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Segregation in concrete:

Segregation can be defined as the separation of the constituents of a

heterogeneous mixture so that their distribution is no longer uniform. In the
case of concrete it is the differences in size of particles (and sometimes in
the specific gravity of the mix constituents) that are the primary cause of
separation, but its extent can controlled by the choice of suitable grading
and care in handling.
There are two forms of segregations
In the first, the coarser particles tend to separate out since they travel
futher along a slope or settle more than finer particles. This usually occur
when lean mix is used or when the cohesion is very low because of very dry
The second form of segregation, occurring particularly in wet mixes, is
revealed by the separation of grout (cement plus water) from the mix. This
occur when the mix is too wet.
To avoid segregation;
Check the concrete is not 'too wet' or 'too dry'.
Make sure the concrete is properly mixed. It is important that the
concrete is mixed at the correct speed in a transit mixer for at least
two minutes immediately prior to discharge.
The concrete should be placed as soon as possible.
When transporting the mix, load carefully.
Always pour new concrete into the face of concrete already in place.
When compacting with a poker vibrator be sure to use it carefully.
If placing concrete straight from a truck, pour vertically and never let
the concrete fall more than one-and-a-half meters.

Bleeding in concrete:
This refers to the appearance of water along with cement particles on
the surface of the freshly laid concrete. This happens when there is excessive
quantity of water in the mix or due to excessive compaction. Bleeding causes
the formation of pores and renders the concrete weak.
Bleeding process:

Bleeding Process Almost all freshly placed concrete bleeds. As

aggregate and cement particles settle, they force excess mixing water
upward. The process continues until settlement stops, either because
of solids bridging or because the concrete has set.

The total amount of bleeding or settlement depends on mix properties,

primarily water content and amount of fines (cement, fly ash, fine
sand). Increasing water content increases bleeding, and increasing the
amount of fines reduces bleeding. Amount of bleeding is also
proportional to the depth of concrete placed. More bleed water rises in
deep sections than in thin ones.
Bleeding usually occurs gradually by uniform seepage over the whole
surface, but sometimes vertical channels form. Water flows fast
enough in these channels to carry fine particles of cement and sand,
leaving worm hole in the interior or sand streaks at the form face.
Channels are more likely to form when concrete bleeds excessively.
Channels that reach the surface are open paths for deicing solutions to
penetrate the concrete. This leads to freezing and thawing damage
and rebar corrosion.
Effects Of Excessive bleeding in Deep Section:
Section Sometimes bleed water can't entirely evaporate because it has
been trapped near the top surface by setting. This raises the water-cement
ratio, increases permeability, and lowers strength. Excessive bleeding also
causes some other problems in deep sections: heavy laitance accumulation
at horizontal construction joints; bond loss at aggregate and rebar surfaces;
and unsightly sand streaks.
Bleeding Problems in Flatwork:
Never float or trowel concrete while there's bleed water on the
surface. That's the cardinal rule of finishing. Finishing before bleed water has
evaporated can cause dusting, craze cracking, scaling, and low wear
resistance. Working bleed-water into the surface also increases permeability.
How to control bleeding:
Excessive bleeding can be avoided. Don't add too much water to the
concrete. Most of the water added to make placing easier bleeds out of the
concrete. Any time saved during placement will be lost while waiting for the
bleedwater to evaporate. Place concrete at the lowest possible slump. If you
need a higher slump to speed placement, consider using a super plasticizer.
Add additional concrete fines to reduce bleeding. The fines may come from a
number of sources:
Use a more finely ground cement. Concretes made with high early
strength (Type III) cement bleed less because the cement is ground
finer than normal (Type I) cement.
Use more cement. At the same water content, rich mixes bleed less
than lean mixes.
Use fly ash or other pozzolans in the concrete.

If concrete sands don't have much material passing the No. 50 and 100
sieves, blend in a fine blow sand at the batch plant.
For air- entrained concrete, use the maximum allowable amount of
entrained air. Consider using an air- entraining agent whenever
excessive bleeding is a problem. Entrained air bubbles act as additional
fines. Air entrainment also lowers the amount of water needed to reach
a desired slump.

