International Journal of Advanced Research in Engineering and Technology (IJARET), ISSN 0976 –

6480(Print), ISSN 0976 – 6499(Online) Volume 5, Issue 6, June (2014), pp. 193-203 © IAEME
193











A STUDY ON THE EFFECT OF ADDITION OF NANO-SILICA AND SILICA
FUME ON THE PROPERTIES OF CONCRETE


Dr. D. V. Prasada Rao
1
, B. Hema
2


1
(
Associate Professor, Department of Civil Engineering, Sri Venkateswara University
College of Engineering, Tirupati-517 502, Andhra Pradesh, India)
2
(
PG Student, Department of Civil Engineering, Sri Venkateswara University
College of Engineering, Tirupati-517 502, Andhra Pradesh, India)





ABSTRACT

This paper presents an experimental investigation on the combined application of Nano-
Silica (NS) and Silica Fume (SF) on various properties of concrete. It is observed from the
preliminary investigation that the strength of concrete decreases with NS content more than 3% of
cement replacement. In the present investigation, NS 3% and 4% and SF 3%, 6% and 9% of cement
replacement by weight is adopted. For structural applications the various properties, such as
compressive strength, split tensile strength, modulus of rupture, modulus of elasticity and
permeability, of M20 grade concrete containing NS and SF are evaluated and the results are
compared with the controlled concrete. Based on the test results, it can be observed that concrete
prepared with a combination of 3% NS and 6% SF has better strength and durability properties
compared to controlled concrete. Hence, it can be concluded concrete prepared with 3% NS and 6%
SF combination can be recommended for the structural applications. The increase in the strength
properties of concrete is due to the availability of additional binder in the presence of NS and SF.
The improved durability property of concrete is due to proper packing of NS and SF particles results
in reduction in voids and leading to dense concrete.

Keywords: Nano-Silica, Silica Fume, Cement Replacement, Super Plasticizer, Strength and
Durability.



INTERNATIONAL JOURNAL OF ADVANCED RESEARCH
IN ENGINEERING AND TECHNOLOGY (IJARET)


ISSN 0976 - 6480 (Print)
ISSN 0976 - 6499 (Online)
Volume 5, Issue 6, June (2014), pp. 193-203
© IAEME: http://www.iaeme.com/IJARET.asp
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IJARET
© I A E M E
International Journal of Advanced Research in Engineering and Technology (IJARET), ISSN 0976 –
6480(Print), ISSN 0976 – 6499(Online) Volume 5, Issue 6, June (2014), pp. 193-203 © IAEME
194

1. INTRODUCTION

Concrete is the most commonly used construction material. Cement is one of main
constituents of concrete and its main product of hydration i.e. C-S-H is of nano structure. The
strength and durability characteristics of concrete depend on the quality of CSH gel. Silica is one of
the most important components in concrete’s micro-structure quality improvement. Therefore,
extensive research is directed towards the performance of pozolana concrete in recent years. The
presence of Nano- Silica improves the performance of concrete.
The mechanical and durability properties of concrete are mainly dependent on the gradually
refining structure of hardened cement paste and the gradually improving paste–aggregate interface.
Silica fume belongs to the category of highly pozzolanic materials because it consists essentially of
silica in non-crystalline form with a high specific surface and thus exhibits great pozzolanic activity.
A new pozzolanic material produced synthetically, in the form of water emulsion of Ultra-Fine
Amorphous Colloidal Silica (UFACS), is better than silica fume for the higher content of amorphous
silica. Impermeability and strength characteristics of concrete can be improved by using Nano-Silica.
In the present research work, an attempt has been made to assess the combined application of Nano-
Silica and Silica Fume on the performance of concrete and then the results were compared with the
controlled concrete.
The present research work is focused to understand the combined use of Nano-Silica and
Silica Fume on the strength and durability properties of concrete. Cement is replaced by various
combinations of Nano-Silica and Silica Fume. Cement is replaced by the various combinations
obtained from 3% and 4% of Nano-Silica and 3%, 6% and 9% of Silica Fume. Compressive strength,
split tensile strength, modulus of rupture, modulus of elasticity and rapid chloride permeability tests
were performed on specimens prepared with concrete containing Nano-Slica and Silica Fume and
then the results were compared with the controlled concrete.

2. EXPERIMENTAL PROGRAMME

2.1 Materials

2.11 Cement
In the present investigation Ordinary Portland Cement (OPC) of 43 Grade confirming to IS
specifications was used. The specific gravity of the cement is 3.15.

2.12 Fine aggregate
Locally available river sand (Zone - II) confirming to IS specifications with fineness modulus
of 2.7 was used as the fine aggregate in the concrete mix.

