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The word concrete comes from the Latin word "concretus" (meaning compact or
condensed), the perfect passive participle of "concrescere", from "con-" (together) and "crescere"
(to grow). Concrete additives have been used since Roman and Egyptian times, when it was
discovered that adding volcanic ash to the mix allowed it to set underwater. Similarly, the
Romans knew that adding horse hair made concrete less liable to crack while it hardened, and
adding blood made it more frost-resistant. In modern times, researchers have experimented with
the addition of other materials to create concrete with improved properties, such as higher
strength or electrical conductivity.
The usage of concrete, worldwide, is twice as much as steel, wood, plastics, and
aluminum combined. Concrete's use in the modern world is only exceeded by the usage of
naturally occurring water. Concrete is also the basis of a large commercial industry, with all the
positives and negatives that entails. In the United States alone, concrete production is a $30
billion per year industry, considering only the value of the ready-mixed concrete sold each
year. Given the size of the concrete industry, and the fundamental way concrete is used to shape
the infrastructure of the modern world, it is difficult to overstate the role this material plays

What is Concrete?
Concrete is an artificial conglomerate stone made essentially of cement, water,
aggregates and in some cases admixtures.
The cement and water form a paste that hardens and bonds the aggregates together.
Concrete is often looked upon as man made rock.
Concrete is a versatile construction material, adaptable to a wide variety of
agricultural and residential uses.
Concrete is one of the most commonly used building material
Concrete is a composite material made from several readily available constituents
(aggregates, sand, cement, water).
Concrete is a versatile material that can easily be mixed to meet a variety of special
needs and formed to virtually any shape.

Advantages of using Concrete:

- Ability to be cast
- Economical
- Durable
- Fire resistant

Energy efficient
On-site fabrication

Disadvantages of using Concrete

- Low tensile strength
- Low ductility
- Volume instability
- Low strength to weight ratio


The aim is to mix these materials in measured amounts to make concrete that is easy to:
TRANSPORT, PLACE, COMPACT, FINISH and which will set, and harden, to give a strong
and durable product. The amount of each material (ie cement, water and aggregates) affects the
properties of hardened concrete.
1. The cement powder, when mixed with water, forms a paste. This paste acts like glue and
holds or bonds the aggregates together. The most common type of cement are the
Portland cement and the Blended cement. Blended cements contain portland cement and
more than 5% of either fly ash, ground slag, silica fume, or a combination of these.
2. Water is mixed with the cement powder to form a paste which holds the aggregates
together like glue. Water must be clean, fresh and free from any dirt, unwanted chemicals
or rubbish that may affect concrete. The strength and other properties of concrete are
highly dependent on the amount of water and the water-cement ratio.
When first mixed the water and cement constitute a paste which surrounds all the
individual pieces of aggregate to make a plastic mixture. A chemical reaction called
hydration takes place between the water and cement, and concrete normally changes from a
plastic to a solid state in about 2 hours. Heat of hydration - is the heat given off during the
chemical reaction as the cement hydrates.

The strength of the concrete is indicated by the ratio of water to the amount of cement or
what we call WATER TO CEMENT RATIO. Too much water and not enough cement
means concrete will be weaker and less durable. The water to cement ratio (W/C) is the
weight of the water divided by the weight of cement.
20 kg
W/C = ------------ =-------------= 0.5
40 kg
Therefore, the lower the ratio, the stronger the concrete will be.
The ideal ratio is 0.2.

3. The aggregates are of two basic types: COARSE: crushed rock, gravel or screenings,
FINE: fine and coarse sands and crusher fines. Sand should be concreting sand and not
brickies sand or plasterers sand. Aggregates should be strong and hard. A stronger, harder
aggregate will give a stronger final concrete. The aggregates should be CHEMICALLY
INACTIVE so that the aggregates dont react with the cement. Aggregates occupy 60 to
80 percent of the volume of concrete. Sand, gravel and crushed stone are the primary
aggregates used. All aggregates must be essentially free of silt and/or organic matter.

