transport of concrete mix and discharging it directly at the position of concreting such as in the construction of air field pavements, dams, concrete floors, canal lining and roads, etc. Tipping lorries are used for transporting ready mixed concrete and for arrangements for receiving, loading and reloading it. The height of mix in the lorries should not be less than 40 cm in order to avoid segregation. The mix delivered in tipping lorries is discharged directly into the structure. If it becomes difficult, then the mix is discharged into skips or tubs, which are then moved to the position of placing by crane. Transport of Concrete in Containers This method exclude the loss of mortar and cement slurry during transportation and also ensure the gradual emptying which is necessary for concreting reinforced structures. This is one of the main methods of delivering ready-mixed concrete from the mixing place to the point of placing without the need for unloading and reloading. For this purpose hoppers, skips and wagon bodies are used. Lorries transport hoppers and skips. Containers are delivered from the transport vehicle to the position of placing the concrete mix by cranes of different types and desired lifting capacity. This method reduces the risk of segregation of concrete and also protects it from atmospheric effects. Transport of Concrete by Belt Conveyors In this method, the belt used has a covering of rubber of width 60 cm and speed not exceeding 1 m/s. The slump of concrete mix should not be more 103

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than 6 cm in any case. The line of the conveyors should not have any marked breaks in plan. The angle of inclination of the conveyor must not exceed 18 for 4 cm slump and 15 for 4 to 6 cm slump. Flat belts are used only for a distance of 20 m and if the distance is large, the working part of the belt should be trough shaped. When the concrete is unloaded from the conveyor or when it is transferred from one part of the conveyor to another, guide boards should be used to prevent segregation of concrete. Boards should be arranged properly so as to avoid segregation (Figure 6.1). Free falling of concrete from the roller of the conveyor is also not allowed. For getting continuous supply of concrete this method is used. This method is most suitable under summer conditions for concreting structures at a distance of 250 to 500 m from the place of mixing and also in those cases where it is difficult for lorries and other types of transport to reach the structure.

Figure 6.1 : Methods of Discharging Concrete from Belt

Transport of Concrete by Pumps Concrete pumps are used to deliver concrete for concreting densely reinforced structures, internal structural elements of buildings and large mass concrete structures. These are also used for concreting of tunnel linings. Such pumps cover a horizontal distance of 300 to 400 m and a vertical distance of 40 to 50 m. Pumping is a process of transporting concrete without unloading and reloading in a vertical or horizontal direction and without a harmful effect on its quality.

Figure 6.2 : Transportation of Concrete by Pumps


In this method, the concrete is charged into the receiving hopper and kept mixed continuously by the paddles in order to retain uniformity of mix and to prevent segregation. The impeller blades through the open suction valve push the concrete into the barrel of the pump. The suction valve closes when the plunger moves to the left. The pressure valve opens which moves the concrete from the barrel into the pipeline. The diameter of the pipeline depends upon the size of the aggregate used but it does not exceed 30 cm in any case. The slump should not be less than 5 cm and more than 8 cm. The water-cement ratio should remain between 0.5 to 0.65. Stiff mixes are not suitable to be delivered by pumps because their pumping properties are not good. Sharp turns and bends should be avoided in the pipeline. The number of bends in a pipeline should be as small as possible.

Transporting, Deposition, Curing and Finishing of Concrete

6.2.4 Safety during Transportation of Concrete

The following safety measures must be observed during transport of concrete. (a) The distance between wagons being moved by hand simultaneously in one direction should not exceed 20 m in any case and 30 m on slopes. The distance from the bottom of the skip to the surface on which it is discharged should not exceed 1 m in any case if concrete is discharged from the skips. Places where lorries are discharged should be equipped with strong supports for tipping lorries. No person should be present on the structure being concreted at the position of discharge of the tipping lorry. The whole system of the pipe line should be checked up by using hydraulic pressure 1.5 times the operating pressure before pumping concrete. Generally, water is used for this purpose. The driver of the hoist should be able to see the positions of charging and discharging the hoist when the mix is to be raised by shaft hoists. The barrow run should be cleaned for the removal of dirt and concrete when concrete is transported by wheelbarrow. If the barrow run is located at a height of more than 1 m, the boarded surface should not be less than 1.2 m wide and fencing must be 1 m high. The thickness of the board for fencing should not be less than 15 cm.


(c) (d) (e)

(f) (g)

(a) (b) (c) (d) What do you mean by transportation of concrete? What precautions should be taken during transportation of concrete? Enlist the methods of transportation and explain any one. State the safety measures to be taken during transportation of concrete. 105

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The process of depositing the concrete in its required position is called placement of concrete. It is very essential to place concrete properly and carefully in order to obtain good quality of surface. Areas which will be in contact with concrete must be prepared carefully before placing concrete.

6.3.1 Importance of Placing of Concrete

The quality of concrete depends on the method of placing it during concreting. If it is not placed properly, segregation will result. The formation of irregular and unsightly lines will also take place. Therefore, in order to remove the possibility of occurrence of segregation and irregular lines, it is very important to place concrete uniformly and properly.

6.3.2 Precautions while Placing Concrete

The following precautions must be observed during placing of concrete in order to get required strength of the concrete. (a) (b) The concrete should not be thrown from a height of more than 1 m to prevent segregation. The concrete should be deposited in horizontal layers of uniform thickness not exceeding 45 cm for mass concrete and 30 cm for reinforced concrete. No person should be allowed to walk over freshly laid concrete. The old surface should be made rough, cleaned and cement grouted before placing any new layer of concrete. The alignment of reinforcement and formwork should not be disturbed in any case when concrete is placed in RCC members. Placement of concrete should be discontinued during rainy periods. The laitance should be removed, i.e. squeezed out, before placing new concrete. Concrete should be laid continuously in order to prevent the formation of irregular and unsightly lines. The internal surfaces of the formwork should be oiled in order to prevent concrete from sticking to sides. The placing of concrete should start widthwise in reinforced cement concrete slabs.