2.13 Coarse Aggregate
Machine crushed aggregate confirming to IS 383-1970 obtained from the local quarry is used
as coarse. The nominal sizes of coarse aggregate adopted in the present investigation were 20 mm
and 10 mm.

Table.1: Properties of CA and FA
Property Coarse Aggregate Fine Aggregate
Specific Gravity 2.67 2.52
Water Absorption (%) 0.46 0.44
International Journal of Advanced Research in Engineering and Technology (IJARET), ISSN 0976 –
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2.14 Nano-Silica
Nano-Silica is new pozzolanic material in the form of water emulsion of colloidal silica. It is
available on the market and it appears to be potentially better than silica fume for the higher content
of amorphous silica (> 99%) and the reduced size of its spherical particles (1-50 nm). In the present
experimental investigation cement is replaced by 3% and 4% of Nano-Silica. The properties of Nano
Silica are shown in the Table.2.

Table.2: Properties of Nano Silica
S.No. Characteristics Actual Analysis
1 Nano solids 39.5-41%
2 PH 9.0-10
3 Specific Gravity 1.29-1.31
4 Texture White Milky Liquid
5 Dispersion Water

2.15 Silica Fume
Silica fume is non-crystalline Silica, a by-product of ferro-silicon industry. Compared to
cement, the particle size of silica fume is very finer. It acts as an excellent pore-filling material.
Silica fume is usually considered as a supplementary cementitious material. Generally, it can be used
in the proportions of 5 – 12% of the cement content. The properties of silica fume used in the present
investigation are shown in the Table. 3

Table.3: Properties of Silica Fume
S.No. Characteristics Actual Analysis Result
1 Sio
2
90.20%
2 Moisture 0.20%
3 Pozzolana Activity Index 127%
4 Specific Surface Area 21m
2
/gm
5 Bulk density 604
6 > 45 Microns 0.20%


2.16 Water
Potable water is used for casting and curing concrete test specimens, which is free from acids,
organic matter, suspended solids and impurities when present can adversely affect the strength of
concrete.

International Journal of Advanced Research in Engineering and Technology (IJARET), ISSN 0976 –
6480(Print), ISSN 0976 – 6499(Online) Volume 5, Issue 6, June (2014), pp. 193-203 © IAEME
196

2.17 Super Plasticizer
The use of Nano-Silica and Silica Fume increases the surface area of the particles used in the
concrete preparation. Use of super plasticizer can be recommended to avoid the additional water.
Super plasticizer by trade name Glenium B-233 is used to achieve the required workability. It is
available in brown liquid instantly dispensable in water.

2.2 Concrete Mix Proportions
In the present research work the combined use of NS and SF as partial replacement of cement
in M20 grade of concrete is studied. Concrete specimens were prepared with a combination of 3%
and 6% of NS and 3%, 6% and 9% of SF.
M20 grade of concrete was designed as per the Indian Standard method of mix proportioning.
The mix proportions of M20 concrete by weight are shown in Table. 4. In the concrete mix, 10 mm
and 20 mm coarse aggregate were used in the ratio of 1:1.5. Superplasticiser was used to achieve
required slump.

Table.4: Concrete Mix Proportions
Grade of
Concrete
Cement Fine
Aggregate
Coarse
Aggregate
Water-Cement
Ratio
Cement
(kg/m
3
)
M 20 1 1.97 3.79 0.55 320

2.3 Preparation of Concrete Test Specimens
Two types of concrete specimens were prepared using natural coarse aggregates and recycled
coarse aggregate with the addition of silica fume.
Four sets of concrete specimens for different curing periods 3, 7, 28 and 56 days were
prepared. Concrete specimens consist of 150 mm × 150 mm × 150 mm cubes, 150 mm × 300 mm
cylinders, 100 mm × 150 mm cylinders and 100 mm × 100 mm × 500 mm prisms. The cubes and
cylinders were used to find the compressive strength of concrete. The cylinders were also used to
obtain the split tensile strength, modulus of elasticity, rapid chloride permeability of concrete and the
prisms were used to get the modulus of rupture of concrete.

2.4 Testing
The compressive and split tensile strengths of concrete were obtained using a compression
testing machine. The rate of loading for the compressive and splitting tensile tests is in accordance
with Indian Standard specifications. The compressive strength tests on concrete cubes and cylinder
specimens were carried out at the age of 3, 7, 28 and 56 days. The split tensile strength, modulus of
rupture, modulus of elasticity and rapid chloride permeability tests were conducted on concrete
specimens at the age of 28 days.

3. RESULTS AND DISCUSSION

3.1 Compressive Strength
The results of the cube compressive strength of M20 grade concrete for various combinations
of Nano-Silica and Silica Fume for different curing periods is shown in Fig.1. Each value of the cube
compressive strength indicates the average of three test results. It can be observed that as the age of
concrete increases, the cube compressive strength of concrete also increases with Nano-Silica and
Silica fume.

