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CONCRETE BLOCKS

1. Raw Materials
2. Manufacturing
i. Selection & Proportion of Ingredients
ii. Mixing of Ingredients
iii. Placing & Vibration
iv. Curing

3. Advantages
4. Uses
CONCRETE BLOCKS

INTRODUCTION:

Cement concrete blocks are very popular and are extensively used in building
construction throughout the country because of the many advantages such as durability,
strength and structural stability, fire resistance, insulation and sound absorption it
possess. The cement concrete blocks have an attractive appearance and are readily
adaptable to any style of architecture. It lends itself to a wide variety of surface finishes
for both exterior and interior walls.

The blocks are used for both load bearing and non load bearing walls. The hilly
states of India have high humidity, dampness and rainfall, so the blocks are much useful
for the N.E. Region, Himachal Pradesh, J&K, and U.P. etc. The blocks are made out of
these blocks in masonry there is stone chips. With the use of these blocks in masonry
there is saving in cement, time and labor as compared with burnt bricks masonry. This
saving, therefore, brings down the cost of construction considerably.

HOLLOW CONCRETE BLOCKS

Cement concrete hollow blocks have an important role in modern building industry.
They are cost effective and better alternative to burnt clay bricks by virtue of their good
durability, fire resistance, partial resistance to sound, thermal insulation, small dead load
and high speed of construction. Concrete hollow blocks being usually larger in size than
the normal clay building bricks and less mortar is required, faster of construction is
achieved. Also building construction with cement concrete hollow blocks provides facility
for concealing electrical conduit, water and sewer pipes wherever so desired and requires
less plastering.

RAW MATERIALS

Concrete is a mixture of ordinary Portland cement, mineral aggregate (sand and


stone chips) and water. The water used in preparing the concrete serves two purposes:

(1) It combines with the cement to form a hardened paste

(2) It lubricates the aggregates to form a plastic and workable mass

The water that combines with the cement varies from about 22 to 28% of the total
amount of mixing water in concrete.

Mineral aggregates (sand and stone chips) are normally divided into two fractions
based on their particle size. Aggregate particles passing through the No.4 or 4.75mm
Indian Standard sieve are known as fine aggregate. The particles retained on this sieve
are designated as coarse aggregate. Natural sand is often used as fine aggregate in
cement concrete mixture. Coarse aggregate are crushed stone chips. Crushed stone chips
broken into particle sizes passing through the 4.75mm sieve may also be used as fine
aggregate. The maximum size of the coarse aggregate that may be used in cement
concrete hollow blocks is 12.5 mm. However, the particle size of the coarse aggregate
should not exceed one third thickness of the thinnest web of the hollow blocks.

Ordinary Portland cement is the cementing material used in cement concrete


hollow blocks. Cement is the highest priced material per unit weight of the concrete.
Hence, the fine and coarse aggregates are combined in such proportions that the
resulting concrete is workable and has minimum cement content for the desired quality.

MANUFACTURING PROCESS

The process of manufacture of cement concrete hollow blocks involves the


following 5 stages;

(1) Proportioning

(2) Mixing

(3) Compacting

(4) Curing

(5) Drying

(1) PROPORTIONING:

The determination of suitable amounts of raw materials needed to produce


concrete of desired quality under given conditions of mixing, placing and curing is known
as proportioning. As per Indian Standard specifications, the combined aggregate content
in the concrete mix used for making hollow blocks should not be more than 6 parts to 1
part by volume of Portland cement. If this ratio is taken in terms of weight basis this may
average approximately at 1:7 (cement: aggregate). However, there have been instances
of employing a lean mix of as high as 1:9 by manufacturers where hollow blocks are
compacted by power operated vibrating machines. The water cement ratio of 0.62 by
weight basis can be used for concrete hollow blocks.
(2) MIXING

The objective of thorough mixing of aggregates, cement and water is to ensure


that the cement-water paste completely covers the surface of the aggregates. All the raw
materials including water are collected in a concrete mixer, which is rotated for about 1
minutes. The prepared mix is discharged from the mixer and consumed within 30
minutes.

(3) COMPACTING

The purpose of compacting is to fill all air pockets with concrete as a whole without
movement of free water through the concrete. Excessive compaction would result in
formation of water pockets or layers with higher water content and poor quality of the
product. Semi-automatic vibrating table type machines are widely used for making cement
concrete hollow blocks. The machine consists of an automatic vibrating unit, a lever
operated up and down metallic mould box and a stripper head contained in a frame work.

