You are on page 1of 17


Objectives of the lecture

Civil Engineering Materials The main objective of this lecture is to explain to students:
SAB 2112 1. Workability, test of fresh concrete, segregation and
bleeding in concrete
Introduction to Concrete 2 Concrete on site - method of production
2. production, concrete strength
and grade
3. Concrete proportions - standard, nominal; Hardened
Dr Mohamad Syazli Fathi concrete tests-destructive and non-destructive tests
Department of Civil Engineering
RAZAK School of Engineering & Advanced Technology
UTM International Campus New blog:
Leonard P. Zakim Bunker Hill Bridge in
Boston. (Image courtesy of the Federal Highway
August 18, 2010 Administration.)

Concrete is one of the most common
construction materials and is used in a
wide variety of applications, ranging
from piles, multistory buildings, dams,
foundations, pavements, storage tanks
and many other structures.

Bridge over the Sungai Selangor, Kuala Selangor,


The asymmetric cable

stay bridge has a main
span of 232m and 114m
back span along a
1000m radius.
It is a pre-stressed
concrete structure with
25m wide deck
comprising a glued
segmental spine and
precast side frame.

The deck is supported from an inclined tower on a single plane of pre-stressed stays in the
median which are anchored on the back span to a precast boom. An outrigger beam is
employed to stabilize the tower with transverse stays anchored to the beam below deck


Introduction 1. Economical in long run compared to Advantages of Concrete

It is one of the most economical materials of construction and is very other engineering material (low cost)
versatile in nature and application. 2. Possesses a high compressive strength
3. Corrosive & the weathering effects are
4. Fresh concrete can be easily handled &
moulded in any shape / size.
5. Formwork can be re-used
6 Can
6. C be b sprayedd on & filled
fill d the
h cracks
for repairing process.
This is a hostel in Austria, designed by art college graduate Andreas Strauss 7. Durable & fire resistant & requires little
8. Can be pumped and hence it can be laid
in the difficult position
9. Protection of embedded steel
The cube-shaped building consists of an irregular concrete structure
10. Variety of finishes obtainable.
enveloped in glass.

Introduction Properties of Concrete

Concrete is made by mixing: Cement, water, course fine aggregates
and admixtures (if required).
The aim is to mix these materials in measured amounts to make B. Properties of
A. Properties of Fresh
concrete that is easy to: Transport, place, compact, finish and Hardened Concrete
which will set, and harden, to give a strong and durable product. Concrete
1. Workability, 1. Strength
The amount of each material (ie cement, water and aggregates) affects
the p
p of hardened concrete 2. Segregation, 2. Deformation
3. Bleeding, 3. Creep
4. Heat of Hydration 4. Shrinkage


Properties of Fresh Concrete Tests to Measure Workability


1. Generally implies the ease Four widely used tests

with which a concrete mix can
be handled from mixer to its
finally compacted shape 1. Slump
1.Slumpp Test
Consistency - fluidity 2.Compacting
2. Compacting factor test
Mobility - ease of flow
Compactability - ease of compaction 3.Vebe
3. Vebe time test
4 Flow test
2. Internal work required to
produce full compaction.
11 12


Slump Test
Developed in 1913 in
US, by Chapman
BS 1881 Part 102
Slump cone 300
Tamping Rod
Suitable for normal
mixes of med to high
200 13 14

Slump Test (cont)

Slump (mm)
Concrete put in cone in
3 layers, each layer
tamped 25 times
T struckk offff True slump
Cone carefully lifted
Slump measured
Not suitable for dry
Sources: Shear slump Collapse slump

Adding more water to a mix will create a weaker hardened concrete! Compacting
Standards: BS 1881-103, BS 5075
Factor Test
The Apparatus enables a check to
be made on the weight of concrete
when it is falls from fixed heights
into a cylindrical container of
standard capacity.

The Apparatus consists of two
conical hoppers each with a hinged
trap with quick release mechanism
to allow free flow of the
Reference concrete sample.
Cement Concrete & Aggregates Australia (2008) Premixed concrete delivery to domestic house floor slabs and footings
changes to the Australian standard: Important information for concrete placers, A cylindrical mould is fitted Sources:

Source: beneath the hoppers.