International Journal of Advanced Research in Engineering and Technology (IJARET), ISSN 0976 –
6480(Print), ISSN 0976 – 6499(Online) Volume 5, Issue 6, June (2014), pp. 193-203 © IAEME
197





















(i) 3% NS






















(ii) 4% NS

Fig. 1: Variation of Cube Compressive Strength of Concrete with different percentages of Nano-
Silica and Silica Fume

0.00
5.00
10.00
15.00
20.00
25.00
30.00
35.00
40.00
45.00
50.00
0 10 20 30 40 50 60
C
u
b
e

C
o
m
p
r
e
s
s
i
v
e

S
t
r
e
n
g
t
h

(
N
/
m
m
2
)
Age of Concrete
Controlled
NS -3 & SF-3
NS -3 & SF-6
NS -3 & SF-9
0.00
5.00
10.00
15.00
20.00
25.00
30.00
35.00
40.00
45.00
0 10 20 30 40 50 60
C
u
b
e

C
o
m
p
r
e
s
s
i
v
e

S
t
r
e
n
g
t
h

(
N
/
m
m
2
)
Age of concrete
Controlled
NS-4 & SF-3
NS -4 & SF-6
NS -4 & SF-9
International Journal of Advanced Research in Engineering and Technology (IJARET), ISSN 0976 –
6480(Print), ISSN 0976 – 6499(Online) Volume 5, Issue 6, June (2014), pp. 193-203 © IAEME
198

The variation of 7 days and 28 days cube compressive strength of M20 grade concrete
containing 3% and 4% Nano-Silica content with increase in the percentage of silica fume is shown in
Fig. 2. The compressive strength of concrete initially increases up to 3% Nano-Silica and 6%
percentage of silica fume and beyond which the strength decreases with increase in the Nano-Silica
and Silica fume content.


















(i) 7 Day’s Compressive Strength



















(ii) 28 Day’s Compressive Strength

Fig.2: Variation of Cube Compressive Strength of M 20 Grade Concret with different percentages of
Nano-Silica and Silica Fume

25
26
27
28
29
30
0 2 4 6 8 10 12
7

D
a
y
'
s

C
o
m
p
r
e
s
s
i
v
e

s
t
r
e
n
g
t
h

(
N
/
m
m
2
)
Percentage of Silica fume
NS3
NS4
32
34
36
38
40
42
44
0 2 4 6 8 10 12
2
8

D
a
y
'
s

C
o
m
p
r
e
s
s
i
v
e

s
t
r
e
n
g
t
h

(
N
/
m
m
2
)
Percentage of Silica fume
NS3
NS4
International Journal of Advanced Research in Engineering and Technology (IJARET), ISSN 0976 –
6480(Print), ISSN 0976 – 6499(Online) Volume 5, Issue 6, June (2014), pp. 193-203 © IAEME
199

Comparison is also made between the cube compressive strength and cylindrical compressive
strength of concrete containing various percentages of Nano-Silica and silica fume at the age of 28
days. The test results are shown in Table.5.

Table.5: Comparison between Cube and Cylinder Compressive Strength of Concrete with varying
percentages of Nano-Silica and Silica Fume

Grade of
Concrete
Nano-
Silica
(%)

Silica
Fume
(%)
28 Days
Cube Compressive
Strength of Concrete
(N/mm
2
)
28 Days
Cylinder Compressive
Strength of Concrete
(N/mm
2
)
Ratio of
Cylinder
Strength to
Cube Strength

M 20


0 0 33.00 26.28 0.80

3
3 37.64 31.46 0.84
6 41.55 32.56 0.79
9 41.27 32.38 0.79

4
3 37.50 31.09 0.82
6 38.37 31.64 0.82
9 33.86 31.46 0.90

3.2 Split Tensile Strength
The variation of split tensile strength of M20 grade of concrete containing 3% and 4% Nano-
Silica content with increase in the Silica Fume content is shown in Fig. 3. The split tensile strength of
concrete containing Nano-Silica increases up to 6% of silica fume and beyond which the strength
decreases with increase in the silica fume content.





















Fig.3: Variation of Split Tensile Strength M20 grade Concrete with different percentages of Nano-
Silica and Silica Fume


3.40
3.50
3.60
3.70
3.80
3.90
4.00
0 2 4 6 8 10
S
p
l
i
t

T
e
n
s
i
l
e

s
t
r
e
n
g
t
h

(
N
/
m
m
2
)
Percentage of Silica fume
NS3
NS4
International Journal of Advanced Research in Engineering and Technology (IJARET), ISSN 0976 –
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200

3.3 Modulus of Rupture
The variation of modulus of rupture of M20 grade of concrete containing 3% and 6% Nano-
Silica with increase in the silica fume content is presented in Fig.4. The modulus of rupture of
concrete containing Nano-Silica increases up to 6% percentage of silica fume and beyond which the
modulus of rupture decreases with increase in the Silica Fume content.

















