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|| Volume 2 ||Issue 11 ||JUNE 2017||ISSN (Online) 2456-0774

INTERNATIONAL JOURNAL OF ADVANCE SCIENTIFIC RESEARCH


AND ENGINEERING TRENDS

Foam Concrete Experimental Investigation of its


Properties
Dr. Geetha K Jayaraj1, Supriya Siddharth More 2
Shivajirao S. Jondhle College of Engineering and Technology, Asangaon , Thane, India 1 2

Abstract Foam Concrete is a type of concrete which lightweight concrete it is possible for cement with partial
contains an expanding agent which increases the volume replacement of some other additives, thereby reducing the usage
of the mixture while giving additional qualities such as of cement. There are many types of lightweight concrete such as
flow ability and reduces the dead weight. Foam concrete cellular concrete, foamed concrete, aerated or gas concrete.
is a vast majority of concrete containing no large There are many studies going around the world regarding all
aggregates, only fine sand and with extremely lightweight types of lightweight concrete. Foam concrete is produced when
materials containing cement, water and foam. It can be foam is added to cement based slurry. The foaming agent is
considered relatively homogeneous when compared to diluted with water and aerated to create the foam. The cement
normal concrete, as it does not contain coarse aggregate paste or slurry sets around the foam bubbles and when the foam
phase. It is lighter than the conventional concrete used. being to degenerate, the paste has sufficient strength to maintain
Countries like USA, United Kingdom and Sweden has its shape around the voids. The density of foam concrete is
been using Foam concrete regularly in recent times. determined by the amount of foam added to the basic cement
Foamed Concrete has been successfully used and it has and sand mixture. Foam concrete is both fire and water
gained popularity due to its lower density than resistant. It possesses high (impact and air-borne) sound and
conventional concrete. It is created by uniform thermal insulation properties. A foam aeration agent is used to
distribution of air bubbles throughout the mass of absorb humidity for as long as the product is exposed to the
concrete. Recently, most studies on Foam Concrete atmosphere, allowing the hydration process of the cement to
concern on the influence of filler type and the particle progress in its ever-continuing strength development. The
size of sand on the strength. Foam Concrete has low difference between foam concrete and normal concrete is the
density as well as low thermal conductivity. Other use of aggregate in the foam concrete is eliminated and been
advantages include reduction of dead load, faster replaced by the homogeneous cells created by air in the form of
building rates in construction and lower haulage and small bubble which utilize a stable air cell structure rather than
handling costs. Foam Concrete maintains its large voids tradition aggregates. It can be categorized as cellular material
also the feature of not forming laitance layers or cement because it contains a higher amount of pores. Based on its
films when placed on the wall. This report is based on the morphology, foam concrete can be easily known as cellular
experimental investigation of its properties. material and the behaviour must be same as cellular solid
Keywords:-CLC Cellular light weight concrete behaviour. The quality of foamed concrete is depends on the
quality of foam, so that the foam is very important factor for the
I INTRODUCTION foamed concrete. To ensure that the desired percentage of air is
Concrete is a composite construction material entrained in the mixture pre-foaming, where the foaming agent
composed of cement (commonly Portland cement) and other is aerated before being added to the mixture, is recommended
cementations materials such as fly ash and slag cement, [2].
aggregate (generally a coarse aggregate made of gravel or II BACKGROUND OF FOAM CONCRETE
crushed rocks such as limestone, or granite, plus a fine Foamed concrete is not a particularly new material, its
aggregate such as sand), water and chemical admixtures. first patent and recorded use dates back to the early
Concrete is used more than any other man-made material in 1920s.According to Sach and Seifert (1999), limited scale
the world .In this way or by substitution for the production began in 1923 and, according to Arasteh (1988), in
cementations and aggregate phases; the finished product can 1924Linde described its production, properties and applications.
be tailored to its application with varying strength, density, The application of foamed concrete for construction works was
or chemical and thermal resistance properties. The adverse not recognized until the late 1970s, when it began to be used in
development in the field of concrete has led to the the Netherlands for filling voids and for ground engineering
innovation of lightweight concrete materials. The applications. Significant improvements in production methods
development of lightweight concrete is made with a good and the quality of foaming agents over the last15 years have
achievement of performance in their characteristic. In lead to increased production and broadening of the range of

