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Mwasha: Natural and Recycled Guanapo Quarzite Aggregates 50

ISSN 1000 7924

The Journal of the Association of Professional Engineers of Trinidad and Tobago
Vol.38, No.1, October 2009, pp.50-56

Natural and Recycled Guanapo Quarzite Aggregates for

Ready Mix Concrete
Abrahams Mwasha

Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, The University of West Indies

St Augustine Campus, Trinidad and Tobago, West Indies;

(Received 29 April 2009; Revised 16 June 2009; Accepted 14 September 2009)

Abstract: Quarrying involves the removal of the harder aggregates from the ridges and mounds in the area,
while fine aggregates left over are prone to weathering and erosion. This exacerbates the risk of landslides
leading to serious environmental problems. Today, aggregates from recycling concrete are gaining
importance because it protects natural resources and eliminates the need for disposal by using the readily
available concrete as an aggregate source for new concrete or pavement subbase layers. Quality of the
products containing recycled aggregates is often the source dependent. Rigorous monitoring and testing can
broaden the use of recycled aggregates into applications. In this paper the author will analyse the physico-
mechanical properties and micro-structural properties of recycled quartzite aggregates mixed with ordinary
Portland cement. The result of this investigation can be used to explain the physical and mechanical
behaviour of hardened concrete manufactured using recycled Guanapo Quartzite aggregates.

Keywords: aggregates, cement, concrete, construction wastes

1. Introduction test cubes were performed according to BS 1881:

It has been confirmed that concrete is not an Part 116 (BSI, 1983c). The manipulation of the
environmentally friendly material due to its water to cement ratio (w/c ratio) for a varied sample
destructive resources-consumption nature and severe of recycled aggregate was conducted by randomly
environmental impact after its use. Today, Portland varying the amount of LS, MS and HS. Various w/c
Cement Concrete (PCC) remains one of the major ratios (including 0.4, 0.45 and 0.5) were adopted in
construction materials being utilised worldwide this work.
occupying 55-80% of concrete volume. Without
proper alternative for aggregates in the future, the 2. Quarry Industry in Trinidad and Tobago and
concrete industry globally will consume 8-12 billion its Ecological Impact
tones annually of natural aggregates after the year The Trinidad and Tobago (T&T) quarry industry
2010 (Mark, 2007). Aggregates which occupy at comprises fifty-six (56) active quarries of which
least three quarters of the volume of concrete play a thirty-eight (38) are sand and gravel quarries. Total
major role in reducing shrinkage, bleeding and of production from the quarry sector for year 2002 was
course enhancing strength for medium and high approximately 5.3 million cubic meters. Of this
strength concrete, according to Neville (1996). production 3.4 million meters were sand and gravel.
In this paper, the compressive strength of cubes It is believed that a considerable amount of sand and
using varying grades of Recycled Aggregates (RA) gravel came from unlicensed quarry operations
were performed for different grades such as Low (Arvind, 2008).
strength (LS) having compressive strength values The quarry operations, in Trinidad fall within the
below 30 MPa, Medium Strength (MS) having northern range of mountains, which are an extension
compressive strength values between 30 and 40, and of the Andean Mountains in the South America. This
High strength (HS) having a compressive strength area has primeval tropical rainforests, renowned for
greater than 40 MPa. The compressive strength of all their diversity of flora and fauna. Typically, the
A. Mwasha: Natural and Recycled Guanapo Quarzite Aggregates 51

rainforest includes over 2 300 plant species with 700 processing of demolition waste, so as to convert it
species of orchids, and provides a habitat to over 430 into satisfactory aggregate free from contaminants is
species of birds, 620 species of butterflies, 100 still being developed and there is no proper standard
species of mammals, 70 species of amphibians and to be followed.
freshwater fish, and 70 species of reptiles The strength, physical and chemical properties
(Shrivastava at el., 2009). of natural aggregates depend entirely in the
The movement of heavy masses of rocks is properties of the parent rock. The properties of
likely to destabilise the hill slopes and lead to further recycled aggregates depend on both natural
sliding of soil and loose masses rolling down the aggregates and hardened older cement paste
same. Landslides and topographical changes are surrounding them. The older cement paste may have
interrelated with the effects on hydrology and a considerable influence on the quality of the
watershed (see Figure 1). concrete, either fresh or in the hardened state.
Considering the nature of recycled aggregates, it is
difficult to define a good recycled aggregate other
than by saying that it is an aggregate from high
strength concrete.

