Prepared by: Maregesi, Mr Gerald Roosevelt Impregilo - Kihansi Project

June 1998

Impregilo Laboratory Lower Kihansi Hydropower Project

Monday, February 22, 2010



THE CONCRETE MAKING PROPERTIES OF UDZUNGWA SCARP AGGREGATES by Maregesi, Mr Gerald Roosevelt Impregilo Tanzania Branch Lower Kihansi hydropower Project.

ABSTRACT The Udzungwa escarpment is located in Iringa region extending its boundary to Morogoro region. The aggregates from these scarp would be the best representative example of study of concrete making properties of aggregates and neighbouring region. Depending upon some geological formation, the mica content (biotite, muscovite) of Udzungwa scarp aggregates is invariably high. Understanding and anticipating the nature of these aggregates and the associated geotechical problems in relation to concrete production is very important for practising engineer in the area. This is particularly important during the design and construction stage in order to evaluate and solve unforeseen problems. In this paper, the reduction in compressive strength of concrete and high water demand caused by presence of mica in sand are discussed with other concrete making properties.


INTRODUCTION Aggregates takes about 75% by volume of concrete ingredients and are included in a concrete as bulking to reduce the cost but also they can improve the concrete properties such as shrinkage, thermal movements and abrasion resistance.


AREA OF STUDY The area of study occupies a segment of Udzungwa escarpment in Iringa region(area occupied by Lower Kihansi Hydropower Project) and nearby sources of natural sand namely Kalengakelo (19 Km South of Kihansi), Chita (17 Km East of Kihansi), Ngwasi (17 Km South of Kihansi), Mpanga (44 Km South west of Kihansi), Chisano (9 Km South of Kihansi), Ikule (31 Km North east of Kihansi) and Kimbi (40 Km North east of Kihansi). The rock in this area are characterised by high mica (biotite/muscovite) content which affects the concrete making properties of the aggregates. Mica in this area is not only an engineering problem but an economical problem as well. It has a serious and harmful implications on the concrete production by reducing the compressive strength and increasing the water demand. In this case, the use of superplasticizer/plasticizer and cement


extender like silica fume, fly ash and pozzolona are regarded as mandatory so as to improve the compressive strength and lower the water demand.


CHARACTERISTICS OF THE AGGREGATES 2.1 Physical/Chemical properties of aggregates Samples of aggregates were gathered from the area and their physical properties were determined. The results are shown in the Table 1. Table 1. Summary of physical/chemical properties of the tested sources (1,2).
Source SSS* Chloride Sulphate SG Absorption Remarks

Kihansi 1.91 0.02 Ukami 1.89 0.01 Mpanga 0.005 0.03 Ngwasi 0.004 0.12 Chisano 0.004 0.06 Chita 0.006 0.08 Ikule 0.006 0.06 Kimbi 2.33 0.004 0.03 * Sodium sulphate soundness

2.69 2.68

0.25% 0.31%

2.61 2.69

0.84% 0.33%

Crushed aggregate Crushed aggregate Natural sand Natural sand Natural sand Natural sand Natural sand Natural sand

The Kihansi crushed aggregates and Kimbi river sand were subjected to a sodium sulphate soundness test in accordance with the standard test method ASTM C88-90(3). In accordance with this method, the aggregates are exposed to 5 cycles of immersion in sodium sulphate and drying in an oven at 110 oC. The sodium sulphates soundness results is well below the maximum of 12% specified in AASHTO M80-87 (4) “Coarse aggregates for Portland cement concrete”. The percentage of soluble sulphate and chloride are negligible. The water absorption of less than 1% is very low and wetting and drying will have no detrimental effect on the aggregate. The particle density is indicating that the results are within normal range and can be used to produce normal density concrete without experiencing difficult in mixing, transporting, compaction and finishing. Generally, the physical and chemical properties of concrete are indicating that the aggregates can be used to produce a concrete of satisfactory quality.