Wooden pallet is kept on the vibrating platform of the machine. The mould box is
lowered on to the pallet. Concrete mix is poured into the mould and evenly levelled. The
motorized vibrating causes the concrete to settle down the mould by approximately 1
to 1 inches. More of concrete is then raked across the mould level. The stripper head is
placed over the mould to bear on the levelled material. Vibration causes the concrete
come down to its limit position. Then the mould box is lifted by the lever. The moulded
hollow blocks resting on the pallet is removed and a new pallet is placed and the process
repeated. The machine can accommodate interchangeable mould for producing blocks of
different sizes of hollow or solid blocks.

(4) CURING

Hollow blocks removed from the mould are protected until they are sufficiently
hardened to permit handling without damage. This may take about 24 hours in a shelter
away from sun and winds. The hollow blocks thus hardened are cured in a curing yard to
permit complete moisturisation for at-least 21 days. When the hollow blocks are cured by
immersing them in a water tank, water should be changed at-least every four days. The
greatest strength benefits occur during the first three days and valuable effects are
secured up to 10 or 14 days. The longer the curing time permitted the better the product.

(5) DRYING

Concrete shrinks slightly with loss of moisture. It is therefore essential that after
curing is over, the blocks should be allowed to dry out gradually in shade so that the
initial drying shrinkage of the blocks is completed before they are used in the construction
work. Hollow blocks are stacked with their cavities horizontal to facilitate thorough
passage of air.

Generally a period of 7 to 15 days of drying will bring the blocks to the desired
degree of dryness to complete their initial shrinkage. After this the blocks are ready for
use in construction work.

DIMENSION OF SOLID AND HOLLOW BLOCKS:

Cement concrete Soild and hollow blocks are usually of the following three
dimensions: 100X200X400 mm, 150X200X400 mm and 200X200X400 mm

ADVANTAGES TO CONCRETE BLOCK BUILDING


There are a number of reasons why concrete block may suit your building lot, your
area of the country and your needs.

Repels Insects: A home built with concrete blocks does not suffer from the same
number of insect infestations as wood construction homes. Termites are virtually unknown
in a concrete block home.
Resist Natural Disasters: With proper construction, including steel rods and a
cement/sand/pebble mixture in the blocks voids, concrete block homes are able to
withstand vicious hurricane winds. They are able to handle tornadoes without a problem,
and most earthquakes as well.

Fire Resistant: If the home is subjected to a fire, there is much less chance of extensive
damage in a fire as well. Few concrete block homes collapse after fires.

Unaffected by Extreme Temperatures: Concrete block is highly resistant to cracking


and crumbling in extreme temperatures, unlike poured concrete.

Sound and Air Insulated: A well-built, concrete block home is virtually soundproof, as
long as doors and windows are well insulated. They also insulate against cold and heat,
and help a home use less energy to maintain comfortable temperatures.

Different Finishes: Concrete block typically comes in a smooth finish, but can also be
found in a more decorative split finish that many people find more attractive. Concrete
block accepts any color or type of stucco very well. You can also install siding over a
concrete block home with the proper tools, so the exterior of a concrete block home can
look modern, trendy or traditional.

Disadvantages of Concrete Block Construction:


There are some concerns with concrete block construction, so you will want to
consider them before beginning your home building project.

Water Seepage: If you live in an area with a high water table, then using concrete
blocks for your basement can lead to seepage and water damage. This will need to be
countered with quality waterproofing material and paint. Once appropriate drainage is
installed around the home and interior waterproofing is complete, you should not have a
problem with water in the basement.

Unattractive Look: If you have a builder who does not have a vision of the creative
exteriors that can be put on a concrete block building, then you may end up with a
structure that looks like a commercial building. You or your builder or both educating
yourselves on the many creative ways of finishing concrete block homes, and learning
about the decorative finishes on the blocks you purchase can counter this.

Cost of Block: The cost of building with concrete blocks can be higher than the
traditional frame construction. Costs vary across time and regions, but they can cost up to
three times as much as the 2x4s and drywall typically used for construction.

ADVANTAGES OF HOLLOW CONCRETE BLOCKS.

Highly Durable: The good concrete compacted by high pressure and vibration gives
substantial strength to the block. Proper curing increase compressive strength of the
blocks.

Low Maintenance, Color and brilliance of masonry withstands outdoor elements.

Load Bearing, strength can be specified as per the requirement.

Fire Resistant

Provide thermal and sound insulation: The air in hollow of the block, does not allow
outside heat or cold in the house. So it keeps house cool in summer and warm in winter.

Economical

Environment Friendly, fly ash used as one of the raw materials.

Low insurance rates.


