Concrete Technology

For Pumps
BP 2158-1 GB

2nd edition, March 1996 Published by: Putzmeister AG Max-Eyth-Strasse 10 D-72631 Aichtal Author: PMW Central Service Assembly, layout, production: Dipl.-Ing. Andreas Hartmann Specialist support: Dr.-Ing. Dieter Bergemann Nominal fee: DM 10,– © 2001 Copyright, also just excerpts only when permission is granted by the publisher

Concrete Technology For Pumps


Preliminary comments ........................................................................ 4

1 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 1.5

Concrete components – base materials and their influences ................................................ Cement................................................................................................... Addition of water .................................................................................... Concrete aggregates ............................................................................. Concrete additives ................................................................................. Concrete composition – mix calculation ................................................

6 6 7 8 11 13

2 Properties of freshly-mixed concrete (general) ................................ 18 2.1 Bulk density............................................................................................ 18 2.2 Workability .............................................................................................. 19 3 Properties of hardened concrete and their alternating relation to concrete technology ..................... 23 Properties and conditions of freshly-mixed concrete when pumping...................................................................... 25 Pumpability and willingness to pump .................................................... 25 Origination and properties of the “boundary zone layer“...................... 26 The behaviour of freshly-mixed concrete in the concrete pump........... 30 The behaviour of freshly-mixed concrete in the delivery line ................ 33 Short guide to avoid faults and eliminate them................................ 36 Specifications and regulations of the “Technical Regulations“ ...... 37 Further literature .................................................................................. 38

4 4.1 4.2 4.3 4.4 5 6 7


BP 2158--1 GB

Concrete Technology For Pumps Preliminary comments
“Concrete is an artificial stone which is made out of a mix of cement, concrete aggregate and water – and if necessary also concrete additives and comes into being by the hardening of the cement paste (cement-water mix)“.1 Very different concrete properties are attained depending upon the choice of its composition. Before hardening the so-called freshly-mixed concrete is more or less “fluid“ and can be made into almost any shape chosen and when it has hardened as an artificial stone it retains this shape. Different distinctions and categories are the result of the many possible compositions and applications of the construction material concrete: ⇒ one subdivides as follows depending upon the reinforcement x steel-reinforced – conventionally reinforced concrete – pre-stressed concrete non-reinforced concrete

x ⇒

one subdivides according to the dry bulk density: x x x light-weight concrete normal concrete heavy concrete not heavier than 2.0 t/m3 heavier than 2.0 t/m3, but not heavier than 2.8 t/m3 heavier than 2.8 t/m3

One subdivides according to the specifications for manufacture and monitoring x B – – – – B – – – I concrete concrete of concrete of concrete of concrete of

strength strength strength strength

class class class class


5 10 15 25


II concrete concrete of strength class B 35 concrete of strength class B 45 concrete with special properties ✳ watertight concrete ✳ concrete with high resistance to freezing ✳ concrete with high resistance to frost and de-icing salt ✳ concrete with high resistance to chemical corrosion ✳ concrete with high resistance to wear ✳ concrete for high working temperatures up to 250° C

One subdivides according to the state of hardening x Freshly-mixed concrete as long as it can be still be placed – According to its consistency, one subdivides the freshly-mixed concrete into ✳ stiff-plastic, soft and free-flowing. – According to the type of conveying and placing ✳ no-fines concrete, pumping concrete, underwater concrete and shotcrete.

BP 2158-1 GB



DIN 1045 “Concrete and reinforced concrete“

Concrete Technology For Pumps
– According to the type of compaction one recognises: ✳ tamped concrete, rod concrete, vibrated concrete, jolted concrete and spun concrete. x Green concrete Concrete after initial setting and during hardening; can no longer be placed, but does not have any strength yet. after hardening


Hardened concrete

– According to the type of the surface condition, hardened concrete is subdivided into: ✳ Exposed concrete, concrete with exposed aggregates by washing, etc. ⇒ Depending upon the place of preparation one distinguishes between: x x Construction site concrete Ready-mixed concrete the mobile mixing plant is on the construction site a stationary concrete works makes the concrete and the freshly-mixed concrete is delivered by special vehicles to the construction site ready for placing.

Depending upon the place of placement, one distinguishes between: x Cast in-situ concrete placement of freshly-mixed concrete and hardening at the final site components manufactured in a precast factory or on the construction site which are not placed until they are hardened.


Concrete products

Concrete technology comprises all tasks which especially serve the purpose of guaranteeing the construction material properties of concrete aimed at with the base materials available. After determining the mix contents this mainly concerned all freshly-mixed concrete processes starting with mixing via transport, placing and compaction to any after-treatment of the green concrete that may be necessary. Here it is the duty of concrete technology to also purposely influence the properties of the freshly-mixed concrete for the placing stages planned in a serviceable way, but if possible without any negative impact on the later properties of the hardened concrete. The pumping nowadays of freshly-mixed concrete is a link of the process chain that one can scarcely imagine not having. It was not very long ago that it was also the task of concrete technology to specially design the concrete composition as pumping concrete. Now for the latest stage of concrete pump technology, pumping concrete is no longer a special concrete. It is a concrete normed by the concrete technology in a composition as is required for reinforced components of reinforced concrete. However, every good pump operator should have a basic knowledge of concrete technology. On the one hand, he ought to know which pump-technical consequences are a result of the different properties of the material, and on the other hand, he must recognise what the construction material consequences would be if the freshly-mixed concrete was handled incorrectly. This present print “Concrete Technology For Pumping“ serves this purpose. Further information can be found in the “Technical Regulations“ (List – see section 6) as well as in more specialised literature (list: refer to section 7).


BP 2158-1 GB

Concrete Technology For Pumps 1. Concrete components – base materials and their influences 1.1 Cement
Cement is usually a grey powder which is fabricated by burning and grinding certain limey and clayey rock. It rigidly combines (cements together) the individual aggregate (s), i.e. sand or gravel particles, to form artificial stone. The different types of cement have different concrete grades, arranged according to the strength classes, for example, in Germany from Z 25 to Z 55. Depending upon the chemical composition and fineness of grinding, the different types of cement develop their strengths at different speeds. Portland and Iron Portland cements usually belong to the cement with a higher early strength. Blast furnace cement can considerably improve the chemical strength. The standard norms for cement are: x x x in Germany DIN 1164 in Austria the ÖNORM B 3310 various country-specific norms

The numerical data of the strength classes usually refer to the minimum strength to be attained by assay grains after 28 days at a certain w/c value, measured in the respective country-specific unit (e.g. in Germany: N/mm2, in Austria: kp/cm2). The development of the strength is by no way complete after 28 days; this value does, however, usually form the basis for the strength calculation and permission is granted to use the building. The cement does not reach its final strength until quite a few years later. This is then, however, almost the same for all cements with the same w/c factor. Also the protection against corrosion of the steel reinforcements is the same for all cements. The setting of the cement (hydration) is a very complicated process where water is combined chemically and physically. When mixing cement and water a cement paste results and here the cement immediately starts to form new microscopically small crystal connections with the water. These fine crystals mat together closer and closer, and this first results in the setting and then the hardening of the cement paste to hardened cement paste. This has the following special properties: x x x Both in the air and under water, it remains solid and volumetrically stable The steel parts in the concrete (e.g. reinforcement) are protected against rust When temperatures increase, it expands to the same extent as steel

If one of these properties was to be lacking, there would not be any reinforced concrete. The cement may only begin to set at the earliest one hour after mixing and up to this point in time, the freshlymixed concrete can be placed. For complete hydration, approximately 40% of the cement mass must be water; only approximately 25% of this is, however, combined chemically whereas the rest stays as steam in the gel pores; i.e. physically combined. For a water cement value below 0.40, the cement grain cannot hydrate completely even with constant water immersion; whereas for a w/c value of over 0.40, even after complete hydration, finest capillary pores which at first are still filled with water, Fig. 1 illustrates these conditions. The diameter of these capillary pores is approximately 1000 times larger than that of the gel pores.

BP 2158-1 GB


Concrete Technology For Pumps
To fabricate a placeable concrete usually more than just 40% of the cement mass is required as water. The amount of water required is stipulated in the mixture breakdown.

Caution Every unauthorised addition of water on the construction site drastically impairs the quality!
This impairs the strength (15 to 30%) and correspondingly also the imperviousness of the concrete.

Water Not enough water => unused cement is left over!