Admixtures are mixed into the concrete to change or alter its properties, the time
concrete takes to set and harden, or its workability.
Types of Admixtures:
a.) Chemical Admixtures
1. Air entraining agents are the most commonly used admixtures for agricultural
concrete. Produce microscopic air bubbles throughout the concrete. Entrained
air bubbles: improve the durability of concrete exposed to moisture and
freeze/thaw action, improve resistance to scaling from deicers and corrosive
agents such as manure or silage.
2. Retarding agents are used to slow the rate of concrete hardening. They are
useful for concrete that is placed during hot weather.
3. Accelerating agents such as calcium chloride, are used to increase the rate of
hardening--usually during cold weather.
4. Plasticizers

b.) Mineral Admixtures

1. Fly ash
2. Ground granulated blast furnace slag
3. Silica fume
4. Metakaolin


The two different ways in Concrete Proportioning Mixture:
1. Weight Method
2. Volume Method
Volume Method is the most common and convenient method in Mixing
Concrete to attained the desired strength of concrete. Concrete moisture, it involves
cement, sand and gravel. Proportioning by Volume method had been long practiced and it
is proven effective and successful. Most construction industry used this method in
proportion the mixture of the concrete. see tabulation below about the ratio of the cement
sand and gravel mixture.



Cement in bag
40 kg
50 kg



mixture (PSI)

Class AA

1: 1 : 3






Class A

1: 2: 4






Class B

1: 2 : 5






Class C

1: 3: 6






Mixture of half cubic meter sand, a cubic meter of gravel and a portion mixture of cement
depending on the class that you are using and plus water, there will be a little bit more than one
cubic meter of volume, this will serve as contingency or wastage.

Properties of concrete are divided into two major groups:
1. Properties of Fresh Concrete
Fresh concrete is that stage of concrete in which concrete can be molded and it is
in plastic state.
a.) Workability
Workability is referred to as the ease with which the concrete can be
transported, placed and consolidated without excessive bleeding and
b.) Cohesiveness
Cohesiveness is how well the concrete holds together. t is affected by
the aggregates grading and water content. Excessive water content leads to
segragation and bleeding.
Segregation refers to a separation of the components of fresh concrete,
resulting in a non-uniform mix. The primary causes of segregation are
differences in specific gravity and size of constituents of concrete. Moreover,
improper mixing, improper placing and improper consolidation also lead to
Bleeding is the tendency of water to rise to the surface of freshly
placed concrete. It is caused by the inability of solid constituents of the mix to
hold all of the mixing water as they settle down. A special case of segregation.

The tendency of concrete to bleeding depends largely on properties of cement.

2.) Properties of Hardened Concrete
a.) Strength
Strength and Durability are affected by the density of the concrete and
compaction. Denser concrete is more watertight (or less permeable). Concrete
durability INCREASES with strength. Well made concrete is very important
to protect the steel in reinforced concrete. Compaction is removing the air
entrapped in the concrete mixture. It is important to remove because air
entrapped weakens the strength of the concrete. Concrete has high
compressive strength but low in tension strength.
Compressive Strength is determined by loading properly prepared and
cured cubic, cylindrical or prismatic specimens under compression.
Tensile Strength can be obtained either by direct methods or indirect
methods. Direct methods suffer from a number of difficulties related to
holding the specimen properly in the testing machine without introducing
stress concentration and to the application of load without eccentricity
The flexural tensile strength at failure or the modulus of rupture is
determined by loading a prismatic concrete beam specimen.
b.) Elasticity
The modulus of elasticity of concrete is a function of the modulus of
elasticity of the aggregates and the cement matrix and their relative
proportions. The modulus of elasticity of concrete is relatively constant at low
stress levels but starts decreasing at higher stress levels as matrix cracking
c.) Expansion and Shrinkage
Shrinkage cracks occur when concrete members undergo restrained
volumetric changes (shrinkage) as a result of drying, autogenously shrinkage
or thermal effects. Concrete has low thermal expansion.
d.) Creep
Creep is the permanent movement or deformation of a material in
order to relieve stresses within the material. Concrete that is subjected to longduration forces is prone to creep. Short-duration forces (such as wind or
earthquakes) do not cause creep. Creep can sometimes reduce the amount of
cracking that occurs in a concrete structure or element, but it also must be


