CONCRETE TECHNOLOGY Concrete in practice Concrete is a composite with properties that change with time.

During service, the quality of concrete provided by initial curing can be improved by subsequent wetting as in the cases of foundations or water retaining structures. However, concrete can also deteriorate with time due to physical and chemical attacks. Structures are often removed when they become unsafe or uneconomical. Lack of durability has become a major concern in construction for the past 20 to 30 years. In some developed countries, it is not uncommon to find large amount of resources, such as 30 to 50% of total infrastructure budget, applied to repair and maintenance of existing structures. As a result, many government and private developers are looking into lifecycle costs rather than first cost of construction. Durability of concrete depends on many factors including its physical and chemical properties, the service environment and design life. As such, durability is not a fundamental property. Chemical properties refer to the quantity and type of hydration products, mainly calcium silicate hydrate, calcium aluminate hydrate, and calcium hydroxide of the set cement. Reactions of penetrating agents with these hydrates produce products that can be inert, highly soluble, or expansive. It is the nature of these reaction products that control the severity of chemical attack. Physical damage to concrete can occur due to expansion or contraction under loading. Properties of Concrete Properties of concrete are divide into two major groups  Properties of Fresh Concrete  Properties of Hardened Concrete Fresh Concrete Fresh concrete is that stage of concrete in which concrete can be moulded and it is in plastic state. This is also called "Green Concrete". Another term used to describe the state of fresh concrete is consistence, which is the ease with which concrete will flow.

Properties of Fresh Concrete Following are the important properties of fresh concrete
1. 2. 3.

Setting Workability Bleeding and Segregation

most of these cannot be easily assessed even though some standard tests have been established to evaluate them under specific conditions. OR The internal work done required to overcome the frictional forces between concrete ingredients for full compaction. Type of Cement 5. OR The transition process of changing of concrete from plastic state to hardened state. Suitable Temperature 3. OR The hardening of concrete before it gains strength. Setting The hardening of concrete before its hydration is known as setting of concrete. 5. Bleeding Segregation Hydration Air Entrainment 1.a. Factors affecting concrete workability: i. Admixtures 8. consistence is sometimes taken to mean the degree of wetness. 4. but concrete of same consistence may vary in workability. Factors affecting setting: Following are the factors that affect the setting of concrete. Workability of Concrete Workability is often referred to as the ease with which a concrete can be transported. 1. Type and amount of Aggregate 2. Because the strength of concrete is adversely and significantly affected by the presence of voids in the compacted mass. placed and consolidated without excessive bleeding or segregation. within limits. wet concretes are more workable than dry concrete. Thus cement properties greatly affect the setting time. Relative Humidity 7. Presence of voids in concrete reduces the density and greatly reduces the strength: 5% of voids can lower the strength by as much as 30%. it is vital to achieve a maximum possible density. Setting of concrete is based or related to the setting of cement paste. Cement content 4. Fineness of Cement 6. In fact. b. This requires sufficient workability for virtually full compaction to be possible using a reasonable amount of work under the given conditions. Slump Test can be used to find out the workability of concrete. It is obvious that no single test can evaluate all these factors. Water-Cement ratio . In the case of concrete. Water Cement ratio 2.

thus workability decreases. 2. evaporation increases. Aggregate Cement ratio More ratio. v. so the paste is stiff. Since by simply adding water the inter particle lubrication is increased. the extra water is available for workability  Angular aggregates increases flakiness or elongation thus reduces workability. Temperature 2. the rate of evaporation also increase reduces the amount of water and ultimately reducing workability. Workability reduces if angular and rough aggregate is used. Since less cement mean less water. iii. less workability. another effect of increased water content can also be that cement slurry will escape through joints of formwork. High water content results in a higher fluidity and greater workability.ii.less water is required to lubricate it. Weather conditions 1. Sand to Aggregate ratio i. . Water content or Water Cement Ratio More the water cement ratio more will be workability of concrete. Admixtures Chemical admixtures can be used to increase workability. Amount and type of Aggregate iii. Chemical Admixtures vi. iv. Wind v.  Using smooth and round aggregate increases the workability. Increased water content also results in bleeding. Round smooth aggregates require less water and less lubricationand gretaer workability in a given w/c ratio  Porous aggregates require more water compared to non absorbent aggregates for achieving sam degree of workability. Amount and type of Cement iv. Wind: If wind is moving with greater velocity.  Greater size of Aggregate. Amount and type of Aggregate More the amount of aggregate less will be workability. Temperature If temperature is high. Weather Conditions 1. ii.

