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Admixture can be defined as materials other than cement, aggregates and water which are added
in small quantity during mixing to produce one or more modifications in the properties of the
concrete or mortar. These admixtures should not have any adverse effect on concrete. It may be
of different varieties and may produce different changes in the physical parameters of fresh and
hardened concrete. These admixtures may have combined effect also.
The classification of concrete admixture is generally done with respect to their individual effect on
concrete. As per INDIAN CODE IS:9103,concrete admixture has been classified into four types,
whereas AMERICAN STANDARD INSTITUTE ASTM C 494,the total admixtures have been classified
into eight types. The BRITISH STANDARD (BS : 5075) has classified it into five types. As per IS:9103,
four types are accelerating, retarding, water-reducing ,and air-entraining types admixtures. As per
ASTMC-494, the classifications are : Plasticiser, retarder, accelerator, plasticiser and retarder,
plasticiser and accelerator, super plasticiser, super plasticiser and retarder, super plasticiser and
accelerator. ASTM C 260 gives the details about the air-entraining types of admixture. According
to BS:5075 (3 parts) the classifications are :accelerating, retarding, normal water reducing,
accelerating & water reducing ,and retarding & water-reducing types. Apart from the types of
admixtures mentioned above , ACI Committee 212 specifies a number of miscellaneous
admixtures such as :-
1. Gas forming and grouting compound,
2. Expansion producing compound,
3. Bonding agents
4. Pumping aids and pigments.
5. Flocculating compounds,
6. Corrosion inhabiting agents,
7. Fungicidal, germicidal &insecticidal agents,
8. Damp proofing and permeability reducing agents,
9. Chemical agents to reduce alkali-aggregate reaction.
Now a brief description of the important admixtures is being given below:-
1. Accelerating Admixture:- A substance, when added to concrete, mortar or grout, increases the
rate of hydration of hydraulic cement, shortens the time of set, or increases the rate of hardening
or strength development. The category of admixture is based on two major row materials,
calcium chloride and calcium format, with minor amount of other materials occasionally
being included in the formulation such as calcium nitrate ,calcium thiosulphate, and
triethanolmine. IS 7861(part II)-1981(4) specifies the use of calcium chloride in cold weather
concrete construction jobs, but chlorides coming into concrete from cement, aggregate, water
and admixture should be limited to 0.15 percent by mass of cement. They should not be used

in pre-stressed concrete because of the potential danger of augmented stress corrosion. Where
sulphate resisting cement is required, calcium chloride should not be used, as it may induce
corrosion of reinforced steel. Other accelerating admixtures are calcium format, high
alumina cement, sodium sulphate, potassium sulphate, trivalent iron salts, sodium hydroxide
, and potassium hydroxide, sodium fluoride, aluminium chloride, potassium carbonate, sodium
aluminate. Each admixture compound has its specific qualities. So before its use, one has
to satisfy their requirement.
2. Retarding admixture:- This admixture retards the setting time of cement paste , mortar or
concrete. Retarders are used to overcome the accelerating effect of high temperature on the
setting properties of concrete in hot weather concreting. The use is recommended in IS : 7861
(PART I) 1975(5).The materials for this type of admixture are high sugar lignosulphate
,hydroxy carboxylic acid and hydroxylated polymer. Common sugar is one of the most
effective retarder. Generally this type of admixture increases the workability of
concrete, thereby reducing water-demand. When retarders are used at normal dosage level,
to obtain set retardation and higher workability for a given concrete mix, there is no
necessity in the original mix design.
3.Water-reducing admixture - This type of admixture either increases workability of freshly mixed
mortar or concrete without increasing water content ,or maintains workability with a reduced
amount of water. The chemicals used for this type of admixtures are lignosulphate
hydroxyl-carboxylic acid and hydroxylated polymer, water reducing agents act also as workability
aid & reducing cement content.
4. Air -entraining admixture - This admixture causes air to be incorporated in the form of minute
bubble in the concrete or mortar during mixing, used to increase workability, and resistance to
freezing ,thawing and the disruptive action of de-icing salts. The raw materials, for this type of
admixture are abietic and pymeric acid -salts, fatty acid salts, alkyl-aryl sulphonate, alkyl sulphate,
phenol ethoxilates etc. Bleeding and segregation are also reduced by it ,but in case of high cement
content, the concrete becomes sticky and difficult to finish. This admixture usually reduces the
strength of concrete to some extent (usually 4 to 5 %)
5. Super plasticiser - These are high-range water-reducer .Chemically they are sulphonated
melamine formaldehyde condensate and sulphonated naphthalene formaldehyde condensate. At
a given w/c ratio ,the addition of a super plasticiser increases the workability of
concrete, typically by raising the slump from 75 mm to 200 mm; the mix remaining
adhesive. The resulting concrete can be placed with little or no compaction and is
not subject to excessive bleeding or segregation. Such concrete is termed as
'flowing concrete' and is useful for placing in very heavily reinforced section, and also where very
rapid placing is desired. It is also used for normal workability but with an extremely high strength
owing to a substantial reduction in the w/c ratio. Its addition in cement concrete gives a reduction
of upto 28 % in mixing water.
Gas forming admixtures (usually hydrogen peroxide), by chemical reaction with
cement, produce slight expansion of concrete and is useful for bonding to steel and grouting
purpose. It results light weight concrete.
Damp proofing /water proofing /permeability reducing agents are used when concrete are to be
made impervious to water under pressure. Chemically they are calcium soaps resin, vegetable oil,
fats, waxes, coal tar residue, bitumen, ammonium stearate or oleate, butyl stearate, soda or
potash soaps etc.

Corrosion inhibitors are nitrates, benzoids, thioslphate, stannous salts and ferrous salts. Synthetic
polyelectrolytes are used as flocculating agents.
The addition of admixture in concrete provides many
benefits. However it is certain that admixture is not a cure for poor quality concrete .The benefits
of admixture can be obtained only with correct choice of concrete materials, good concrete mix
design, proper batching, placing and compaction followed by through curing. The performance of
admixture must be assessed with the same materials which are proposed to be used in the
construction. This would help in selection of the most suitable type of admixture with the lowest
possible dosage for achieving the desired parameters at the end. The aggressive chemical content
in the admixture must also be checked so that the same does not have any adverse effect in the
long run.

References :
1. Neville A.M. Properties of concrete, third edition ELBS, England.
2. Ganguly, K.K. and Ray Arunachal Concrete admixture types, classification & their use, CE
& CR, May91
3. Prof. S. Krishnamurthi Class notes of M. Tech ,I.I.T./DELHI
4. Kaushal Kishore Concrete Mix Design containing chemical admixture C.E. & CR MAY 91

Er. Krishn Murti Jha
A.E., Dam & Gate Design Division
No. 03, Anisabad, Patna.