Constructional Advantages
No additional formwork or any special construction machinery is required for reinforcing
the hollow block masonry.

Only semi-skilled labour is required for this type of construction.

It is a faster and easier construction system, when compared to the other conventional
construction systems.
It is also found to be a cost-effective disaster resistant construction system, as explained
in the next section.

Architectural and Other Advantages

This construction system provides better acoustic and thermal insulation for the
building.

This system is durable and maintenance free.

Reduction in Dead Load

Reduced Air Conducting Load: - Approx.50% saving.

No salt peter or leaching: - Reduction in maintenance.

Increased carpet area: - Due to smaller in size.

Faster construction: - Easy to work with bigger in size.

Assured Quality: - Fully automatic block plant.

Better sound absorption: - Being hollow in nature.

Reduced thickness of plaster: - Due to size accuracy & less cement consumption due to
fewer joints.

Load bearing walls: - Due to higher strength of blocks.

Recommended for earth quake resistance.

Less water absorption:- Approx. 3 to 4%

Environmental Eco-Friendly

Reduce in total cost of project: - Being less dead load of walls.

SOIL CEMENT BLOCKS

INTRODUCTION OF THE PRODUCT


Soil cement blocks are cost effective and energy efficient alternative materials to
the normal burnt clay bricks used for construction of buildings. Soil cement blocks are also
known as stabilized mud blocks (SMB) or stabilized compressed earth block (SCEB).
Ordinary Portland cement is the most usual stabilizer added 5 to 10% by weight to
the soil. Other stabilisers like lime, pozzolana or a combination of cement and lime are
also used.
Soil cement blocks being usually 2 times larger in size the normal burnt clay
bricks, the construction is faster and the joints are consequently reduced. The less
number of joints also result in cutting down the amount of mortar required. From the
environmental considerations also, use of soil cement blocks in construction work result a
substantial saving of energy as no fuel is required for its manufacture.
While in general building construction, soil cement blocks may be used as a
substitute for normal burnt clay bricks, their use should be avoided in the case of isolated
load bearing columns, piers and such heavily loaded structures

RAW MATERIALS

Soil or raw earth is the principal raw material. Ordinary Portland cement and water
are other two constituents required for manufacture of soil cement blocks. Sand and
crushed stone dust may also be added to the soil depending on the type of soil. Lime and
pozzolana cement are the alternative soil stabilizing materials may also be used. A
combination of cement and lime is also used as a soil stabilizer.

SOIL

Soil is a sediments or accumulation of mineral particles produced by the physical or


chemical disintegration of rock, plus the air, water, organic matter, and other substances
that may be included in the soil. In addition, soil is a non-homogeneous, porous, earthen
material whose engineering behavior is influenced by changes in moisture content and
density
MIX PROPORTIONING

Soil = 60 70%

Coarse sand = 20 30%

Cement = 8 10%

MANUFACTURING PROCESS

Stabilised mud block can be manufactured from a mixture of suitable soil-sand and
stabilisers such as Portland cement or a combination of lime and Portland cement. A
uniform mixture of soil-sand-stabiliser is compacted into a high density block at optimum
moisture content using a machine. The blocks so manufactured are cured and then shall
be used for masonry construction. Table 2 Typical block sizes

The process of manufacture of soil cement blocks involves the following five steps;

(1) Analysis of the soil

(2) Sifting of the soil

(3) Preparation of the mix

(4) Compaction of the blocks

(5) Curing of the blocks

(1) Analysis of the soil


Soil composition and analysis through comprehensive tests in a laboratory is very
important. This will be required to estimate amount of cement, and other missing native
constituents that must be added to the final mix. All soils are made up of three
components: sand, silt, and clay. These components are defined on the basis of particle
size, sand being the coarsest of the three and clay the finest.
Optimum composition of soil for soil cement blocks is made up of approximately
75% sand and only 25% of silt and clay. The clay content should never comprise less
than 10% or more than 50% of the soil. Most soils, when reasonably free from vegetable
matter, can be satisfactorily with cement, lime or cement and lime.

We can get a rough idea of the composition of the soil by simply picking up a
handful and feeling it. Sand naturally has a coarse and gritty texture, while silt has the
consistency of flour. Moist clay is smooth to the touch, is somewhat sticky, and will form a
ribbon as you compress it between your thumb and forefinger.

We can estimate the percentages of each of the three components in the soil:

(1) Fill a straight-sided glass jar about one-full of soil.

(2) Add an equal amount of water.

(3) Cover the jar and shake vigorously to suspend all the dirt.

(4) Finally, allow the slurry to sit undisturbed about 30 minutes or until the soil has
settled into three separate layers with the sand at the bottom.