(c) (d) (e) (f) (g) (h) (i) (j)

6.3.3 Preparation of Surface before Placing Concrete

It is very essential to prepare a proper base or place before placing the concrete mix in order to develop proper bond between the base and fresh concrete. Before placing concrete, the different types of bases should be prepared as below. In the Case of Hardened Concrete Base The coarse aggregates should be exposed by making the base rough. It is made rough by striking sand under high pressure (i.e. hand blasting). After this the surface should be washed with water under pressure in order to 106

remove the dust particles from it. After the surface is cleaned, a thin coat of cement paste is applied before placing concrete over the hard surface. In the Case of Specially Prepared Sub-bases In case of brick soling and water bound macadam, base should be made rough with the help of steel brush. Dust and loose particles should be removed from the sub-base before placing the concrete over it. Before placing concrete the water should be sprinkled over the surface. In the Case of Natural Soil Before placing any layer of concrete over natural soil, the soil should be compacted uniformly and its moisture deficiency should be removed initially in order to prevent it from absorbing moisture from beneath the concrete layer. In the Case of Rocky Base In the case of rocky base the sides should be cut in vertical direction and not in sloping direction. All the loose particles should be removed off the rocky base. Before placing concrete the water should be sprinkled over the surface.

Transporting, Deposition, Curing and Finishing of Concrete

(a) (b) (c) What is meant by placement of concrete? What are the precautions to be taken while placing the concrete? How surface should be prepared before placing of the concrete?


The process of consolidating concrete mix after placing it in position is called as compaction of concrete. The object of compaction is to remove air from the concrete and to give maximum density to the concrete. Presence of more air voids will reduce the strength. It also ensures an intimate contact between the concrete and the surfaces of reinforcing steel and other embedded parts of the structure. During the process of compaction it is important to note that the reinforcement should not be disturbed and the forms should not be damaged or displaced. If the compaction is not uniform, the concrete becomes porous, non-homogeneous and attains less strength. The mix to be used should have adequate workability for placing without any difficulty and in order to obtain maximum density. The mix should also not be too wet, as it would otherwise cause segregation, lower density, and excessive laitance at the top.

6.4.1 Importance of Compaction

A considerable amount of air is entrapped in concrete along with the partial segregation of aggregates during the manufacture of concrete. It lowers the quality of concrete by making it porous and non-homogeneous. The importance


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of compacting operations is to remove the entrapped air and arrange the ingredients uniformly to obtain better quality of concrete. The strength of concrete may reduce by 30% by the presence of only 5% voids. The density, durability and strength of concrete are the factors, which affect the quality of compaction.

6.4.2 Compaction Methods

It is very important to decide whether to use a workable mix with hand or a stiffer mix with vibration before considering the method of compaction. It has been determined that a better surface with less blow holes is obtained for workable concrete. The compaction methods are classified as follows : Hand Compaction Hand compaction method is adopted for pavements, narrow and deep members. Compaction must be uniform and concrete must reach to the corners of the formwork. Excessive compaction is not good because it will try to push the aggregates at the bottom thus bringing the mortar at the surface. Iron rods and rammers are used for the hand compaction. Mass concrete is compacted in successive layers of thickness not exceeding 30 cm by tamping with light rammers or templates. Iron rods are used for compacting reinforced concrete work in layers not exceeding 15 cm in thickness. Hand compaction is further classified as follows : Rodding Rodding is adopted in case of unimportant concrete work of small magnitude. When rodding is used, the consistency of concrete is maintained at a higher level. The thickness of the layer is limited about 15 to 20 cm. Rodding is nothing but poking the concrete with about 2 m long, 16mm diameter rod to pack the concrete between the reinforcement and sharp corners and edges. Rodding is done continuously over the complete area to effectively pack the concrete and drive away the entrapped air. Instead of iron rod, bamboos or cane may also be used for rodding purpose. Ramming Ramming should be done with care as it may disturb the position of reinforcement or the formwork may fail if steel rammer is used. Light ramming can be permitted in un-reinforced foundation concrete or in ground floor construction. It should not be permitted in case of reinforced concrete or in the upper floor construction, where concrete is placed in the formwork supported on struts. Tamping Tamping is one of the usual methods adopted in compacting roof or floor slab or road pavements where the thickness of concrete is comparatively less and the surface to be finished smooth and level. Tamping consists of beating the top surface by wooden crossbeam of section about 10 10 cm. Mechanical Compaction 108

In case of mechanical compaction concrete is compacted by vibration during which the vibrator communicates rapid vibrations to the particles thus increasing the mobility of concrete. The particles occupy a more stable position under the force of gravity. The concrete mix fills all the spaces thus forcing air to the surface and making concrete denser. The frequency and duration of vibration, its amplitude depends on the conditions of vibration for compacting the mix. The maximum frequency of vibration depends on the size of the particles and on the mobility of concrete. Following are the advantages of vibratory compaction. (a) (b) (c) (d) (e) (f) (g) (h) A better finish and better quality of concrete is obtained as compared to hand compaction. The concrete produced is more dense and impermeable. Bond between steel and concrete is improved. Laitance is partially reduced. Speed of placing concrete is increased by the ready flow of vibrated concrete into difficult positions. Creep and shrinkage are also reduced due to the possibility of higher aggregate-cement ratio. Concrete with even lower w/c ratio and with lower cement can be compacted effectively. Better compaction can be achieved in heavily reinforced concrete members. Finishing of horizontal surface. Discharging very stiff concrete from mixers. The lack of sufficient vibration at points not immediately in contact with the vibrating equipment thus resulting in segregation. Discharging stiff concrete from lorries and other means of transport.