2.2 Mechanical properties Loss Angeles abrasion value was done in accordance with AASHTO T96-87(5) grading “B”. The results of the test was a percentage wear of 42% after 500 revolutions. Percentage of wear as determined by Los Angeles abrasion testing apparatus is well below the maximum of 50% allowed in the standard specification for concrete aggregates (ASTM C33-92) (6) used for all classes of concrete. In case of coarse aggregates for highway and airport construction the aggregates was slightly above the maximum specified in AASHTO M 28383(7) of 40% for class ‘A’ aggregates. However, it should be born in mind that the wear resistance of concrete depends to large extent on its quality. The aggregate crushing value and Ten Percent fine were determined in accordance with BS 812, part 110(8) and 111(9) respectively. The average results were as follows: Aggregate crushing value Ten percent fine 28% (Range 25-35%) 120 KN (Range 90-140 KN)

The mechanical properties of aggregates are indicating that the aggregates can produce concrete of satisfactory quality. However, the aggregates are likely to perform poorly if used in production of high strength concrete i.e. in excess of 60 Mpa. The inspection of C40 concrete cube is indicating that about 90% of aggregates are fractured and sometime none pulled out their sockets. This is an indication that there is a weakest link in the aggregates from which the cracks tends to propagate. This implies that an increase in aggregate strength will result in an increase in concrete strength. The recommended Ten percent fine should exceed 170 KN(10) in order to produce a very high strength concrete. 2.3. Organic impurities, dust and clay content Six samples were tested for clay/dust content and organic impurities determination. The results indicate that three source out of six tested has significant amount of organic impurities. However, laboratory trial carried out using Kimbi river sand showed that these organic impurities are not harmfuly. The setting time of concrete was not affected and the strength was developed in similar fashion to control mix.


Table 3: Summary of clay content and organic impurities(1,2) Organic impurities Source Clay and dust content Chisano 3.2% Significant Chita 2.3% Significant Ikule 8.6% Significant Mpanga 4.8% Negligible Kimbi 1.0% Significant Ngwasi 3.7% Significant The percentage of clay and dust are low as indicated in Table 3. The content is below 16% the maximum specified in BS 882 : 1992(11) Table 6. Clay/dust content and organic impurities can be reduced by washing the sand. 2.4 Grading The grain size distribution curve of the six investigated sand sources are shown in figure 1(1).
100 90 80 70 % passing 60 50 40 30 20 10 0 0.1 1 Particle size (mm) 10 Mpanga Ikule Ngwasi Chita Chisano Kimbi

Figure 1: Particle Size Distribution

The grading of all samples is complying with the limits of BS 882 : 1992(11) overall limits. 2.5 Mineralogical/Petrographic analysis The rock in the Udzungwa scarp is characterised by high biotite (mica) content. The most predominant rock is biotite gneiss although some tested sample showed a granitic composition. The main minerals present is quartz, feldspar and biotite which in most case is the main constituents.


The mineralogical analysis of nearby natural sand source showed that these sources were equally contaminated with mica mainly in form of biotite (black mica). Presence of muscovite (white mica) has been also noted. The percentage of minerals from different sources are shown Table 3. Table 3:Mineralogical analysis(1,2) Source quartz feldspar 20-80% 15-55% Kihansi 55-60 20-25 Ikule 53 25 Kimbi Mgungwe

Biotite 25-60% 5-10 10-16 Trace to10%

Muscovite Trace to 8% Trace to 5% Trace to16% Trace to 10%

2.8 Compressive strength The compressive strength of concrete is greatly affected by presence of mica in fine aggregates. Research has shown that whilst mica (biotite and muscovite) is less likely to cause problems when incorporated in the stone portion of the mix, in the sand the presence of mica can influence the water demand, compressive strength and flexural strength. The research has shown 5% biotite content resulted in 6% decrease in compressive strength whilst 10% content resulted in a 10% loss of strength(13). Another research showed that the strength can be reduced in order of 20 -30 %(12). The presence of muscovite in sand can reduce the strength in order of 35% for 5% inclusion and 60% for 10% inclusion(13). The percentage of free mica (biotite, muscovite) in all sources of sand is in excess of 10%. This content of mica is very high and can affect the quality of concrete greatly. The laboratory trial was carried out using river sand from Mpiji (Bagamoyo district) as control mix and three other trials carried out using crushed sand from Kihansi. The water cement ratio and the aggregate cement ratio was fixed at 0.6 and 5.1 respectively. The cement content was 350kg/m3. Theoretically the mix was supposed to have the same compressive strength. Table 4:effect of mica in strength reduction(2)
W/C 7 days cube strength (Mpa) 28 days cube strength (Mpa) 7 days (% of control) 28 days (% of control)

Control Mix 1 Mix 2 Mix 3

0.6 0.6 0.6 0.6

23.9 17.9 22.0 22.1

32.9 25.2 29.9 30.3

100 75 92 92

100 77 91 92

The results shown in Table 4 are indicating that the presence of mica in sand can reduce the compressive strength up to 20%. Because higher cement content is needed to achieve the same strength in comparison to the sand without mica, the use of cement extender in conjunction with suitable water reducer (silica fume, fly ash, slag and pozzolana) can be used as cement replacement. The use of these


admixture/additive will also reduce the effect of the heat of hydration in massive pour. The laboratory trial carried out using silica fume as cement extender indicated that the compressive strength can be greatly improved by additional of silica fume in conjunction with a suitable water reducer as shown in figure 2(2).