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INTERNATIONAL JOURNAL OF ADVANCE SCIENTIFIC RESEARCH
AND ENGINEERING TRENDS
applications. An extensive research program carried out in IV MIX CONSTITUENT PROPORTIONS AND FOAM
Holland helped promote foamed concrete as a building CONCRETE PRODUCTION
material. [6] Although there are no standard methods for
III PROPERTIES OF FOAM CONCRETE proportioning foamed concrete, the general rules regarding w/c
There are various properties of foam concrete ratio, free water content and maintaining a unit volume apply,
which influenced by :- but it is a specified target plastic density that becomes a prime
design criterion. It should be noted that it is difficult to design
1. Water Absorption: for a specific dry density, as foamed concrete will desorp
Due to its closed cellular structure the water
between 50 and 200 kg/m3 of the total mix water, depending on
absorption of foamed concrete is very low. However, higher the concrete plastic density, early curing regime and subsequent
the air content, higher the water absorption. Generally, it is
exposure conditions. Assuming a given target plastic density (D,
less than 5 percent by volume.
kg/m3), water/cement ratio (w/c) and cement content (c,
2. Compressive Strength:
kg/m3), the total mix water (W, kg/m3) and fine aggregate
The compressive strength of foamed concrete is
content (f, kg/m3) are calculated from equations (1)and (2) as
influenced by many factors such as density, age, moisture
follows.
content, the physical and chemical characteristics of
constituent materials and mix proportions. For uniform Target plastic density, D = c + W + f (1)
quality, it is desirable to control the variations in the mix Where c = PC +FA fine,
proportions, type of cement and sand or other fillers as well f = FA coarse + sand
as the method of production. With the same materials and Free water content
testing conditions, the compressive strength increases with W = (w/c) X (PC + FA fine +FA coarse)[8]
the density. Compressive strength will continue to increase A. Method of Cellular Concrete Production
indefinitely due to the reaction with CO2 present in the Though there are many proprietary production methods
surrounding air. However, the increase in strength with age and agents used in cellular concrete production, they can be
is virtually linear over the first 12 month, unlikely dense- summarized in three broad categories:
weight concrete which levels out much earlier. The rate of Methods dependent on the chemical
development strength in foamed concrete is higher than that Methods dependent on mechanical beating
in the dense weight concrete, for products such as foamed- A hybrid method, dependent on both mechanical beating of a
concrete building blocks and panels, it is desirable that preformed foam produced from smart foam liquid concentrate
curing process should assist in the moisture retention for and a chemical reaction Methods dependent on the chemical
longer periods. Steam curing is another option, if curing reaction of a rising agent are best used for cellular concrete
time is crucial production in manufacturing and pre-casting plants. Methods
3. Tensile Strength dependent on mechanical beating are best used for cellular
Depending on the method of curing, the tensile concrete production for on-site applications. The hybrid
strength of foamed concrete can be as higher as 0.25 times method can be used for cellular concrete production for on-
its compressive strength with and ultimate strain of about site applications, in manufacturing and pre-casting plants.[8]
0.1 percent. B. Constituents of Foam Concrete
Cement -Cement is used as the main binder for foam concrete.
4. Shear Strength
Foam concrete can be produced with all types of cements and is
The shear strength generally varies between 6 and
less affected with changes in cement types. However, 53 Grade
10 percent of the compressive strength. Shear reinforcement
cement is generally preferred in the production process.
may be required in flooring and roofing units.
Flyash - Fly ash has been widely used in construction practices.
5. Shrinkage
A good fly ash should have high fineness, low carbon content
Like all cement products, foamed concrete shrinks and good reactivity which would enhance the technical
during the setting stage. The shrinkage depends upon the advantage of the properties of foamed concrete. About seventy
type and amount of cement in mix; water-to-cement ratio, five thermal plants are distributed evenly across India, hence
type of curing process, size of element, quantity of sand and hauling cost is minimal.
density of foamed concrete. The most shrinkage occurs Water -Water used in the manufacture of foam concrete is
during the first 28 days, after and soundproofing screeds in potable water free from suspended solids and other wastes
multi-storey residential and commercial buildings. The Foaming Agent - The surfactant is a key factor in the types of
concrete of this density range is also suitable for bulk-fill bubbles generated. Surfactants are wetting agents that lower
applications.[6] the interfacial tension between two liquids and also lower the