Transporting, Deposition, Curing and Finishing of Concrete

The following difficulties are encountered in vibratory compaction. (a) (b) (c)


Compaction by Pressure and Jolting This is one of the effective methods of compacting very dry concrete. This method is used for compacting hollow blocks, cavity blocks and solid concrete blocks. The stiff concrete is vibrated, pressed and also given jolts and due to this the stiff concrete gets compacted to dense form to give good strength. By applying great pressure, a concrete of very low water cement ratio could be compacted to yield very high strength. Generally this method is used in the laboratory. Compaction by Spinning Spinning is one of the recent methods of compaction of concrete and is used for the fabrication of concrete pipes. The plastic concrete when spun at a very high speed, gets well compacted by centrifugal force.

6.4.3 Types of Vibrators

The vibrators commonly used are classified as follows : (a) Internal vibrator 109

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(b) (c) (d) (e)

Screed vibrator Form vibrator Table vibrator Platform vibrator

Internal Vibrator Internal vibrator is also known as needle or immersion or poker vibrator. It consists of a power unit and a long flexible tube at the end of which fitted a vibrating head. These vibrators have higher efficiency since all the energy is directly transmitted to the concrete. As they are portable, therefore, can be readily used in difficult positions. The vibrating element is immersed in the fresh concrete, which transmits vibrations through the vibrator body. It is very important to keep the vibrating head in the concrete while running in order to keep the bearings cool and avoid breakdowns. It should be inserted vertically or nearly so at points 45 cm to 75 cm apart and should be withdrawn slowly at the rate of 7.5 cm/sec. These should not be used for pushing concrete laterally in the formworks because it will cause segregation. The frequency of vibration is about 7000 cycles/mt. Such vibrators are used for compacting large sections of mass concrete in structures, for concrete of beams, columns, foundations, etc.

Figure 6.3 : Internal Vibrator

Screed Vibrator Screed vibrator is also known as surface vibrator. These vibrators are used for compacting plain concrete or one-way reinforced concrete floors, road surfaces, the thickness of which does not exceed 20 cm. This vibrator is set up on the concrete surface after placing the concrete and vibrations are transmitted to concrete through a working platform.


Figure 6.4 : Section of a Typical Metal Form for Road Slab Construction

Transporting, Deposition, Curing and Finishing of Concrete

Figure 6.5 : Compaction of Cement Concrete Road Slab by a Screed Vibrator

Form Vibrator Form vibrators are also known as external vibrator. It is fastened to the formwork by a clamping device and transmits vibrations to the concrete. External vibrator is clamped at a distance up to 25 cm in depth from the formwork. The vibrator must be firmly clamped to the form as otherwise its efficiency will be reduced. The formwork should be sufficiently strong and rigid to resist the oscillatory action. The time of vibration is from 45 to 90 seconds. The vibrator is switched off for 5 minutes after its continuous working for half an hour in order to allow cooling of motor. If the motor of the vibrator heats up more rapidly, the work should be immediately stopped. The electrician should be called in order to check the motor winding. In this case, more power is required in comparison to internal vibrators. Therefore, emergency vibrators must be kept near the concreting work as replacement for vibrators, which go out of order. Form vibrators are used in concreting of thin components of monolithic structures, heavily reinforced arches and tunnel and tunnel lining, etc. They are also used in the production of different pre-cast reinforced concrete components. Table Vibrator This method is mostly adopted in the laboratories. This is the special case of a formwork vibrator, where the vibrator is clamped to the table. This method is used in making small but precise prefabricated reinforced cement concrete members. In this method, any member kept on the table gets vibrated. Platform Vibrator It is nothing but a table vibrator larger in size. Sometimes, the platform vibrator is also coupled with jerking or shock giving arrangements so that a thorough compaction is given to the concrete. Platform vibrator is used in the manufacture of large prefabricated concrete elements such as railway sleepers, prefabricated roofing elements, electric poles, etc.

6.4.4 Handling of Vibrators

Needle vibrators should be penetrated in vertical direction and vibrations should be transmitted till the concrete flattens and no entrapped air appears on the surface. The vibrator should be taken out of concrete slowly and carefully. Skilled workmen are essentially required for producing a uniform and well-compacted concrete. The correct placing and tamping of concrete mainly depends on the skill of the workmen and their experience. Vibration by unskilled persons is probably more dangerous than hand tamping, as there is always a risk of either undercompaction or over-compaction of concrete. The equipment to be used for vibration must be kept clean and free from coatings of set concrete. Thus, the vibrators should be used very carefully in order to compact the concrete layer uniformly.


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The following steps should be observed in order to obtain good results by compacting concrete with vibrators. (a) (b) (c) Vibrators should be controlled carefully by immersing the internal vibrator for 5 to 15 seconds at points 45 to 75 cm apart. The formworks should be as tight as possible in order to prevent any leakage of mortar. The vibrator should be inserted vertically otherwise it will not be possible to regulate the degree of compaction in all portions of concrete. The lift should not be less than 15 cm in order to avoid air being trapped. The vibrator should be immersed through the full depth of the freshly laid concrete. It should also be immersed into the lower layer if the concrete in that layer is still plastic. The vibrator should be withdrawn very slowly and should be allowed to penetrate of its own accord. The vibrator should not touch the form surface otherwise a sand streak is likely to occur. The surface of the formwork can also be damaged. The vibrator should only be used for compaction purposes. It should not be used for pushing the concrete laterally in the formworks, which would otherwise cause segregation.