Cement grain Hydration w/c = 0.20


Complete hydration with 40% water! w/c = 0.40

Too much water => capillary pores w/c = 0.60

Capillary pores

Fig. 1: Diagram showing the reaction of cement and water (hydration)

1.2 Adding water
There are also norms, resp. specifications for the metered water to restrict the content of harmful materials which develop corrosion or disturb hardening. In principle note the following: drinking water is always suitable as added water.

Caution The mix of water and cement is greatly alkaline and has a caustic effect on skin and mucous membrane. Always wear gloves and good shoes. If direct contact is made inadvertently flush immediately with sufficient clean water.


BP 2158-1 GB

Concrete Technology For Pumps 1.3 Concrete aggregates
Concrete aggregates are usually natural rock from gravel pits, rivers (gravel and sand) or quarries (chippings) and they give the concrete certain properties. The requirements regarding quality that are to be monitored are stipulated in the respective standards: x x x in Germany the DIN 4226 in Austria the ÖNORM B 3304 diverse country-specific norms.

Along with the designation of the aggregate and the usual grain groups, these standards comprise the requirements regarding: x x x x x x x x shape of the grain resistance to frost and thawing agent content of material of organic origin content of sulphates pressure resistance content of components that can be clarified by filter presses content of swellable components content of water-soluble chloride

Concrete aggregates are sub-divided according to grain size into different grain sizes. Here the smallest and largest grain are quoted, e.g. 0/2; 0/4; 2/8; 8/16; 16/32. The aggregate of a type of concert usually consists of a mix of fine, average and coarse grain. This composition may be present in nature in a mine. Usually, however, the grain mix that arises naturally or the mix that results when rocks are broken is classified immediately with regard to size, i.e. it is separated by large screen plants according to grain size and it is then delivered to concrete mixing plants and stored in separate boxes.

Screen analysis and grading curve

25.9 Gew.-%

Screen hole size (mm)


Ge w. -% 8.2 Ge w.%

5. 3

11 .2 G

ew .-%

5.2 G ew.-%
ew.-% 0.5 G

Screen hole size (mm)

Fig. 2: Sieve analysis and grading curve

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Screen hole (weight %)

23 .1 Ge w.

.7 14 .-% ew G 6 5. .-% ew G

Concrete Technology For Pumps
When preparing the concrete in the mixer, the portions of the different grain sizes are mixed in the composition rquired. The composition of a grain mix is measured by screen analysis and represented graphically as a grading curve. For this, a sample previously measured is separated in a laboratory by a set of vibrating screens which are stacked on top of each other, and which have the prescribed mesh or square hole screens. Fig. 2 illustrates this process. The top screen has the largest mesh width and the lowest the smallest one. Right at the bottom the floor is closed to retain of the finest components. The sample to be examined is evenly distributed onto this vibrating set of screens. Here the individual grains drop downwards from the floor of one screen to the floor of the nest screen until the mesh or hole width is too small for the respective grain size. The shaking of the screens really leads to each grain often having the opportunity to pass through a mesh or a hole in different positions. The amount of grain remaining on each screen floor is then weighed and its proportion to the total weight of the sample is calculated. The grading curve as the graphical representation of the grain composition, is attained by placing the percentual shares of the sample that have passed through the respective screen floor above the screen hole. These individual values are attained as a sum of all the shares of residue of the respective screen floor and the ones below it with a smaller mesh width. One therefore sometimes also calls the curve that arises the “throughs” grading curve. The horizontal axis (screen hole size) in the grading curve diagram is divided for better vividness in logarithmic scale. As the shape of the grain is very irregular, one would attain varying grading curves for different screen opening shapes (e.g. round hole or square mesh). This is why the quadratic shape of the test screen openings is prescribed along with the mesh width. If one uses screens with a different shape (e.g. round or long hole) when classifying in production, a screen analysis conforming to standard requirements is required if the actual grain size is to be quoted or the so-called oversize and undersize particles checked.

Grain 16 / 32 8.0 / 16 4.0 / 8.0 2.0 / 4.0 1.0 / 2.0 0.5 / 1.0 0.25 / 0.5 0.125 / 0.25 0 / 0.125 Sum

Vol (cm3) 186 164 104 39.8 37.6 58.2 79.5 36.9 3.55 709.55

Surface (cm2) 0.052 0.0921 0.1169 0.0895 0.1691 0.5234 1.4712 1.329 0.2424 4.0856

No. of grain 37 257 1305 3998 30216 374236 4454869 15244210 9989144 30098272

Fig. 3: Geometrical relations in the grain mix


BP 2158-1 GB

Concrete Technology For Pumps
The grain composition favourable for normal concrete is a compromise between complete filling of the cavities between the larger aggregate grains with fine material and a restriction of the share of fines due to the higher cement consumption. The smaller a grain is, the greater the surface is per unit of mass (m2/kg) which must be covered with cement paste. Fig. 3 shows, taking the grain composition represented in Fig. 2 as an example, the relations with regard to volume, specific surface and number of grain of the different fractions. To be able to assess the amount of water needed for a certain grain mix when preparing concrete, one can use the so-called grain figure k which is calculated from the grading curve: the sum of the residue quoted in % on the screens 0.25; 0.5; 1; 2; 4; 8; 16; 31.5 and 63 mm divided by 100. The values to be used here for the ‘residue’ are not, however, not the share residue on the individual screen floors for the screen analysis but are the residue that would arise if one were to begin the screen analysis with the smallest mesh width. In this way, the coarse grain sizes are ‘weighed’ several times and their share forces up high the grain figure, i.e. the more coarse grain and less fine grain an aggregate mix has, the greater the grain figure. Thus a pure grain group 32/63 would have the maximum possible grain figure kmax = 9 and a pure fine sand grain 0/0.25 the minimum possible grain figure kmin = 1. The grain figure, however, only considers the influence of the grain size but the total surface and thereby the amount of cement paste needed or the amount of water needed by an aggregate mix also depends upon the shape of the grain. Fig. 4 illustrates this with the example of a cube representing a “compact” grain and a plate with the same volume representing a ‘platy’ grain which has a surface 2/3 times greater than that of the ‘compact’ grain. For grain liable to chip, this difference is even greater, whereas the surface of a ‘round grain’ (ball) with the same volume is 1/5 smaller than that for the cube. In addition, the shape of the grain also directly influences the workability of the concrete. Concrete with round, compact and smooth grain “flows” better and can also be compacted better than concrete with large platy or crackable aggregate with a rough surface.

V = volume

O = surface area

Fig. 4: Influence of the shape of the grain on the surface with the same volume

Usually the largest grain of the aggregate for concrete is restricted to 32 mm diameter. For especially bulky components, this value can be increased to 63 mm (can, then, however, no longer be conveyed by standard pumps through standard pipes. For piece parts with fine members and finely reinforced, the greatest grain is restricted to 16 mm or even 8 mm diameter.

BP 2158-1 GB


Concrete Technology For Pumps
The grading curve to be carried out is chosen according to the intended application on the basis of the experience gained over a number of years by the Technical Regulations and recorded as specifications and recommendations. The standardised grading curves ranges serve as an orientation here, e.g. in Germany DIN 1045 according to Fig. 5 for aggregate mixes 0/8, 0/16, 0/32.

Aggregate mix 0/8 Screen throughput (weight %) Screen throughput (weight %)

Aggregate mix 0/16

Screen hole width Screen hole width

Aggregate mix 0/32 Screen throughput (weight %)

Screen hole width

Fig. 5: Screen curve ranges according to DIN 1045 for aggregate mixes 0/8, 0/16 and 0/32

1.4 Concrete additives
With concrete admixtures the properties of the freshly-mixed or hard concrete are improved or new properties are attained. One distinguishes between concrete additives and reagents. Concrete additives in Germany must comply with a standard or a test mark of the German Institute for Structural Engineering. These are usually powdery admixtures which are added to the concrete in amounts of some % of the cement content. They mainly work physically and usually serve as an aid for better workability, less water repellent (bleeding), higher structural imperviousness or as coloration. The most important additives are: x x x Trass (DIN 51043) Limestone dust or siliceous dust (DIN 4226) Coal fly ash (test mark) x x Silica dust (test mark) Silica suspension (test mark)