4. Methodology
Recycled concrete used in this paper was derived
from relatively young aged concrete (i.e., one to two
years). In this paper, the properties of both fresh and
hardened concrete using re-cycled quartzite
aggregates from T&T were analysed. Four different
tests were performed.
Firstly concrete cubes were manufactured and
cured properly to attain 28 days strength. High
strength quartzite aggregates and type-1 cement from
Figure 1. Schematic view of slope instability Trinidad were used. These cubes were tested at
caused by mining activities varying water cement ratio. After 28 days, the
hardened concrete cubes were crushed to determine
3. Potential for the Use of Recycled Aggregates their compressive strength.
There is a need to find and supply suitable substitute Secondly the crushed blocked were further
for natural aggregates as soon as possible. Utilisation crushed and sieved. These aggregates were used to
of recycled concrete wastes has been taking place for manufacture new concrete blocks using the same
many years i.e. 42 million tonnes of construction and water/cement ratio (i.e., 0.4, 0.45 and 0.5). After
demolition waste (including concrete) was recycled curing for 28 days compressive Strength tests were
in the United Kingdom (UK) in 2001 that is an performed.
increase of 382% since the early 90s. The use of Thirdly, mixtures of different aggregates from
primary aggregates for construction has decreased by different water/cement ratios were used to
28% from 1989 to 2002. The use of manufacture and test the samples. Fourthly, the
recycled/secondary aggregates for construction has physical chemical methods were used to investigate
increased by 94% during 1989 to 2002. Though there the crushed samples.
is impressive increase in the use of recycled concrete
in T&T, basically these recycled aggregates are used 5. Materials and Samples
as fillers in road construction and in low-level 5.1 Portland Cement
applications due to impurities and defects associated The Portland cement used in this experiment was
with recycled aggregates (Mwasha and Mark, 2008). manufactured at Trinidad Cement Limited. The
According to ACI221R-87 (ACI, 1999), composition of typical cement used in this
recycling of concrete for aggregates involves experiment is shown in Table 1. More detailed
breaking, removing, and crushing existing concrete specification for this cement can be referred to the
into a material with a specified size and quality. The European Standards ENV 1974 (EN, 1992).
A. Mwasha: Natural and Recycled Guanapo Quarzite Aggregates 52

Table 1. The composition of Portland cement was used porosity.