(2) Sifting of soil

Soil should be dried and sieved (to remove large lumps, stones, leaves, and other
impurities) before it can be used properly mixed with cement and compressed into blocks.
Sturdy frames with metallic meshes can be used for sifting of soil.

The soil has the proper moisture content for sifting when

(1) A handful can be squeezed without water appearing on its surface, and

(2) The ball of soil disintegrates without lumps as it is released.

(3) Preparation of the mix

Once soil has been dried and sifted, we can begin to prepare the mix from which
blocks will be pressed. The amount of Portland cement to be used will depend on the
composition of the soil. Sandy soils require 5 to 9% cement by volume. Silty soils need 8
to 12%, and clayey soils require 12 to 15% cement as stabiliser. More than 15% by
volume is not recommended.

Mix thoroughly all the ingredients: cement, soil, and special additions such as sand
or clay that may be needed. After drying mixing of all the ingredients, water is added a
little at a time until the damp soil-cement reaches the right consistency. We can use a
garden hose with the nozzle adjusted to produce a fine spray. A concrete mixer machine
is suitable for preparing the mix.

Do the simple test to know the right consistency of the mix. Take a small amount
of mix and form it into a ball in your hand, the resulting clod should both hold its shape
and not stain your palm.

(4) Compaction of the blocks

Hydraulic operated machine is proposed in the project for Compacting soil- cement
into blocks of desired size. Hand-operated machines may also be used in place of power
operated machines.

The prepared mix can placed into the mould of the machine and pressure is applied
and after compaction, the block formed is ejected from the mould and stacked. Delicate
touch is needed for removing the fresh blocks from the mould and stacking, as blocks are
plastic and fragile when newly formed.

(5) Curing of the blocks

Place the blocks as soon as possible on a flat, non-absorbent surface in a shady


environment to cure. Set each block on edges and space the blocks far enough apart so
that they do not touch each other. After 24 hours of moulding blocks must be thoroughly
sprinkled three times a day with the fine water spray. The slower the block dry, the
stronger they will be. So, during the first four days of curing, blocks be covered with
plastic.

Blocks may be stacked after four days, but the sprinkling should be continued for
another eight days. Finally, three weeks after leaving the mould, the blocks can be used in
construction.
SMB DIMENSIONS

Stabilised mud blocks can be manufactured in different sizes and shapes. Maximum
size of the block is limited by the capacity of the machine to supply required compaction
force or energy during the block production process. Range of actual block dimensions
shall be as follows.
Length: 200mm to 305mm,
Width: 100mm to 200mm,
Height: 75mm to 100mm.
Some typical sizes for the stabilised mud blocks are given in Table.
Table Typical block sizes

Sl. No. Dimensions (mm)


Length Width Thickness or height
1 230 105 75 or 90 or 100
2 230 190 90 or 100
3 200 200 75 or 90 or 100
4 305 143 90 or 100
Blocks of special shapes such as rounded corner, corbelled or any other shape for
the purposes of enhancing aesthetic appearance of masonry and the building can be
manufactured with special attachments to the machines

ADVANTAGES OF SMB CONSTRUCTIONS:


Stabilised mud blocks having strength and performance equivalent to or better than
that of burnt clay bricks are being produced and used. Load bearing masonry buildings of
upto 4 storey height have been built using SMB. Properly prepared SMB blocks do not
disintegrate upon soaking in water for any length of time and the exposed buildings can
perform satisfactorily over ones life time. SMB buildings can be made earthquake
resistant. Stabilised mud blocks can also be used for other building components such as
roof/floor slabs, masonry shell structures (vaults and domes), etc.

SOME OF THE MAJOR ADVANTAGES OF SMB ARE:

a) No firing or burning needed, energy efficient and environment friendly. SMB is a


recyclable and reusable material.
b) Decentralized production as the machines are portable and the blocks can be
manufactured at the construction site.

c) Block cost is independent of scale of operation.

d) The blocks are true to shape with well defined corners and edges. Special
shapes and designer blocks can be produced with small attachments to the machine.

e) The walls do not require plastering and offer scope for exposed natural finish
with aesthetically pleasing appearance.

f) The block strength can be adjusted by proper selection of stabiliser content.

g) Reduction of deforestation

h) Decreasing both the labor and materials costs

i) Non-toxic: materials are completely natural and not harmful for our
environment

j) Sound resistant: for residential areas adjacent to industrial zones

k) Fire resistant: earthen walls do not burn

l) Insect resistant: the walls are solid and very dense, discouraging insects.