1. Batching
A batch is the amount of concrete mix at one time. The quantities of dry
ingredient are usually weighed. Water and admixtures are specified by either weight or

2.) Mixing
The aim of mixing is to blend all of the ingredients of the concrete to form a
uniform mass and to coat the surface of aggregates with cement paste. Concrete is mixed
until it is uniform in appearance and all ingredients are evenly distributed. If an increase
amount of concrete is needed, an additional mixer should be used, rather than
overloading or speeding up those in operation. Mixing time should be sufficient to
produce a uniform concrete. The time of mixing depends on the type of mixer and also to
some properties of fresh concrete. Mixing at the site uses hand mix and power mix
machine. t is better to use power mix machine to produce a well-mixed or uniform
-Undermixing non-homogeneity
-Overmixing danger of water loss, brekage of aggregate particles
Stationary Mixing
The concrete is often mixed on-site using a stationary mixer. This can be a tilting or nontilting type and may be manual, semi-automatic or automatically controlled.
- Temperature affects the rate at which hydration of cement occurs.
- Low temperature will retard the initial set and strength gain.
- High temperature accelerates moisture loss and rate of cement hydration.
- This could affect the concretes strength and durability.
Types of Concrete mix

1. Dry Ready mix

This is the type of mix typically found in many home improvement
stores. It comes in a bag and contains all the necessary components
for concrete with the exception of the water. It clearly states home
much concrete the dry ready mix will produce when water is added,
making it easy to calculate how much you'll need for a project. Some
manufacturer's offer several types for different types of projects.
2. Ready mix
Ready mix is another product that is geared to the casual do it
yourselfer, although it is more difficult to find than dry ready mix. This
option comes with water added, ready to be immediately used. It
comes in a small trailer that can be brought to your home, and the
concrete should immediately be used. Sometimes that trailer contains
a rotating drum that mixes the concrete as you go, other times the
trailer contains just a large box with it in it.
3. Bulk dry materials
If you have a large project, buying your own bulk dry materials
and mixing them yourself is often the most cost effective option. In
addition to the economy bulk dry materials offer, you can also
customize the mix to your specific strength and aesthetic needs
4. Transit mix
This is the method that most contractors use. A transit mix
comes in a concrete truck, premixed and ready to work with. This has
several advantages, including the ability to do one large pour at once
and cost savings when compared to ready mix options. However, there
are minimum orders and other charges that may make this beyond the
budget of many homeowners. Also, you should have a project that is
large enough to justify the need for a truck full of concrete, a
stipulation that most home improvement projects don't meet.
3.) Remixing

Fresh concrete in the drum tends to stiffen even before the concrete has hydrated to
initial set. It can be used if remixing will restore sufficient plasticity for compaction in the

After concrete has been laced and consolidated, it is screeded (- involves
removing excess concrete with a screed to bring it flush with the top of the form work).
Immediately after strike-off, the surface is bull floated (has a long handle connected to a
float. A darby has shorter handle and is used for shorter distances) to lower high spots, fill
low spots and embed large aggregates that maybe on the surface. This work must be done
before any bleed (refers to water that rises to the surface very soon after concrete is
placed in form) water appears on the surface.

When the bleed water sheen has evaporated, the surface is ready to final finishing.
Any finishing operation performed n the surface of the concrete while bleed water is
present will cause it to scale and dust. Final finishin includes one or more of the
Edging- rounds of the edges of a slab to prevent chiping.
Jointing- forms control joints in a slab
Floating- embeds aggregates slightly below the surface, removes imperfections,
compacts mortar at the surface for final finishing, and keeps the surface open,
allowing excess moisture to escape.
Troweling- produces a hard, dense, smooth surface
Brooming- involves roughning the surface with steel wire or coarse fiber broom.
Curing- procedures used for promoting the hydration of cement and consists of a
control of temperature and the moisture movement from and into the concrete.
The primary objective of curing is to keep concrete saturated or as nearly
saturated as possible. The temperature recommended is above 4C.
Why cure concrete? It retains moisture the slab so that the concrete continues in to
gain strength. It delays drying shrinkage until the concrete is strong enough to
resist shrinkage cracking. Proper curing improves strength, durability, water
tightness and wear resistance
Curing Methods
1. Methods which supply additional water to the surface of concrete
during early hardening stages.
Using wet covers
2. Methods that prevent loss of moisture from concrete by sealing the