(d) (e)

(f) (g)


6.4.5 Suitability of Mix for Compaction with Vibrator

The consistency of concrete depends upon the placing conditions, type of mix and the efficiency of the vibrator. The slump should not exceed 5 cm when compacting concrete with vibrators. If the slump of the concrete mix is more, the segregation will take place. Segregation should be prevented under all circumstances.

6.4.6 Selection of Vibrators for Various Situations

Following table indicates the use of various vibrators depending upon the situation. Table 6.1 : Selection of Vibrators
Sl. No. 1. Type of Vibrator Internal Places where Used For large sections of mass concrete in structures, for concrete of foundations, columns, beams, etc. For plain concrete or one-way reinforced concrete floors, road surfaces. For concreting thin components of monolithic structures, arches and tunnel lining, etc; for production of pre-cast reinforced concrete







Transporting, Deposition, Curing and Finishing of Concrete

(a) (b) (c) (d) (e) Why concrete is required to be compacted? State the methods of compaction and explain in brief. How you will judge that compaction is proper or not? What should be the duration of compaction? State the factors affecting it. State the different types of vibrator and their usefulness. Explain any one of them in brief.

(a) (b) (c) (d) What is vibrator? What is the objective of using vibrators in concreting operation? State the places where different types of vibrator are used. State the precautions to be taken during the use of vibrators. Tick the correct answer. (i) (ii) Vibrators should be penetrated in (horizontal/vertical) direction. Which type of vibrator is generally used for compaction of concrete? (1) (2) Needle vibrator Form vibrator

(iii) For compacting thin reinforced concrete slabs following vibrator is recommended. (1) (2) Immersion vibrator Surface vibrator

(iv) Surface vibrator is effective only when thickness of concrete member does not exceed (1) (2) (v) 200 mm 500 mm

A surface vibrator for compaction of concrete is preferred for (1) (2) Raft footings Columns 113

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The process of hardening the concrete mixes by keeping its surface moist for a certain period after compaction and finishing is called curing of concrete. Curing is one of the important factors for obtaining better strength. The concrete hardens because of the chemical reaction between water and cement, i.e. hydration. The chemical action that accompanies the setting of concrete is dependent on the presence of water. Although there is sufficient water at the time of mixing yet it is necessary to ensure that the water is retained to enable the chemical action to continue till the concrete is fully hardened. Properties of concrete such as strength, durability, wear resistance, water-tightness and volume stability improve with the passage of time. Three gallons of water are required approximately to hydrate one bag of cement. If the loss due to evaporation is more from newly placed concrete, the hydration process will stop and concrete will shrink thus creating tensile stresses at the drying surface. The development of these stresses will result into the formation of plastic shrinkage cracks.

6.5.1 Importance of Curing

The importance of curing of concrete is to improve its properties such as watertightness, wear resistance, strength, volume stability and durability.

6.5.2 Objects of Curing

Following are the objects of curing. (a) (b) (c) Maintaining the process of hydration by preventing the loss of water by evaporation. To reduce the shrinkage of concrete. To preserve the properties of concrete.

6.5.3 Methods of Curing

Different methods of curing are used for maintaining the concrete in a moist condition over a period of several days till it hardens and attains full strength. The method of curing depends upon the nature of work and atmospheric conditions. Following methods are generally used for curing. (a) (b) (c) (d) (e) (f) (g) (h) (i) Sprinkling water, Ponding method, Membrane curing, Covering concrete surfaces with gunny bags, Shading concrete works, Chemical curing, Steam curing, Curing of concrete by infrared radiation, and Electrical curing of concrete.

Sprinkling Water 114

Excellent method of curing is the continuous sprinkling of water. The quantity of water required by this method to cure concrete is much more than other methods. If water is sprinkled in intervals, then the concrete must not be allowed to dry between applications of water. A constant supply of water helps in preventing the formation of cracks caused by alternate wetting and drying. Ponding Methods Ponding method is mainly adopted for surfaces members such as pavements, floors, roofs, slabs and sidewalks, etc. In this method, a small dam of earth or water retaining material is placed around the perimeter of the surface. The surface is firstly covered for 24 hours after placing and compacting concrete. The enclosed area is further divided into a number of rectangles and is kept flooded with water. Water is filled in the rectangles two to three times per day depending upon the climatic conditions. Membrane Curing Membrane curing is used at the places where there is acute shortage of water. In membrane curing a newly laid concrete surface is covered by using chemical or liquid membranes in order to prevent evaporation of moisture from concrete. This method has been found good in maintaining a satisfactory state of wetness in the body of concrete to promote continuous hydration when original w/c ratio used is not less than 0.5. The membranes should be applied immediately after the concrete has been finished. The concrete surface should be kept moist till the membrane is applied. Such compounds should neither be applied when there is free water on the concrete surface nor after the concrete has dried out. The correct time of applying membranes that when water film disappears from the surface of the finished concrete. Curing membranes are plastic films, bitumen emulsions, wax emulsions and waterproof papers, etc. Curing compounds should not be applied in between two courses in order to obtain perfect bonding. The disadvantage of this method is that concrete loses its strength due to less rate of hydration. No supervision is required in this method. Covering Concrete Surfaces with Gunny Bags The exposed surface of concrete is covered with old empty cement bags or hessian, which are kept moist by spraying water frequently. This method is widely used for structural concrete. This method can also be applied for horizontal and vertical members. The surface should not be allowed to dry even for small duration during the period of curing. Shading Concrete Works The object of shading is to avoid the evaporation of water from the surface of concrete after it is placed and compacted. This method is used to protect the newly laid concrete from wind, heat and direct sunrays. In cold weather, it prevents the freezing of concrete under frost condition. This process is mainly suitable for large surfaces such as road slabs. Using canvas and starching them on frames achieve shading over the newly laid concrete. Chemical Curing Chemical curing is accomplished by spraying the sodium silicate solution. About 500 gm sodium silicate mixed with water can cover 1 m2 of surface and forms a hard and insoluble calcium silicate film. It actually acts as case hardener and curing agent. The application of sodium silicate results in a