Compacting Factor Test Standards: EN 12350-3, ASTM C1170 Vebe test

The vebe test is a variation of the simple
slump test where the concrete is subject to
Thought to be more sensitive than vibration after removal from the slump cone
the slump test to determine the workability of fresh
Suitable for all mixes concrete.
A plastic
l i disc
di is
i placed
l d into
i contact with
i h the
mixed concrete put in top hopper
upper surface of the concrete, the vibrating
allowed to fall into 2nd hopper then
cylinder table underneath operates at a fixed
cylinder stuck off, concrete weighed amplitude allowing the lower surface of the
and compared with weight of fully disc to be completely coated with cement.
compacted cylinder

Vebe test - time for standard cone to be compacted flat by glass plate
19 on vibrating table eg for workable concrete the Vebe time = approx
20 3s

Standards: EN 12350-5, BS 1881-105 Flow tests Flow Test

The Flow Table test is used for determining

the consistency and workability of fresh
The conical mould for casting the flow
specimen and the calliper for measuring the
diameter of the mortar after it has been
spread on the flow table.
The apparatus consists of a double steel
table, the upper table measuring 700x700 Sources:

mm and hinged at one side to the lower

Flow test - the measured spread in mm of a standard cone on a
dropping table (40mm, 15 times)
Neither Vebe nor Flow test popular on site 21 22

Effect of Time and Temperature

Comparisons Between Tests
on Workability

20 0
me (sec)

Slump ((mm)

1:2:4 mix
Vebe Tim

10 3,6 50 with
100 w/c=0.775
3 ?
0 100
0 50 100 0.6 0.8 1.0 0.6 0.8 1.0
Slump (mm) Compacting Factor Compacting Factor
For aggt/cement ratio = 3,6 0 2 4 5 20 40
Time (h) Temp (oC) 24


Segregation Segregation

The tendency for Caused by

sand-cement mortar 1. Excessive vibration
to separate from 2. Dropping fresh concrete
coarse aggregates from a height
cement mortar to 3. Poor grading
separate from fine 4. High workability
5. Mixes with no air

25 26

Concrete handling techniques to Concrete handling techniques to

prevent segregation. prevent segregation.

Sources: Sources:

Concrete handling techniques to Concrete handling techniques to

prevent segregation. prevent segregation.

Sources: Sources:


Concrete handling techniques to Concrete handling techniques to

prevent segregation. prevent segregation.

Sources: Sources:

Concrete handling techniques to

prevent segregation.

Tendency for
water to rise to the
This will cause
weakness or dustiness
of the surface of the
finished concrete, or a
line of weakness
between pours


Bleeding Aggregate Grading

Bleeding affected Although the aggregate

largely by the grading has little or no direct
properties of the affect on strength, it does
cement. affect workability, and hence
w/c ratio
Avoided by The fundamental idea is that
a finer cement finer stones fill up the gaps
high C3A content between larger stones, and so
on, and the remaining space is
richer mix filled by cement paste.

35 36


Typical Grading Curves Proportioning and mixing concrete

A concrete mix is designed to produce
concrete that can be easily placed at the
lowest cost.
80 The concrete must be workable and
G di M cohesive when plastic,
plastic then set and
60 20 mm harden to give strong and durable
fine aggt
coarse concrete.
40 aggt The mix design must consider the
20 environment that the concrete will be in;
ie exposure to sea water, trucks, cars,
0 forklifts, foot traffic or extremes of hot
75 150 300 600 1.18 2.36 5 10 20 37.5 and cold.
m mm 37 Sources:

Batching, Mixing, Placing and Compaction of

Proportioning and mixing concrete Concrete

1. PROPORTIONING Concrete is a Batching

mixture of Cement, Water, Coarse and Is the process of measuring concrete mix ingredients either by
Fine Aggregates and Admixtures. volume or by mass and introducing them into the mixture.
2. The proportions of each material in the Traditionally batching is done by volume but most specifications
mixture affects the properties of the final require
i that
h batching
b hi be b done
d by
b mass rather
h than
h volume.
hardened concrete.
3. These proportions are best measured by
4. Measurement by volume is not as
accurate, but is suitable for minor

Batching of Batching, Mixing, Placing and Compaction of

Concrete Concrete

The mixing operation consists of rotation or stirring, the objective
being to coat the surface the all aggregate particles with cement
paste, and to blind all the ingredients of the concrete into a uniform
mass; this uniformity must not be disturbed by the process of
discharging from the mixer.



