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Lightweight concrete has extreme importance to the construction industry.

Most of current concrete research focuses on high-performance concrete, by which
is meant a cost-effective material that satisfies demanding performance
requirements, including durability. Lightweight concrete can be defined as a type of
concrete which includes an expanding agent in that it increases the volume of the
mixture while giving additional qualities such as lessened the dead weight. Physical
and Mechanical Properties of Structural Lightweight Concrete including
Compressive Strength, permeability and more.

Most lightweight concrete are good insulator of heat and sound. It has
tremendous sculptural possibilities and is ideal for monolithic, wall-roof
construction depend on materials used. Light weight concrete differs from heavy
concrete by its use of naturally lightweight materials (aggregates) such as
vermiculite, perlite, scoria, and pumice (volcanic stone) in place of the sand and
gravel used in ordinary structural concrete mixes. It only weighs half as much.
LWC construction can be a partial solution for several environmental problems.
Nowadays, LWC has been used widely in construction industry. Lightweight
concrete is one of the most fundamental bulk building materials of the future.

Lightweight concrete can be prepared either by injecting air in its

composition or it can be achieved by omitting the finer sizes of the aggregate or
even replacing them by a hollow, cellular or porous aggregate. Different types of
LWC have different materials and manufacturing process. The application of LWC
are widen because of its benefits and less disadvantages.
SKAA 2112
Civil Engineering Materials

Individual Assignment:
Lightweight Concrete

Name : Shahrul Syazwan Binti Salim

Matric No. : B17KA0019
Lecturer’s Name : Dr. Abdullah Zawawi bin Awang
Section : 03

Lightweight concrete can be defined as a type of concrete which includes an

expanding agent in that it increases the volume of the mixture while giving
additional qualities such as nailibility and lessened the dead weight [1]. It is lighter
than the conventional concrete with a dry density of 300 kg/m3 up to 1840 kg/m3 ;
87 to 23% lighter. It was first introduced by the Romans in the second century
where ‘The Pantheon’ has been constructed using pumice, the most common type of
aggregate used in that particular year [2]. From there on, the use of lightweight
concrete has been widely spread across other countries such as USA, United
Kingdom and Sweden. The main specialties of lightweight concrete are its low
density and thermal conductivity. Its advantages are that there is a reduction of dead
load, faster building rates in construction and lower haulage and handling costs. The
building of ‘The Pantheon’ of lightweight concrete material is still standing
eminently in Rome until now for about 18 centuries as shown in Figure 1. it shows
that the lighter materials can be used in concrete construction and has an economical

Lightweight concrete has extreme importance to the construction industry.

Most of current concrete research focuses on high-performance concrete, by which
is meant a cost-effective material that satisfies demanding performance
requirements, including durability. Lightweight concrete can be defined as a type of
concrete which includes an expanding agent in that it increases the volume of the
mixture while giving additional qualities such as lessened the dead weight. It is
lighter than the conventional concrete. The use of lightweight concrete has been
widely spread across countries such as USA, United Kingdom and Sweden. The
other main specialties of lightweight concrete are its low density and thermal
conductivity. So its advantages are that there is a reduction of dead load, faster
building rates in construction and lower transport and handling costs. Lightweight
concrete maintains its large voids and not forming laitance layers or cement films
when placed on the wall. Sufficient water cement ratio is vital to produce adequate
cohesion between cement and water. Insufficient water can cause lack of cohesion
between particles, thus loss in strength of concrete. What is the light weight
concrete? Light weight concrete (foamed concrete) is a versatile material which
consists primarily of a cement based mortar mixed with at least 20% of volume air.
The material is now being used in an ever increasing number of applications,
ranging from one step house casting to low density void fills. Light weight concrete
has a surprisingly long history and was first patented in 1923, mainly for use as an
insulation material. Although there is evidence that the Romans used air entertainers
to decrease density, this was not really a true Light weight concrete. Significant
improvements over the past 20 years in production equipment and better quality
surfactants (foaming agents) has enabled the use of foamed concrete on a larger

Lightweight and free flowing, it is a material suitable for a wide range of

purposes such as, but not limited to panels and block production, floor and roof
screeds, wall casting, complete house casting, sound barrier walls, floating homes,
void infill, slope protection, outdoor furniture and many more applications.

Physical and Mechanical Properties of Structural Lightweight Concrete

1) Compressive Strength

Compressive strength levels commonly required by the construction industry

for design strengths of cast-in-place, precast, or prestressed concrete are
economically obtained with lightweight concrete (Shideler 1957; Hanson 1964;
Holm 1980a). Design strengths of 3,000 to 5,000 psi (21 to 35 MPa) are common.
In precast and prestressing plants, design strengths above 5,000 psi (35 MPa) are
usual. In several civil structures, such as the Heidrun Platform and Norwegian
bridges, concrete cube strengths of 8700 psi (60 MPa) have been specified (fib
2000). All aggregates have strength ceilings, and with lightweight aggregates, the
strength ceiling generally can be increased by reducing the maximum size of the
coarse aggregate. As with normalweight concrete, waterreducing plasticizing and
mineral admixtures are frequently used with lightweight concrete mixtures to
increase strength and workability as well as to facilitate placing and finishing‖. ACI

2) Density

The fresh density of lightweight concretes is a function of mixture

proportions, air contents, water demand, particle density, and moisture content of
the lightweight aggregate. Decrease in density of exposed concrete is due to
moisture loss that, in turn, is a function of ambient conditions and surface
area/volume ratio of the member. Design professionals should specify a maximum
fresh density for lightweight concrete, as limits for acceptability that should be
controlled at time of placement. The design professional needs to work with the
LWA supplier to establish a correlation between fresh density and equilibrium
density (self-load used for design). ―Although there are numerous structural
applications of lightweight concrete using both lightweight coarse and lightweight
fine aggregate, usual commercial practice in North America is to design concrete
with natural sand fine aggregates. Long-span bridges using concretes with three-
way blends (coarse and fine lightweight aggregates and small supplemental natural
sand volumes) have provided long-term durability and structural efficiency
(density/strength ratios) (Holm and Bremner 1990). Earlier research reports (Kluge,
Sparks, and Tuma 1949; Price and Cordon 1949; Reichard 1964; Shideler 1957)
compared concrete containing both fine and coarse LWA with ―reference‖
normalweight concrete, while later studies (Hanson 1964, Pfeiffer 1967)
supplemented the early findings with data on lightweight concrete where the fine
aggregate was natural sand‖, ACI 231R-03.