Admixtures in concrete

Admixture is defined as a material other than water, aggregates,

cement and
reinforcing fibers that is used in concrete as an ingredient and added to the
batch immediately before or during mixing.
Instead of using special cement, it is possible to change some of the
properties of the more commonly used cement by adding suitable admixture.
Admixtures can be roughly divided into the following groups.
i). Air-entraining agents (ASTM C260): This kind of admixture is used to
improve the frost resistance of concrete (i.e., resistance to stresses arising
from the freezing of water in concrete).
ii). Chemical admixtures (ASTM C494 and BS 5075): This kind of
admixture is mainly used to control the setting and hardening properties for
concrete, or to reduce its water requirements.
iii). Mineral admixtures: They are finely divided solids added to concrete
to improve its workability, durability and strength. Slag and pozzolans are
important categories of mineral admixtures.
iv). Miscellaneous admixtures: include all those materials that do not
come under the above mentioned categories such as latexes, corrosion
inhibitors, and expansive admixtures.
Air-entraining admixtures (0.05% of air entraining agent
by weight of cement)
Air-entraining admixtures entrain air in concrete. With air-entraining
admixtures, the mixing water tends to foam and the foam is locked into the
paste during hardening.
The entrained air voids is different from entrapped air voids. The
entrained air void is formed on purpose and usually ranges from 50 to 200
microns. While the entrapped air void forms by chance when air gets into the
fresh concrete during mixing. Entrapped air voids may be as large as 3 mm.

Resistance To Freeze And Thaw: Air is entrained into concrete to provide

resistance against frost action, or the freeze/thaw of water in the capillary
pores.When freezing occurs, there is a net increase in volume, internal
stresses are hence introduced, and cracking may occur. With the presence of
closely spaced air bubbles in the hardened cement paste, when ice starts to
form and grow, the remaining water in the capillary pore can move (through
smaller channels in the paste) into the air bubbles. The air bubbles thus act
as a water reservoir and help to relieve internal stress arising from water
freezing. The effectiveness of air entrainment depends on the spacing
among the air bubbles.
Resistace To Expansion: The presence of entrained air produce a more
flexible paste, which improve the resistance to internal expansion is
improved. The concrete is hence more durable against expansive reactions in
general. Also, small air bubbles act like bearings between aggregates. Their
size compensates for the lack of fine particles in sand. Air-entrainment can
hence improve both consistency and cohesion.
Improved workability: With entrained air, the improved workability allows
the reduction of w/c ratio. This can partly adjust for the reduced strength due
to the presence of air bubbles. In normal air-entrained concrete, the strength
loss is in the order of 10-20%.
With increasing entrained air content, the internal stress due to
freezing is reduced. However, the strength of the concrete itself is also
decreasing, making it easier for damage
to occur. Hence, there exists an optimal air content that provides the highest
durability. The volume of air required to give optimum durability is about 48% by volume of concrete as observed from the above figure. The actual
fraction depends on the maximum size of aggregate. With larger aggregate
size, the required air content is reduced. This is because less paste is
required to provide workable concrete with larger size (and hence smaller
surface area per unit weight) of the coarse aggregates.
Chemical admixtures:
This includes soluble chemicals that are added to concrete for the
purpose of modifying setting times and reducing the water requirements of
concrete mixes.
Water reducing admixtures
Water reducing admixtures lower the water required to attain a given
slump value for a batch of concrete. A water-reducing admixture lowers the
water required to attain a given workability. This means an effective
lowering of the w/c ratio that leads to high strength, low

Permeability, and improved durability. According to their efficiency, waterreducing admixtures can be divided into two categories,
Normal range and High range water- reducing admixture.
The normal range water reducing admixtures or conventional water
reducing admixtures can reduce 5-10% of water at normal dosages.
The high range water-reducing admixture, also called super plasticizer,
can reduce water requirement by 15-30%.
Super plasticizers
Super plasticizers are used for two main purposes:
a). To produce high strength concrete at w/c ratio in a range of 0.23-0.3.
b). To create "flowing" concrete with high slumps in the range of 175 to 225
(useful in applications involving: rapid pumping of concrete, areas with
congested reinforcements or poor assess placing can be done with
reduced vibration effort )
Associated with the reduced w/c ratio, additional benefits on hardened
concrete include better durability and lower creep and shrinkage.