Transporting, Deposition, Curing and Finishing of Concrete


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thin varnish like film, which also fill pores and surface voids, thus sealing the surface and preventing the evaporation of water. Steam Curing The hydration of cement accelerates with increase in temperature, which leads to faster development and strength. To steam curing, the concrete is subjected to higher temperature by maintaining the required wetness. For concrete mixes with water-cement ratio ranging from 0.3 to 0.7, the increased rate of strength development can be achieved by resorting to steam curing. The mixes with low water-cement ratio respond more favorably to steam curing than mixes with higher water-cement ratio. In steam curing, the heating of the concrete products is caused by steam either at low pressure or high pressure. Steam curing is preferred for precast concrete products. These precast members are passed through the steam chambers. It is also used, when early removal of formwork is required to put the structure in sense without delay. Curing of Concrete by Infrared Radiation It is claimed that a much more rapid gain of strength can be obtained in this method than even with steam curing. The rapid initial rise of temperature does not result in a decrease in the ultimate strength as it does in the case of steam curing. The system is described as particularly applicable to the manufacture of hollow concrete products in which case the heaters are placed in the hollow spaces of the product. The normal operating temperature is 90C. The curing of concrete by infrared radiation has been used in Russia. Electrical Curing of Concrete This method is not used in India. It is more expensive. It is mostly used in very cold climatic regions. Passing alternating current of low voltage can cure concrete products and high amperage through electrodes in the form of plates covering the entire area of two opposite faces of concrete. The potential difference generally adopted is between 30 and 60 V. Evaporation is prevented by using an impermeable rubber membrane on the top surface of the concrete. Initially up to 3 hours, the resistance of concrete to flow of current decreases due to rise in temperature. There is rise in resistance afterwards, due to decrease in the quantity of free water available in the concrete due to hydration and evaporation. This period of rise in temperature should be about 12 hours. The duration of electrical-curing should be about 48 hours at the temperature of 50C or 36 hours at the temperature of 70C. The concrete products are cooled gradually in heatinsulated chambers for a minimum period of 24 hours. By electrical-curing concrete can attain the normal 28 days strength in a period of 3 days.

6.5.4 Effects of Delayed Curing

The concrete specimens placed in laboratory air for varying periods after casting, before being moist-cured, have indicated that the strength at 7 to 28 days decreases progressively as the period of air curing is increased. An exposure for 3 days to air at a temperature of 23C and having a relative humidity of approximately 60% before being moist-cured at 23C has been found to reduce the 7 days strength by 12% and the 28 days strength by about 10%. The 116

specimens left in air at 23C for the entire curing period have shown a reduction of 25% in the strength at 7 and 28 days as compared with standard moist-curing. The reduction under field conditions would probably have been greater. Similar adverse curing causes greater relative reduction in strength when Portland blast furnace slag cement and the cements blended with fly ash are used.

Transporting, Deposition, Curing and Finishing of Concrete

6.5.5 Duration for Curing

As per IS 456 : 1964, the concrete should be cured for at least seven days. The strength of concrete increases by 50% than that which is exposed to dry air for the entire period. The duration for which concrete should be protected against loss of water depends upon cement mass, weather and future exposure conditions. The period of curing may be a month or even more for lean concrete mixtures used in massive structures such as dams. The curing may extend for few days for richer mixes. As all the properties of concrete are improved by curing, therefore, it must be as long as practicable in all cases. Concrete must be kept at a temperature that is favorable for hydration. Table 6.2 : Strength of Cement Concrete with Different Periods of Curing
Sl. No. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 Period of Curing 1 day 3 days 7 days 28 days 3 months year 1 year Strength in Percentage 16 40 67 100 122 146 155

(a) (b) (c) (d) (e) What is curing? State its importance. What are the objectives of curing? Enlist different methods of curing. Write short note on water curing. What is membrane curing?

(a) (b) What is steam curing? How are the following structural elements cured? (i) (ii) Test block Columns

(iii) Hume pipe (iv) Bridge slab (v) Pre-cast products 117 (vi) Wall

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(c) (d)

State the effects of delayed curing. Tick the correct answer. (i) The following method may be used for the curing of concrete (1) (2) (ii) Electrical curing Mechanical curing

The following sealing compounds can be used for the membrane curing (1) (2) Rubber latex emulsions Sodium silicate solution


The operations adopted for obtaining a true, uniform concrete surface are called as finishing operations. Concrete mix should be spread in such a way that no segregation takes place. Only designing the mix properly can ensure this. The results of finishing are good if the slump is about 5 cm. The choice of concrete finish depends upon the ultimate use of the completed job and the desired effect.