Despite the ACI 213 definition of structural-grade lightweight concrete that

has an equilibrium dry density ranging between 90 to 115 lb/ft³ (1,440 and 1,850
kg/m³), the report also adds that ―it should be understood that this definition is not
a specification. Job specifications may, at times, allow density up to 120 lb/ft³
(1,900 kg/m³). In the majority of applications in North America, HSLC has been 6-7
associated with equilibrium densities of about 115 lb/ft³ (1850 kg/m³) and, in some
cases, as much as 120 lb/ft³ (1,900 kg/m³). Density of the Constituents of Concrete
Mixtures The equilibrium density of lightweight concrete is determined by the
relative density of the aggregates (lightweight and normalweight) and the density of
the cementitious matrix. The relative density of the lightweight aggregates typically
range from 1.1 to 1.3 is covered in Chapter three. The relative density of the local

normalweight aggregates are usually well established, with the common practice of
assuring a value of 2.65 unless otherwise determined. Surprisingly, even though the
relative density of cement is typically 3.15 the relative density of the hardened
cementitious matrix fraction (referred to as the hydrated cement paste HCP) of
concrete is quite low and closer to that of lightweight aggregates then that of any
normalweight aggregates used. Normalweight aggregate is the heaviest component
in concrete.

Density Of Hydrated Cement:

Assume a w/cm=0.5 and Non-Air Entrained Concrete

Relative Density Fresh Wet Weigh Absolute Volume HCP Dry Weight
Water (1.00) 0.5 0.5 0.2
Cement (3.15) 1.0 0.32 1.0
Totals 1.5 0.82 1.2
Density fresh HCP = 1.5 = 1.83 (114 pcf)
Density oven dry = 1.2 = 1.46 (91 pcf)
Density, air dry @ 8% Moisture Content= 1.46 x 1.08 = 1.58 (98 pcf)

The relative density of the HCP fraction is further reduced by the voids
developed by entrapped and deliberately entrained air as shown below in Fig. 6.1.
Assume an air entrained concrete at 6%. When the coarse aggregate is removed the
remaining mortar changes to having a 9% air entrained and when the fine aggregate
is removed the remaining HCP has about 18% air entrainment. This is always the
case as all the air is in the HCP matrix.

6% AIR

33.3% 33.4%

9% AIR

41% 50%


18% AIR


Therefore as shown in the example, a concrete with a W/c ratio of 0.5 and
6% air has a oven dry HCP with a relative density as follows: Oven dry density
(HCP) = 1.46 = 1.24 (77 pcf) 1.18 A lightweight aggregate with a 50% pore volume
and a relative density of the vitreous ceramic solid equal to 2.60 has an oven dry
density of LWA dry density 2.60 x .50 = 1.30 (81 pcf) When the HCP relative
density is compared to lightweight aggregate the fractions are quite similar, and
both are significantly lower than that of natural aggregates (typically 2.65 for
quartz, 2.3-2.7 limestone and 2.8 to 3.0 for some igneous minerals (diabase)). In
other words the HCP is really a lightweight component. The concept of elastic
compatibility is shows how lightweight aggregate is more compatible with the HCP

than normalweight 6-9 aggregate. The compatibility of the lightweight aggregate
and high performance concrete fractions minimizes micro-structural strains that
result from service loads as well as those developed by thermal gradients.
Equilibrium Density – Self Loads ―Self loads used for design should be based
upon equilibrium density that, for most conditions and members, may be assumed to
be approached after 90 days. Extensive tests conducted during North American
durability studies demonstrated that, despite wide initial variations of aggregate
moisture content, equilibrium density was found to be 3.1 lb/ft³ (50 kg/m³) above
oven-dry density (Fig. 6.2). European recommendations for in-service density are
similar (FIP 1983). Concrete containing high cementitious contents, and particularly
those containing efficient pozzolans, will develop densities with less of a difference
between fresh and equilibrium density‖ ACI 213R-03. Unless otherwise specified
self-loads may be determined by a calculation of equilibrium density using the
procedures of ASTM C 567.

When weights and moisture contents of all the constituents of the batch of
concrete are known, a calculated equilibrium density can be determined according
to ASTM C 567from the following equations:

O = (Mdf + Mdc + 1.2 Mct) / V

3 3
E =O + 3 lb/ft (O + 50 kg/m )

O = calculated oven-dry density, pcf (kg/m )

Mdf = mass of dry fine aggregate in batch, lb (kg)

Mdc = mass of dry coarse aggregate in batch, lb (kg)
1.2 = factor to account for water of hydration
Mct = mass of cement in batch, lb (kg)
3 3
V = volume of concrete produced by the batch, ft (m )

E = Calculated equilibrium density, pcf (kg/m )

Specified Density Concrete

The use of specified density concrete is based on engineer’s decisions to

improve structural efficiency by optimizing concrete density. Specified Density
concrete is defined as concrete with a range of density less than what is generally
associated with normal weight concrete 2320 – 2480 kg/m³, (145 – 155 lb/ft³) and
greater than the code defined maximum density for lightweight concrete (1840
kg/m³, 115 lb/ft³). Specified density concrete is achieved by replacing part of the
ordinary normal weight aggregate (Relative Density > 2.60) with either coarse or
fine lightweight aggregate (Relative Density generally < 1.60). Specified density
concrete has been used on bridges, marine structures, precast elements and
consumer products in North America, Europe and several other parts of the world.
The concept of specified density concrete is not new. For more than 20 years precast
concrete manufacturers have evaluated trade-offs between the concrete density and
transportation costs. Shown in Table 6.3 are the physical properties of concrete in
which 25, 50, 75 and 100% of the normal weight limestone coarse aggregate was
replaced by an equal absolute volume of lightweight aggregate. This resulted in 5,
11, 15 and 21 percent reductions in density respectively. Fig. 6.3 shows the fresh
and equilibrium density and Fig. 6.4 shows the modulus of Elasticity. By adjusting
the density of the concrete, precasters are able to maximize the number of concrete
elements on a truck without exceeding highway load limits. This reduces the
number of truck loads which lowers transportation and project cost, as well as
reducing the environmental consequences of trucking products especially into
central cities. Opportunities for increased trucking efficiency also apply when
transporting smaller concrete products (hollow core plank, wallboard, precast steps,
and other consumer products). Specified density concrete has the 6-11 added benefit
of enhanced cement hydration. See section on ―Internal Curing‖ for more detail‖,
ASTM 169 D, Chapter 48.