The major drawbacks of super plasticizer are:

retarding of setting (especially at high dosage)
(Introduction of surface charges makes it more difficult for hydration
products to bond together).
cause more bleeding
(Dispersion of cement grains releases trapped water)
(ii) Setting control admixtures
They include retarding admixture and accelerating admixtures,
Retarding admixtures are chemicals that can delaying initial set. However,
the overall strength development may not be much slower than that without
the retarder.
Accelerating admixtures have opposite effect to retarding admixtures. They
often reduce the induction period, and also increase the hardening rate but
does not have reasonable effect on final strength gain.
Retarding admixtures:
Mainly used to:
Prevent fast setting caused by environmental temperature particularly
in hot weather;
Control setting of large structural units to keep concrete workable
throughout the entire placing period.

hydroxylcarboxylic acids and their salts as well as sugars and their
Used for plugging leaks, emergency repair, shotcreting and winter
construction in cold region. They are mostly soluble inorganic salts. Calcium
chloride is by far the best known and most widely used accelerator, and its
effect is illustrated in the figure below. However, the introduction of chloride
ions can accelerate the corrosion of steel. Other common accelerators
include calcium acetate and calcium format.
(iii) Mineral admixtures
Mineral admixtures are finely divided siliceous materials that are added
into concrete in
relatively large amounts (above 10% the weight of the cement). Industrial
byproducts are the primary source of mineral admixtures. Common mineral
admixtures include fly ash, condensed silica fume and blast furnace slag.
Materials with no cementing property on its own, but can react with CH
(calcium hydroxide) at ordinary temperature to form cementiteous
compounds, are called pozzolans. The chemical reaction between silicon
dioxide(S), and calcium hydroxide (CH) results in the formation of additional
C-S-H. In other words, a weak phase is converted into a stronger phase. As a
result, the ultimate concrete strength is improved. This is also beneficial to
concrete durability, as the permeability of concrete is reduced (due to a
denser microstructure) and the resistance to acidic chemicals and alkaliaggregate reactions is improved.
S + CH+ H

Condensed silica fume:

Silica fume is a by-product of the induction arc furnaces in the silicon
metal and ferrosilicon alloy industries. Compared with normal Portland
cement and typical fly ashes, silica fume is two orders of magnitude finer.
With such a small size, the pozzolanic reaction can occur very fast. The
addition of silica fume in concrete can hence increase concrete strength at
both early age (due to rapid pozzolanic reaction) and later stage.
Besides the pozzolanic reaction, the development of a denser C-S-H
structure through better packing (achievable with the small silica fume
particles) also contributes to the strength improvement. Indeed, the use of
silica fume is an effective way to produce high strength concrete. For
strength over 100 MPa, the addition of silica fume is mandatory. The small
size of silica fume creates problems of handling. It is often mixed in water to

avoid inhalation, which is harmful to human health. Also, with its large
surface area, the water requirement to make workable concrete is
significantly increased. A super plasticizer must be used together with silica
(ii) Fly ash:
Fly ash (pulverized fuel ash) is a by-product of electricity generating
plant using
coal as fuel Fly ash can be divided into two categories according to the
calcium content.
The ash containing less than 10% CaO (from bituminous coal) is called lowcalcium fly ash and the ash typically containing 15% to 30% of CaO (from
lignite coal) is called high-calcium fly ash.
By replacing cement with low calcium fly ash, the cohesiveness is
improved (small particles are always helpful to prevent segregation). The
water requirement to achieve the same consistency is reduced, as the nearspherical fly ash particles make it easier for the concrete mix to flow. As the
pozzolanic reaction does not occur until later, the early strength of concrete
is reduced, with a corresponding reduction in heat of hydration. Fly ash can
hence be used in mass concrete construction. The ultimate strength is higher
than that for concrete without fly ash replacing part of the cement. This is
due to the conversion of CH to C-S-H in the long term.`