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Sustainable Performing Concrete

Prepared based on the presentation conducted by Dr. Moussa Baalbaki

Head of Products & Solutions Portfolio, INSEE Cement
Ozo Colombo, Sri Lanka, 19th November 2018

Summary of the presentation

The cement and concrete industry faces two major challenges – how to supply the increasing demand for
cement and how to do this with the minimum environmental impact.

Concrete will undoubtedly grow considerably over the next few decades and will continue to be the
material of choice to build our infrastructure. Indeed, it is difficult to imagine a world without concrete. It
is also, next to water, by far the most widely used material in the world, with over 5 billion cubic meters
of concrete produced annually. It is thus imperative to decrease the environmental impact of building
with concrete and make concrete structures more sustainable & save budgets in the constructions.

By introducing new technology to the concrete structures it will be more durable, last significantly longer
and simultaneously have an improved ecological foot print. A key driver to make them change remarkably
is the use of high performance concretes (HPCs) during their construction phase.

There are many things that we can do to make constructions more sustainable, including:

1. replacing as much Ordinary Portland Cement (OPC) as possible with low CO2 footprint blended
cements manufactured with various supplementary cementing materials (SCMs) such as slag, fly
ash, natural pozzolan, limestone, etc.
2. using more durable high-performance concretes (HPCs)
3. adopting a performance based concrete design and specification rather than the prescriptive way
4. using alternative raw materials and fuels during clinker production
5. using recycled concrete, and perhaps other industrial wastes, as sources of aggregate

There is no simple definition of what constitutes “high performance concretes (HPCs)”. The phrase refers
to a family of concretes that have been formulated in such a way as to enhance one or more specific
characteristics. Basically, HPCs differ from “ordinary” concretes mostly in terms of their respective water
cement (w/c) ratios. Ordinary concretes generally have w/c ratios higher than 0.45; they are made using
more water than is necessary to fully hydrate the cement particles. Thus, at the end of the hardening
period, they contain a large open network of capillary pores. The more water, the weaker and more
porous the concrete becomes; this results in less durable, and hence less sustainable concrete structures.
In contrast, HPC’s are made with w/c ratios below 0.45; they contain significantly less water than is
necessary to fully hydrate the cement. If they are properly cured, they are not only stronger, but much
less porous than ordinary concretes, leading to greatly enhanced durability and sustainability.

© 2018 INSEE Cement, Sri Lanka I I&A Knowledge Sharing Session

HPC’s have interesting 'technological' advantages compared to traditional concrete:
- Improved durability against physio-chemical aggressions (reduced permeability, better protection of the
reinforcement against corrosion, reduction of chlorine ion penetration, decrease risk of alkali-silica
reaction, better frost resistance, etc.). This improved durability has great advantages in terms of long-
term maintenance.

- As a rule, a very high fluidity in the fresh state. This feature makes it easier to consolidate concrete, even
in areas with high steel density.

- Higher early strength. This property reduces the formwork time and accelerate the pre-stressing time.
Shortened cycle time are therefore possible.

- Increased final strength, which allows reduced concrete sections and consequently weight of

- A higher modulus of elasticity, which can improve the aerodynamics stability of tall buildings and slender

- A reduced drying shrinkage, which is advantageous for the control of cracks deformations of a
construction, as well as with respect to pre-stressing losses.

Historically, HPC’s has been used in the United States for the construction of high rise buildings, with
concretes having compressive resistances of 120 to 130 MPa. Today we can routinely produce high
performance concretes with compressive strengths greater than 80 MPa, at slumps 200 mm. Such High-
Performance Concretes are more sustainable than “ordinary” concretes, from the points of view of both
material properties and durability.