6.6.1 Importance of Finishing

Finishing is very important from engineering point of view. The importance of finishing is to keep the concrete surfaces free from undulations. Many concrete structures have an unsatisfactory appearance after exposure for some time. Some of the surfaces, which were quite pleasing when new, have weathered badly. The surface of concrete cannot be made pleasing to the eye as many unsightly features result from cracks, carelessly constructed and badly placed construction joints, patching or honey-combed or damaged areas, poor formwork and lack of sufficient cover to reinforcement.

6.6.2 Finishing Operations

Following are the operations adopted for finishing of concrete surface. (a) (b) (c) Screeding The leveling operation that removes humps and hollows and gives a true, uniform concrete surface is called screeding. The process of screeding is also known as striking off. Straight edge is used for screeding. Straight edge is specially prepared and is slightly longer than the section being finished. The surface is struck off by moving the straight edge back and forth with a saw like motion across the top of the forms. The straight edge is advanced forward a short distance with each Screeding, Floating, and Trowelling.


movement. A small quantity of concrete mix should always be kept ahead of the straight edge to fill the voids and maintain a plane surface. Screeds may be of vibrator type or roller type. Vibrators can also be fitted on screeds.

Transporting, Deposition, Curing and Finishing of Concrete

Figure 6.6 : Screeding

Floating The process of removing the irregularities from the surface of concrete left after screeding is called floating. The process of floating is done with the help of wooden float. Floating helps in leveling the surface and compacting concrete. The wooden float is 1.5 m long and 20 cm wide. A handle is fixed in the center. Moving the wooden float backward and forward performs finishing. Bull float is used if the area of concrete surface is large. It is moved with the help of a handle without the operations getting on the concrete surface.

Figure 6.7 : Floating

Trowelling The final operation of finishing is called trowelling. Trowelling is performed where a smooth and dense surface is desired. Trowelling should be delayed as far as possible. In most of the cases, trowelling is performed while the concrete is too soft and plastic. At this stage, excessive trowelling will cause crazing and result in a surface having less wear resistance. The important point is the period at which the trowelling is done and the pressure used by person responsible for the final operation of finishing. Finishing is always carried out with the trowel and the float. After floating surface should be allowed to dry and stiffen till all the excess water has disappeared. Trowelling should be done after water has evaporated from the concrete surface. Spreading dry cement on a wet concrete surface to absorb excess 119

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water is not a good practice. The occurrence of such wet surfaces should be avoided. The finishing process should be delayed if such spots occur. A gap of some time should be left between successive trowellings in order to permit concrete to increase its set. Initially, an older trowel is preferred to a new trowel. Trowel blade should be kept as flat against the surface as possible. Power float or power trowels are generally used in finishing large surface area such as aircraft hangars or factory floors and is not economical for small areas such as flats or dwelling houses. During trowelling, cement should not be spread, as it is dangerous and liable to produce a neat cement skin, which peels off after some time. Trowelling with power trowels should be delayed till the concrete becomes firm. Trowelling should be finished on the same day as the laying operation. Artificial drying can be very effective by laying cotton sheets on the floor and covering them with 2.5 cm to 5 cm of dry cement. The water is absorbed by the sheets which can be lifted afterwards say 10 or 15 minutes and after this trowelling can proceed for finishing the concrete surface.

(a) (b) (c) (d) (e) (f) (g) What is finishing? How a good finish can be obtained? Explain the necessity of finishing. State the different methods of finishing of concrete. Explain screeding in brief. What is floating? Explain in brief. What is trowelling? What are the precautions to be taken while trowelling? Tick the correct answer. The final operation of finishing is called ___________________ (floating/screeding/trowelling ).


When the large concrete members such as factory floors, workshop floors, long columns, residential floors, road pavements, air-field pavements, etc. are constructed, it is not practicable and advisable to place the concrete continuously in one stretch. A joint is left between subsequent concreting stretches and it is called as construction joint. Concrete may undergo expansion and contraction due to thermal changes, moisture movement, drying shrinkage and due to structural reasons. Therefore to make up for the impending expansion or contraction of


concrete a proper provision is made in the form of a joint. Such joints are called contraction or expansion joints. The concrete joints can be classified as follows : (a) (b) (c) Construction joints, Expansion joints, and Contraction joints.

Transporting, Deposition, Curing and Finishing of Concrete

6.7.1 Construction Joints

Construction joints are the temporary joints provided between subsequent concreting operations. The positions of construction joints should be predetermined before starting of concreting operations. The joint should be horizontal in walls and columns and should be arranged at such a level to coincide with the general architectural features so that it does not look odd. In columns, the concrete should be filled up to a few inches below the junction of beams. The joint should be made at the point of minimum shear in beams and slabs. Concrete should be poured in one stretch till construction joint is reached. The construction joint must not be provided at the point of maximum bending moment in any case. Badly made and poorly finished construction joint will give an ugly appearance to the construction therefore it must be properly finished. The joints must be made at such places that the concrete comes under least maximum bending moment and shear force.