Most of Quartzite aggregate is located in the
Chemical Compound % of total weight foothills of the northern range and is normally
SiO2 22.06 overlain with 2-3 meters of heavy clay as suggested
CaO 65.39 by (Suite, 1977). Guanapo is relatively pure forms
Fe2O3 0.02 of quartz (~ 99% quartz), the yellow brown colour of
MgO 1.13 the Guanapo is a staining deposit of ferric oxide
Al2O3 4.25 deposit. Suite (1977) pointed out that this surface
SO3 2.98 deposit has moved over time into the micro cracks of
Na2Oeq 0.53 the crystalline particles and in some cases becomes
K2O 0.50 an inter-crystalline impregnation.
Na2O 0.20 Guanapo aggregates are highly weather-resistant
<Insert Table 1 about here> that it tends to have a sugary appearance, and when
broken, the fractures cut through the sand grains, not
5.2 Water around them as is with sandstone.
Natural (i.e. ordinary tap water) was used. Natural Soundness test was carried according to ASTM
water in Trinidad is slightly acidic with pH value of C88-76 (ASTM, 1976). The specific gravity of these
6.5. Portland Cement Concrete can be attacked by aggregates was 2.65 and the moisture contents were
liquids with pH value below 6.5. According to approximately 2.25%. The variations of moisture
Neville (1996), the attack is severe only at a pH content in the mixes were adjusted accordingly,
below 5.5. It was found that the content of humic taking into account this increase in moisture so as to
and organic acids was at minimum in the water used. maintain specified water/cement ratios.
Figure 2 shows a texture of fractured Quantize
5.3 Natural Quartzite Aggregate in T&T Aggregate. The texture shown clearly indicates the
Quartz is a very common mineral and it is a possible interlock between aggregate and cement
chemical compound of silicon and oxygen known as paste. Depending on the water cement ratio these
silicon dioxide (SiO2). According to Akhavan spaces are filled with cement paste forming a
(2009), Quartz is usually classified in two groups stronger bond.
• Macro crystalline – This is the group of quartz
that form crystals and has macroscopically
crystalline structures.
• Crypto crystalline or microcrystalline – This
group does not exhibit any visible crystals and
has a dense structure.
Quartz in its pure form is colorless but it can
have any colour if it is impure. The tenacity of quartz
is brittle and is 7 on the Moh’s hardness scale. The
Guanapo quartzite is a milky quartz which is defined
as; “a crystalline quartz that is white and translucent
to almost opaque due to numerous evenly distributed
gas and/or fluid intrusions” (Akhavan, 2009).
The Quartzite aggregates used in this work were Figure 2. Natural Aggregate magnified x1000
extracted from number of quarry sites in Valencia,
Trinidad. These typical types of Quartzite can be 5.4 Recycled Aggregate
classified as a non-foliated metamorphic rock. This The recycled aggregates for this experiment were
is probably because these rocks were once exposed manufactured in laboratory using the above
to high temperature conditions, but not to high mentioned materials. The mixture ratio and curing
directional pressure conditions. The parent rock for process were monitored and recorded.
quartzite was probably a quartz-rich sandstone The cured concrete of the given mixes was
deeply buried and rising temperature fused the grains crushed to a suitable size (passing the 20mm sieve
together forming highly strong aggregates with low but retained by the 10mm sieve). This was in an
A. Mwasha: Natural and Recycled Guanapo Quarzite Aggregates 53

effort to maintain a nominal size distribution for

concrete production. Crushing was done by passing
portions of hardened concrete through a Jaw crusher.
Different batches of aggregate were done, all
depending on the compressive strength of the
concrete samples from which they were obtained. In
this way, a batch of aggregate derived from high
strength concrete was made.
The same process of generating specific grades
of recycled aggregate was done to obtain batches of
medium strength and low strength. Water
Absorption, Relative density on an Oven-Dried (OD)
basis, Relative density on a Saturated and Surface-
Dried (SSD) basis, apparent relative density – Done Figure 3. Grain size analysis of Aggregate
according to BS: Part 2 (BSI, 1975) as shown in for coarse and fine aggregates
Table 2.

6. Mix Design and Block Fabrication

Table 2. Aggregate Test results including Specific
Gravity, Water absorption and different weight values The blocks were fabricated in steel moulds with
internal dimensions of 150 x 150 x 150 mm. After
in Dry Water mixing the fresh concrete about 3kg of materials
Aggregate Water Wt SSD SG SG Absorption were placed into the mould in three layers. All layers
Type (g) (g) wt (g) (OD) (SSD) (%)
LS 1413.2 2273.5 2415.9 2.27 2.41 6.26 were compacted manually 35 times using 25 mm
MS 1445.9 2326.1 2446.1 2.33 2.45 5.16 square steel rod punner as described in BS 1881: Part
HS 1267.6 2048.0 2156.3 2.30 2.43 5.29 108 (BSI, 1983a). Cubes were cured according to BS
1881: Part 111 (BSI, 1983b).