• The concrete that was known as high-strength concrete in the late 1970’s is now referred to as
HPC in terms of:

 high early and late strength

 high E-modulus & low creep
 high workability
 low permeability
 Better sulfate & chloride resistance
 frost resistant
 chemical resistant
 abrasion resistance

© 2018 INSEE Cement, Sri Lanka I I&A Knowledge Sharing Session

+ concrete High performance
(SPC) concretes with blended
cements & low W/C
Free-repair concrete
Concrete durability

Heavy cost
Conventional concretes
of repair with Ordinary Portland
cement & high W/C
- Service life / cost
Fig 01: Variation of cost of repair of a concrete with its performance

Optimum use of HPC’s requires a very close collaboration between the owner, the architect, the
engineer, the contractor, the concrete plant and the control Laboratory.

There are many advantages by utilizing the features of high performance concretes for high rise
buildings and it is common to use high strength concretes to get above expectations of durability & the
“Economic and space utilization necessity” to improve the performance on “total cost of ownership”
that leads to a saving of ~10% from the whole concrete structures.

Fig 02: Advantages of high performance concretes in high rise sector

© 2018 INSEE Cement, Sri Lanka I I&A Knowledge Sharing Session

It is important to mention that the durability of reinforced concrete is an aspect of great relevance to our
society. Most countries worldwide are faced with a large proportion of their ageing civil and building
infrastructure needing repair, which is related to significant economic burdens to national budgets. In
many cases. premature deterioration of concrete structures can be linked to inadequate design methods
for concrete durability as well as a lack of quality control during construction.

From prescriptive design to modern performance based design:

Traditional design and specification methods for concrete durability are based on prescriptive concept,
which result in material and cover depth specifications based largely on simplistic descriptions of factors
such as exposure classes. Following this approach, durability specifications in most existing codes and
standards are based primarily on establishing constraints to the material and mix proportions of the
concrete, such as maximum w/c ratio, total minimum cementitious materials content, and minimum
concrete strength. In this approach, design for durability includes the choice of exposure class and
compliance with material requirements, concrete cover requirements, and placing, compacting and curing
procedures. Notably, few of these requirements can be verified during actual construction.

The following figure 03 & 04 describes the process from simple prescriptive concept to the modern
performance based design, the method of choice & standards in modern construction.


IDENTIFY the exposure environment


CONTROL TESTS on moulded
specimens (cured under standard

STANDARD (e.g. EN 206-1)

Mix design, type of materials

Cover depth NO
Construction procedures COMPLIANCE?
(Eventual protective measures)


(usually base only on
compressive strength)

Repair and
YES measures

Fig 03: Key stages of a conventional prescriptive design

© 2018 INSEE Cement, Sri Lanka I I&A Knowledge Sharing Session

IDENTIFY the exposure
(quantify environmental load)


DETERIORATION MODE (input parameters: environment,
(e.g. transport mechanism) durability indicators)

Testing methods (simulation of YES
environment and deterioration mode)
Criteria for the evaluation REPAIR &
Moulded specimens + concrete
cover depth + In situ concrete

Mix design, type of materials assessment
Cover depth
Construction procedures

Determination of durability indicator SLM check
in lab test simulating
deterioration mode

Birth Certifcate

Fig 04: Key stages of a modern performance based design

However, many researchers and engineers argue that durability for a concrete structure in each
environment is a material performance concept: as such it cannot be easily evaluated through simple mix
parameters. The prescriptive approach ignores, to a large extent the performance of the various blended
cements types and of the mineral components added to the concrete itself, as well as the type of
aggregate, and does not allow to consider the influences of on-site practice during the construction
process. It also cannot explicitly account for a rational service life requirement. Performance concepts,
on the other hand, are based on quantitative predictions for durability (or service life) from exposure
conditions and measured material parameters. The resistance of the structure, measured through
durability parameters of the actual concrete used, is compared against the environmental load. On this
basis, deterioration of a structure during its lifetime is quantified using appropriate service life or
deterioration models. In this concept, the actual concrete properties, preferably measured in situ, are of
critical importance. The main advantage of the performance approach to concrete durability design
include that relevant material parameters can be specified and measured, which results in efficient quality
control of the as-built structure and consequently in better durability properties, extended service life,
and reduced need for costly maintenance and repair. The performance approach further supports
innovation in material technology as it moves away from restrictive requirements for material
composition and construction.