Type of Mixer Batch Mixer Type of Mixer Batch Mixer

The usual type of mixer is a batch mixer, which means that The usual type of mixer is a batch mixer, which means that one
one batch of concrete is mixed and discharged before any batch of concrete is mixed and discharged before any more
more materials are put into the mixer. There are four materials are put into the mixer. There are four types of batch
types of batch mixer. mixer.
1. Tilting drum mixer: 3. Pan type mixer:
A tilting drum mixer is one whose drum in A pan type mixer is a forcedaction mixer, as
which mixing take place is tilted for distinct from drum mixer which relies on the free
discharging. The drum is conical or bowl fall of the concrete inside the drum. The pan mixer
shaped with internal vanes, and the discharge is consist of a circular pan rotating about its axis with
rapid and unsegregated so that these mixers are one or two stars paddles rotating about vertical axis
i bl for
f mixes
i off low
l workability
k bili andd for
f off pan.
those containing large size aggregate. 4. Dual drum mixer:
2. Non tilting drum mixer: A dual drum is sometimes used in highway
A non tilting drum is one in which the axis of construction. Here there are two drums in series,
the mixer is always horizontal, and discharge concrete being mixed part of the time in one and
take place by inserting a chute into the drum or then transferred to the other for the remainder of the
by reversing the direction or rotation of drum. mixing time before discharging.
Because of slow rate of discharge, some
segregation may occur.

Type of Mixer
Continuous mixers:
These are fed automatically by a continuous weigh-batching system.




Uniformity of mixing
Mobile Concrete Mixing Plant Mixing time:
It is important to know the minimum mixing time necessary to
produce a concrete of uniform composition, and of reliable strength.
The mixing time or period should be measured from time all the
cementing materials and aggregates are in mixer drum till taking out
the concrete.
Mixing time depends on the type and size of mixer, on the speed of
rotation, and on the quality of blending of ingredients during charging
of the mixer. Generally, a mixing time of less than 1 to 1.25 minutes
produces appreciable non-uniformity in composition and a significant
lower strength; mixing beyond 2 minutes causes no significant
improvement in these properties.
Table: Recommended minimum mixing times

Recommended minimum mixing times Prolong mixing:

If mixing take place over a long period, evaporation of
water from the mix can occur, with a consequent decrease in
Capacity of mixer (yd) Mixing time (Minutes)
workability and an increase in strength.
A secondary effect is that of grinding of the aggregate,
Up to 1 1
particularly if soft; the grading thus becomes finer and the
2 1.25 workability lower.
3 1.5 In case of air entrained concrete, prolong mixing reduces
4 1.75 the air content.
5 2

6 2.25

10 3.25

Ready mixed concrete: Ready mixed concrete:

If instead of being batched and mixed on site, concrete is
delivered for placing from a central plant. It is referred to as
ready-mixed or pre-mixed concrete. This type of concrete is
used extensively abroad as it offers numerous advantages in
Use of agitator trucks to ensure care in transportation, thus
comparison with other methods of manufacture:
prevention segregation and maintaining workability
Close quality control of batching which reduces the
Convenience when small quantities of concrete or
variability of the desired properties of hardened concrete.
intermittent placing is required.
Use on congested sites or in highway construction where
There are two categories of ready-mixed concrete:
there is little space for a mixing plant and aggregate
1. central-mixed - mixing is done in a central plant and then
concrete is transported in an agitator truck.
2. transit mixed or truck mixed - the materials are batched at a
central plant but are mixed in a truck.