3) Modulus Of Elasticity

Concretes containing LWA have lower modulus of elasticity at both early and
later ages. Since exact modulus data at release (18 hrs. +) is crucial to strand
location, camber and deflection control, it is essential to determine the properties
directly from the proposed concrete mixture. It is also important to realize that even
with normalweight concrete at the same density, the modulus of elasticity can vary
considerably. Table 6.3 reveals that for the ―control‖ limestone concrete the tested
elastic modulus correlated reasonably well with the computed value using the ACI
318 formula Ec=33w1.5√Fc. For the lightweight concrete tested at early age and
with a 29 day compressive strength of 6120 psi (42 MPa), the ACI formula clearly
over estimates the value of the elastic modulus

4) Absorption

Lightweight concrete planned for exposed application will be, of necessity

be of high quality. Testing programs have revealed that high-quality lightweight
concretes absorbed very little water and thus maintained their low density. This was
not unexpected, as Bremner, Holm, and McInerney (1992) and Sugiyama, Bremner,
and Holm (1996), in a series of publications, reported that the permeability of
lightweight concrete was extremely low and generally equal to or significantly
lower than that reported for normalweight concrete that were used as control
specimens. Similar results by Russian, Japanese, and English investigators
confirmed these findings. All attributed the low permeability to the profound
influence of the high-integrity contact zone possessed by lightweight concrete. The
zone of weakness demonstrated in concretes containing normalweight aggregate,
wherein layers of high w/c at the contact zone combine with bleed-water gaps, can
be minimized if not eliminated in concretes containing pozzolanic materials such as
silica fume, fly ash, and calcined clays, shales, and slates.

In investigations of high-quality concretes in the Arctic, Hoff (1992)

reported that specimens that had a period of drying followed by water immersion at
atmospheric pressure did not refill all the void space caused by drying.
Pressurization caused an additional density increase of approximately (40 kg/m ).

Prior to the introduction of the test specimens into the seawater, all concretes lost
mass during the drying phase of their curing, although concrete with a compressive
strength of 9,000 psi (62 MPa) did not lose very much due to its very dense matrix.

This testing program reported that density changes mixtures containing silica fume,
would experience some drying during their initial curing period, and experience
long-term density gains 48 to 64 kg/m when subjected to hydrostatic pressures

equivalent to 200 ft ft (61 mm) of seawater. The very high-strength lightweight

concrete may be on the lower end of this range. At near-surface water depths 0 psi
(0 MPa), lightweight concrete will have density increased of less than 16 kg/m .

5) Internal Curing

Lightweight aggregate batched at a high degree of saturation may be

substituted for normalweight aggregates to provide ―internal curing‖ in concrete
containing a high volume of cementitious materials. High cementitious concretes
are vulnerable to self-desiccation and early-age cracking, and benefit significantly
from the slowly released internal moisture. Field experience has shown that High
Strength Concrete is not necessarily High Performance Concrete and that High
Performance Concrete need not necessarily be high strength. A frequent, unintended
consequence of high strength concrete is early-age cracking. This application is
significantly helpful for vertical members and concretes containing high volumes of
pozzolans that are sensitive to curing procedures. In this application, density
reduction is a bonus.

Time dependent improvement in the quality of concrete containing pre-wet

lightweight aggregate is greater than that with normalweight. The reason is better
hydration of the cementitious fraction provided by moisture available from the
slowly released reservoir of absorbed water within the pores of the lightweight
aggregate. The fact that absorbed moisture in the lightweight was available for
internal curing has been known for more than four decades. The first documentation
of improved long term strength gains made possible by the use of saturated
normalweight aggregates, was reported in 1957 by Paul Klieger, who, in addition,
commented in detail on the role of absorbed water in lightweight aggregates for
extended internal curing.

The benefits of ―internal curing‖ go far beyond any improvements in long-term
strength gain, which from some combinations of materials may be minimal or non-
existent. The principal contribution of ―internal curing‖ results in the reduction of
permeability that develops from a significant extension in the time of curing.
Powers (1959) showed that extending the time of curing increased the volume of
cementitious products formed which caused the capillaries to become segmented
and discontinuous.

6) Contact Zone

The expression ―contact zone‖ includes two distinctively different

phenomena: (1) the mechanical adhesion of the cementitious matrix to the surface
of the aggregate and (2) the variation of physical and chemical characteristics of the
transition layer of the cementitious matrix close to the aggregate particle. Collapse
of the structural integrity of the concrete conglomerate may come from the failure of
either the aggregate or cementitious matrix, or from a breakdown in the contact
zone causing a separation of the still intact phases. The various mechanisms that act
to maintain continuity, or that cause separation, have not received the same attention
as has the air void system necessary to protect the matrix. Aggregates are frequently
dismissed as being inert fillers and, as a result, they and the associated contact zone
have not received adequate attention. In order that concrete perform satisfactorily in
severe exposure conditions, it is essential that a good bond develop and be
maintained between the aggregate and the enveloping mortar matrix. A high
incidence of interfacial cracking or aggregate debonding will have a serious effect
on durability if these cracks fill with water and subsequently freeze. Deterioration
will result, with pieces of apparently sound mortar separating from the bottom of the
aggregate, usually with some of the mortar remaining firmly attached to the top side
of the aggregate. An equally serious consequence of microcracking is the easy path
provided for the ingress for aggressive agents into the mass of the concrete,
rendering ineffective the protective layer of concrete over the reinforcing steel. The
morphology and distribution of chemical elements at the transition layer in a
number of mature structures that have withstood severe exposure were examined
and reported by Bremner, et. al. The contact zone of lightweight aggregate concrete
has been demonstrated to be significantly superior to that of normalweight concretes
that do not contain supplementary cementitious material (See Fig. 6.5). This
profound improvement in the quality, integrity, and microstructure stems from a
number of characteristics unique to lightweight concrete that includes: The
pozzolanic alumina/silicate surface of the fired ceramic aggregate combines with
CaOH2 liberated by hydration of the Portland cement. 6-17 Reduced microcracking
in the contact zone because of the elastic similarity of the aggregate and the
surrounding cementitious matrix. Hygral equilibrium between two porous materials
(Lightweight aggregate and porous cementitious matrix) as opposed to the usual
condition with normalweight aggregate, where bleed-water lenses form around
essentially non-absorbent coarse natural aggregates. These lenses have water-
tocementitious materials ratios significantly higher than in the rest of the matrix.