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AND ENGINEERING TRENDS
surface tension of liquid, allowing easier spreading. There D. Phase of Foam Concrete
are extensive varieties of surfactants (foaming agent) Foam phases can be distinguished into two categories:
available in the market. Surfactants are formulated to
produce stable air bubbles which can resist the physical and 1. Production of cement paste, foaming and processing
chemical forces imposed during mixing, placing and 2. Foam stability until hardening
hardening in the process of making foamed concrete. But it During the first phase, method, requirements of air-
is very important to store all surfactants accordingly entraining and workability are the determining factors for the
because they are inclined to deterioration at low specification of the cement paste and its properties. A quick
temperatures. The surfactant solution consists of one part stabilization of the interface between air and cement paste is
surfactant and between 5 to 20 parts water. But the essential. This can be managed by surfactants (air-entraining
optimum value is a function of the type of surfactant and admixture or foaming agent) in high dosage. In the second
the technique of production.[8] phase the focus is on foam stability. Therefore the separation of
Generally two types of surfactants can be used to produce air and cement paste by bubble up or flow out has to be reduced
foam to a minimum. This can be achieved by fine, fast cements which
Protein based Surfactants and, stop foam collapsing by rapid hardening[8]
Synthetic based Surfactants. E. Production Process of Foam Concrete
Protein-based surfactants are the original The compressed air, foaming agent and water are let
surfactants, produced from refined animal products such as into the foam generator. The combination of foaming solution
hoof, horn and skin. They are relatively crude materials and air is then forced through restrictions in the foam lance,
derived from hydrolysed animal carcass residues which are where it expands and foam is created to the required density.
subjected to biodegradation. Protein-based surfactants The base materials and the foam are fed into the mixer where all
produce foamed concrete with strength/density ratio of the components are mixed together. These mixers have the
about 50% to 100% higher compared to synthetic effect of blending foam and base materials together into a
surfactants completely homogenized mix ensuring a repeatable process.[8]
Synthetic based surfactants are produced using
man-made chemicals such as the ones used in shampoos,
soap powders and soaps. It is stated that synthetic
surfactants are stable, easy to formulate and consistent in
performance. However, the bubble size is larger and the
cells are more open due to higher expansion. Or it can be
stated as Foams formed from protein based surfactants
have smaller bubble size, are more stable and have a
stronger closed bubble structure compared to the foam
produced using synthetic surfactants. This results in
foamed concrete of lower strengths compared to foamed
concrete produced using protein-based surfactants.[8]
C. Microstructure of Bubbles Figure 1 Generation of Foam
The individual bubbles or cells in cellular concrete F. Material Properties of Foam Concrete
vary from microscopic size to the size of a sand grain. The density of foam concrete is the volumetric function
Microstructure refers to the microscopic description of the of foam that is added to the cement paste. When undertaking the
individual constituents of a material. Foamed concretes design of foamed concrete mixture, a target casting density is
consist of air voids of approximately 0.1 to 1 mm in size, determined using the dry density which is the most important
uniformly distributed in a matrix of fillers and cements .On factor affecting the properties of the mixture. The relationship
a microscopic scale, the most important properties of between dry density and casting density between 600 kg/m3 and
foamed concrete are the air void shape, spacing factor and 1200 kg/m3 can be calculated using the following linear
size Distribution. Bubbles produced from a protein equation.
surfactant are defined, not connected and closed cell. In
contrast, bubbles produced using synthetic surfactants are
more open, have holes in hole and are undefined. Within
the same surfactant type, the most significant finding was Where m is the target casting density (kg/m3) and dry is the
that density had the greatest effect on the bubbles sizes.[8] dry density (kg/m3 )