6.7.2 Expansion Joints

Concrete is subjected to volume change due to temperature variations, shrinkage, etc. Therefore, the provision must be made to cater for the volume change by way of joint to relieve the stresses produced. In small buildings, no expansion joint is needed in the floor or in the roof because expansion is very small as it is a function of length. A long building undergoes large expansion. It is estimated that for the worst conditions, a long building may undergo an expansion of as much as 2.5 cm. Therefore, buildings longer than 45 m are generally provided with one or more expansion joints. Roof of a long building is affected by maximum temperature variations. The roof is subjected to expansion and contraction during day and night and causes pushing or pulling to the load bearing walls. Serious cracks have been found in the masonry wall supporting the slab. Hence, attempts have been made to create a condition for a slab to slide over the wall when it is under expansion or contraction. The details such as the length of structure where expansion joint is to be provided can be determined after taking into consideration many factors such as temperature, exposure to weather, time and season of the laying of the concrete, etc. Under no circumstances shall a structure of 45 m or more be without an expansion joint. In the past, expansion joints were provided at closer intervals in the floors and pavements. These days from experience, it is seen that concrete does not actually expand to the extent indicated by the simple analytical calculations, because of the frictional resistance offered by the sub grade. It is, therefore, possible to provide expansion joint at a much farther interval than in the past. IS 456 : 1978 recommends as under. In view of the large number of factors involved in deciding the location, spacing and nature of expansion joints, the provision of expansion joint in reinforced cement concrete structures should be left to the discretion of the reinforced cement concrete designer. For purposes of general guidance, however, it is 121

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recommended that structures exceeding 45 m in length shall be divided by one or more expansion joints.

6.7.3 Contraction Joints

Concrete is subjected to plastic shrinkage and drying shrinkage due to which concrete shrinks. Stresses are developed and cracks are formed when shrinkage is restrained. Contraction joints are provided to avoid these cracks. Normally these joints are provided at 5 m to 10 m interval. Contraction joints are also called dummy joints or control joints. These joints will not be required if a provision is made to take up the shrinkage stresses by reinforcement. Hence, contraction joints are provided in un-reinforced floors and pavements. Contraction joints are made at the time of laying concrete by imbedding a timber plank or batten of sufficient depth and required thickness. This is afterwards removed when the concrete is hardened. Sometimes, steel plates of required thickness and width are forced down into the fresh concrete and then removed when the concrete is hardened. Sometimes contraction joints of required width and depth are cut by using a joint sawing machine. It is necessary that groove cut should be filled up with some joint sealing compound to protect the edges of concrete and also to prevent water from being held. The depth of joint should be about 2 cm. In residential flooring, the conventional contraction joint is omitted by casting the slab in alternate bays, to allow for the complete plastic shrinkage and also for maximum extent of drying shrinkage. It is usual practice to place glass-strip or aluminium strip in between the bays to create discontinuity between adjacent bays to prevent the development of continuous cracks.

(a) (b) (c) (d) (e) (f) Why joints are essential in concrete construction? What are types of joints in concrete? What is construction joint? Explain in brief. Explain the expansion joint in brief. Explain the purposes of providing contraction joint. What is the method of joining the old concrete to new concrete? (Hint : Answer is in Sub-section 6.3.3.)

The temporary construction used as a mould for the structure, in which the concrete is placed and in which it hardens is called as formwork. Formwork must be strong enough to withstand the hydrostatic pressure of wet concrete. The method of compaction, size and shape of the formwork also affects the shutter pressure. Formwork should be tight in order to prevent concrete from leaking out. Formwork should be easy to handle so that no time is wasted in assembling and disassembling. Formworks vary both in type and in the method of construction. Another type is the sliding type. In this type, an arrangement is more to rise the form with the placement of concrete. It is generally used where a


good surface finish is required. It has two advantages. Firstly, it enables a high speed of construction and secondly, it eliminates the horizontal construction joint.

Transporting, Deposition, Curing and Finishing of Concrete

6.8.1 Requirements for Formwork

The following are the requirements for formwork : (a) (b) (c) (d) (e) (f) (g) (h) The forms should have sufficient strength to support the loads. The sheeting should be durable and rigid. The sheeting should be thick enough to withstand the pressures of wet concrete. The components of forms should be large enough to carry the loads and forces without buckling. The formwork should be of reasonable size and weight for easy handling, transportation and erection. The formwork should be easily and speedily erected. The form surface should give a smooth finishing. The joints of the form should be tight enough to prevent any material leakage.

6.8.2 Checking of Formwork

The following points must be checked before placing concrete in the formwork : (a) (b) (c) (d) (e) (f) (g) The geometric dimensions of the formwork should be checked. The accuracy of the horizontal surfaces should be controlled by levels and vertical surfaces by plum-bobs. The sawdust, nails, mud particles, etc. should be removed before placing concrete. The alignment of the formwork should not be disturbed during concreting operations. Oiling should be done in order to prevent sticking of concrete with formwork and to ensure smooth surface of concrete. The joints in the formwork should be checked to avoid the leakage of material. The old surface should be wetted before placing the concrete.

6.8.3 Materials for Formwork

The following are the materials used for formwork : Timber The partially seasoned timber is most satisfactory for use of formwork. Green timber dries out and shrinks. It causes fins and ridges on the concrete. Kiln-dried timber has a tendency to swell when soaked with water from concrete. It causes bulging and distortion if the boards are tightly joined. Provision for slight swelling should always be made in case of seasoned timber. Sheeting By using boards 12.5 cm, 15 cm, 17.5 cm, 20 cm, 22.5 cm and 25 cm wide, various heights of centering can usually be obtained without excessive sawing. Thin sheeting (2.5 cm) is used for the sides of the