When supplementary cementitious materials are added, the highquality

microstructure of the contact zone around lightweight aggregate is moderately
enhanced. However, when supplementary cementitious materials are used in
concretes containing normalweight aggregate, this zone of weakness is profoundly
improved. While the reduction in compressive and tensile strength due to poor
contact zone is important, the significance of increasing permeability is even
greater. Increasing permeability inevitable leads to penetration of aggressive agents
that accelerate corrosion of embedded reinforcement. The permeability of concrete
is greater than the permeability of its constituents. This increase in permeability
results from interfacial flaws at the aggregate surface linking up with microcracking
in the transition layer. The phenomenon of bleed water collecting and being
entrapped under coarse particles of lightweight aggregate is mitigated if not
eliminated. This has been verified in practice by the examination of the contact zone
of lightweight concrete tensile splitting cylinders, as well as by visual examination
of sandblasted vertical surfaces of building structures. This observation should not
be surprising because, with structural lightweight concrete, the aggregate/matrix
interface is a boundary between two porous media, while with normalweight
concrete there is an abrupt transition at the dense aggregate/porous cementitious
matrix interface‖, ASTM 169D, Chapter 48, (2006).

Implication of Contact Zone on Failure Mechanisms

Exposed concrete must endure the superposition of dynamic forces

including variable live loads, rapid temperature changes, moisture gradients, and
dilation due to chemical changes. These factors cause a predominantly tensile-
related failure. Yet, the uniaxial compressive strength is traditionally considered the
preeminent single index of quality, despite the fact that inadequate concrete
performance is seldom related to this parameter. The simplicity and ease of
compression testing has diverted our focus from life-cycle performance and the
development of appropriate measurement techniques that quantify durable concrete
characteristics. In general, weakest link mechanisms are undetected in uniaxial
compression tests due to concrete’s forgiving load-sharing characteristics in
compression, because of localized yielding and the closure of temperature and
volume-change cracks. 6-18 Weakest link mechanisms, however, are decisive in
tensile failures in both dynamic and durability exposure conditions. In most
concretes the limiting factor in the long term performance is the integrity of contact
zone. Additionally, a full comprehension has not been developed regarding the
accommodation mechanism by which the pores closest to the aggregate/matrix
interface provide an accessible space for products that cause deleterious expansion.
While research has identified ettringite, alkali-silica gel, marine salts, and corrosion
products in these near-surface pores, it is still not fully understood of how these
products impact service life (See ASTM 169D). Micrographs of concretes obtained
from mature structural lightweight concrete ships, marine structures, and bridges
have consistently revealed minimal microcracking and a limited volume of un-
hydrated cement grains. The boundary between the cementitious matrix and coarse
aggregates is essentially indistinguishable at the contact zone separating the two
phases in all mature high strength lightweight concrete’s.

7) Permeability

While technical literature contains numerous reports on the permeability of

concrete there is a limited number of papers where structural lightweight and
normalweight concrete were tested under the same conditions. Furthermore, almost
all studies measuring permeability use test conditions that are static insofar as the
concrete is concerned. While this approach is appropriate for dams and water
containing structures it is not relevant to bridges and parking garages which are
constantly subjected to dynamic stress and strain. Cover concrete is expected to
maintain its protective impermeable integrity despite the accumulation of shrinkage,
thermal and structural load related strains. Permeability investigations conducted on
lightweight and normalweight concretes exposed to the same testing criteria have
been reported by Khokrin, Nishi, Keeton and Bamforth. It is of interest that in every
case, despite wide variations in concrete strengths, testing media (water, gas and
oil), and testing techniques (specimen size, media pressure and equipment),
structural lightweight concrete had equal or lower permeability than its heavier
counterpart. Khokrin further reports that the lower permeability of lightweight
concrete was attributed to the elastic compatibility of the constituents and the
enhanced bond between the coarse aggregate and the matrix.

In the Onoda Cement Company tests, concretes with water to cement ratios
of 0.55, moist cured for 28 days when tested a 9 kg/cm water pressure had a depth
of penetration of 35 mm for normalweight concrete and 24 mm for lightweight
concrete. When tested with sea water, penetration was 15 and 12 mm for
normalweight and lightweight concretes respectively. The author suggested that the
reason for this behavior was, ―a layer of dense hardened cement paste surrounding
the particles of artificial lightweight coarse aggregate.‖ U.S. Navy
sponsored ―Permeability Studies of Reinforced Thin Shell Concrete‖, conducted by
Keeton reported the lowest permeability with high strength lightweight concrete.
Bamforth incorporated structural lightweight concrete as one of the four concretes
tested for permeability to nitrogen gas at 1 MPa pressure level. The normalweight
concrete specimens included high strength (90 MPa) concrete as well as concrete
with a 25% fly ash replacement. The sanded structural lightweight concrete (50
MPa, 6.4% air) with a density of 1985 kg/m (124 lb/cf) demonstrated the lowest
water and air permeability of all mixes tested. Mehta (1986) observed that the
permeability of concrete composite is significantly greater than the permeability of
either the continuous matrix system or the suspended coarse aggregate fraction. This
difference is primarily related to extensive microcracking caused by mismatched
concrete components differentially responding to temperature gradients, service
load induced strains and volume changes associated with chemical reactions taking

place within the concrete. In additions, channels develop in the transition zone
surrounding coarse aggregates giving rise to unimpeded moisture movements.