© 2018 INSEE Cement, Sri Lanka I I&A Knowledge Sharing Session

Identified some of key testing parameters can classified as follows and INSEE is providing professional
supports on most of them.

 Rapid chloride penetration test (ASTM C 1202) to evaluate the Chloride Permeability
 Chloride Migration or Resistivity test (SIA 262/1-B, NT Build 492)
 Specific Resistivity test for penetration [Wm] (RILEM TC 154, AASHTO TP 95)
 Sulphate Resistance of Concrete (SIA 262-1/A)
 Water Penetration (EN 12390-8) to identify the permeability of a concrete
 Capillary Water Absorption / Porosity (SIA 262-1/A)
 Evaluation of temperature evaluation of a concrete during mass pouring to prevent thermal
cracks & formation of delayed ettringite which cause for a crucial damage on the service life of a
 Workability measures for a successful HPCs

The switch from old design to modern performance based design will bring significant benefits to all
stakeholders & society benefits for lower CO2 emissions and climate changes. Clients / project owners /
governments as well as individual house builders receive longer lasting structures with potential for LEED
certifications and more robustness on aggressive environments.

Finally, the curing is play a major role of defining the properties of a concrete such as ultimate strength &
serviceability. Therefore,

 HPC must be cured quite differently from usual concrete

 The use of curing compound has no value in inhibiting autogenous shrinkage
 The most critical curing period runs from its placement and finishing up to 2 or 3 days
 Contractors must be specifically paid to cure concrete since it is a profitable long-term

© 2018 INSEE Cement, Sri Lanka I I&A Knowledge Sharing Session

For further details please contact us,
Innovation & Application Center , INSEE Cement
413, R.A De Mel Mw,
Colombo 03, Sri Lanka.
Tel: +94 117 800 801
E Mail :

Biography of the presenter

Dr. Moussa Baalbaki

Head of Products & Portfolio, INSEE Cement

o Hold a Ph.D in Civil Engineering from Sherbrooke University in Canada on the Influence of the
cement/superplasticizer interaction on concrete properties
o Started his professional career in 1989 as Research Engineer for the Industrial chair on concrete
technology and the Network of Centre of Excellence on High Performance Concrete in Canada.
o Joined Corporate Holcim Group Support in Switzerland in 1998 and hold several positions until 2017
in the area of R&D, Open Innovation, Advanced Concrete Technology & Technology transfer
o Since January 2018 Joined INSEE Lanka as head of Products & Solutions Portfolio
o Large experience with customer needs for the different construction application segments on
concrete technology and its constituents, from production to product applications coupled with
holistic vision on cement, aggregate and admixture technology.



 AITCIN, P.C., BAALBAKI. M. (1995) Canadian experience in producing and testing HPC, ACI SP-159,
pp. 295-308
 LESSARD, M., GENDREAU, M., BAALBAKI, M., PIGEON, M., AITCIN, P.-C. (1993) Formulation d'un
béton à hautes performances à air entraîné, Bulletin de liaison des laboratoires des ponts et
chaussées. Paris, n 188, November-December, pp. 41-51.
 BAALBAKI, W., BAALBAKI, M., BENMOKRANE, B., AITCIN, P.-C. (1992) Influence of specimen size on
compressive strength and elastic modulus of high-performance concrete, Cement, concrete and
aggregates, vol. 14, n° 2, pp. 113-117.

© 2018 INSEE Cement, Sri Lanka I I&A Knowledge Sharing Session

 SARKAR, S., BAALBAKI, M., AITCIN, P.-C. (1991) Microstructural development in a high-strength
concrete containing a ternary cementitious system, Cement, Concrete and Aggregates, vol. 13, n° 2,
pp. 81-87.