Water proof plastics
Use liquid membrane-forming compounds
Forms left in place
3. Methods that accelerate strength gain by supplying heat & moisture to
the concrete.
By using live steam (steam curing)
Heating coils.
Pre-cast concrete are concrete that are cast under factory-controlled conditions and
moved to the job site for assembly. It is used in columns, beams, girders, floor and roof slabs and
exterior and interior wall panels.
2 Major groups classifications:
Pre-cast structural concrete units
Pre-cast Architectural concrete units
Non-pre-stressed units are cast in molds in a plant, then cured and shipped to the job site.
They are reinforced in the same manner as cast-in-place concrete and are not under tension
Pre-stressed pre-cast concrete have stresses introduced before they are placed under a
load. There are two types: pre-tension and post-tension.
Pre-tension units- used to produce units that are standardized in size or when
enough identical units are needed to make it economically possible to cast them.
Post-tension units- applies stresses to the concrete unit after it has been cast and
hardened. It is applied primarily with cast-in-place concrete but is sometimes used
to tension pre-cast concrete units.


1.) Slump Test
-made to see if the required consistency has been
-A mix with a high slump may be too wet and one with a
low slump may be too stiff
-a standard slump cone is 8 inches(200mm) in diameter at
the bottom and 12 inches(305mm) high.
- the slump test is made following ASTM C143

2.) Air-content test

o -methods for measuring air content include:
a.) pressure method(ASTM C231)-requires the sample
be placed in a pressure air meter and subjected to
an applied pressure. The air content can be read
b.) Volumetric method (ASTM C173)- measures air
content by agitating a known volume of concrete
in an excess of water
c.) Gravimetric method(ASTM C132)- uses the same
test used for the unit weight test of concrete
3.) Unit weight test
-involves weighing a properly consolidated specimen in a
calibrated container following ASTM C138 standards.
-it can determine the quantity of concrete produced per
batch and give indications of air content
4.) Cement content test
-used to determine the water and cement content of fresh
-the water cement ratio has a major influence on strength
-therefore this test gives an estimate of the strength
potential without waiting for samples to harden and cure.
1.) Compressive Strength Test
-one of the most frequently required test
-is made according to ASTM specifications
2.) Flexural Strength Test
-used to determine the flexural or bending strength of
3.) Abrasion Test
-used to ascertain the resistance to wear of hardened
concrete samples
-made on a machine that rolls steel balls under pressure in
a circular motion on the surface of the specimen
4.) Freeze-Thaw Test

-it is a run through a series of freeze-thaw cycle for cured

-the loss between the orignal and final weight of the
specimen is used to determine which samples withstand
the freeze-thaw cycle


5.) Accelerated Curing Test

- used when it is desirable to determine acceptance of
structural concrete without the usual 28 day curing.
Non-Destructive Test
1.) Rebound Test
-made with a Schmidt rebound hammer.
-it measures the distance a spring-loaded
rebounds after striking the concrete surface.


2.) Penetration Test

-uses a Windsor probe.
-the exposed length of probe is measured and related by a
calibration table to the compressive strength of the
3.) Pull-out Test
-requires a steel rod with an enlarged end be cast in the
-a device used to pull the rod from the concrete measures
the force required. This gives the shear strength of the
-disadvantage: damaging the surface of the concrete.
4.) Dynamic or Vibration Test
-uses the principle that the velocity of sound in a solid can
be measured by either recording the time it takes short
impulses of vibration to pass through a sample or
determining the resonant frequency of a specimen.
-high velocities: very good concrete
-very low velocities: poor concrete