Fig.4: Variation of Modulus of Rupture of Concrete with different percentages of Nano-Silica and
Silica Fume

3.4 Modulus of Elasticity
The variation of modulus of elasticity of M20 grade of concrete containing 3% and 6 Nano-
Silica with increase in the silica fume content is presented in Fig.5. The modulus of elasticity of
concrete containing Nano-Silica increases up to 6% percentage of silica fume and beyond which the
modulus of elasticity decreases with increase in the Silica Fume content.

















Fig.5: Variation of Modulus of Elasticity of Concrete with different percentages of Nano-Silica and
Silica Fume
2.00
3.00
4.00
5.00
6.00
7.00
8.00
9.00
0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10
M
o
d
u
l
u
s

o
f

R
u
p
t
u
r
e

(
N
/
m
m
2
)
Percentage of Silica fume
NS3
NS4
20.00
21.00
22.00
23.00
24.00
25.00
26.00
27.00
0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10
M
o
d
u
l
u
s

o
f

E
l
a
s
t
i
c
i
t
y

(
k
N
/
m
m
2
)
Percentage of Silica fume
NS3
NS4
International Journal of Advanced Research in Engineering and Technology (IJARET), ISSN 0976 –
6480(Print), ISSN 0976 – 6499(Online) Volume 5, Issue 6, June (2014), pp. 193-203 © IAEME
201

3.5 Rapid Chloride Permeability Test (RCPT)
The basic principle behind the RCPT is the applied voltage technique. This technique is
based on the principle that a charged ion, such as chloride ions, will migrate in an electric field in the
direction of the pole of the opposite charge. The test requires that 60 V DC be applied to a concrete
cylinder 100 mm in diameter and 50 mm thick for 6 hours. The amount of coulombs passed through
the cylinder is then used to rate the concrete permeability, the standard’s rating system is presented
in the Table.6.

Table.6: Interpretation of RCPT Results
Charge passed
(Coulombs) Chloride ion penetrability

> 4,000 High

2,000 – 4,000 Moderate

1,000 – 2,000 Low

100 – 1,000 Very low

< 100 Negligible


The variation of chloride permeability test results of M20 grade of concrete containing both
Nano-Silica and Silica Fume is presented in Fig.6. It can be observed that at a combination of 3% of
Nano-Silica and 6% of Silica Fume results in reduction of the chloride permeability value leading to
durable concrete.



















Fig.6: Variation of Chloride Permeability of M 20 Grade Concrete with different percentages of
Nano-Silica and Silica Fume
2000.00
2030.00
2060.00
2090.00
2120.00
2150.00
2180.00
0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10
C
u
r
r
e
n
t

p
a
s
s
a
g
e

(
C
o
l
o
u
m
b
s
)
Percentage of Silica fume
NS3
NS4
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202

4. CONCLUSIONS

Various strength tests and rapid chloride permeability test were conducted on concrete
specimens prepared with Nano-Silica 3% or 4% and the Silica Fume content is varied from 3% to
9% with 3% increment. Using the test results, it can be concluded that for a given Nano-Silica
content, the various strength properties of concrete increases as the percentage of silica fume is
increased up to 6% and then decreases. Compressive strength, split tensile strength, modulus of
rupture, modulus of elasticity and rapid chloride permeability test results of M20 grade concrete
prepared with various combinations obtained from 3% and 4% Nano-Silica and 3%, 6% and 9%
Silica Fume content follows the same Pattern.
The increase in the strength of concrete containing Nano-Silica and silica fume can be
attributed to the availability of additional binder in the presence of Nano-Silica. Nano-Silica has
high amorphous silicon dioxide content and is a very reactive pozzalanic material. As the Portland
cement in concrete begins to react chemically, it releases calcium hydroxide. The nano silica and
silica fume reacts with the calcium hydroxide to form additional binder material. The availability of
additional binder enhances the paste-aggregate bond which results in the concrete with Nano-Silica
and silica fume that has improved strength properties. The decrease in the various strength
characteristics of concrete with increase in the silica fume content beyond 6% is due to the fact that
the strength of the additional binder formed in the presence of silica fume decreases due to excessive
silica fume content. Hence, low strength properties of concrete can be improved by the addition of a
specified percentage (3%) of Nano-Silica and (6%) of silica fume content.
The experimental studies indicated that improved strength characteristics of concrete can be
obtained with the combined use of Nano-Silica and silica fume. The influence of varying percentages
of Nano-Silica and silica fume on M 20 grade of concrete is studied and it is observed that at a
combination of 3% of Nano-Silica and 6% of silica fume is optional.

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