 NKINAMUBANZI, P.-C., BAALBAKI. M., AITCIN, P.-C. (1997) Comparison of the performance of four
superplasticizers on high-performance concrete, Fifth CANMET/ACI International conference on
Superplasticizers and other Chemical Admixtures in Concrete, Rome, Italy.
 LESSARD, M., BAALBAKI. M., AITCIN, P.-C. (1996) Effect of pumping on air Content characteristics of
conventional concrete, 75th TRB Annual meeting, Washington D.C., 7-11 January.
 LESSARD, M., BAALBAKl, M., AITCIN, P.-C. (1995) Mix design of air-entrained, high-performance
concrete, International Conference on Concrete under Severe Conditions- Environment and Loading.
Sapporo, Japan, 2-4 August, pp. 1025-1034.
 BAALBAKI. M., BEDARD, C, (1995) The influence of delayed addition of water reducer on the
properties of normal density concrete, Second CANMET/ACl international symposium on advances
in concrete technology, supplementary papers, Las Vegas, U.S.A., pp. 497-511.
 AITCIN, P.-C., BAALBAKI, M. (1994) Cement/superplasticizer/air entraining agent compatibility,
Fourth CANMET/ACI International conference on Superplasticizers and other Chemical Admixtures
in Concrete, Montreal, SP 148, pp. 47-62.
 AITCIN, P.-C., BAALBAKI, M. (1994) Concrete admixtures - Key components of modern Concrete,
CONTECH'94 International RILEM Workshop on Technology Transfer of the New Trends in Concrete,
Barcelona, Spain, November, 15 p.
 BAALBAKl, M., BAALBAKI, W., SARKAR, S.L. (1993) A comparative study of mechanical properties
and microstructure of high-performance concrete containing natural and artificial aggregates, Third
international symposium on utilization of high-strength concrete, Lillehammer, Norway, pp. 654–
 TAGNIT-HAMOU, A., BAALBAKl, M., AITCIN, P.-C. (1992) Calcium-sulfate optimization in low
water/cement ratio concretes for rheological purposes, 9th International Congress on the Chemistry
of Cement, 23-28 November, New Delhi, India, vol. 5, pp. 21-25.
 SARKAR, S.L., BAALBAKI. M. (1992) The influence of the type of cement on the properties and
microstructure of high-performance concrete, 9th International Chemistry of Cement, 23-28
November, New Delhi, India.
 BAALBAKI. M., SARKAR, S.L., AITCIN, P.-C., ISABELLE, H. (1992) Properties and microstructure of high-
performance concretes containing silica fume, Slag and fly ash, 4th CANMET/ACl International
Conference on Fly Ash. Silica Fume, Slag and Natural Pozzolans in Concrete, lstambul, Turkey, SP132,
vol. 2, pp. 921-942.
 BAALBAKl, M., TAGNIT-HAMOU, A., SARKAR, S.L. (1992) Material technology, properties and
microstructure of high performance concretes for developing nations, Fourth International
Colloquium on Concrete in Developing Countries, 17-20 February, Kingston, Jamaica, pp. 91-100.