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INTERNATIONAL JOURNAL OF ADVANCE SCIENTIFIC RESEARCH
AND ENGINEERING TRENDS
Foam Concrete is more sensitive to water content Table 2. Trial Mix 01 Results
than normal concrete. Concrete normally has a certain water
demand to obtain workability. The strength of concrete
decreases as the water-cement ratio increase. For foamed
concrete, workability is not a major factor, but if adequate
water is unavailable for the initial reaction of cement paste,
the cement withdraws water from the foam, causing rapid
degeneration of the foam, If excess of water is added,
segregation takes place, causing variation in density .The
reported Investigations point out the water cement ratio in Table3 Trial Mix 02 Results
the range of 0.4 to 0.8 for foam concrete.[8]
G. Relationship between Density and Compressive Strength
The compressive strength of foam concrete is an
inverse function of the density of the material. This
relationship between density and compressive strength is
exponential, the value of exponent varying with size and
distribution of air voids.[8]
V CASE STUDIES ON FOAM CONCRETE
Following are the case studies done by the
B. The Use of Additives to Enhance Properties of Pre Formed
researches to implement their ideas regarding Foam
Foamed Concrete
Concrete mix designs and its applications.
The study shows enhancement of pre-formed foamed
A. Experimental Study on Foam concrete concrete, 1300-1900 kg/m3,by utilising two types of additives,
The Density of Foamed Concrete is inversely silica fume and fly ash, to partially replace Portland cement
proportional to the percentage of foam that is added to the and fine sand. It focuses on consistency, mechanical and
slurry/mortar. The Compressive Strength and Density of thermal properties .The FC mixes had 28-daycompressive
Foam Concrete increases with age The Compressive strengths from 6 to 23 MPa and corresponding thermal
Strength of Foamed Concrete increases with increase in the conductivities in the dry state from 0.475 to 0.951W/mK,
Density. Fine aggregate had a beneficial effect on whereas for the same density range. The mineral admixtures
significantly increase in Compressive Strength of Foamed Silica Fume and Flyash and super plasticizer combination
Concrete. De-moulding of higher density foamed concrete provides improvement in both the workability and the strength
panels is possible after 24 hours but it requires minimum 3 properties of foamed concrete. The results for mixes
days for lower density foamed concrete panels. The starting investigated in this study showed higher compressive strength
of Strength gain for foamed concrete is on higher side than to density ratios compared to foamed concrete mixes from
that of normal weight concrete and Strength gain beyond 28 other studies produced by using sand and/or fly ash as a filler
days is faster than normal weight concrete. The addition of material. While indirect tensile, flexural and splitting strengths
fly ash of equal amount of cement makes it possible to gain were significantly higher for FCa mixes than FC mixes. [1]
the target strength with Age. This study has shown that the
use of fly ash in Foam Concrete, can be greatly improves its
properties. The mixed proportion for foamed concrete used
in this research report cannot be used for structural purpose
because there 28 days Compressive Strength is less than 17
MPa. Improved structural efficiency in terms of strength to
density ratio resulting load reduction on the structure and
substructure. Strength to Density ratio is much higher for
foam concrete mix 2 compared to conventional concrete.