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beams and column boxes. The sheetings of 3.75 cm to 5 cm are used for the soffits of beams. Joists Joists are commonly 15 cm 5 cm but may vary from 10 cm 5 cm to 22.5 cm 10 cm according to type of work. Posts Posts may be 7.5 cm 10 cm to 12.5 cm 12.5 cm. Studs, Wales, Headtrees, Subsidiary Bearer and Transoms These may vary from 10 cm 5 cm to about 12.5 cm 12.5 cm. Sections about 7.5 cm 5 cm are useful for general bracing and light shuttering. Steel Steel forms can be used for as many number of times as desired and as such are economical. Better finish can be achieved by the use of steel forms, as they are factory made and fit exactly. Steel forms have the following advantages over other types of forms : (a) (b) (c) (d) (e) (f) (g) (h) Quality of work is assured. The wastage of material is eliminated. Handling and transportation costs are reduced. It reduces finishing costs. It reduces friction losses. Smaller number of tie rods is required. These are safer than other material. In order to obtain additional usage of the steel forms, adjustment of various sizes can easily be incorporated in the design of steel forms. Collapsing and stripping is a smooth and gradual operation because it is usually controlled by jacks, etc.


6.8.4 Formwork for Walls

A common arrangement for wall formwork is shown in Figure 6.8. It is held together with bolts fitted with sleeve pieces. In this case, the sheathing is placed horizontally. It spans between vertical studs under the horizontal pressure due to wet concrete. The pressure on either side of the form is self-balanced.


Figure 6.8 : Formwork for Walls

Transporting, Deposition, Curing and Finishing of Concrete

6.8.5 Formwork for Columns

A common arrangement for column formwork is shown in Figure 6.9. The two sides are held together by bolts and the two opposite sides by hardwood wedges between the bolt and the form. The sheeting runs in vertical direction. It is made up into panel units. At the head, provision is made for linking with the formwork for horizontal beam.

Figure 6.9 : Formworks for Columns

6.8.6 Formwork for Beams and Slabs

The formwork in case of beams is constructed in such a way that the sides may be stripped before the soffit. It is so because the soffit must be left in place till the 125

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beam can safely support its own weight. The slab formwork is supported by the centering to the beam.

Figure 6.10 : Formwork Supporting a Heavy Beam and Slab

Figure 6.11 : Posts for Beam Centering

Figure 6.12 : Beam Centering with Slab Centering


Figure 6.13 : Centering for Heavy Beams

Transporting, Deposition, Curing and Finishing of Concrete

Figure 6.14 : Beam Centering (Alternative Method)

6.8.7 Faults in Erection of Formwork

The following are the faults in the erection of the formwork : (a) (b) (c) (d) (e) (f) (g) (h) (i) (j) Sheeting is too thin. Bad sheeting joints, which will lead to leakage of concrete. No distance piece is provided. Strut is small and buckles. No wailings are provided. Warped sheeting is used. Cleat is too small. It is cut wrongly. Sole plate is not provided which will cause uneven distribution of load to ground. Stake section is small and driven to insufficient depth. No strutting at the base of the shutters is provided.

6.8.8 Removal of Formwork

The suitability of the materials of the formwork for re-use depends in many respects on the way removal is done. The shuttering boards, frameworks are broken, the smooth surface is damaged and the bracing is bent, if the forms are not removed carefully. Therefore, removal of formworks should be carried out in a careful and orderly way. Formwork should not be removed without specific instructions from the engineer-in-charge. The engineer-in-charge before issuing instructions should make sure that the concrete has attained sufficient strength to carry its own load and any other load, which it carries at the top. The sides of the formworks, which are not loaded by weight of concrete member, should not be removed before the concrete gains strength. The lateral shuttering is usually removed in summer within 2 to 3 days. Posts supporting the formworks of load bearing structures should be removed only after stripping the sides of the form. Load bearing formworks should be removed only after concrete has gained strength. The following are the steps for striking the formworks : (a) Loosening of the tie wires. 127

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(b) (c)

Removing the supports, which support the formworks. Removing the shuttering boards or panels.

Under normal circumstances when the temperature is 20oC and the cement used is ordinary, the formwork may be stripped after the expiry to the following periods :
(a) (b) (c) Vertical sides of columns, walls, beams and slabs Beam soffits Bottom of slabs (i) (ii) (d) Span of 4.5 m Span of 4.6 m and above, bottom of beams up to span of 6 m, bottom of arch ribs up to a span of 6 m. 7 days 14 days 21days 1 to 2 days 7 days

Bottom of beams and arch ribs over 6 m spans

(a) Fill in the blanks (i) (ii) __________________ are used in heavy wall construction. __________________ dries out and shrinks.

(iii) ___________________ should be done in order to make the surface of formwork smooth. (iv) Forms require ___________________ study as they account for reasonable percentage of the final cost of concrete. (v) (b) In case of sliding type of formwork, it ____________________ as the concrete is placed.

State True or False (i) (ii) Steel supports minimize the finishing costs. Hard woods are difficult and costly to work.

(iii) Partially seasoned timber is most satisfactory to use for formworks. (iv) Sliding type of formwork enables high speed of construction. (v) (c) (d) (e) (f) (g) (h) 128 The forms should be adequately braced.

What is formwork? What are the requirements of formwork? What are the precautions to be taken before placing concrete in formwork? Enlist the faults in erection of formwork. Discuss the procedure of removal of formwork. Enlist the advantages of steel formwork.

Transporting, Deposition, Curing and Finishing of Concrete

In this unit, you have studied concreting operations like transportation, placement or deposition, compaction, curing and finishing of concrete. You also studied different joints in concrete construction and formwork. In the next unit, you will study special types of concrete and concreting methods under extreme environmental conditions.


Refer the relevant preceding text in the unit or other useful books on the topic listed in the section Further Reading given at the end of the booklet to get the answers of SAQs.