While separations caused by the evaporation of bleed water adjacent to

natural aggregates are 6-20 frequently visible to the naked eye, such defects are
almost unknown in structural lightweight aggregate concrete. The continuous, high
quality matrix fraction surrounding lightweight aggregates is the result of several
beneficial processes. Khokrin (1973) reported on several investigations which
documented the increased transition zone microhardness due to pozzolanic reaction
developed at the surface of the lightweight aggregates. Bremner et al (1984)
conducted measurements of the diffusion of the silica out of the coarse lightweight
aggregate particles into the cement paste matrix using energy dispersive X-ray
analytical techniques. The results correlated with Khokrin’s observations that the
superior contact zone in structural lightweight concrete extended approximately 60
microns from the lightweight aggregate particles into the continuous matrix phrase.
In addition, the contact zone in structural lightweight concrete is the interface
between two porous medias – the lightweight aggregate particle and the hydrating
cement binder. This porous media interface allows for hygral equilibrium to be
reach between the two phases, thus eliminating weak zones caused by water
concentration. In contrast, the contact zone of normalweight concrete is an interface
between a dense, non-absorbent component and a water rich binder. Any
accumulation of water at that interface is subsequently lost during drying, leaving

Fully hydrated portland cement paste has the potential to form an essentially
impermeable matrix that should render concretes impermeable to the flow of liquids
and gases. In practice, however, this is not the case, as microcracks form in concrete
during the hardening process as well as later due to shrinkage, thermal and applied
stresses. In addition, excess water added to concrete for easier placing will
evaporate leaving pores and conduits in the concrete. This is particularly true in
exposed concrete decks where concrete has frequently provided inadequate
protection for steel reinforcement. To evaluate this behavior several series of thick
walled cylindrical specimens were tested with flow of nitrogen gas being measured
radially as the axial load was increased. In this way flow rate could be measured

normal to the compressive stress as is the case of containment vessels and bridge
decks. To evaluate the influence of stress level on permeability normalweight and
structural lightweight concrete specimens were tested with increasing loads in a
nitrogen gas cell shown in Fig. 6.6. Nitrogen was chosen because the concrete’s
permeability would not be affected by this inert gas. The results were reported by
Sugiyama et. al (1996).

8) Poisson’s Ratio

Test to determine Poisson’s ratio of lightweight concrete by resonance methods

showed that it varied only slightly with age, strength or aggregate used and that the
values varied between 0.16 and 0.25 with the average being 0.21. While this
property varies slightly with age, test conditions and aggregate used, a value of 0.20
may be usually assumed for practical design purposes.

9) Splitting Tensile Strength

The tensile strength for continuously moist cured lightweight concretes is

correlated mainly with the compressive strength and may be considered equal to
that of equal compressive strength normal weight concrete. The tensile strength of
lightweight concretes which undergo drying is more relevant in respect to behavior
of concrete in structures. During drying of the concrete, moisture loss progress at a
slow rate into the interior of concrete members, resulting in the probable
development of tensile stresses at the exterior faces and balancing compressive
stresses in still moist interior zones. Thus the tensile resistance to external loading
of drying lightweight concrete will be reduced from that indicated by continuously
moist cured concrete. The splitting tensile strength of all-lightweight concretes
varies from approximately 70 to 100 percent that of normal weight reference
concrete when comparisons are made equal compressive strength

SKAA 2112
Civil Engineering Materials

Individual Assignment:
Lightweight Concrete

Name : Muhammad Aimi bin Jalaluddin

Matric No. : B17KA0009
Lecturer’s Name : Dr. Abdullah Zawawi bin Awang
Section : 03
History Lightweight Concrete

Generally, the properties of LWC can be indicated by doing laboratory

testing, but the overall performance of the material can only be demonstrated
adequately by its performance in the field by testing LWC structure under service.

Lightweight concrete has been successfully used for marine applications and
in shipbuilding. LWC ships were produced in the USA during the 1914-1918 war,
and their success led to the production of the USS Selma (a war ship). In both 1953
and 1980 the Selma’s durability was assessed by taking cored samples from the
water line area. On both occasion little corrosion was noted.

In 1984, Thomas A. Holm estimated that there were over 400 LWC bridges
throughout the world especially in USA and Canada. The research carried out by
The Expanded Clay and Slate Institute proves that most of the bridges appeared to
be in good condition.

According to ACI Material Journal by Diona Marcia, Andrian Loani, Mihai

Filip and Ian Pepenar (1994), it was found that in Japan LWC had been used since
1964 as a railway station platform. The study on durability was carried out in 1983
has proven that LWC exhibited similar carbonation depths as normal concrete.

Even though some cracks were reported, but these posed no structure
problems. A second structure comprising both LWC and normal concrete which had
been in seawater for 13 years was examined for salt penetration.

Materials of Lightweight

Natural light weight aggregates are found in some places and they are not of uniform
quality. Pumice is widely used as a natural light weight aggregates.

a) Pumice: These rocks of volcanic origin which occurs in many parts of the
Sawdust world. They are light enough due to the escaping of gas from the
molten lava when erupted from deep beneath the earth's crest. Pumice is
usually light coloured and has fairly even texture of interconnected cells.
b) Diatomite. This is hydrated amorphous silica derived from the remains of
microscopic aquatic plants called diatoms in deep ocean bed. Its density is
450 kg/m3.
c) Scoria: This is also of volcanic origin which is usually dark in colour and
contains larger and irregular shaped cells unconnected with each other. It is
slightly weaker than Pumice.
d) Volcanic cinder: These are loose volcanic product resembling artificial
e) Sometimes Sawdust is used as a light weight aggregates in flooring, roofing
tiles and in the manufacturing of precast products.
f) Rice husk: Limited use of the rice husk, ground nut husk and bagasse have
been used as light weight aggregates for the manufacture of light weight
concrete for special purposes.