Pigments in accordance with DIN 53237 are used to dye concrete


BP 2158-1 GB

Concrete Technology For Pumps
Concrete reagents are usually liquid and are only added in very small amounts whilst mixing the concrete. They act chemically-physically and are classified into so-called efficiency groups depending upon their effect in freshly-mixed or hardened concrete: x Concrete liquefier (BV) These reagents detension the water and one improves the workability at the same time as reducing or keeping the prescribed water cement value. Solvent (FM) These reagents are further advanced concrete liquefiers. They have a very strong liquefying effect, but not for very long. This is why they are not added until just at the point of placement before the mix is placed. After the solvent has been added the slump measure (refer to section 2) increases from, for example, 41 cm to max. permissible 60 cm. After about half an hour this value returns to its initial value again. Within this space of time the concrete can spread out without bleeding. Air-entrainment agent (LP) Concrete with high resistance to frost and thawing salt must have a minimum content of micro air voids (Ø 0.01 .. 1 mm) which can be obtained by adding air entrainment agent. Ice has a larger volume than water. If the expansion of the frozen water is prevented in the concrete then the concrete may burst. The additional air voids offer the necessary space for this extension. Water repellent (DM) These ought to improve the water imperviousness of the concrete. Its efficiency is, however, limited and is no replacement for a correct concrete composition. Setting retarder (VZ) These postpone the thickening and the point of initial setting of the concrete. This may be necessary due to a number of reasons, e.g. hot weather or large and jointless components. Over-metering can, however, have the opposite effect and turn the VZ into an setting accelerator agent! Setting accelerator (BE) These chemically accelerate the setting of, for example, shotcrete or sealing mortar up to just a few seconds after spraying or placing. An alternative without the disadvantage of considerable reduction of the 28 day- and final strength is physically-active micro silica dust.






In addition there a number of other reagents which are, however, not used everywhere. Test specifications, standards and approval recommendations are available for the different types of reagents.

Caution! Adding concrete additives at the point of placement is forbidden!
This usually leads to the concrete being damaged. An exception here are solvents. These may be added into the mixer vessel on the job-site in accordance with the concrete producer’s instructions. If these instructions are not abided all claims for warranty are void.

BP 2158-1 GB


Concrete Technology For Pumps 1.5 Concrete composition – mix calculation
The quality of the concrete can be attained with the respective composition of the green concrete. DIN 1045 contains binding data for the composition of concrete both with a certain strength and also with special properties. The requirements are different for the concrete groups B I and B II. Conditions are normal for personnel and machines in the company for the production and placing of concrete B I (strength class B 5 up to and including B 25). For the composition of concrete B I there are two possibilities: x x without previous qualification test as so-called “mix-formula concrete“1 or with qualification test

Even when using mix-formula concrete, the person responsible for the production of the concrete is not exempt from carrying out the prescribed quality tests. When using ready-mixed concrete, it usually suffices to test the data on the delivery note or in the register for the type of concrete. When using B II concrete (strength classes B 35 to B 55 and concrete with special properties) the company is allowed a great choice in concrete composition. The further use of the concrete that is now possible does, however, expect more from the personnel and machines, and requires monitoring of the value (own and outside monitoring). All the regulations for this are included in DIN 2045 and DIN 1084. Then the company must have a constant concrete testing point E run by a specialist experienced in concrete technology and the manufacture of concrete. Concrete B II requires its own testing at all times. The task concerning the mix calculation is to determine the amounts of cement, water and aggregate needed for 1 m3 compacted concrete for a strength class required or “special property” of the concrete. For this one uses a form or suitable calculation programme with respective results as shown in Fig. 6 for a B 25. Here one proceeds according to the following design operation. x water cement value ω

The quantity ratio of water added and cement (water cement value W/C or ω is one of the most important characteristic index for the quality of the concrete. x x x x the strength of the concrete decreases the water permeability and the sensibility to weather increases concrete dries out quicker and shrinks more, consequently high shrinkage stress and cracks concrete tends to “bleed“ and segregate and there is more dust formation on surface

Fig. 7 shows the dependence of the cube compressive strength of the concrete on the cement strength class and the water cement value. The result for this example is, however, the max.W/C value of 0.6 due to the special requirements. x Water content W


mix tables, see DIN 1045


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Concrete Technology For Pumps

Fig. 6: Example for mix calculation

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Concrete Technology For Pumps
The amount of water needed for 1 m3 concrete is a result of the dependence on the grain design (grain fig. of the grading curve), in the example k = 4.62) and the consistency (in the example: KR) from the following table from DIN 1045 – W = 180 dm3 (litre) = 180 kg.

Concrete compressive strength (N/mm2)

Water cement value

Fig. 7: Dependence of the cube compressive strength on the cement strength class and w/c value

Standards for the water required in dm3 per m3 freshly-mixed concrete: Grading curve Grain figure Consistency k KS KP A 32 5.48 130 150 A 16 4.60 140 160 B 32 4.20 150 170 B 16 3.66 160 180 C 32 3.30 170 190 C 16 2.75 190 210

KR 170 180 190 200 210 230


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Concrete Technology For Pumps
x Cement content Z

The cement content Z is calculated from the water content W and the W/C value ω Z = W / ω = 180 / 0.6 = 300 kg This value coincides with the given minimum cement content and therefore does not need to be corrected. x Aggregate content G

The aggregate content G is calculated with the aid of the so-called material volume calculation, i.e. the volume of the cement, water and air voids (1.2% of 1000 dm3 = 12 dm3) are deducted from the volume 1 m3 = 1000 dm3 of the compacted freshly-mixed concrete to be calculated. The rest value corresponds to the volume to be filled with concrete aggregate. Here the cement content Z, that was calculated in kg, must first be divided by the value known of its bulk density rz = 3.05 kg/dm3. 300 G = 1000 – –––– – 180 – 12 = 710 dm3 3.05 x Mo grain content

Mo is the share of solid matter which has a grain size smaller than 0.125 mm i.e. the mo content is composed of cement, the share of grain 0/0.125 contained is the concrete aggregate and any concrete additive added. In the following example the mo content is: 300 kg cement + 0.5% · 710 dm3 · 2.8 kg/dm3 = 310 kg Mo improves the workability of the freshly-mixed concrete and leads to a tight texture of the hardened concrete. A sufficient share of mo is therefore important for pumped concrete, exposed concrete, concrete for thin-walled, tightly reinforced components and for water-impermeable concrete. A too high share of mo can, however, be of disadvantage. The content of mo as well as the content of mo and finest sand is therefore restricted in DIN 1045 to 0.25 mm for external components as well as for concrete with a high resistance to frost and thawing salt, and to wear depending upon the cement content.

Highest permissible content for concrete with largest grain of 16, 32 and 63 mm (intermediate values are to be lineally interpolated) Content of cement [kg/m3] up to 300 up to 350 Mo = cement + aggregate + additive 0/0.125 + additives [kg/m3] 350 400 Mo + finest sand 0.125/0.25 [kg/m3] 450 500

The values may be increased by max. 50 kg/m3 when: – the cement content exceeds 350 kg/m3 and – a puzzolane concrete aggregate is used – the largest grain is 8 mm

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Concrete Technology For Pumps
x Mortar content

Mortar is defined as the shares of cement, water, air voids, aggregate 0/2. Its content is given in dm3 for 1 m3 compressed freshly-mixed concrete, In the following example, this is 98 dm3 cement + 180 dm3 water + 12 dm3 air voids + 30.4% · 710 dm3 aggregate 0/2 = 506 dm3 The consistency of the freshly-mixed concrete primarily depends upon the amount of mortar and not, as is often assumed upon the water/cement content. Also the pumpability2 is influenced by the mortar content. The following are valid as standard values3 for pumpable concrete:

Largest grain (mm) 32 16

Mortar content (dm3 / m3) 500-550 550-600


Mix formula calculation

For the final calculation of the mix formula for 1 m3 compacted freshly-mixed concrete, note that the % shares of the individual grain groups from the grading curve have both very different bulk densities and also the water contained in aggregate is usually different to each other. Due to this, the dry mass, the water contained in the aggregate and the total mass to be weighed when mixing, are to be calculated for every grain group. The amount of water actually added when mixing is a result of the reduced water content of the water contained in the aggregate of all the grain groups. The above-mentioned form for the mix calculation additionally contains a mix formula table, for resp. one mix fill which depends upon the mixer size available and its filling rate for the respective concrete consistency. Modern, computer-controlled mixer plants usually calculate this independently. By choosing and determining a concrete mix formula especially when using components that are available locally, the properties of the concrete are determined which are needed to fulfil the job site task. The unerring guarantee for these properties depends lastly upon how good the knowledge of all participants is on concrete technology. Here it is not just necessary to be acquainted with the most important properties of the concrete but one must also know what positively or negatively influences them and to what extent.