Table 1 Mix proportions for trials

Figure 2 Compressive strength vs Age of Foam concrete with


different mix proportions

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INTERNATIONAL JOURNAL OF ADVANCE SCIENTIFIC RESEARCH
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Table 4 Different mix proportions for trials inclusion is absolutely effective in handling drying shrinkage
problems by LFC. All of the specimens with fibre inclusions
resulted lower shrinkage compared to the control specimen.
AR-glass fibre is the most effective measure among all fibres
in controlling drying shrinkage. In comparison of all 5 fibres
used in the test, steel fibre is found to be the poorest in thermal
insulation. It recorded the highest among all samples in
thermal conductivity and specific heat. Polypropylene fibre is
found to be the best sample in thermal insulation among all
samples. The higher the percentage of fibre included in a
sample, the poorer the thermal efficiency will be regardless of
the type of fibre used. [5]
D. An Investigation for foam concrete with quarry dust
replacement for filler in mix design
A study on the effect of quarry dust as sand
replacement material on compressive strength of foam concrete
was conducted. This project was carried out to determine the
compressive strength of foam concrete by using quarry dust as
partial sand replacement material. This report presents the
feasibility of the usage of quarry dust as 10 %, 20 %, 30 %,
40% and 50% for sand in foam concrete. Mix design was
formulated and developed for four different proportion of
quarry dust in foam concrete. Tests were conducted on cubes to
study the compressive strength of concrete made of quarry dust
and results were compared with the control foam concrete. It is
found that the compressive strength of foam concrete made of
quarry dust is nearly 43% more than the control foam concrete.
Based on the results of the experimental investigation, it is
proposed that burnt clay bricks can be effectively replaced with
the foam concrete blocks. Finally cost benefit assessment was
done to prove the economy of the foam concrete bricks. It is
observed that potential material savings are applicable when
sand is partially of fully replaced by quarry dust. The traditional
C.Durability Properties of Foamed Concrete with Fiber bricks are completely replaced by foam concrete blocks with
Inclusion quarry dust, by which about 23% of total brick cost is reduced.
A Study was conducted on foamed concrete with The key advantage seems to be its low density which enables it
synthetic and natural fibres consisting of AR-glass, to be handled without carnage. Single process installation
polypropylene, steel, kenaf and oil palm fibre. The foamed reduces transportation charges considerably. Cast in situ
concrete mixtures produced had a target density of production, simply pouring and levelling property reduces labor
1000kg/m3 and a mix ratio of (1:1.5:0.45). The fibres were and supervision costs. As the dead load of building is reduced to
used as additives. The inclusion of fibre was maintained at a great extent, the quantity of reinforcement can be minimized.
a volumetric fraction of 0.25 and 0.4%. The water Foam concrete (1200kg/m3) is two times more thermally
absorption, thermal and shrinkage were determined to resistant than burnt clay bricks hence usage of internal air
study the effect of the fibre on the durability properties of conditioning cost can be reduced. Allows controlled discharge
foamed concrete. The results showed that AR-glass fibre into narrow openings and hence directly reduces wastage of
has the lowest percentage value of drying shrinkage concrete at the site. Self -compacting and self-levelling nature
compared to others. The water absorption rate is enhanced of foam concrete with quarry dust completely eliminates the
by adding steel and polypropylene fibre. But AR-glass, need for compaction equipment. [3]
kenaf and oil palm fibre resulted higher absorbance than E. Shrinkage Behaviour of Foam Concrete
the control mix. It can be concluded that type of fibre plays As the filler-cement ratio increases, shrinkage reduces
a different role in controlling water absorbance. Each kind due to the restraining effect of increased aggregate content.
of fibre has a different surface morphology that plays an Shrinkage of foam concrete is lower than the corresponding
important role in the water absorption rate of LFC. Fibres base mix. Shrinkage decreases with an increase in foam content.

