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Nothing is easier than adding excess mixing water to pre-mixed

concrete at building sites. And nothing is more likely to make


repairs to a concrete construction necessary, or more likely to
damage a contractors reputation for efficiency and reliability.
As supplied from Boral trucks, batched concrete is carefully
proportioned and mixed to produce strength according to
specifications. Less than half the water it contains is needed for
hydration of cement. The rest of the water is there to make
transporting and workability easier (by providing lubrication
between sand/aggregate particles) and to ensure that there will be
sufficient inherent water in the curing process.
The plant supplying the mix will adjust the water content
fractionally to meet summer or winter conditions of transporting
and placing.
Wetness of concrete is directly related to its setting strength
the 28-day compressive strength of concrete is reduced by about
1.5 MPa for each additional 20mm of slump produced by adding
water.
To put this another way, each additional 10 litres of water per cubic
metre will reduce the strength of concrete by about 2.5 MPa.
Water should only be added to the concrete to maintain the
specified slump under the supervision of a Boral representative.
Excess water added on site will damage the concrete properties
with potentially disastrous results.
Adding Water to Plant Batched
Concrete
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Boral Concrete
Technical Notes
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Cementitious binder (i.e. cement & fly ash) needs less
than half its own weight of water to turn concrete into
durable stone. The wetter this cementitious paste is,
the weaker it is. The table below shows how strength
decreases as water content of a mix increases.
Approx. w/c ratio
Characteristic compressive
strength (MPa)
0.35
0.40
0.50
0.55
0.65
50
40
32
25
20
Advantages
Easier placing
Disadvantage
Lower compressive strengths.
More time and labour needed for finishing, and for stripping and cleaning
forms.
Cracking with too much water there will be low tensile strength, high
shrinkage.
Dusting and scaling. Bleeding of excess water brings too many fines to
the surface of floors.
Sand streaks. Excess water bleeding up the sides of forms washes out
cement paste and leaves an unsightly streaked surface.
Mud pies. Too much water in concrete placed on grades causes earth to
mix with the concrete, slows the set, reduces strength sharply.
Permeability. Voids left as excess water evaporates invite water to seep
through walls and floors.
Dead losses costly repairs, or, in extreme cases, removal and
re-building, at contractors expense.
Increase in setting times.
EFFECT OF TOO MUCH MIXING WATER
Figure 1: Characteristic Compressive Strength approx. w/c ratios.

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When water is added here
To make concrete run there
Do not add extra water to flow the concrete from one point to another.
If flowing concrete is required use Easyplace.
When water is added to increase slump, strength decreases.
30
25
20
15
10
50 100 150 200
SLUMP mm
STRENGTH
MPa
The strength here
Be ready to place ready-mixed concrete as
it arrives. Prolonged mixing in the truck agitator
makes concrete stiffer, harder to work.
Use vibrators to compact mixes having slumps of
80mm or less.
For easier placing, specify concrete with plasticisers
or, best of all, Easyplace.
Make sure that enough people are available on site
to transport, place and compact fresh concrete.
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When water is added here
To make concrete run there
Do not add extra water to flow the concrete from one point to another.
If flowing concrete is required use Easyplace.
When water is added to increase slump, strength decreases.
30
25
20
15
10
50 100 150 200
SLUMP mm
STRENGTH
MPa
The strength here
Be ready to place ready-mixed concrete as
it arrives. Prolonged mixing in the truck agitator
makes concrete stiffer, harder to work.
Use vibrators to compact mixes having slumps of
80mm or less.
For easier placing, specify concrete with plasticisers
or, best of all, Easyplace.
Make sure that enough people are available on site
to transport, place and compact fresh concrete.
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When higher-slump mixes appear to be desirable for difficult
placements, advice about mix designs, setting strengths and
safety factors is always available from Boral Technical staff.
FOUR WAYS TO MINIMISE TEMPTATION TO ADD EXCESS WATER
The ever-present site problem is that all members of placing
teams quickly learn about the labour-saving effect that a little
added water has on workability of concrete.
The site supervisor cant tie knots in the hose(s) needed for
cleaning equipment. So, a little water may be added to many
barrow or buggy loads of concrete during a pour.
With this unofficial system operating, it doesnt take long to add
100 litres of water to a truck-load (say 5m
3
) of plant-mixed
concrete. The effects will be:
(a) an increase of about 80mm of slump over the slump
specified.
(b) a reduction in compressive strength of about 5MPa.
(c) uneven strength throughout the concrete mass.
The only answer is to make at least one responsible member
of each placing team fully aware of the harm excess water
can cause.
Perhaps the most dangerous of all practices is the use of extra
water to help concrete flow along elevated forms to lower
points. In this case, if shores/toms are removed after a nominal
curing period, severe structural cracking and/or collapse are more
than possibilities.
General
information:
please email us on
technicalQLD@boral.com.au
technicalNSW@boral.com.au
technicalVIC@boral.com.au
technicalTAS@boral.com.au
technicalSA@boral.com.au
technicalWA@boral.com.au
technicalNT@boral.com.au
for further information.
Customer Service:
at Boral we are committed to excellence
in service so please contact
QLD 1300 30 59 79
NSW 1300 55 25 55
VIC 133 006
TAS 03 6336 1366
SA 08 8425 0400
WA 08 9333 3400
NT 08 8947 0844
for further information.
Boral website:
Visit the Boral website for the full
range of Boral products
www.boral.com.au or for specific
concrete information visit
www.boral.com.au/concreteproducts
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