2 3

Refer to section 4.1 Refer to PM concrete mix formula


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Concrete Technology For Pumps 2. Properties of freshly-mixed concrete (general)
The most important properties of freshly-mixed concrete are: x x bulk density (incl. degree of compaction and pores content) and workability (incl. consistency, deformation behaviour, homogeneity etc.)

2.1 Bulk density
When one talks about the bulk density of freshly-mixed concrete one means the mass in t per m3 of fresh concrete compacted correctly, including the remaining air voids. After careful compacting, the air content remaining in the concrete for normal concrete with 32 mm largest grain is still 1…2 vol.-%, i.e. 10…20 litres per m3. For finely-grained concrete this value can be up to 60 litres per m3. These residual air voids vary greatly in shape and size. Another type of air void is produced on purpose by deliberately adding additive (LP) that forms air voids. This increases the resistance to frost and thawing salt. These voids are distributed very finely and are also very small, if possible below 0.3 mm diameter. A too great an air content, no matter what type, would however impair the strength of the concrete. Concrete that is insufficiently compacted can therefore not be compared to a concrete that has been treated with LP. The freshly-mixed concrete placed in the component contains more or less voids depending upon the consistency and the aggregate mix. These voids that are first filled with air must be removed as far as possible by compaction. With the aid of an exterior vibrator on the formwork or a vibrating cylinder that is immersed into the freshly-mixed concrete, the freshly-mixed concrete is made to vibrate so that it seemingly becomes fluid within the zone of action of the vibrator and the air from the air voids rises to the surface as a result of natural ascending force. So as not to make this path up to the surface insurmountably, respectively. to unnecessarily increase the duration for compaction and therefore the danger of segregation connected with this, the concrete layer to be compacted by vibrating should not be higher than approx. 0.5 m. The compaction of freshly-mixed concrete comprises, however, more than just this. The concrete components on the construction component surface formed by a form-work as well as the surface of the reinforcement rods or mats that are found in the construction components have to be rearranged in such a way that also these surfaces are completely covered with cement paste. Unsatisfactory compaction is very often the cause for later damage to the structure or for complaints already when the acceptance test on the structure is carried out. The degree of compaction of compacted concrete that has just been placed can, however, not be measured. Just in a few exceptional cases can the degree of compaction be checked later by core lifting from the hardened body of concrete. With the so-called air-entrainment meter, a standardised testing unit, one can only determine the air void content of a sample of freshly-mixed concrete removed if possible at the point of placement; but the compaction of the concrete must not implicitly coincide with the actual conditions.

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Concrete Technology For Pumps 2.2 Workability
The consistency is a measure for the stiffness and thereby the workability of the concrete. With an otherwise constant concrete quality, it does not depend upon the w/c value but upon the amount of cement paste. The consistency is measured, resp. tested by different standardised methods of test. The most common methods in Germany are the slump test and in certain cases the compaction test according to Walz DIN 1048. Part I differentiates four consistency ranges: Consistency range KS: stiff (K1) Compaction Slump measure measure a (cm) ≥ 1.2 – Slump (inch) – Property when placed still loose Type of compaction

KP: plastic (K2) KR; soft (K3) KP4; free-flowing (K4)

≥ 1.19...1.08 35 - 41 1.07...1.02 – 42 - 48 49 - 60

1.2 - 2,5 2.6 - 4.2 4.3 - 6.3

vigorous vibrating, stamping for thin packed layer clod-like to Vibrate, rod just adhesive and stamp slightly Rod, flowing lightly vibrate flowing only deaerate by rodding, lightly vibrate

The European Concrete Standards ENV 206 differentiate between the following, similar consistency classes: Class Slump measure according to ISO 9812 (mm) ≥ 340 350 - 410 420 - 480 490 - 600 Class Slump measure according to ISO 4111 (mm) ≥ 1,46 1.45 -1.26 1.25 - 1.11 1.10 - 1.04

F1 F2 F3 F4

C0 C1 C2 C3

Note here that the F and C classes are not the same. The compaction test (refer to Fig. 8) is suitable for determining the consistency of stiff, plastic and soft concrete, but not for free-flowing concrete. This method may be more suitable than the slump test for the consistency ranges KP and KR when using chip concrete, which is concrete with a high mo content or lightweight and heavy-weight concrete. Used here are: a 40 cm high plate container, closed at the bottom with quadratic cross-section (20 cm x 20 cm): alternatively a 20 cm cube form can also be used with a 20 cm high add-on frame. The container, wiped out wetly or slightly oiled, is loosely filled with concrete according to Fig. 8 and any concrete jutting out is simply struck off without any effect on compaction. Then the concrete in the container is compacted – if possible by vibrating – until it no longer drops into itself. The proportional number of the original filling height (400 mm ) to the filling height after compaction (h) is the measure for the consistency, i.e. the so-called compaction measure v: 400 v = 400 = h 400 – s


only as flow concrete by adding FM


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Concrete Technology For Pumps

1. Fill loosely with concrete

2. Completely compact filling

3. Measure s

4. Calculate compaction measure v = 40/h

Fig. 8: Compaction test according to WALZ

The slump test is carried out in Germany and Austria under the same test conditions to determine the consistency for plastic, soft and flowing concrete in accordance with Fig. 9: The following are used here: – a 70 cm x 70 cm large work bench that is to be set up horizontally and which must not yield. Its surface consists of a 2 mm thick, flat metal plate on a wooden frame. On the one side are hinges which connect the table to the lower frame; on the other side are a handle and try square for restricting lift to 40 mm (check occasionally!) – a 20 cm high conical shape with 20 cm diameter at the bottom and 13 diameter at the top – a wooden rod The metal plate and the inner surface are to be wiped wet just before testing is carried out. The cone mould is placed on the middle (!) of the table and kept in position with your feet. Now the concrete is filled in two layers and each layer is slightly compacted with the wooden rod. After filling the mould, the concrete over the top of the edge is struck off and the table plate is cleaned around the mould. About half a minute after striking off the top edge, the mould is slowly pulled up perpendicularly. Then the table plate is lifted up by the handle and allowed to drop in 15 seconds fifteen times – but without banging it hard. The concrete spreads out. Then the diameters of the spread-out concrete parallel to the edges of the table are measured. The mean value of both diameters in cm is the slump measure a. When the concrete does not stay together but falls apart, the slump test is not suitable for determining the consistency. If necessary, the compaction test is to be applied, but such concrete as stiff as this can usually not be pumped. In most of the other European countries as well as in the US (where the slump test, is, however not customary) the test parameters deviate more or less from this. The test readings can therefore not be compared.

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Concrete Technology For Pumps

KS (K1)

KP (K2)

KR (K3)

Fig. 9: Slump test; on the left: different deformation of the concrete depending upon the consistency range after lifting up the conical mould. On the right: concrete cake on completion of test

In the US the consistency of the freshly-mixed concrete is usually quoted with the so-called slump Test (slump) according to Chapman/Abrams (ASTM) according to Fig. 10. This test is also very widespread and well-known in many countries – apart from in Germany. This test is not standardised in Germany but is permissible for monitoring according to DIN 1048, Part 1, table 1. Used here are: – a 30 cm high conical mould with 20 cm diameter at the bottom and 10 cm diameter at the top – a steel rod Ø 16 mm, rounded at the end.


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Concrete Technology For Pumps

1. Fill with concrete, compact and strike off

2. Slowly pull up mould perpendicularly

3. Measure slump s

Fig. 10: Slump Test

The mould, on a level and firm base (e.g. the work bench for the slump test), is filled with the freshly-mixed concrete to be tested in three layers each with about the same volume. Each layer is compacted by rodding with the rounded-off end of the rod. Specified here are 25 penetrations per layer. At the end of this filling process the concrete is struck off at the top edge of the mould; then the mould is carefully pulled up perpendicularly and placed next to the concrete cone. The slump s is the difference in height of the concrete cone to the height of the mould (30 cm) – measured in cm. The consistency of the freshly-mixed concrete continuously changes from the time it leaves the mixer to the end of workability – approximately as shown in Fig. 11. This process, generally known as “stiffening” is completely normal and meets the requirements for the later development of strength of the concrete and is not to be mistaken for the effect of solvents (FM) that are also limited to a certain time. The temperature of the freshly-mixed concrete is of importance when concreting during extremely cold and extremely warm outside temperatures. This should normally be between +5° C (+41° F) and +30° C (+86° F) when placing. When the temperature of the air is below -3° C (+27° F), the minimum temperature of the freshly-mixed concrete must be +10° C (+50° F) and this for at least the next 3 days.
KF (free-flowing) slump (cm) Time after manufacture (mm)

Fig. 11: Time-dependence of the consistency

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KP (plastic-like)

KR (soft)

Concrete Technology For Pumps
Increased temperatures of freshly-mixed concrete (considerably above 20° C (+68° F)) in general usually accelerate the stiffening. High summer temperatures or artificially increased temperatures of freshly-mixed concrete (warm concrete for winter construction) considerably shorten the length of time between the mixing and the initial setting. If a longer period of time has to be bridged between the fabrication and placing of concrete, then the stiffening of the concrete must be taken into account accordingly. This means, for example, that ready-mixed concrete must be made soft enough whilst being prepared in the works – and that both the travelling time and the temperature are taken into consideration – so that it has the consistency wanted when it arrives on the construction site.