Table 4. ACV values obtained for the RA GRADE mix Table 4. Mix design for the RA MIX
Aggregate M1 M2 ACV (%) Samples
Strength (g) (g) (=M2/M1x100) Mix Component 1 2 3
Low Strength 2262.80 737.00 32.57
Cement (kg) 3.80 3.77 3.744
Medium 2236.50 697.30 31.18
Strength Water (kg) 1.521 0.927 1.872
High Strength 2209.00 669.60 30.31 Fine Agg. (kg) 7.61 7.88 7.7
Coarse Agg. (kg) 11.41 11.589 11.232
Total wt. (kg) 24.339 24.166 24.548
Average Crushing Value was done according to Water loss (kg) 0.636 0.645507 0.625622
BS812 Part 110 (BSI, 1990). For the Average w/c 0.4 0.45 0.5
Crushing Value (ACV), the higher the value of the
ACV number, the weaker the material as shown in
Table 3. As expected, the ACV for HS RA was 7. Results and Discussion
lower than the rest. The ACV for MS RA being 7.1 Test Methods and Mode of Failure
lower than LS RA, thus concluding that the grade of The mode of failure for the concrete using the
the recycled aggregate affects the crushing capacity recycled aggregate was relatively difficult in
of the aggregate. ascertaining as the general uniformity produced by
using recycled aggregate complicated the specific
5.5 Grain Sieve Analysis mode of failure. The recycled aggregate itself is
Grain sieve analysis of natural aggregate and composed of coarse aggregate and mortar. When
recycled aggregates were performed so as to arrive at mixed with the other components to obtain the new
a more accurate recycled aggregate size distribution concrete mix, the transition between old and new
as shown in Figure 3. mortar may become less apparent. In this way, the
meaning of aggregate failure (i.e., the failure of the
A. Mwasha: Natural and Recycled Guanapo Quarzite Aggregates 54

coarse aggregate) or bond failure (i.e., the failure due thus yielding results without negatively affecting the
to the bonding between mortar and aggregate) true result. This apparent need for admixture is as a
changes slightly, as aggregate failure would result of high water absorption rates possessed by the
encompass the failure of the coarse aggregate within recycled aggregate.
the recycled aggregate, the failure of the bond
between coarse aggregate and old mortar or the 7.3 RA Grade Compressive Strength Tests
simultaneous failure of both coarse aggregate and Results showed that the higher the grade strength
mortar bond. of the concrete from which the recycled aggregate
was derived, the stronger the resulting mix of
7.2 RA-NA Mix Compressive Strength Tests concrete. HS RA showed a general greater
The maximum compressive strength achieved compressive strength than that of MS RA in the
overall was for the (w/c = 0.4) mix 28 day result of range of 3.5 MPa (for the 7-day test) to 15.2 MPa
58.9 MPa. Compressive strength results for RA MIX (for the 28-day test). MS RA showed a greater
(w/c = 0.5) after a period of 28 days showed a compressive strength than that of LS RA by at the
maximum of 53.2 MPa while NA (w/c = 0.5) least 5.3MPa (for the 7-day test) to 13.6MPa (for the
strength results showed a maximum of 40.9 MPa. 14-day test). This allows for the hypothesis that for
This is a 30% increase in compressive strength of the an increase in grade of recycled aggregate, the
NA strength result. When comparing the (w/c = 0.5) stronger the corresponding concrete mix. The highest
RA MIX and the (w/c = 0.55) RA MIX, a compressive strength was obtained by the HS RA
discrepancy was observed. The general compressive mix for its 28-day compressive strength of 54
strength of the (w/c = 0.5) RA MIX was lower than N/mm2 which can very well be classified as High
those of the (w/c = 0.55) RA MIX. The invariability Strength NA concrete. Results for the concrete mix
of compressive strength when using recycled using NA showed that generally the NA mix had
aggregate could be caused by high degree of greater compressive strength than the LS RA mix,
absorption of cement gel into the older porous but generally weaker than the MS RA and HS RA
cement making the bonding more stronger hence mixes as shown in Figure 5. Grade of aggregate used
high compressive strength. It was observed the 7-day is defined in the key to the right of the graph.
compressive strength (w/c= 0.55) was greater than
the 14-day compressive strength for both (w/c = 0.4
and w/c = 0.45) as shown in Figure 4.