© 2018 INSEE Cement, Sri Lanka I I&A Knowledge Sharing Session

 BAALBAKI, M., LESSARD, M., LEPAGE, S., AITCIN, P-C. (1997) Effet du pompage sur le réseau d'air et
la durabilité des bétons à air entraîné. 4ieme colloque sur la progression de la recherche
Québécoise sur les ouvrages d'art. Ministère des Transports du Québec, 28-29 April, Québec,
 BAALBAKI, M. (1995) Influence de la séquence d'introduction d'un réducteur d'eau et de l'agent
entraîneur d'air sur les propriétés du béton frais et durci de densité normale. Demi-journée de
transfert technologique de la chaire industrielle en technologie du béton de l'université de
Sherbrooke, Canada.
 LESSARD, M., BAALBAKI, M. (1995) Effet du pompage sur le réseau d'air. Demi-journée de transfert
technologique de la chaire industrielle en technologie du béton de l'université de Sherbrooke,
 AITCIN, P.-C., BAALBAKI, M. (1995) Les adjuvants - des composants très importants pour la
durabilité des bétons. Demi-journée de transfert technologique de la chaire industrielle en
technologie du béton de l'université de Sherbrooke, Canada.
 AITCIN, P.-C., BAALBAKI. M. (1994) High-performance concrete, International Workshop on High-
performance Concrete, Bangkok, Thailand, November, 15 p.
 BAALBAKI, M. (1994) Summary of research carried out for the Cement/admixture Subcommittee
from 1990-1994 on the industrial chair on Concrete technology of the university of Sherbrooke. IV
colloque R&D НОLDERСНЕМ, Моntreal, Canada.
 TAGNIT-HAMOU, A., SLIM, F., BAALBAKI, M. (1993) Propriétés d'un Nouveau Ciment Superplastifié,
76°Congrés da la Société Canadienne de Chimie. Sherbrooke, Canada.
 JOLICOEUR, C., SIMARD, M.-A., AITCIN, P.-C., BAALBAKI. M. (1992) Cement Superplasticizer
compatibility in high performance concretes: the role of Sulfates, Half-day open presentations.
Réseau de centres d'excellence sur les bétons à haute performance, Toronto, Canada, pp. 9-27.
 AITCIN, P.-C., GAGNÉ, R., BAALBAKI, M., POULIN, C. (1992) Les coulis à haute performance,
Deuxième colloque sur la consolidation et la réfection des infrastructures par les techniques
d'injection. Centre de recherche interuniversitaire sur le béton, Sherbrooke, Canada, May, pp. 33-
 BALLIVY, G., SALEH, K., MNIF, T., BAALBAKI, M. (1992) Note technique sur les essais de
caractérisation et l'utilisation des coulis de ciment, Deuxième Colloque sur la consolidation et la
réfection des infrastructures par les techniques d'injection. Centre de recherche interuniversitaire
sur le béton, Sherbrooke, Canada, May, pp. 281-300.
 JOLICOEUR, C., SIMARD, M.-A., AITCIN, P.-C., BAALBAKI. M. (1992) Cement superplasticizer
compatibility in high performance concretes: the role of Sulfates, ACI Chapter of Quebec and Eastern
Ontario. Progress in Concrete, Montreal, Canada, 29 p.
 AITCIN, P.-C., BAALBAKI, M., BAALBAKI, W., GAGNE, R., LESSARD, M. (1990) Le béton à haute
résistance : connaissance sur le matériau, où en sommes-nous? Première réunion annuelle du Réseau
de centres d'excellence sur les bétons à haute performance, Sherbrooke, PQ, 30 p.
 AITCIN, P.-C., BAALBAKI, M. (1990) La compatibilité ciment Portland/adjuvant : une histoire qui se
répète, Séminaire sur les superplastifiants, Centre de recherche interuniversitaire sur le béton,
Université de Sherbrooke, Canada, pp. 41-48.

© 2018 INSEE Cement, Sri Lanka I I&A Knowledge Sharing Session

 BAALBAKI, M. (1990) Façon pratique d'évaluer le dosage en superplastifiant : la détermination du
point de saturation, Séminaire sur les superplastifiants Centre de recherche interuniversitaire sur le
béton, Université de Sherbrooke, Canada, pp. 69-79.
 AITCIN, P.-C., BAALBAKI, M. (1990) Portland Cement/Admixture Compatibility: The Recurrent Story,
Advances in Superplasticizer Technologies, B.A. Chemicals, Alcan, London, UK, October, 57 p.


 Method for the Production of High-Strength, Acid-Resistant Concrete, AT2004599A /

WO2005IB882A, 2004, Ko, S.-C., Baalbaki M., Gebauer, J.
 Hydraulic Binder, AT20111005A / WO2012IB1357A, 2011, Matthes W., Castelltort Z., Matschei T.,
Baalbaki M.
 Method for the production of a building material, AT20111414A / WO2012IB1901A, 2011, Baalbaki
M., Ko S.-C.
 Fast drying concrete - Filed, 2015, publication pending
 Zero Shrinkage concrete – Filed, 2015, publication pending
 Low Carbon Concrete – Filed, 2015, publication pending
 Premixed binder - Filed, 2015, publication pending

© 2018 INSEE Cement, Sri Lanka I I&A Knowledge Sharing Session