Caution! If water were to be added unauthorised on the construction site for renewed “softening“ of the concrete this would drastically damage the quality!
The different consistency parameters only, however, reflect a part of the qualities of the freshly-mixed concrete with regard to workability. Important here are also the water-retaining capacity, the pumpability and the pump-willingness (refer to section 4.1) the deformation and alternating behaviour during compaction (refer to section 2.1) etc.

3. Properties of hardened concrete and their alternating relation to concrete technology
The most important properties of hardened concrete are: x x x x x x compressive strength protection against corrosion water imperviousness resistance to chemical corrosion resistance to frost, resistance to frost and thawing salt resistance to wear

The compressive strength is the most important concrete property. This is determined by the compression test carried out on specimens specially made for this (cube, cylinder) or, if necessary on test cores from the structure. The standardised test of the standards (in Germany according to DIN 1045) is carried out after 28 days usually on test cubes with arris lengths of 20 cm. The compressive strength is calculated from the max. charge in the test press (before it breaks) in Newton’s divided by the surface in mm2 of the specimen charged here in mm2. Depending on the compressive strength, the concrete is assigned to one of the strength classes already mentioned. A certain cube compressive strength may also be necessary for a period of time earlier than after 28 days, e.g. when stripping walls or floors. It can, however, also be arranged for a later date, e.g. when using slowly-hardening cement. In addition to these possibilities of wanting to adapt, resp. use the development of the concrete strength for concrete technology, there are also unintentional, usually negative reactions of concrete technological mistakes to the really attainable concrete compressive strength. The main sources of mistakes here are: – unauthorised addition of water on the construction site – placing of freshly-mixed concrete after the initial setting – insufficient compaction especially as a result of fill lifts being too great and – improper post treatment, e.g. insufficient protection against premature drying out.


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Concrete Technology For Pumps
A permanent protection against corrosion of the reinforcement can only be attained by the concrete surrounding it but only when the hardened cement paste is sufficiently leakproof and the concrete cover thick enough. Unfortunately, already when determining the size of the largest grain, mistakes are made in assessing the actual amount of space available for the concrete to ‘slip through’ when placing between the reinforcement rods. Likewise the ‘mixing work’ necessary for complete covering of the reinforcement is also not to be underestimated whilst compacting. One can also envisage the reinforcement as an additional “steel” grain fraction which is not ‘mixed’ along until concreting (without agitator). For example, 80 kg reinforced steel per m3 concrete are the equivalent of 10 volume %, and a steel Ø of 16 mm has the same surface to cover as a round grain with 24 mm Ø. What makes it more complicated here is that the reinforcement is necessarily concentrated in the areas near the surface where the concrete also still has to be ‘arranged’ so that the surface is enclosed by the concentration of the fine particles. The necessary concrete cover which is a requirement for sufficient protection against corrosion, must be guaranteed for by sufficient bar spacers. The forces which the falling or flowing freshly-mixed concrete exert on the reinforcement are often very great and the subsequent displacement of a correctly plaited reinforcement is covered by concrete. The damage does not come to light until quite a long time afterwards when the reinforcement rusts and the concrete chips. The impermeability to water of the concrete does not just serve to guarantee the corrosion protection for the reinforcement but also prevents the penetration of water that stands under pressure, e.g. for dams or building foundations below the groundwater table. Testing of the water impermeability is carried out according to DIN 1048 by the reaction of a water pressure of 0.5 N/mm2 (5 bar) for 3 days on several specimens taken. Then the average penetration depth of the water must not be more than 50 mm. Special care must be here for intensive compaction avoidance of working joints between the individual concreting sections. It must be made sure that the concreting layers are “sewn up” to each other well – “fresh concrete on fresh concrete”. Concrete layers of not more than 30 .... 50 cm guarantee that, for example, the vibrating cylinder with a normal penetration depth also reaches into the previous layer before this has reached their initial setting. The resistance to chemical attacks is mainly realised by the normal, resp. increased water impermeability. For strong and very strong chemical attacks, the water penetration depth measured on samples as mentioned above, must not be more than 30 mm. When the attacking water is highly charged with sulphate (more than 0.6 g per litre) cement with a high resistance to sulphate (HS-cement) is to be used. When sea-water attacks the concrete, no special choice of cement is necessary – despite the high content of sulphate here – experience over a number of years has shown this. Concrete that is, however, exposed to “very strong” chemical attacks over a large period of time must be protected both reliably and long-term by a protective cover before they are attacked by such. Concrete resistant to frost must be concrete that is impermeable to water with sufficient strength and with additives that are resistant to frost. The resistance to frost and thawing salt is improved by airentraining reagent (LP): Please note that every volume % air voids results in a loss of strength of approx. 5%. A high resistance to wear is required by concrete with a surface that is exposed to a great mechanical load, e.g. lots of traffic, slipping bulk material, the movement of heavy objects or water with a strong current and water that carry solids. Here usually special measures are required for the concrete composition.

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Concrete Technology For Pumps 4. Properties and conditions of freshly-mixed concrete when pumping 4.1 Pumpability and willingness to pump
Pumping concrete is not a special concrete. It fulfils all requirements made on a concrete that is used for reinforced concrete for reinforcement work. But not every one of these types of concrete also fulfil the requirements on pumping concrete even though the parameter ranges accepted by modern concrete pumps have been considerably extended. The question regarding the pumpability of freshlymixed concrete is to be asked and answered in two steps: 1. 2. Is the concrete at all pumpable under the given conditions? If yes, how can the concrete be pumped, i.e. at what cost?

A freshly-mixed concrete is pumpable when it is structurally leakproof during the whole course of pumping and stays as such. Structurally leakproof means that all firm components are completely enclosed by liquid (water) and can move against each other. Not only the “support” on the pipe wall but also the pressure exchange inside the concrete may only flow via the liquid. On the one hand therefore in every cross-section along the conveying path, the aggregate-cement mix must be at least saturated with water; even better if it is somewhat over-saturated. On the other hand the flow resistance for the water inside the aggregate-cement mix must be greater than the wall friction resistance and finally the water excess at the beginning of the conveying path must be greater than the water displacement through the concrete during one stroke. The concrete composition in the finest grain range is thus very important. The cement and the other finest grain shares therefore do not just provide the “lubrication” on the pipe wall and thereby a reduction of the wall friction resistance but also provide an almost complete “blockage” of the grain structure. As you know the inner flow resistance of a grain mix (e.g. a gravel filter layer) is directly (proportionally) dependent upon the specific surface of the mix. Hence Fig. 3 results in a specific surface of the aggregates of approx. 4,100 m2/m3 freshly-mixed concrete for the repeatedly mentioned concrete mix; this corresponds to the specific surface of approx. 20 kg cement. The actual cement content of 300 kg/m3 in the chosen example therefore results in a “blockage” of the aggregate mix to about 16 times the original inner flow resistance. In other words, the flow resistance for the water in the freshly-mixed concrete is about 95% the result of the cement share. Freshly-mixed concrete is pumpable because it behaves like a blocked gravel filter. The pumpability, resp. structure imperviousness of a freshly-mixed concrete is not just a question of its composition but also of the pipeline diameter and the ”boundary zone layer” connected with this – more details about the special features of this are given in a further publication. Experience shows that the following are needed for pumpability: x x x x a grain composition according to grading curve DIN 1045 in the upper range between the limit lines A and B (refer to Fig. 5) a cement content of at least 240 kg/m3 for concrete with a largest grain size of 32 mm a mo content of at least 400 kg/m3 for concrete with a largest grain size of 32 mm a pipe line diameter of at least three times that of the largest grain size diameter.