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The lower shrinkage value at higher foam volume content is caused by the foam and hence the decrease in the compressive
caused by lower content of paste in the mix and thus the strength of the concrete. Foam concrete requires no vibration or
lower content of pores affecting shrinkage. Higher the fly compaction and it fills all cavities voids and seams over a long
ash content in the foam concrete mix replacing sand, higher distance. It offers fast and settlement free construction with
the Higher the fly ash content in the foam concrete mix good heat Insulation and air content. It has good thermal
replacing sand, higher the shrinkage. This is attributed to (i) insulation; good freeze /thawing properties and has excellent
Low shrinkage resisting capacity of fine flyash than sand (ii) fire resistance properties Attempts have been made to
Greater volume water-solids ratio requirement with fly ash summarize the various Foam concrete and its properties
for a stable and workable mix (iii) Greater volumes reduced recommendations[6]
foam volume requirement at a given density. Even though Table 6 cost comparison between Foam CLC Block and brick
addition of fly ash causes a small increase in shrinkage it has wall [6]
got a major contribution towards increasing the strength of Construction of 100 sq feet 6 inch wall Rate 3400
foam concrete of comparable density. It can also be seen Material Brick Wall Foam Block Wall
that irrespective of type of mixes low density products are Quantity Prices/unit Cost Quantity Prices/unit Cost
stable for drying shrinkage in spite of its low strength.
Brick/Block 600 8.5 5100 56 76.51 4284.4
Artificial air voids may have an effect on volume stability
Mortar
by allowing some shrinkage; this effect increases with
Cement (Bag) 3.38 275 928.13 1.28 275 350.63
increase in foam volume. [4]
Sand (brass) 0.15 5500 825 0.06 5500 330
F. Density Variation with Foam Concrete
Plaster
The initial findings have shown that the foam
Cement (Bag) 4 275 1100 2 275 550
concrete has a desirable strength to be an alternative
Sand (brass) 0.16 5500 880 0.08 5500 440
construction material for the industrialized building system.
8833.1 5955.1
The strength of foam concrete is low for lower density
Savings (%) 32.6
mixture. Significant reduction of overall weight results in
saving structural frames, footing or piles and rapid and
Table 7 Comparison of Various Building Blocks
relatively simple construction. The density is reduced due to
Parameters Lightweight Concrete Burnt Clay Concrete
the increment of voids throughout the sample caused by the CLC AAC Bricks (Hollow Core)
foam and hence the decrease in the compressive strength of Foam Concrete Aerated Autoclaved Blocks
the concrete. Foam concrete requires no vibration or Concrete
compaction and it fills all cavities, voids and seams over a Basic raw Cement, fly ash, water and Cement, lime, specially
long distance. It offers fast and settlement free construction materials foam grinded sand, aeration Top agricultural
compound, high primary soil, primary Cement, sand,
with good heat insulation and air content. It has good
energy input energy input aggregate
thermal insulation; good freeze/thawing properties and has Production Using ribbon mixer and
excellent fire resistance properties. [7] process and foam generator Produced only in well- Processed in
Table 5 Properties of Foam Concrete with varying set-up established plant, equipped specially erected
densities with steam boiler and high or central brick Mobile or
pressure auto-claves kilns stationary
Dry density 300-600/ 800-1000 /1200- 400-700 1900 1700
kg/m
1800
Compressive 4-10 / 25-35 / 125--250 20-40 30-80 30-150
Strength
kg/cm2
Thermal insulation , Load bearing & Load bearing &
partitions, non-load bearing Non-load bearing panels non-load non-load
Usage blocks and blocks bearing walls bearing walls
Block /
VI COMPARATIVE SUMMARY
element size Any size, shape given by Any size, shape given by Typically shape
The foam concrete has a desirable strength to be an and shape mould/cut mould/cut and size Typically size
alternative construction material for the industrialized Compaction
building system. The strength of foam concrete is low for during
production None None Yes Yes
lower density mixture. Significant reduction of overall
No aging
weight results in saving structural frames, footing or piles Gains strength with age Loses strength, if not
and rapid and relatively simple construction. The density is Aging (like conventional concrete) protected against humidity No Yes
reduced due to the increment of voids throughout the sample

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