Figure 5. RA GRADE mix results

Figure 4. NA - RA MIX Compressive Strength Results 7.4 Micro-Structural Analysis

showing the compressive strength for the three mixes, The scanning electron microscope (SEM) was used
differentiated by the w/c ratio
to analyze the micro-structural nature of recycled
aggregate (Wikipedia, 2008). The electrons
The addition of the admixture was done so that
interacted with the atoms that make up the sample
the workability of the concrete mix would increase,
A. Mwasha: Natural and Recycled Guanapo Quarzite Aggregates 55

producing signals that contain information about the a sample amount, certain individual aggregates may
sample's surface topography. Magnification in a be faulty. This creates a somewhat random fault
SEM could be controlled over a range of about 5 factor.
orders of magnitude from x25 or less to x 250,000 or
The samples were examined for definitive
observation points, i.e. areas on the sample that were
of interest. The samples were placed on a testing
platform, and then coated with a gold mist for better
absorption of the electrons in a vacuum sealed
chamber as well as to prevent the accumulation of
static electric charge on the specimen during electron
irradiation. The sample was placed in the electron
microscope chamber and a highly focused electron
beam was directed towards the sample under
observation. The interaction between the sample and
electron beam produced signal that was detected and
projected by the display. The bonding exists between
the mortar associated with the recycled aggregate
and that of the new mortar mixed with the recycled
aggregate. Using electron beam microscope showed Figure 6 - Image of recycled aggregate. The magnified
the separation between old mortar and new mortar. in the order of 1000X
Examined was a layer approximately 200μm in
depth of a different mortar than that of the rest of the The general matrix of the concrete after relative
sample. This displayed the approximate bond depth curing showed the difference in color of the recycled
of the two samples. A line of weakness had formed a aggregate to the new mortar which had adhered to it.
certain distance away from the bond area, similar to This being said, a sample was taken so as to examine
the failure experienced by glued surfaces, adhesion/ the definitive line of adhesion between the two, but
cohesion failure. upon closer examination, nothing was found
Figure 6 shows a line of failure/fracture, regarding the definitive adhesion line. This would
approximately 5 μm in thickness, the failure crack lend to the hypothesis that the old mortar acts just as
can be seen extending from the natural aggregate the new mortar, in terms of the overall concrete
(represented by the darker color) through the mortor matrix.
(represented by the grey color). This can cause
premature failure in a concrete mix containing these 8. Conclusions and Recommendations
recycled aggregates. While not being a general When using recycled aggregate as coarse aggregate
characteristic of recycled aggregate, it does not deny in the production of concrete, it can be recommended
the fact that for a sample amount, certain individual that using RA derived from medium or high strength
aggregates may be faulty. This creates a somewhat concrete is a better choice than Natural aggregate
random fault factor. when comparing compressive strength. RA derived
The general matrix of the concrete after relative from low strength concrete generally has a lower
curing showed the difference in color of the recycled compressive strength than NA in concrete mix, but
aggregate to the new mortar which had adhered to it. still can be used to some degree but may not be
This being said, a sample was taken so as to examine economically feasible.
the definitive line of adhesion between the two, but The invariability of using a mixture of strengths
upon closer examination, nothing was found of aggregate can lead to variance in compressive
regarding the definitive adhesion line. This would strength as shown in the concrete mix containing
lend to the hypothesis that the old mortar acts just as different strengths of concrete. This invariability
the new mortar, in terms of the overall concrete may be accounted for with the analysis of the
matrix. specimens shown under the electron microscope
While not being a general characteristic of having lines of weaknesses.
recycled aggregate, it does not deny the fact that for
A. Mwasha: Natural and Recycled Guanapo Quarzite Aggregates 56