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Concrete Technology For Pumps
The willingness to pump when pumpable does not just imply the specific conveying resistance depending upon the consistency and flow velocity but also the inner mobility of the freshly-mixed concrete when sucked in as well as when passing through pipe elbows and other changes in crosssection. Whereas the first part of the willingness to pump can be expressed in the so-called “concrete pressure performance diagram” (refer to section 4.4.), it is not (yet) possible to express the inner mobility in figures. The number of different ways to describe the consistency and the wide range when comparing their measured values that cannot be precisely described physically, show just how complicated this matter is. We will nevertheless, however, try to give you an idea of this property.

4.2. Origination and properties of the “boundary zone layer“
When concrete is conveyed through pipes, the necessity of a “lubricating film” made of cement paste right before the pipe wall is emphasised at all times. A concentration of fine grain can be clearly seen on the outside of the “concrete sausage” when the concrete emerges out of the pipeline. The causes and effects of this “boundary zone layer” are as yet only a little familiar. As has already been mentioned, pumpable freshly-mixed concrete is structurally leakproof in every part of the delivery line, i.e. the aggregate mix “swims” free and easily in the “concrete paste”. The grain interspaces are saturated with water and cement. The air voids that are also present and that have a liquefying effect are pressed together by the delivery pressure that is needed for pumping to just a fraction of their natural size and thereby loose their liquefying effect when pumping.

Fig. 12: Filling the space of a pipe section (1 litre) with ball grains of the mix set as an example a) grain size 16/32 b) grain sizes 8/16 and 16/32.

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As an example the air void content falls from 10% in a loose bulk concrete to a residual share of just 0.12% with a conveying pressure of 85 bar. The aggregate grains of the concrete participate in filling the space according to their share of volume (refer to mix formula calculation, Fig. 6). To illustrate this better, one can, for example, examine a section of line Ø 100 mm, 126 mm long with a volume of 1 litre and all aggregate grains of the grain 8/6 and 16/32 as balls of different sizes. Fig. 12 shows a likely, random arrangement of these balls in just such a pipe section. As you know the largest “bulkiest” grain have a diameter of up to a third of that of the pipe that encloses them. Each grain can, however, just approach the pipe wall with its surface. If one looks at the layer parallel to the pipe wall, e.g. at a distance of 1 mm, one only “meets” the outside layers of the coarse grains, whereas all grains with a diameter of less than 1 mm, contribute towards filling the volume with their whole volume, and they can compensate for the “lack” of coarse grain. In other words, to fill the pipe cross-section completely with the concrete components, the large grains must be pressed inwards and a suitable share of the smaller grain and water must be pressed outwards – at least in the boundary zone. This process is comparable to flattening the concrete surface with a trowel.

Aggregate content (dm3/m3) Average aggregate content according to mix formula 710 dm3/m3 3 3 Mortar content (dm /m ) 3 3 Average mortar content according to mix formula 494 dm /m

Fig. 13: Boundary layer segregation for a delivery pipe diameter of 100 mm for the concrete set as an example (composition dependent upon the relative distance from the pipe middle axis)


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Concrete Technology For Pumps
The “boundary zones segregation” is always carried out when a space is filled with concrete, therefore already when filling the delivery cylinders as well as for final placement, e.g. into a wall formwork. A requirement here, however, is the inner mobility of the freshly-mixed concrete, as already mentioned. If this is sufficiently available, then the rearrangement is carried out inside the total cross-section, and can be calculated accordingly. As a result of the calculation, one obtains a change of the mix composition that is constantly dependent upon the radius. In the boundary layer, there is a constantly increasing fineness of the mix from the thickness of the coarsest grain at the edge of the layer to the pure cement mortar on the pipe inside wall. This accordingly results in an enrichment of coarse grain in the core zone. A requirement, however, for the pumpability of the concrete, is that the structural impermeability of the cone zone remains despite boundary zone segregation. This explains why concrete is only pumpable up to a certain minimum pipe diameter. Fig. 13 shows a calculation, e.g. for the mix already given as an example (Fig. 6) for a pipe diameter of 100 mm. This results in a relative increase of aggregate to about 120% for the cone zone and a decrease of the mo content to about 50% of the respective mean value. Fig. 14 shows the alterations to the grading curve at different distances to the pipe wall as a result of this.

Output grading curve according to mix Grading curve in the core cross-section Grading curve at a distance of 2.00 mm to the edge Grading curve at a distance of 0.25 mm to the edge Screen mesh width (mm) Grading curve A 32 according to DIN 1045 Grading curve B 32 according to DIN 1045

Fig. 14: Changes to grading curve in the core and boundary zone

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Concrete Technology For Pumps
This radius-dependent concrete composition in the pipe cross-section shows that the freshly-mixed concrete properties are also dependent upon cross-section and radius, and that they alter according to changes during pumping. On the way through the delivery line the freshly-mixed concrete is subject to different stress and changes in shape which it opposes with a certain resistance. When conveying in the straight cylindrical pipe an exclusive shear stress τs increases linearly with the radius according to Fig. 15a.

Shear stress

Concrete tenacity

Shear speed

Flow rate

Boundary zone Core zone Pipe longitudinal axis

Fig. 15: Current influences on the pipe conveying of freshly-mixed concrete a) Shear stress b) Shear resistance c) Shear speed d) Speed profile

The concrete opposes this stress with a shear stress τω which is dependent upon the speed but is in no way – as is usually assumed in literature on the subject – constant over the course of the crosssection. Rather, the tenacity of the concrete coincides with the ‘denticulation’ of the cement paste with aggregate grain that greatly decreases towards the wall (refer to Fig. 13). The share of aggregate in the cone zone is a multiple of the share of cement paste, whereas towards the edge the share of aggregate practically drops to zero. If one compares the average grain size of cement (approx. 0.01 mm) to the largest aggregate size (e.g. 32 mm) the result is the course shown in Fig. 15 b for the concrete tenacity: the tenacity on the wall is approximately equivalent to that of the cement paste as is know from rheological readings; increasing towards the cone zone to a multi-thousand fold. The existence of a so-called limit shear stress τo below which the concrete is not sheared and is therefore conveyed as a firm plug is often advocated in theoretical statements. This has, however, neither been proven in practice nor in tests in the laboratory. The considerably greater ‘tenacity’ of the cone zone compared to the boundary zone (refer to Fig. 15 b) and shear stress increasing with the radius (refer to Fig. 15 a) result in a shear speed χ that greatly increases toward the edge, according to Fig. 15 c, and a speed profile for the flow of concrete in the pipe (Fig. 15 d) that is very similar to the socalled plug conveyance. The tests carried out on normal concrete in the laboratory by RÖSSIG5 already more than 20 years ago, show that a deformation due to shear amounts of 0.3 .. 0.5 inside the cone zone after a conveying distance of 10 m. This is the equivalent of about 100 -200 times more deformation caused by shear in the total boundary zone than in the cone zone. It thus follows that the pipe conveying of freshly-mixed concrete has no additional mixing effect. Merely after leaving the delivery line does a certain remix ensue when placing and packing and in this case, as already mentioned, renewed zone segregation occurs, e.g. on the surfaces of the formwork as well as in the reinforcement.