Artificial Light Weight Aggregates:

a) Brick Bats: These are used where natural aggregates are not available or
costly. The aggregates are made from slightly over burnt bricks, which will
be hard and absorb less water.
b) Artificial cinders & coke breeze. These are residues from high-temperature
combustion of coal or coke in industrial furnaces. These are also used for
making screeds over flat roofs and for plastering.
c) Foamed stag. These are produced by treating blast-furnace slag with water.
The molten slag is run into pits containing controlled quantities of water or is
broken up by mechanical devices and subjected to sprays or streams of water.
The products are fragments that have been vesiculated by steam. The amount

of water used has a pronounced influence on the products, which may vary
over wide ranges in strength and weight.
d) Bloated clay. When certain glass and shale’s are heated to the point of initial
fusion, they expand or what is termed as bloat to many times their original
volume on account of the formation of gas within the mass at the fusion
temperature. The cellular structure so formed is retained on cooling and the
product is used as light weight aggregates.
e) Expanded shale and slate. All expanded shale and slate aggregates are made
by heating prepared materials to the fusion-point where they become soft and
expand because of entrapped expanding gases.
f) Sintered fly ash. It is finely divided residue, comprising of spherical glassy
particles, resulting from the combustion of powdered coal. By heat treatment
these small particles can be made to combine, thus forming porous nodules
which have considerable strength.
g) Exfoliated vermiculite: Raw vermiculite is a micaceous mineral and has a
laminar structure. When heated with certain percentage of water it expands
by delamination. This type of expansion is known as exfoliation due to which
the vermiculite expands even as much as 30 times and will have density of
only 60 to 130 kg/m3.
h) Expanded perlite. Perlite is one of the natural glasses like pumice. This when
crushed and heated to the point of incipient fusion at a temperature of about
1000° C it expands to form a light cellular material with density of about 30
to 240 kg/ m3

Development of Lightweight Concrete

Compared to normal and heavyweight concrete, lightweight concrete (LWC)

has the advantage of having a finer density. Therefore, the application of LWC in
skyscrapers buildings would reduce the overall weight of the buildings, reduce the
amount of material used and reduce seismic and wind loads. This is expected to
have an effect on the optimization of the structural systems of skyscrapers in terms
of energy efficiency and materials savings. Development of LWC by using a
foaming agent mixed with normal coarse aggregates rather than lightweight

aggregates would enable the use of massive lightweight concrete for different
structural applications.

Figure 1 and Figure 2 shows the basic concept of Development of Structural

Lightweight Concrete by Using Normal Coarse Aggregate and Foaming Agent
(Mohamed A. Ismail et. al, 2014). Point A refers to high strength concrete of more
than 100 MPa. Point B refers to normal strength concrete and point C refers to
lightweight concrete that is produced from lightweight aggregates.

Figure 1: Concept of structural lightweight foamed concrete

Figure 2

The feasibility of developing structural lightweight concrete using normal
coarse aggregates and foaming agent admixture:

i. The increase in the foaming agent dosage results in the development of pores
and, as a result, the density of mortar and concrete decreases.
ii. In order to obtain higher compressive strength, it is essential that the matrix
of the concrete should be improved. Therefore, it is judged that creating
pores through foaming agent addition to ultra-high strength concrete would
be more efficient to produce structural lightweight concrete.
iii. It is possible to calculate the modulus of elasticity and compressive strength
of structural lightweight foamed concrete from the measured values of
modules of elasticity and compressive strength of concrete without foaming
iv. Structural Lightweight Concrete can be made with normal coarse aggregates
and foaming agent.

Figure 2: Shape of lightweight aggregates

Applications of Lightweight Concrete (LWC)

The cellular concrete is considered more durable compared to traditional

insulating materials, especially when considering potential chemical/fire exposure
such as in process facilities. Lightweight concrete has its obvious advantages of
higher strength to weight ratio, better tensile strain capacity, lower coefficient of
thermal expansion, and enhanced heat and sound insulation characteristics due to air
voids in the concrete. The reduction in the dead weight of the construction materials
using lightweight concrete could result in a decrease in cross-section of concrete
structural elements (columns, beams, plates and foundation). Also the reduction in
dead load may reduce the transmitted load to the foundations and bearing capacity
of the soil. Subsequently, steel reinforcement can be minimized due to the

lightweight. LWC can be used in both non-load bearing and load bearing walls.
LWC can be applicable in construction engineering (compensation for the
foundation, pipeline backfilling, roof insulation, etc.), but also get some application
results in infrastructure facilities (such as bridge and culvert backfill, road widening,
resolving bumping at bridge-head of soft base embankment.

Use of LWC instead of Normal weight Concrete (NWC), for example, as a

floor slab in a multi-story building, depends on the relative costs and the potential
savings that can occur by the use of a lighter material. LWC is about 28% lighter
than normal concrete and, in a design where the dead load is equal to the live load, a
saving of 14% energy intensive steel reinforcement can result. Equal or greater
savings are achieved in columns and footings. For long-span bridges, the live load is
a minor part of the total load and reduction in density is translated into reductions in
not only mass, but also in section size. This is especially true where pre-stressing
can introduce load balancing effects that compensate for the reduced modulus of
LWC compared to NWC. The lower mass and the density are extremely important
in seismic areas where a reduction in the initial effects of the dead load may mean
the difference between section survival and section failure.

Normally, strength and stiffness decrease rapidly as a mineral develops

higher porosity and this occurs with lightweight aggregates as well. Normal weight
aggregates are much stiffer than the cement paste matrix and the aggregates cause
local stress concentrations. The regular aggregates, being much stronger than the
matrix, have no problem resisting the stress, however, at the aggregate-cement paste
interface, there is a zone of weakness which result in premature failure of the
composite. With LWC, the stiffness of the aggregate closely matches the stiffness of
the paste and a very uniform stress distribution results, leading to a higher strength
than would normally be expected. Also, the cement paste matrix bonds very
effectively to the expanded aggregates so no low strength interfacial layer is present.
These two factors effectively allow the structural lightweight aggregate concrete to
develop very high durability, and thus play an important role as a structural

Nowadays with the advancement of technology, lightweight concrete

expands its uses, for example, in the form of perlite with its outstanding insulating

characteristics. It is widely used as loose-fill insulation in masonry construction
where it enhances fire ratings, reduces noise transmission, does not rot and termite
resistant. It is also used for vessels, roof decks and other applications.

Uses of Lightweight Concrete:

1. Screeds and thickening for general purposes especially when such screeds or
thickening and weight to floors roofs and other structural members.
2. Screeds and walls where timber has to be attached by nailing.
3. Casting structural steel to protect it against fire and corrosion or as a covering
for architectural purposes.
4. Heat insulation on roofs.
5. Insulating water pipes.
6. Construction of partition walls and panel walls in frame structures.
7. Fixing bricks to receive nails from joinery, principally in domestic or
domestic type construction.
8. General insulation of walls.
9. Surface rendered for external walls of small houses.
10. It is also being used for reinforced concrete.