Compressive Strength

40 35 30 25 20 15 10 5 0 1 10 Age in Days (Log Scale)
0% CSF 9% CSF 9% CSF+BV 40 9% CSF+BV 40+S163


Figure 2: Strength development curve(2) Cement content 320Kg/m3 Class 32.5 CSF - Condensed silica fume BV 40 - Sika BV 40 Plasticizer was added at dosage of 0.4% S163 - Sika Sikament 163 Superplasticizer added at dosage of 1%

The admixture used in this trial was Sika BV 40 (Modified lignosulphate based water reducer) and Sika Sikament 163 (Polymer dispersion based high range water reducer) 2.6 Water demand of concrete The water demand of the aggregates (both natural and Crushed) is very high probably caused by presence of muscovite in the sand. It has been reported that the water demand is increased by about 6 litres for every 1% of muscovite contained in the sand(13). The approximate water demand (to achieve a target slump of 5010 mm) for the concrete made with different size of aggregates with Kihansi crushed sand and Kimbi natural sand (containing mica) are shown in the Table 5. Table 5: The water demand for different aggregate size(2) Max. aggregate size (mm) Water demand (l/m3) 330 6 260 12 235 25 190 64 155 100


The test was carried out using crushed sand from Kihansi and Kimbi river sand. Apart from the fact that Kimbi river sand has favourable shape, the water demand for both sand was found to be the same. The probable reason was that the Kimbi river sand contains high percentage of muscovite in comparison to Kihansi crushed sand. By washing the sand, the mica flakes having a particle diameter of less than 0.2mm and dust/clay content was reduced as shown by grading curve in figure 3. By washing the water demand was by about 7%.

100 90 80 70 % passing 60 50 40 30 20 10 0 0.1 1 Particle size (mm) 10 Washed Unwashed

Figure 3: Particle size distribution of washed and unwashed sand.(2)

The removal of fine content by washing is likely to increase the bleeding of concrete. In lower Kihansi project, the filler was compensated by additional of silica fume. 2.7 REACTIVITY OF AGGREGATE WITH ALKALI The aggregates was tested using South African standard SABS 1245:1994(14) (accelerated mortar prim method). The results of the alkali-silica reaction indicates that the aggregates are not potentially deleteriously alkali reactive and no special precautions are necessary in terms of alkali silica reaction. The summary of the test results are shown in the table below:


Table 6:Summary of results of potential reactivity with alkali(2) Expansion (at 12 Days) Remarks Description Crushed aggregates Kihansi aggregates 0.016 0.017 Natural sand Kimbi river sand Crushed aggregates Kihansi aggregates 0.057 0.034 Crushed aggregates Ukami sand 0.058 Natural sand Kimbi river sand

CRITERIA Percentage linear expansion on twelfth day: <0.10 Aggregates is not deleteriously alkali reactive

0.10 to 0.25 Aggregates is deleteriously alkali reactive, slowly expansive. >0.25 Aggregates is deleteriously alkali reactive, rapidly expansive.

2.8 SHAPE OF AGGREGATES The shape of the crushed aggregates in the area are effected by the platy like structure of the biotite gneiss. The rock has cleavage plane and the rock tend to split in preference to foliation. Because of these sheet like structure, the rock tends to slide and split along the cleavage plane. These tendency affects the shape of aggregates and makes the aggregates to be excessively flaky or elongated irrespective of crusher settings. In order to counteract this, the crusher should be set up in a way that the rock should undergo several stages of crushing (using small reduction ratio) or the use of hammer crusher (impact mill). The poor aggregate shape is likely to increase the water demand and impair the concrete workability.