Rössig, M: Conveying freshly-mixed concrete, research report NRW no. 2456, Westdeutscher Verlag 1974


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Concrete Technology For Pumps 4.3 The behaviour of freshly-mixed concrete in the concrete pump
The concrete technological task of the pump is to press the freshly-mixed concrete as a closed and continuous conveying current into the delivery line, and then through this to the point of placement and to carry this out as far as possible without any impairment to its given composition and properties. The behaviour of the freshly-mixed concrete in the concrete pump includes on the one hand its passive behaviour as a result of the active reaction of the concrete pump to it, and on the other hand its own reactive effect on the concrete pump and the behaviour of this. The freshly-mixed concrete and the concrete pump run through different ‘operating phases’ here. One must distinguish between on the one hand the operating state of the pump (starting up pumping, normal conveying operation, emptying and cleaning the line, malfunctions) and, on the other hand, the operating state of the concrete (transfer and sojourn time in the hopper, suction, filling of the conveying space, passing through the valve system and the tapering after this). The type of concrete pump used (piston pump or squeezed tube pump) and the type of valves used for a piston pump (e.g. trunk of S-pipe valve) have a considerable influence on the behaviour of the freshly-mixed concrete inside the concrete pump. We will not go into further details here about the characteristic features and characteristics of the two principle types of pump as well as the different valve systems of piston pumps (refer to Fig. 16). With the following print “Concrete Technology for Pumps” we simply want to make what happens inside the concrete pump comprehensible from a concrete technological point of view. Concrete can only be pushed through the delivery line when this has previously been sucked out of an open vessel (hopper) by increasing the volume of the conveying space of the pump, and the concrete fills the conveying space completely as far as possible. By decreasing the volume of the conveying space, the concrete is pushed out into the delivery line whilst displacing the whole concrete column in the delivery line. When observed more clearly, the sucking-in is also pushing; the volume increasing of the conveying space (i.e. movement of the delivery piston in the delivery cylinder away from the suction opening) brings about a low pressure compared to the atmosphere, which pushes the concrete out of the hopper into the conveying space with max. 1 bar, but only when there is not a continuous “air bridge” between the conveying space and the atmosphere. The low pressure level for suction and filling requires a low as possible resistance to flow and deformation of the concrete. Here the agitator of the hopper and its geometrical shape contribute considerably towards this. The agitator does not just serve to keep the concrete free-flowing during the breaks in conveying but also moves and pushes the concrete in such as way during suction that the concrete can flow “from this movement” and flow without congestion into the suction opening that is as large as possible. The filling rate of the conveying space is an essential criterion for the efficiency of a pump. An increase of the speed of the delivery pistons, resp. the rotor does not lead to an improvement of an insufficient filling rate as a result of poorly-flowing concrete as the atmospheric difference in pressure of 1 bar can not be increased. On the contrary, the filling rate and therefore the efficiency of the concrete pump deteriorate rather. It is well known that stiff concrete and mixes out of crushed aggregate cannot be sucked in as well as thin-plastic and round, granular ones. For optimum suction conditions the suction openings and the conveying area diameter are kept the same and also large as far as possible. Here are the essential differences between the piston and the hose squeeze pipes: piston pumps suck in the concrete through large cross-sections and reduce the cross-section when pressing out the material; large conveying outputs can be realised here. Hose squeeze pumps are limited with regard to their delivery pressure to approx. 30 bar, and they therefore suck in the concrete preferably with the same cross-section as that through which the material is conveyed through the line afterwards. Its delivery performance is above all restricted by the suction performance.

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Concrete Technology For Pumps

Fig. 16: Concrete pump constructions: a) Piston pump with trunk valve b) Piston pump with S-pipe valve c) squeezed tube pump


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Concrete Technology For Pumps
For piston pumps the suction behaviour of the freshly-mixed concrete is not just determined by the size of the suction opening and the efficiency of the agitator hopper but also by the ‘hindrance’ of the suction due to the valve system used. The filling of the conveying space also comprises the “boundary zone segregation” described in section 4.2 for the complete space-filling and the emergence of the more free-flowing boundary layer connected to this. There is only little time available for this as when the delivery pistons reverse direction the conveying space must be tightly filled immediately and the concrete must be pumpable. When the concrete is pressed out of the delivery cylinders of a piston pump into the delivery line, the concrete current experiences a reduction in cross-section to the diameter of the delivery line (100 mm, resp. 125 mm) whilst passing through the valve (trunk or S-pipe) and also after this. For the concrete this does not just mean a considerable deformation but also a great increase in speed as well as a corresponding increase of the boundary layer per volume unit of the concrete. To reduce the conveying resistance connected here, the cross-section reduction is carried out continuously as far as possible over a sufficiently long section. This reduction of the cross-section inside or immediately after the pump also provides a pumpability test for the concrete. If a “difficult” concrete passes this “obstacle” without any problems then it really is pumpable and the danger of a blockage over the course of the delivery line due to the result of a wrong concrete composition is very improbable. An essential condition to maintain the pumpability of the concrete inside the pump is the reliable imperviousness of the valve system during the pressing phase. A valve system that is not water-tight means a loss of water or cement paste in the boundary zone and thus the danger of the concrete not being water-tight any longer and its wall friction is no longer pressure-independent which inevitably leads to blockages. The same is similar for hose squeeze pump. Here there is the danger that insufficient sealing of the squeeze gap leads to the water or cement paste flowing away and the concrete loosing its pumpability just in front of the squeezing roller. Under high pressure (above 80 bar) an effect arises in the concrete at points of leakage which in jobsite jargon is called “encrustation”. Finest mortar stores along the gaps and a part of the mix water is pushed through this. Under the influence of pressure and time the encrustation increases in the shape of a ring from the outside to the inside. Narrowing of the cross-section by more than 50% is not rare. The result of this is the tendency to form blockages. As this encrustation hardens during operation it is not possible to remove it by the usual methods when cleaning the concrete pump afterwards. If the concrete encrustation is not noticed by the operator frequent blocking is caused the next time the pump is used after the preliminary slurry has been pumped. It is very important for piston concrete pumps that the delivery space is completely emptied as far as possible for every pump stroke as a so-called dead volume remains in the delivery space at least up to the next time the pump is cleaned, especially remaining on the delivery piston, hardening or setting there and this can lead to the destruction of seals, the delivery piston, resp. the delivery cylinder inside wall. This danger does not exist for hose squeeze pumps as the concrete only passes through the delivery space (the pump hose) in one direction and is therefore always flushed through with fresh concrete. The special operating states of the concrete pump described above (starting up pumping, emptying, etc.) have a considerable smaller influence on the behaviour of the concrete in the delivery line than on the behaviour inside the delivery line. This is why these problems don’t arise until in the following section. Besides the reaction of the concrete behaviour to the concrete pump already mentioned, there is, along with the stress as a result of concrete conveying pressure, especially the wear effect of the concrete on all parts that come into contact with the concrete.

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Concrete Technology For Pumps
The wear effect of the concrete inside the concrete pump as well as also later in the delivery line is above all dependent upon the consistency and speed just like the delivery resistance, but it is not independent of the pressure. The enormous abrasiveness of the concrete, especially everywhere where the concrete does not flow “cylindrically” but where the contact surface moves relatively towards the concrete, i.e. in the hopper, in the agitator, in the valve system, in the reductions and in the elbows (outside) is due to the fact that the coarse aggregates are embedded in “deeper” layers. They therefore have a greater relative speed with which they “occasionally” scratch the contact surface through the flexible boundary layer zone. Their irregular shape and the tight toothing of the grain mix also prevents a rolling off of the contact surface which would reduce wear, but also lead to a twisting effect on neighbouring grains which are thereby additionally turned towards the contact surface.

4.4 The behaviour of freshly-mixed concrete in the delivery line
When flowing through a straight, cylindrical pipe vertically upwards this process calms down after a short time by making use of the available ‘toothing play’ between the grains, provided that the pipe sections do not have any identations and do not leak. The latter leads in extreme cases to the loss of pumpability and therefore to blockages or to “just “ the formation of a firm concrete crown constricted by the cross-section with increased resistance to conveying. For great vertical conveying heights and when pumping through high quality delivery pipes, the wall contact of coarse aggregate is practically completely “quietened down” and there is therefore both lesser conveying resistance and considerably less wear. This process known as the ‘flotation effect’ was first observed in 1976 during the high rise pumping world record at the time of 310 m at the Post Office Tower in Frankfurt /Main (Germany) with a Putzmeister Elephant pump. With a horizontal delivery line the ‘flotation effect’ can only occur in a reduced form as just a slight settling of the coarse aggregates leads to “occasional” wall contact and all the consequences of this already mentioned, however, mainly on the lower pipe inside wall. Flowing through pipe elbows means an additional bending and shearing stress for the freshly-mixed concrete. As a pipe elbow in the ‘outside curve’ has a greater surface than a straight pipe, the boundary zone with more fine grain becomes thinner; whereas in the ‘inner curve’ it becomes thicker. The very thick cone zone displaces the softer and weak outside boundary zone and is diverted wear-intensively when hitting the pipe wall due to shearing and bending. This may well lead to some local zone no longer being leakproof and therefore to an even greater conveying resistance and wear. Moreover, the flow of concrete needs a consolidation and quietening phase after a pipe elbow. The through-put of freshly-mixed concrete through a delivery line is a result of the performance of the concrete pump (engine performance [kW], eff. output [m3/h], eff. delivery pressure [bar]), geometry of the delivery line (diameter [mm], length of line [m], delivery height [m]) and consistency of the freshly-mixed concrete (tenacity factor). The mutual dependence of these diameters is illustrated by Fig. 17 with the concrete pressure performance monogram which is independent of the concrete pump used. The example shown here starts from an effective delivery performance of Q = 40 m3/h. For the assumed delivery pipe diameter of D = 125 mm, one can read an average flow speed of approx. 1 m/s in the first quadrant. The dependence of the delivery pressure to the delivery pipe diameter is even greater than the dependence of the flow speed: a reduction of the pipe diameter from 125 mm to 100 mm is for example the equivalent of increasing the speed of the concrete in the pipe to just 1.5 m/s whereas the necessary delivery pressure is almost doubled. The consistency dependency represented is in keeping with experience gained over a number of years and meets the requirements for a rough estimate. If more exact values are necessary for a certain application case, then pump trials must be carried out with the planned concrete mix formula. For the example in Fig. 17 for a plastic concrete with a slump of a = 40 cm, flow resistance is 0.2 bar per metre run. The assumed length of delivery line of L = 300 m results in a delivery pressure of p = 63 bar, which is to be enlarged by the share of 0.25 bar per meter of height resulting from the high-rise conveying, in the example 20 bar for 80 m delivery height. If one can use the “Rotation effect” for high-rise conveying, then this value 0.25 bar/m