Placing and compaction

Placing and compaction
To achieve proper placing following rules should be kept in mind:
1. The concrete should be placed in uniform layers, not in large heaps or sloping
2. The thickness of the layer should be compatible with the method of vibration
so that entrapped air can be removed from the bottom of each layer.
The operation of placing and compaction are interdependent and are 3. The rate of placing and of compaction should be equal. If you proceed too
carried out simultaneously. slowly, the mix could stiffen so that it is no longer sufficiently workable. On
no account should water ever be added to concrete that is setting. On the other
They are most important for the purpose of ensuring the requirements
hand, if you go too quickly, you might race ahead of the compacting gang,
of strength, impermeability and durability of hardened concrete in the making it impossible for them to do their job properly.
actual structure. 4. Each layer should be fully compacted before placing the next one, and each
As for as placing is concerned, the main objective is to deposit the subsequent layer should be placed whilst the underlying layer is still plastic so
concrete as close as possible to its final position so that segregation is that monolithic construction is achieved
avoided and the concrete can be fully compacted. The aim of good 5. Collision between concrete and formwork or reinforcement should be avoided.
concrete placing can be stated quite simply. 6. For deep sections, a long down pipe ensures accuracy of location of concrete
and minimum segregation.
It is to get the concrete into position at a speed, and in a condition, 7. You must be able to see that the placing is proceeding correctly, so lighting
that allow it to be compacted properly. should be available for large, deep sections, and thin walls and columns.

Placing Concrete

By skip, wheelbarrow, shute,

shovel or concrete pump
Place at final position - do not
vibrate into position
Vibrate using poker - approx 10
seconds at 0.5 metre intervals
Level with wooden float, leave
for a while, then finish with
steel float


Concrete placing techniques Compaction

Once the concrete has been placed, it is ready to be compacted.
The purpose of compaction is to get rid of the air voids that are
trapped in loose concrete.

Why It Matters?



Compaction Compaction
It is important to compact the concrete fully because: Summing up, fully compacted concrete is dense, strong and
1. Air voids reduce the strength of the concrete. For every 1% of entrapped durable; badly compacted concrete will be porous, weak and
air, the strength falls by somewhere between 5 and 7%. This means that
concrete containing a mere 5% air voids due to incomplete compaction can prone to rapid deterioration. Sooner or later it will have to
lose as much as one third of its strength. be repaired or replaced. It pays, therefore, to do the job
2. Air voids increase concrete's permeability. That in turn reduces its properly in the first place.
durability. If the concrete is not dense and impermeable, it will not be
watertight. It will be less able to withstand aggressive iquids and its exposed Stiff mixes contain far more air than workable ones. That is
f will
ill weather
h badly.
b dl one of the reasons why a low-slump concrete requires more
3. Moisture and air are more likely to penetrate to the reinforcement causing
it to rust. compactive effort than one with a higher slump - the
4. Air voids impair contact between the mix and reinforcement (and, indeed, compaction needs to continue for a longer time, or more
any other embedded metals). The required bond will not be achieved and the equipment has to be used.
reinforced member will not be as strong as it should be.
5. Air voids produce blemishes on struck surfaces. For instance, blowholes and
honeycombing might occur.

Compaction Compaction - Vibration

1. Even air-entrained concrete needs to be compacted to get rid of Vibration:
entrapped air voids. To compact concrete you apply energy to it so that the mix becomes more fluid.
2. The difference between air voids and entrained air bubbles should be Air trapped in it can then rise to the top and escape. As a result, the concrete
becomes consolidated, and you are left with a good dense material that will,
noted at this stage. after proper curing, develop its full strength and durability.
3. The air bubbles that are entrained are relatively small and spherical in Vibration is the next and quickest method of supplying the energy. Manual
shape, increase the workability of the mix, reduce bleeding, and techniques such as rodding are only suitable for smaller projects. Various types
increase frost resistance. of vibrator are available for use on site.