Aerated Lightweight Concrete is widely used in the manufacture of single

skin lightweight concrete wall panels, employing tilt-up construction. This is an
ideal situation for the manufacture of light commercial structures and factories as
well as residential housing. Aerated Lightweight Concrete can be used as a filling
material between dense weight concrete or other material to provide insulation. This
is ideal for use in fire rated structures, such as solvent store, munitions storage
facilities etc. Sandwich panels with various surface materials, using Lightweight
Concrete as columns & filler, are gaining increased acceptance for partition walls in
office complexes, commercial walling, shopping centers and internal walls of
residential houses and flats. Lightweight Concrete is often specified for use as a
lightweight filling material, or used to provide graded insulation on roof projects
beneath waterproofing membranes. Lightweight Concrete is also recognized as a
cost effective way to rehabilitate old floors (i.e. multi- storey buildings that have
wooden floors) which require a lightweight self leveling compound. Currently used

in the mining industry and applications in sewage lining grouting, this market has
enormous potential. Typical applications are void filling in mines, after excavation
work or disused trenches and shafts. This is just one example of how this market
can be developed. Its applications as decorative facades, lightweight garden
ornaments, lightweight blocks and reconstituted stone tiles etc.

Application in term of:

i. Architectural

Improved structural efficiency in terms of strength/weight ratios resulting

load reduction on the structure and substructure, fewer structural components
resulting in more usable space in the structure, a reduction in the number and size of
reinforcements, increased flexibility in absorbing strains and improved thermal
properties minimizing the effects of differential temperatures resulting in building
energy conservation as well as improved fire/spalling mitigation. It is ideally suited
for precast concrete products as larger units can be handled with the same handling
equipment or manually for same size units, resulting in speed and economy in
construction. These units in addition to smaller ones can be lifted or managed by
down-sizing machinery resulting in reducing site carnage requirements and
maximizing the number of concrete elements on trucks without exceeding highway
load limits reducing transportation delivery cost

ii. Geotechnical

Primary application of CLSM [Controlled Low Strength Material] is as a

structural fill or backfill in lieu of compacted soil. Compaction is not required and is
ideal for use in tight or restricted-access areas where placing and compacting fill is
difficult. Low density CLSM is especially advantageous where weak soil conditions
are encountered and the weight of the fill must be minimized. Provides superior
thermal insulation and shock mitigation properties. Lightweight foamed concrete fill
has been used successfully to prevent increased loads on embankment foundations.

iii. Restoration in General

Restorations, besides for floors, for all other types of casting (piles, bearing
walls, beams, slabs, stairs, structures on shelves, etc) that have to be lighten up not
to weigh on pre-existing structures and foundations.

iv. Structural Casting

Structures in which the load is the main component of the operating loads
(bridges with along bay, concrete roof tiles, large pre-fabricated panels, floors with
large clear spans, pedestrian platform and more. The use of lightweight concrete
enables the creation of thinner structures with lower sections, hence less concrete
and frames. The final results are aesthetically more pleasant besides being more

v. Construction in Seismic Area

The action of the earthquake is proportional to the mass of the structures

involved: in construction seismic area lightening a structure means reducing the
stress on the outer walls especially in restoration works.

Construction Control of LWC

Commercially available lightweight aggregate is usually supplied in three

principal sizes fine, medium, and coarse range in size to 20 mm maximum
depending upon its application. However, the problem is greater variations in
absorption, specific gravity, moisture content, and amount and grading of light
weight aggregates. If unit weight and slump tests are made frequently and the
cement and water content of the mix are adjusted as necessary to compensate for
variations in the aggregate properties and condition, reasonably uniform results can
be obtained. To insure material of uniform moisture content at the mixer,
lightweight aggregate should be wetted 24 hours before use. This wetting will also
reduce segregation during stockpiling and transportation. It is generally necessary to
mix lightweight concrete for longer periods than conventional concrete to assure
proper mixing and it should be cured by covering it with damp sand or by using a
soaker hose. Concretes made with many of the lightweight aggregates are difficult
to place and finish because of the porosity and angularity of the aggregates. The
condition can generally be improved by adjusting the grading of the aggregates.
This can be done by crushing the larger particles, adding natural sand, or adding
filler materials. The place ability can also be improved by adding an air-entraining




SKAA 2112
Civil Engineering Materials

ASSIGNMENT: Light weight concrete

Name : Mustaqeem bin Zolkeflee

Lecturer’s Name : Dr, Abdullah Zawawi bin Awang
Matric No. : B17KA0050
Section : Section 3
Lightweight concrete can be prepared either by injecting air in its composition or it can be
achieved by omitting the finer sizes of the aggregate or even replacing them by a hollow,
cellular or porous aggregate. Particularly, lightweight concrete can be categorized into three
i) No-fines concrete
ii) Lightweight aggregate concrete
iii) Aerated/Foamed concrete

No-fines concrete can be defined as a lightweight concrete composed of cement and fine
aggregate. Uniformly distributed voids are formed throughout its mass. The main
characteristics of this type of lightweight concrete is it maintains its large voids and not
forming laitance layers or cement film when placed on the wall. Figure below shows one
example of No-fines concrete.

No-fines concrete usually used for both load bearing and non-load bearing for external
walls and partitions. The strength of no-fines concrete increases as the cement content is
increased. However, it is sensitive to the water composition. Insufficient water can cause lack
of cohesion between the particles and therefore, subsequent loss in strength of the concrete.
Likewise too much water can cause cement film to run off the aggregate to form laitance
layers, leaving the bulk of the concrete deficient in cement and thus weakens the strength.