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Concrete Technology For Pumps

Fig. 17: Concrete pressure performance nomogram

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Concrete Technology For Pumps
is to be reduced by 60 % of the flow resistance mentioned already (in the example: approx. 0.13 from 0.21 bar/m). The resistance to flow in the pipe elbows as well as an the leaking pipe couplings with encrustation is usually converted to an equivalent pipe length: Elbow radius 1000 mm 281 mm – Equiv. pipe length 3m 1m 1m

Large pipe elbow 90 Pipe elbow 90o Leaking coupling


The pump operator must direct his full attention to the behaviour of freshly-mixed concrete in the delivery line when starting to pump. The problem here is the necessary wetting of the inside wall of the pipe with cement paste until starting the stationary pump operation. The amount needed here per meter run is exactly the same amount which would remain in a 1 m section if one first fills it completely with freshly-mixed concrete and then lets this flow out again (10 m of a 125 mm delivery line have an inner surface of approx. 4 m2 to be covered). When starting to pump, this amount of cement paste is “removed” from the concrete that first flows through the delivery line. For this reason, one ought to first pump a starting-up mix enriched with cement excess or even a cement slurry mixed extra in the pump hopper before pumping the concrete (refer to operating instructions). A more favourably-priced and effective solution to provide a start-up mix is to use a PM slurry for staring up pumping which is available as powder and only water needs to be added. The substance that is ready after just a few minutes is emptied in via the cleaning opening. When starting to pump this substance is pushed in front of the concrete and thereby covers the pipe inside wall. The method greatly used in the field of covering the delivery pipes with water before pumping is only to be used if all else is lacking, and can only be used for short delivery pipe lengths. If nothing is carried out one can already reckon with a blockage when starting to pump as a dry concrete plug that cannot be pumped arises after just a relatively short conveying period, and it stops the flow of concrete at one of the first elbows. An important requirement for a trouble-free flow of concrete is also the correct emptying and cleaning of the delivery line during a longer break in conveying so that no old, hardened concrete or cement paste residue remains in the line which would also lead to blockages when starting to pump again.


BP 2158-1 GB

Concrete Technology For Pumps 5. Short guide to avoid faults and eliminate them
Identifiable irregularities Possible causes Reccommended measures

For the delivery of concrete and charging of the concrete pump
Gravel and broken stone noises in the truckmixer drum Swelling up and down noises of the concrete in the truckmixer drum When leaving the truckmixer drum the concrete breaks sharp-edged Change of consistency during concrete delivery Frequent blocking of the agitator shaft Share of fines is too small Check delivery note

Concrete consistency is too liquid Concrete consistency is too stiff Segregation

Check delivery note or determine slump measure Check delivery note; add sufficient cement paste when starting up pumping Interrupt transfer and intensively remix the concrete (several minutes) Check delivery note

Share of fines is too small

When pumping
Delivery pressure considerably above that of the value expected The residual effect of BV, FM or VZ has been exceeded or shortened (summer heat, hot delivery line) Blockages in or just after the concrete pump Cover the delivery line

Quick rise in pressure above normal value

Pump in reverse for several strokes Mix well hopper fill, add water and cement if necessary Pump in reverse for several strokes, continue to pump slowly. If necessary, locate blockages with hammer handle test, and dismount the line beginning at the end Check delivery note, determine slump measure if necessary Hopper filling level above the agitator shaft Refer to above Refer to above Refer to above Check setting of valve and switchover Remove the obstacle

Slow rise in pressure above normal value

Blockages more at the end of the delivery line

Poor filling rate of the delivery cylinders

– consistency is too stiff – filling level of hopper is too low

Blockages in the delivery cylinder of the pump

– shares of fine is too small – concrete consistency is too stiff – segregation – valve system is not leakproof or does not switch over – old concrete residue or foreign particles in the delivery line – leaky pipe joints or welding seam cracks – unfavourable laying of delivery line – bent end placing hose or bent delivery lines – share of fines is too small – consistency is too stiff

Blockages in the delivery line

Check pipe coupling, repair cracks alternative laying Eliminate bend Refer to above Refer to above

BP 2158-1 GB


Concrete Technology For Pumps 6. Specifications and regulations of the “Technical Regulations“
Designation DIN 1045 DIN 1048 DIN 1084 DIN 1164 DIN 18551 DIN 18560 DIN 18999 DIN 4187 DIN 4188 DIN 4219 12.79 Issued 07.88 06.91 12.78 03.90 03.92 05.92 NE/05.91 Title Concrete and reinforced concrete: dimensions and design Test method for concrete – Section I: Freshly-mixed concrete Monitoring (quality monitoring) concrete and reinforced concrete – Part I: Concrete B II on construction sites, supply Portland, Iron Portland, furnace and trass cement – Part I: Terms, requirements, supply Shotcrete; manufacture and monitoring of quality Floorscreeds in civil engineering Concrete technology; additives for concrete Testing screens with square holes Testing screens (mesh screens) Lightweight concrete and reinforced lightweight concrete with closed structure – Part I: Requirements made on the concrete, manufacture and monitoring; Part II: Dimensioning and design Aggregate for concrete Pre-stressed concrete – Part I: components made of normal concrete with restricted or full pre-stress Compacting concrete by vibrating Concrete, properties, manufacture, placing and proof of quality Part I: concrete tests; manufacture of test bodies, testing freshly-mixed concrete Freshly-mixed concrete; determining the consistency; slump test Freshly-mixed concrete; determining the consistency; Vebe test (slump time test) Freshly-mixed concrete; determining the consistency Freshly-mixed concrete; determining the void content of the freshly-mixed concrete; Compacted freshly-mixed concrete: determining the strength Freshly-mixed concrete, determining consistency, slump test Guide lines for concrete with solvent and for flow concrete; Preliminary guidelines for concrete with extended handling time (retarding concrete) DAfStb Guidelines for using DIN V ENV 206/10.90 – Concrete, properties, manufacture, handling and quality Code of practice – added water for concrete, Deutscher Betonverein e.V. Testing concrete. Recommendations and notes as complement to DIN 1048

DIN 4226 DIN 4227 DIN 4235 DIN V ENV 206 ISO 2736 ISO 4109 ISO 4110 ISO 4111 ISO 4848 ISO 6276 ISO 9812

07.83 07.88 12.78 10.90 08.86 06.91 06.91 12.79 03.80 01.82 not yet avail. 01.86 03.83 11.91 01.82

DAfStb Booklet 422


BP 2158-1 GB

Concrete Technology For Pumps 7. Further literature

DIN 1045 “Concrete and reinforced concrete“ Mix formula tables, refer to DIN 1045 or e.g. in: R. Weber, R. Tegelaar, Good Concrete, BetonVerlag GmbH, Düsseldorf, 1993. Putzmeister concrete mix formula 73: Concrete mixes according to the new technical construction regulations whilst observing the new standards. Rössig, M.: Conveying freshly-mixed concrete, especially lightweight concrete, through pipelines, research reports from Nordrhein-Westfalen, No. 2456, Westdeutscher Verlag 1974.




BP 2158-1 GB


Concrete Technology For Pumps


BP 2158-1-1 E

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