4. Entrapped air on the other hand tends to be irregular in shape and is

detrimental to the strength of the mix.
5. It is to remove this air that the concrete must be properly compacted.
6. There is little danger that compaction will remove the minute air
bubbles that have been deliberately entrained, since they are so

Compaction Poker Vibrators Compaction Poker Vibrators

Poker Vibrators Radius of action:
The poker, or immersion, vibrator is the most popular of the appliances used for When a poker vibrator is operating, it will be effective over a circle
compacting concrete. This is because it works directly in the concrete and can be
moved around easily. centred on the poker. The distance from the poker to the edge of
Sizes: the circle is known as the radius of action.
Pokers with diameters ranging from 25 to 75mm are readily available, and these are suitable for However, the actual effectiveness of any poker depends on the
most reinforced concrete work. Larger pokers are available - with diameters up to 150mm - but
these are for mass concrete in heavy civil engineering.
workability of the concrete and the characteristics of the vibrator
tse . Ass a general
ge e a rule,
u e, the
t e bigger
b gge the
t e poker
po e and
a d the
t e higher
g e its
amplitude, the greater will be the radius of action. It is better to
judge from your own observations, as work proceeds on site, the
effective radius of the poker you are operating on the concrete you
are compacting.


Compaction Poker Vibrators

The length of time it takes for a poker vibrator to compact
concrete fully depends on:
1. The workability of the concrete: the less workable the mix, the
longer it must be vibrated.
2. The energy put in by the vibrator: bigger vibrators do the job
3 The depth of the concrete: thick sections take longer.
3. longer

Heat of Hydration

The exothermic reaction during setting can

cause a significant temperature rise in large
concrete ppours.
This causes expansion, then setting, then
If the pour is restrained, or has a
temperature differential, cracking may

Heat of Hydration (large pours) Hardened Concrete

Predominantly affected by the
amount of pores in the Vibration
Compressive Strrength

60 Interior Interior
Temp (oC)

hardened concrete. Hand Compaction

20oC 20oC A this
As hi iis strongly
l affected
ff d by
40 Fully Compacted
Surface Surface the non-hydrated water Concrete
remaining after hardening,
20 the water-cement ratio is Insufficiently
taken to be the main Compacted
0 determinant of strength.
0 1 2 3 0 1 2 3 0 0.5 1.0
Water--Cement ratio
Time (days) Time (days)
71 72


Fineness of Cement Different Cement Composition

Compressive Strenngth (Nmm-1)

Compressive Strenngth (Nmm-1)

A - High C3S, C3A
The finer the 1 year
60 B - Med high C3S, C3A 60
cement, the faster it 28 days C - Med low C3S, C3A
sets, and the faster 7 days
40 D - Low C3S,
S C3 A 40
strength is gained.
1 day Cements C and D may
20 gain 50% of their 20 C
strength after 28 days D
0 0
400 600 800 1 10 365
Fineness of Cement (m2kg-1) Age (log days)
73 74

Curing Concrete curing

If left in contact with water,

concrete will continue to gain
strength for many months
Otherwise all free water
evaporates or isi usedd up in
i the
hydration process, and no
further hydration can continue
Curing ensures that water for
hydration is available as long
as possible

75 Concrete's Age-Compressive strength with different curing temperature.

Sources: Source:

New Technology: Internal Concrete Curing

Air-cured after 1 and 3 months, Moist-cured, dry at test
There's a renewed interest in dry at test

developing methods to 100 Moist cured, moist at test

incorporate internal curing
Air-cured after 1 month, Water curing after 9 months
as a tool to reduce cracking.
g dry at test
50 Air-cured, dry at test
More info: Air-cured, saturated at test

0 6 12
Age (months)


Compression Testing

Two compression tests are used

Relativve Strength
The most common in the UK is the
cube test
However a cylinder with a height-
diameter ratio of 2 can be used
li d strengthh = cube
b strengthh x


1 2
Height/diameter 79

Compression testing on cube and its various

failure modes

Compression test of concrete specimen is the most widely used test to measure its
compressive strength. Two types of concrete specimen: Cubes & Cylinders are used
for this purpose:
Cubes of size 150mm are more common in Asia, Russia & European countries
while Cylinders of 150mm in diameter & 300mm high are common in U.S and

Deformation of Concrete
To sense the deformation of concrete, cement or rock
specimens under compression.
Standards ASTM C469
ISO 6784
DIN 1048
UNI 6556
ASTM D2664 (R (Rock
k testing)
i )
ASTM D2938 (Rock testing)
ASTM D3148 (Rock testing)
ASTM D5407 (Rock testing)