For concrete mix containing RA with a (i.e., w/c Mark, J. (2007), Potential for the Use Recycled
< 0.5), it would require the addition of admixture. It Aggregates in Trinidad and Tobago, Research project.
is because the mix would become far unworkable for The University of West Indies, Trinidad and Tobago,
reliable results to be obtained. This inclusion of West Indies
Mwasha, A. and Mark, J. (2008), “Potential for the use of
admixture, including analysis on cost to volume
recycled aggregates in Trinidad and Tobago”, Quelle:
ratios involving admixture should be done. Construction in Developing Economies; available at:
What should be taken into consideration is the
size of recycled aggregate used in the concrete Aggregat
mixes. Normally, particle sizes should not be greater Neville, A.M. (1996), Properties of Concrete, Fourth
than 25mm, so as to ease the action of compacting, Edition, John Wiley & Sons, London
nor smaller than 10mm. A stricter size distribution Shrivastava, G.S., Kanithi, V., Mwasha, A., and Rao, D.
regime can be assessed where the size of recycled S. (2009), Quarry Operations and the ASA Wright
aggregate components can be tested for their Nature Centre: A Report on Site, The University of
compressive strength in concrete mixes. West Indies (unpublished), Trinidad and Tobago, West
It was observed in the electron beam microscope
Suite, W.H. (1977), A Study of Melajo and Guanapo
analysis that for a specific specimen, a fracture line Aggregates and the Properties and Behaviour in the
was observed. A general aggregate test involving the Fresh and Hardened States of Concrete Made with
influence of the somewhat randomness of structure These Aggregates, The University of the West Indies,
of the recycled aggregate should be done. Trinidad and Tobago, West Indies.
Wikipedia (2008), Scanning Electron Microscope,
available at:
ACI (1999), ACI 221R-87: 1999 - Guide for use of normal cope
weight aggregates in concrete, ACI Manual of concrete
Practice (Part 1). Materials and general properties of
concrete, Detroit Michigan, 23 pp Biographical Notes:
Akhavan, A.C. (2009), The Quartz; available at: Abrahams Mwasha is presently a lecturer in structural (Retrieved 2009) engineering of the Department of Civil and Environmental
Arvind, W. (2008), Major Challenges Affecting the Engineering at The University of West Indies, St
Aggregates Industry of Trinidad and Tobago, MSc Augustine Campus, Trinidad and Tobago, West Indies. He
Thesis (unpublished), Department of Civil and obtained his PhD in Wolverhampton, England England,
Environmental Engineering, The University of West Kandydata Nauk (min) equivalent to PhD in Kharkov
Indies, Trinidad and Tobago, West Indies. Academy of Municipal management, Ukraine (KAMM).
ASTM (1976), ASTM C88-76. Determination of Previously, Dr. Mwasha was a Resident engineer at the
Soundness Test (sodium sulfate solution), American Ministry of Education Tanzania where he was involved in
Society for Testing Materials the Construction of Vocational training centre, Morogoro,
BSI (1975), BS: Part 2: 1975 - British Standard Methods Tanzania (World Bank project), Extension of Sokoine
for Sampling and Testing of Mineral Aggregates, Sands University, Morogoro, Tanzania, Extension and
and Fillers, The British Standards Institution, London. maintenance of several educational infrastructures in
BSI (1983a), BS 1881: Part108: 1983. Methods of making Tanzania, and in the Construction of Mbeya Technical
test cubes from fresh concrete, The British Standards College. He also served as a Lecturer at Stourbridge
Institution, London. College and Wolverhampton University in England. Dr.
BSI (1983b), BS 1881: Part111: 1983. Methods of normal Mwasha was the first prize winner of the BIZCOM social
curing of test specimens (20 degrees centigrade enterprise award, organised by the MERCIA Institute of
method), The British Standards Institution, London. Enterprise for the idea of "Novel and Sustainable
BSI (1983c), BS 1881: Part 116: 1983 Methods of Technology". His research interests include Problematic
determining compressive strength of concrete cubes, soils (expansive, collapsible, soft soils), Ground
The British Standards Institution, London. reinforcement, Vegetable fibres, Slope stability, and
BSI (1990), BS 812: Part 110: 1990 - Methods for Wastes management.
Determination of Aggregate Crushing Value, The
British Standards Institution, London. ƒ
EN (1992), European Standard ENV [1974]