SUMMARY AND CONCLUSION The physical and chemical properties of aggregates are indicating that the aggregates can be used in concrete production without any problem. The content of both chloride and sulphate is negligible. The aggregate is sound as shown by the results of sodium sulphate soundness test. The particle density is within the normal range and the aggregates can be used for production of normal density concrete. The absorption of aggregates is very low and is not likely to cause any problem during placing. The mechanical properties of aggregates are satisfactory and the aggregates can be used in production of low to medium strength concrete (up to 50 Mpa)


without any problem. The aggregates are likely to performs poorly for very high strength concrete (strength in excess of 60 Mpa). The grading of the investigated natural sand sources are complying with the requirements of BS 882 : 1992. In case of crushed sand, the crusher can be adjusted to achieve the desired grading. The amount of dust/clay content are within the range permitted by BS 882 : 1992. The organic impurities was reported as significant in three out of six tested sources. However, it was found that the organic impurities are not harmful in one tested sand source. Washing the sand will reduce the amount of dust and organic impurities. The mineralogical analysis is indicating that the rock in this area consist of mainly three minerals namely quartz, feldspar and biotite. There is plane of weakness (caused by the platy like structure) in biotite gneiss which affects the mechanical properties of the rock. Compressive strength and water demand of concrete is affected by presence of mica (biotite, muscovite) in aggregates. The use of cement extender (fly ash, silica fume and slag) and suitable superplasticizer or/and plasticizer will improve the compressive strength and reduce the water demand. By washing the sand the compressive strength may be improved by about 10-15% (depending on water cement ratio) and the water demand will be reduced by about 5-10%. Where temperature generation is not a threat (i.e. in thin section), the use of higher class of cement like 42.5 or 52.5 is recommended. The flakiness and elongation index of the crushed aggregates is likely to be higher due to platy like structure of the rock. The rocks in this area has cleavage plane which is likely to make the aggregates flaky irrespective of crusher settings. The shape of aggregates can be improved by employing interparticle crushers or impact mills. All tests results are indicating that the aggregates in this area are not deleteriously expansive. There is no reactive minerals in the aggregates. The concrete should be designed with sufficient margin prefarably not less than 10 Mpa and standard deviation of not less than 5.0 Mpa to counteract the strength and water demand variation caused by varying amount of mica in sand. Other properties like workability and pumpability are not affected by presence of mica.

ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS: The author is grateful firstly to the client, TANESCO for allowing details of project to be published and to Mr. Sergio


Condini, Project Manager of Impregilo Tanzania Branch, Mr. Olav Vallevik, Resident Engineer of Norplan A/S for permission to publish this paper.

REFERENCES: 1. NORPLAN A/S, Lower Kihansi Hydropower Project, Tender Document Vol. 6.2 Exploratory drilling and laboratory Testing. 2. IMPREGILO MATERIALS LABORATORY, Lower Kihansi Hydropower Project, Materials Testing Report, 1995-1998. 3. ASTM C88-90, soundness of aggregates by use of Sodium Sulphate or magnesium sulphate, American Society of testing material 1990. 4. AASHTO M80-87, Coarse aggregates for Portland cement concrete, American Association of State Highway and Transportation Official, 1990. 5. AASHTO T96-87, Resistance to Abrasion of Small Size Coarse Aggregates by Use of the Los Angeles Machine, American Association of state Highway and Transportation Official, 1990. 6. ASTM C33-86, Standard specification for Concrete Aggregates, American Society of Testing Material. 7. AASHTO M283-83, Coarse Aggregates for Highway & Airport Construction, American Association of State Highway and Transportation Official, 1990. 8. BS 812 : Part 110 : 1990, Method of Determination Of Aggregate Crushing Value, British Standard Institute 1990. 9. BS 812 : Part 111 : 1990, Method of Determination Of Ten Percent Fine, British Standard Institute 1990. 10. Davis, D.E. and Alexander, M.G. Properties of aggregates in concrete. Part 1, Sandton: Hippo Quarries, 1989. 11. BS 882 : 1992 : 1992, Specification for Aggregates from Natural Sources for Concrete, British Standard Institute 1992. 12. Hoon, R.C. and Sharma, K.R. The selection, processing and specification of aggregates for concrete for large dams; effect of employing micaceous sand as fine aggregates fraction on the properties of cement mortar and concrete. 7th international congress on large dams, Rome, 1961, Vol.1, pp.363-379. 13. Fulton’s Concrete Technology, Aggregates for concrete, pp 56-57, Seventh Edition 1994. 14. SABS 1245 : 1994, Potential reactivity of aggregates with alkalis (accelerated mortar prism method), Pretoria: South African Bureau of Standards, 1994.

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