1. For determining the Elastic Modulus and strength
2. To be directly glued to the specimens for the
measurement of deformation as alternative to the
Electronic Compressometer. 84


Deformation of Concrete Creep

Load sustained Load removed
But the stress-strain curve Immediate
for concrete is non- elastic

Creep Creep
E varies from 15 to 40 recovery
Mpa, but the tangent
modulus at high stress Permanent
gets much lower deformation
Elastic deformation
on loading

Strain Time
85 86

Creep Creep

Concrete naturally shrinks as it cures. If the pour is large enough, cracks WILL
Structural designers introduce so-called "control joints" in large pours so that
Concrete creep is defined as: deformation of structure under sustained cracking either does not occur, or occurs in predictable areas.
load. If you look at a typical concrete driveway for instance
instance, you will notice lines
scored across the concrete every few feet. Any stress cracks that occur are more
Basically, long term pressure or stress on concrete can make it change likely to happen in the joint, where they will be less noticeable.
shape. This deformation usually occurs in the direction the force is This can be a huge problem in certain structures such as dams or the
being applied. Like a concrete column getting more compressed, or a containment building at a nuclear power plant.
beam bending. Concrete for these types of structures has to be carefully engineered and layed.
Concrete gives off heat as it cures (an 'exothermic' chemical reaction) and this
can make the problem much worse.
Creep does not necessarily cause concrete to fail or break apart. Creep It is common to mix the concrete for a dam with chilled water and pour it in
is factored in when concrete structures are designed. many thin layers to minimize creep and shrinkage caused cracks and flaws.88

Creep Creep

This can be a huge problem in The magnitude of creep is affected by

certain structures such as dams or More cement in mix - more creep
the containment building at a Higher w/c ratio - more creep
nuclear power plant.
Higher relative humidity - lower creep
Concrete for these types of
g - lower creep
Greater age p
t t has
h tot be
b carefully
f ll
engineered and layed. Concrete Rapid Hardening - lower creep
gives off heat as it cures (an
'exothermic' chemical reaction)
and this can make the problem
much worse.
It is common to mix the concrete
for a dam with chilled water and
pour it in many thin layers to
minimize creep and shrinkage 89
Time relationship of creep coefficients on bended and pressed specimens.
caused cracks and flaws. Source:


Standard creep test frames. Shrinkage

ASTM C512 - Compressive Creep

The standard creep test consists of a frame
3 principal types of shrinkage/expansion:
and hydraulic loading system to apply
constant stress to 150X300 mm (6x12 in.)
1. Plastic Shrinkage - caused by settlement of
cylindrical specimens (Figure). solids and loss of free water from plastic
Deformation is monitored pperiodically y over concrete
time and compard to compansion unloaded
specimens to obtain the creep strain of the 2. Autogenous Shrinkage - Cement gel has a
concrete, which can then be used to calculate
the creep compliance, or specific creep of
lower volume than the water and cement that
the material. makes it. So at a constant water content
Tests are typically started at 7 or 28 days of shrinkage takes place.
age, but this test can be modified for early
age by starting the test as early as 24 hours. 3. Drying Shrinkage - Loss of water from
Standard creep test frames. (Courtesy of CTLGroup) Sealed tests are used to evaluate basic
creep and unsealed tests incorporate the
cement gel, after loss of water from pores and
Pickett Effect, or drying creep. capillaries. Can be as high as 1.5E9.
Image Source:

Drying Shrinkage Avoidance of Cracked Concrete

If concrete is restrained, movement joints or anti-

1. Because almost all concrete is mixed with more water than is
needed to hydrate the cement, much of the remaining water reinforcement must be used. Heat of hydration, and drying
evaporates, causing the concrete to shrink. shrinkage must be minimised.
2. Restraint to shrinkage, provided by the subgrade, reinforcement, If concrete is not restrained, differential heat of hydration
or another part of the structure, causes tensile stresses to develop and drying shrinkage should be minimised.
in the hardened concrete.
3. Restraint to drying shrinkage is the most common cause of
concrete cracking.
4. In many applications, drying shrinkage cracking is inevitable.
5. Therefore, contraction (control) joints are placed in concrete to
predetermine the location of drying shrinkage cracks.
93 94
More info: