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2.1 Concrete

Figure 2-1. Application of Concrete as a construction material for (left) building, and (right) road

Concrete is a composite material that is composed necessarily of a binding element, such

as a mixture of cement and water, embedded within of particles or fragments of aggregates,

commonly a combination of fine and coarse aggregates.

The frequent advantages in the widespread utilization of concrete as a construction material

were listed as follows:

 Concrete’s plastic ability that enables it to be casted to any desired shapes and forms

when the materials are mixed and hardens as time passes.

 Concrete’s quality in terms of its durability as to be compared to steel, which

corrodes, and to timber, which decays with time

 Concrete is economical: a) because of the abundance and relatively low price of the

aggregates which compose about 75% of the concrete’s volume, b) semi-skilled

workers can be typically employed and comparatively uncomplicated equipment

used in concrete works, and c) for its low maintenance cost.

 Concrete has adequately high compressive strength.

 Concrete has reasonably high fire resistance to fire as to be compared to that of

steel and timber.

 Concrete has aesthetic attributes since it can be easily produced of any shape and

color with the use of admixtures. (Erdoğan T.Y., Materials of Construction, Middle

East Technical University, Ankara, 2002)

2.1.1 Materials Used To Make Concrete Cement

Figure 2-2 Cement

Cement is a substance is a binder material used in construction that sets, hardens, and

adheres to other constituents (such as fine and coarse aggregates) to bond them together. Cement

mixed with fine aggregate produces mortar which is used in masonry works, or with sand and

gravel which produces concrete.

The most conventional cement, which are Portland Cement and Blended Cement, are

considered to be hydraulic cements mainly because of their property to set and harden to form a

stone-like mass by reacting with water. Cement is manufactured through the combinations of

limestone, marl or oyster shells, shale, clay and iron ore. The cement is finely ground that most of

it passes a sieve having 40,000 openings per sq. inch (1.6 openings per mm2).

There are five types of Portland Cement namely Types I, II, III, IV and V, and tw types

of Blended Cement which are I-P and I-S. Each cement type is manufactured to obtain certain

physical and chemical requirements for specific puroposes.

 TYPE I is a general-purpose cement. It is suitable for all uses when the special

properties of other types are not required.

 TYPE II cement is used when sulfate concentrations in ground water are higher

than normal. Type II will usually generate less heat at a slower rate than Type I or

Normal cement. Therefore, it may be used in structures of considerable mass, such

as large piers, heavy abutments, and heavy retaining walls. Its use will minimize

temperature rise, which is especially important in weather pours.

 TYPE III is a high-early-strength cement which will develop higher strength at an

earlier age. It is used when early from removal is desired. Richer mixes (higher

cement content) of Types I and II may be used to gain early strength.

 TYPE IV cement is used in massive structures, such dams. This type of cement is

used where the heat generated during hardening is critical.

 TYPE V cement is used in concrete exposed to severe sulfate action, and is used

mainly in the western section of the United States.

 TYPE I-P blended cement is a combination of Portland cement and a pozzolan. A

pozzolan, such as fly ash, by itself has no cementing qualities, but when combined

with moisture and calcium hydroxide (in the Portland cement) it produces a

cementing effect.

 TYPE I-S blended cement is a combination of Portland cement and blast-furnace

slag. The slag constitutes between 25 and 65 percent of the weight of the blended


Hydraulic cement maybe considered to be primarily composed of the following


 Tricalcium Silicate 3 CaO.S1O2 = C3 S

Tricalcium Silicate hydrates and hardens rapidly and is largely responsible

for initial set and early strength.

 Dicalcium Silicate 2 CaO.S1O2 = C2 S

Dicalcium Silicate hydrates and hardens slowly and contributes to strength

increases at ages beyond one week.

 Tricalcium Aluminate 3 CaO.Al2O3 = C3A

Tricalcium Aluminate causes the concrete to liberate heat during the first

few days of hardening and it contributes slightly to early strength. Cement with low
percentages of this compound are especially resistant to sulfates (Types II and Type


 Tetracalcium Aluminoferrite 4 CaO.Al2O3 .Fe2O3 = C4AF

Tetracalcium Aluminoferrite formation reduces the clinkering temperature,

thereby assisting in the manufacture of cement. It hydrates rapidly but contributes

very little to strength. Mixing Water for Concrete

Almost any natural water that is drinkable is satisfactory as mixing water for making or

curing concrete. However, water suitable for making concrete may not necessarily be fit for


The acceptance of acidic or alkaline waters is based on the pH scale which ranges from 0

to 14. The pH of neutral water is 7.0. A pH below 7.0 indicates acidity, and a pH above 7.0

indicates alkalinity. The pH of mixing water should be between 4.5 and 8.5.

Unless approved by tests, water from the following sources should not be used:

1. Water containing inorganic salts such as manganese, tin, zinc, copper, or lead;

2. Industrial waste waters from tanneries, paint and paper factories, coke plants,

chemical and galvanizing plants, etc.;

3. Waters carrying sanitary sewage or organic silt; and

4. Waters containing small amounts of sugar, oil, or algae.

Wash water can be reused in the concrete mixture provided it is metered and is 25 percent

or less of the total water. A uniform amount of wash water must be used in consecutive batches,

with subsequent admixture rates adjusted accordingly to produce a workable concrete that
conforms to the specifications. The total water must conform to the acceptance criteria of ASTM

C1602, Tables 1 and 2. ( Aggregates

Figure 2-3 (LEFT) Coarse aggregates and (RIGHT) fine aggregates

Aggregates are granular materials such as sand gravel, crushed stone, iron-blast furnace

slag which, together with water and Portland cement, are the necessary constituent in the

production of concrete. (


Aggregates are being graded by passing it through a series of sieves with gradually smaller

mesh sizes. It is conventionally considered to be fine aggregates when materials passed through

sieve #4 [0.187 in. (4.75 mm) openings], while all the materials that is retained on the #4 sieve is

designated to as coarse aggregates. The properties of concrete are principally determined by the

aggregates which constitutes about 75% of the concrete volume. (McGraw-Hill Encyclopedia of

Science & Technology, 10th Edition.) Admixtures

Figure 2-4 Liquid admixtures, from left to right: antiwashout admixture, shrinkage reducer,
water reducer, foaming agent, corrosion inhibitor, and air-entraining admixture.

Admixtures are the ingredients in concrete other than cement, water, and aggregates that

are incorporated to the mixture during or before the process of mixing to attain certain special

properties of concrete. The four frequently used admixtures are: 1) Air-entraining agents, 2) Water-

reducing admixtures, 3) Retarding admixtures, and 4) Color pigments. (McGraw-Hill

Encyclopedia of Science & Technology, 10th Edition.)

2.2 Lightweight Concrete

Light weight concrete is concrete weighing substantially less than that made using gravel

or crushed stone aggregates. This loose definition is generally agreed to cover a broad spectrum of

concretes ranging in weight from 12 to 120 pounds per cubic foot. (The Aberdeen Group. (1981).

Structural lightweight concrete)

2.2.1 Properties of Lightweight Aggregates Definition

Aggregates with an oven-dry particle density less 2000 kg/m3 or an oven-dry loose bulk

density less than 1200 kg/m3 are called as lightweight aggregates according to EN206-1:2000.

ASTM C330 also defines a maximum limit for the bulk density, which is 1120 kg/m3 and 880

kg/m3 for fine and coarse lightweight aggregate, respectively. Classification

Lightweight concrete are classified into two according to their sources:

A. Natural Lightweight Aggregates

Natural Lightweight Aggregates are acquired from processed volcanic

rocks. It generally composes of 2-5% water. (Mehta & Monteiro, 2006)

B. Manufactured (Synthetic) Lightweight Aggregates

Synthetic Lightweight Aggregates are developed forms of materials such as

clay, perlite, shale, slate, and vermiculite, which are generated by heat treatment,

usually around 1000 oC.

Figure 2-5 Air-dry densities of lightweight concrete range from 12 to 120 pounds per cubic foot.
Structural lightweight concretes at the right end of the spectrum have strengths of 2500 psi and
above. Adapted from ACI 213R-79, Reference 1. Specific Gravity

The specific gravity of lightweight aggregates is reasonably about 1/3 to 2/3 of normal

weight aggregates. Fine particles of lightweight aggregates have higher specific gravity than those

of coarse aggregates from the same source. The reason behind this is mainly because of the

removal of larger pores during the process of crushing (Neville & Brooks, 2010). Bulk Density

Bulk density of lightweight aggregates are quantified in dry-loose form, and is essentially

proportional to specific gravity for some grading and particle shape (ACI Committee 213, 2003).
Table 2-1 Maximum dry loose bulk density requirements of lightweight aggregates for structural
concrete (ASTM C330) Grading

ASTM C330 states the necessary modification on the grading requirement in order to fit

same volumetric distribution of materials retained on each sieve because of the certainty that

specific gravity of lightweight aggregates increases with the decrease in particle size in contrast to

normal weight aggregates.

Table 2-2 Grading requirements for lightweight aggregate for structural concrete (ASTM C330) Water Absorption Capacity

ACI Committee 213, 2003 states that the 24-hour water absorption capacity of lightweight

aggregates vary between 5 to 25% by dry mass depending on the pore system of the aggregate,
whereas it is less than 2% for most of the normal weight aggregates. According to Neville and

Brooks, 2010, 15% is the general absorption capacity of lightweight aggregates. Classification of Lightweight Concrete

According to method of production, lightweight concretes are divided into three (Neville

& Brooks, 2010):

a) Utilizing aggregates with low specific gravity: lightweight aggregate concrete

b) Introducing large voids within concrete or mortar body: aerated, cellular, foamed or gas


c) Utilizing only coarse aggregates to provide large interstitial voids: no-fines concrete

2.3 Charcoal

Charcoal is the lightweight black carbon and ash residue hydrocarbon produced by removing

water and other volatile constituents from animal and vegetation substances through the process

called pyrolysis, which is the heating of wood or other substances in the absence of oxygen.

Figure 2-6 Charcoal

2.3.1 Charcoal Properties


The quality of charcoal is determined by various quality factors, although all are inter-

related to a certain extent, which are measured separately. Moisture Content

Charcoal fresh from an opened kiln contains very little moisture, usually less than 1%.

Absorption of moisture from the humidity of the air itself is rapid and there is, with time, a gain of

moisture which even without any rain wetting can bring the moisture content to about 5-10%, even

in well-burned charcoal. When the charcoal is not properly burned or where pyroligneous acids

and soluble tars have been washed back onto the charcoal by rain, as can happen in pit and mound

burning, the hygroscopitity of the charcoal is increased and the natural or equilibrium moisture

content of the charcoal can rise to 15% or even more.

Quality specifications for charcoal usually limit the moisture content to around 5-15% of

the gross weight of the charcoal. Moisture content is determined by oven drying a weighted sample

of the charcoal. It is expressed as a percentage of the initial wet weight.

There is evidence that charcoal with a high moisture content (10% or more) tends to shatter

and produce fines when heated in the blast furnace, making it undesirable in the production of pig

iron. Volatile Matter other than Water

The volatile matter in charcoal can vary from a high of 40% or more down to 5% or less.

It is measured by heating away from air, a weighed sample of dry charcoal at 900°C to constant
weight. The weight loss is the volatile matter. Volatile matter is usually specified free of the

moisture content, i.e. volatile matter - moisture or (V.M. - moisture)

High volatile charcoal is easy to ignite but may burn with a smoky flame. Low volatile

charcoal is difficult to light and burns very cleanly. A good commercial charcoal can have a net

volatile matter content - (moisture free) of about 30%. High volatile matter charcoal is less friable

than ordinary hard burned low volatile charcoal and so produces less fines during transport and

handling. It is also more hygroscopic and thus has a higher natural moisture content. Fixed carbon content

The fixed carbon content of charcoal ranges from a low of about 50% to a high of around

95%. Thus charcoal consists mainly of carbon. The carbon content is usually estimated as a

"difference", that is to say, all the other constituents are deducted from 100 as percentages and the

remainder is assumed to be the per cent of "pure" or "fixed" carbon. The fixed carbon content is

the most important constituent in metallurgy since it is the fixed carbon which is responsible for

reducing the iron oxides of the iron ore to produce metal. But the industrial user must strike a

balance between the friable nature of high fixed carbon charcoal and the greater strength of

charcoal with a lower fixed carbon and higher volatile matter content to obtain optimum blast

furnace operation. [Trossero, M.A. 'Carbonizaciòn de leña: Paràmetros comparativos'. Congreso

ILAFA-Altos Hornos. Instituto Latinoamericano del Fierro y el Acero. (In Spanish). 1982] Ash content

Ash is determined by heating a weighed sample to red heat with access of air to burn away

all combustible matter. This residue is the ash. It is mineral matter, such as clay, silica and calcium
and magnesium oxides, etc., both present in the original wood and picked up as contamination

from the earth during processing.

The ash content of charcoal varies from about 0.5% to more than 5% depending on the

species of wood, the amount of bark included with the wood in the kiln and the amount of earth

and sand contamination. Good quality lump charcoal typically has an ash content of about 3%.