Porous lightweight aggregate of low specific gravity is used in this lightweight concrete
instead of ordinary concrete. The lightweight aggregate can be natural aggregate such as
pumice, scoria and all of those of volcanic origin and the artificial aggregate such as
expanded blast-furnace slag, vermiculite and clinker aggregate. The main characteristic of
this lightweight aggregate is its high porosity which results in a low specific gravity.
The lightweight aggregate concrete can be divided into two types according to its
application. One is partially compacted lightweight aggregate concrete and the other is the
structural lightweight aggregate concrete. The partially compacted lightweight aggregate
concrete is mainly used for two purposes that is for precast concrete blocks or panels and cast
in-situ roofs and walls. The main requirement for this type of concrete is that it should have
adequate strength and a low density to obtain the best thermal insulation and a low drying
shrinkage to avoid cracking.
Structurally lightweight aggregate concrete is fully compacted similar to that of the normal
reinforced concrete of dense aggregate. It can be used with steel reinforcement as to have a
good bond between the steel and the concrete. The concrete should provide adequate
protection against the corrosion of the steel. The shape and the texture of the aggregate
particles and the coarse nature of the fine aggregate tend to produce harsh concrete mixes.
Only the denser varieties of lightweight aggregate are 6 suitable for use in structural concrete.
Figure below shows the feature of lightweight aggregate concrete.

Aerated concrete does not contain coarse aggregate, and can be regarded as an aerated
mortar. Typically, aerated concrete is made by introducing air or other gas into a cement
slurry and fine sand. In commercial practice, the sand is replaced by pulverized fuel ash or
other siliceous material, and lime maybe used instead of cement.
There are two methods to prepare the aerated concrete. The first method is to inject the gas
into the mixing during its plastic condition by means of a chemical reaction. The second
method, air is introduced either by mixing-in stable foam or by whipping-in air, using an air-
entraining agent. The first method is usually used in precast concrete factories where the
precast units are subsequently autoclaved in order to produce concrete with a reasonable high
strength and low drying shrinkage. The second method is mainly used for in-situ concrete,
suitable for insulation roof screeds or pipe lagging. Figure below shows the aerated concrete.

The differences between the types of lightweight concrete are very much related to its
aggregate grading used in the mixes. Table below shows the types and grading of aggregate
suitable for the different types of lightweight concrete.

Types and Grading of Lightweight Concrete

Type Of Lightweight Type Of Aggregate Grading of Aggregate

Concrete (Range of Particle Size)

No-fines concrete Natural Aggregate Blast- Nominal single-sized

furnace slag Clinker material between 20mm
and 10mm BS sieve

Partially compacted Clinker Foamed slag May be of smaller

lightweight aggregate Expanded clay, shale, nominal single sizes of
concrete slate, vermiculite and combined coarse and fine
perlite Sintered (5mm and fines) material
pulverized-fuel ash and to produce a continues
pumice but harsh grading to make
a porous concrete
Structural lightweight Foamed slag Expanded Continues grading from
aggregate concrete clay, shale or slate and either 20mm or 14mm
sintered pulverized fuel down to dust, with an
ash increased fines content
(5mm and fines) to
produce a workable and
dense concrete
Aerated concrete Natural fine aggregate The aggregate are
Fine lightweight generally ground down to
aggregate Raw finer powder, passing a
pulverized-fuel ash 75 µm BS sieves, but
Ground slag and burnt sometimes fine aggregate
shales (5mm and fines) is also

Production of Light Weight Concrete

Mining is where the raw materials like limestone, silica, aluminates, ferric minerals and
others are obtained. Some typical materials used for calcium carbonate
in cement manufacturing are limestone, chalks, marbles, marls, and oyster shell.
Kiln is a cylindrical vessel, inclined slightly to the horizontal, which is rotated slowly about
its axis. The material to be processed is fed into the upper end of the cylinder. As the kiln
rotates, material gradually moves down towards the lower end, and may undergo a certain
amount of stirring and mixing. Hot gases pass along the kiln, sometimes in the same direction
as the process material, but usually in the opposite direction. The hot gases may be generated
in an external furnace, or may be generated by a flame inside the kiln. Such a flame is
projected from a burner-pipe which acts like a large Bunsen burner. The fuel for this may be
gas, oil, pulverized petroleum coke or pulverized coal.
Screening is the separation of material into 2 - 6 different sized products. The material is
separated by passing it through a vibrating 'screen box' which has a number of different sized
screens, or meshes, which the material falls through like a sieve. The material falls onto
attached conveyors which stock pile the end products. The end products can then be used in
the building and construction industries.

Mining of raw materials


Burning in rotary Kiln

Advantages of Light Weight Concrete
1) Reduced weight, with a wide range of possible densities and strength. Compared with
dense weight concrete, reduction in weight from 10% to 87% can be achieved.
2) The cost advantage would be typically around 15 to 20% compared with dense weight
concrete. 3) Additional, substantial savings are achieved due to a lower deadweight of the
building. Structural components and foundation cost are greatly reduced, in particular on
high-rise projects
4) It is possible to add other products to the foam Mix to obtain lightweight composite
concrete. Notably the use of various fibres increases the strength of the product and prevents
cracking in adverse conditions.
5) Fire rated to a minimum of 2 hours for a 75 mm (3") thick panel.
6) No obnoxious or toxic fume emission - no health hazards both in the manufacturing
process and if product is subjected to heat (such as in case of fire).
7) Ongoing savings on power / energy costs (for air-conditioning and heating) are very
substantial because of its thermal insulation qualities.
8) Aerated Lightweight Concrete can be sawn, sculptured with hand or common power tools
and be penetrated by normal building nails and screws.
9) Compressive strength can be varied according to requirements. This is a function of
density, moisture, mix proportion, chemical and physical characteristics of components
materials and curing method.
10) Low water absorption because of its closed cellular structure.
11) Acoustic properties are such that sound is being absorbed, not reflected as is the case with
dense weight concrete or brick walls.
12) The reduced weight facilitates cartage and handling and reduces transport cost.

Disadvantages of Light Weight Concrete

The only drawback of light weight concrete is that the depth of carbonation which is the
depth within which corrosion can occur under suitable condition is nearly twice than that of
normal concrete. Hence, special care will have to be taken to provide sufficient cover to the
reinforced to the light weight structures to grant protection against corrosion.

Advantages Disadvantages
i) rapid and relatively simple i) Very sensitive with water content
construction in the mixtures
ii) Economical in terms of ii) Difficult to place and finish
transportation as well as reduction because of the porosity and
in manpower angularity of the aggregate. In
iii) Significant reduction of overall some mixes the cement mortar
weight results in saving structural may separate the aggregate and
frames, footing or piles float towards the surface
iv) Most of lightweight concrete iii) Mixing time is longer than
have better nailing and sawing conventional concrete to assure proper
properties than heavier and stronger mixing
conventional concrete