Fine charcoal may have a very high ash content but if material less than 4 mm is screened out the

plus 4 mm residue may have an ash content of about 5-10%. Adsorption capacity

As produced, normal wood charcoal is not a very active adsorption material for either

liquids or vapours because its fines structure is blocked by tarry residues. To convert the charcoal

to "activated" this structure must be opened up by removing the tarry residues. The most widely

used method today consists in heating the pulverised raw charcoal in a furnace to low red heat in

an atmosphere of superheated steam. The steam prevents the charcoal from burning away by

excluding oxygen. Meanwhile the volatile tars can be distilled away and are carried off with the

steam, leaving the pore structure open. The treated charcoal is run off into closed containers and

allowed to cool. Activation furnaces are usually continuous, i.e. the powdered charcoal passes

continuously cascade fashion through the hot furnace in the steam atmosphere. ( Mantell, C.L.

1968 Carbon and graphite handbook'. Chapt. 13. Adsorbents. Interscience Publishers. New York.) The chemical composition of charcoal

The table shows the following data derived from work on Australian eucalyptus.

( Humphreys, F.R. & Ironside, G.E. 1981 'Charcoal from NSW species of timber 3rd ed., Forestry

commission of NSW. Sydney.)

Table 2-3 Volatile Matter and Yield of Charcoal at Various Temperatures

Table 2-4 Inorganic Content of Bark Sapwood and Heartwood

2.3.2 Charcoal Dust

Charcoal dust is the residue black powdery substance typically found at the bottom of

charcoal sacks, charcoal selling stores or in charcoal making areas which results from the chip offs

from the charcoal slates. Charcoal dusts are considered to be waste and contributes mainly to air

pollution. To utilize charcoal dust, people have turned it into charcoal briquettes, used as fertilizer

in agriculture industry, and in the field of medicine. (Maria Nakirya, January 31, 2008).

2.4.1 Effect of Charcoal on the Porosity and the Properties of Concrete [Musa Resheidat,

Noufal Al-Araji (Al Balqa Applied University, Jordan), Mwafag Ghanma (Ohio State

University, United States of America)]

Their Research Study focuses mainly on the experimental investigation on

producing porous concrete by adding charcoal powder as part of the Portland pozzolanic

cement in concrete. The ratio of charcoal powder to cement ranged from 2.5% to 10%. The

Lightweight concrete samples were prepared by mixing the raw materials in a dry state for

about one minute to ensure the uniformity of the mix. Then pure water was added gradually

during mixing. All contents were then mechanically mixed for about three minutes. The

prepared batch was filled into a container to be used for sample preparation using

cylindrical plastic moulds of 33 mm diameter by 77 mm height. Next, the samples were

demoulded after one day and subjected to accelerated curing in boiling water for two hours,

and were subjected to heat-treatment. The parameters recorded in this study were relative

porosity, compressive strength, thermal conductivity and the microstructure.

The following conclusions were drawn from this study:

 Charcoal powder can be used in Lightweight Concrete

 Thermal conductivity of lightweight concrete decreases as the charcoal

percent increases

 Volume of porosity increases as the heating time is increased due to the

increase of charcoal

 The compressive strength increases as charcoal percent is increased

 The compressive strength decreases as the heating time is increased

 The charcoal acts as a binder in lightweight concrete

2.4.2 Compressive strength of Lightweight foamed concrete with charcoal as a sand

replacement (Yeong Huei Lee, Ming Han Lim, Yee Ling Lee, Yee Yong Lee, Cher

Siang Tan, Shahrin Mohammad & Chau Khun Ma)

Foamed concrete is a high performance concrete with lightweight properties and

strength-enhancing additive have drawn the attention of researchers towards a sustainable

lifestyle. This research study focuses on the effect in the compressive strength of various

lightweight foamed concrete filled with charcoal, with the incorporation of waste materials,

water-reducing agent and strength enhancement additives in order to obtain further

lightweight concrete.

The following conclusions were made (mainly focuses on charcoal):

 Charcoal with low specific gravity value has the potential to be applied into

LFC mix to enhance the strength and performance without increasing the

density. Full sand replacement was suggested in this research. Cement-

charcoal ratio of 2:1 was found relatively high in early compressive

strength. Moreover, finer particle size of charcoal improved the

compressive strength

 Alkaline-carbonate reactions should be considered to avoid concrete

expansion and spalling which lead to concrete degradation which may occur

in the mixture of full sand replacement with charcoal.

This study also stated for the further developments of Lightweight Foamed

Concrete research, charcoal can be treated by lowering the pH of the mix to avoid an

alkaline-carbonate reaction, in order to obtain a better consistency of lightweight concrete

without degrading the strength. These methods ensure the efficiency the charcoal as the

sand replacement for LFC.