the aggregate goes down and the cement and water come up to the top surface. This laitance formed on roads produces dust in summer and mud in rainy season. water comes up and accumulates at the surface. Sand to Aggregate ratio If the amount of sand is more the workability will reduce because sand has more surface area and more contact area causing more resistance. . vi. segregation. Sometimes. the bleeding channels will remain continuous and un segmented. The bleeding is not completely harmful if the rate of evaporation of water from the surface is equal to the rate of bleeding. Concrete Bleeding Bleeding in concrete is sometimes referred as water gain. Similarly. In such a case. Removal of water. When the surface is worked up with the trowel. makes continuous channels. While the mixing water is in the process of coming up. it may be intercepted by aggregates. being of the lowest specific gravity among all the ingredients of concrete. This formation of cement paste at the surface is known as “Laitance”. Bleeding rate increases with time up to about one hour or so and thereafter the rate decreases but continues more or less till the final setting time of cement. Prevention of Bleeding in concrete  Bleeding can be reduced by proper proportioning and uniform and complete mixing.  Use of finely divided pozzolanic materials reduces bleeding by creating a longer path for the water to traverse. The use of fine pozzolanic materials also have better lubricating effect and more workability. along with this water.  Bleeding can be reduced by the use of finer cement or cement with low alkali content. These continuous bleeding channels are often responsible for causing permeability of the concrete structures. It is a particular form of segregation. If the water cement ratio used is more than 0. in which some of the water from the concrete comes out to the surface of the concrete. workability and decreases bleeding. Water while traversing from bottom to top. The formation of laitance and the consequent bad effect can be reduced by delayed finishing operations. Rich mixes are less susceptible to bleeding than lean mixes. In thin members like roof slab or road slabs and when concrete is placed in sunny weather show excessive bleeding. Bleeding is predominantly observed in a highly wet mix. badly proportioned and insufficiently mixed concrete. Due to bleeding.7. the top surface of slabs and pavements will not have good wearing quality. certain quantity of cement also comes to the surface. after it had played its role in providing workability. The above aspect is more pronounced in the case of flaky aggregate. the water that accumulates below the reinforcing bars reduces the bond between the reinforcement and the concrete. 3(a). from the body of concrete by way of bleeding will do good to the concrete.Use of air entraining agent produces air bubbles which acts as a sort of ball bearing between particles and increases mobility. This accumulation of water creates water voids and reduces the bond between the aggregates and the paste.  Air-entraining agent is very effective in reducing the bleeding. The bleeding water is likely to accumulate below the aggregate. The poor bond between the aggregate and the paste or the reinforcement and the paste due to bleeding can be remedied by re vibration of concrete.

shape and surface texture of aggregate with optimum quantity of waters makes a cohesive mix. may not cause much harm. Insufficiently mixed concrete with excess water content 3. If the vibration is continued for a long time. will get subsided and compacted. It too wet a mix is excessively vibrated. A good concrete is one in which all the ingredients are properly distributed to make a homogeneous mixture. Segregation in concrete Segregation can be defined as the separation of the constituent materials of concrete. The cohesive and fatty characteristics of matrix do not allow the aggregate to fall apart. Controlled re vibration may be adopted to overcome the bad effect of bleeding. long lift by skip and hoist are the other situations promoting segregation of concrete Vibration of concrete is one of the important methods of compaction. the matrix itself is sufficiently contained by the aggregate. Similarly. Paste separating away from coarse aggregate. It should be remembered that only comparatively dry mix should be vibrated. Dropping of concrete from heights as in the case of placing concrete in column concreting 4. The conditions favorable for segregation are: 1. wheel barrow. Segregation may be of three types 1. when the concrete has lost its plasticity. which causes undue harm to the concrete. or from a mixer with worn out blades 5. . 2. it is likely to result in segregation of concrete due to settlement of coarse aggregate in matrix. taking into consideration various parameters such as grading. because concrete being in a fully plastic condition at that stage. It is the delayed bleeding. Therefore. When concrete is discharged from a badly designed mixer. 3. A well made concrete. water also does not find it easy to move out freely from the rest of the ingredients. Water separating out from the rest of the material being a material of lowest specific gravity. it is likely that the concrete gets segregated. at the same time. particularly. 3(b). There are considerable differences in the sizes and specific gravities of the constituent ingredients of concrete. It should also be remembered that vibration is continued just for required time for optimum results. Such concrete will not exhibit any tendency for segregation.Early bleeding when the concrete mass is fully plastic. it is natural that the materials show a tendency to fall apart. Badly proportioned mix where sufficient matrix is not there to bind and contain the aggregates 2. long distance haul by dumper. in too wet a mix. size. Conveyance of concrete by conveyor belts. Coarse aggregate separating out or settling down from the rest of the matrix.

The hydration of cement is not a momentary action but a process continuing for long time.Paste strength 2. This can be done by a thorough water curing.4. thus producing cracks. but continues over a very long time at a decreasing rate In the field and in actual work. reducing the tendency to bleed and segregation in the plastic concrete. even a higher water/cement ratio is used. • Increased cohesion. Concrete. the rate of hydration is fast to start with. Air Entrainment Air entrainment reduces the density of concrete and consequently reduces the strength. Hydration in concrete Concrete derives its strength by the hydration of cement particles. 1.Interfacial bonding 3. Air entrainment is used to produce a number of effects in both the plastic and the hardened concrete. Shrinkage 4. while hydrating. If the paste has higher binding strength. The desirable conditions are. . If the hydration is to continue. releases high heat of hydration. If the heat generated is removed by some means. the curing can be considered as creation of a favorable environment during the early period for uninterrupted hydration. Water tightness (impermeability) Strength: The strength of concrete is basically referred to compressive strength and it depends upon three factors. 1. Of course. 5. since the concrete is open to atmosphere. Strength of concrete 2. • Compaction of low workability mixes including semi-dry concrete. Concrete Creep 3. This heat is harmful from the point of view of volume stability. Therefore. Hardened Concrete Properties Following are the properties of hardened concrete. extra water must be added to refill the loss of water on account of absorption and evaporation. Jeat of hydration of concrete may also shrinkage in concrete. • Cohesion and handling properties in bedding mortars.These include: • Resistance to freeze–thaw action in the hardened concrete. the water used in the concrete evaporates and the water available in the concrete will not be sufficient for effective hydration to take place particularly in the top layer. Modulus Of Elasticity 5. the adverse effect due to the generation of heat can be reduced. a suitable temperature and ample moisture. • Stability of extruded concrete.Aggregate strength Paste strength: It is mainly due to the binding properties of cement that the ingredients are compacted together. higher will be strength of concrete.

Mix Proportions 3. Basically.Interfacial bonding: Interfacial bonding is very necessary regarding the strength. Amount of cementing material 4. Water-Cement ratio 2. Lesser the water cement ratio. Like a concrete column getting more compressed. Admixtures Water-Cement ratio: It is water cement ratio that basically governs the property of strength. Creep does not necessarily cause concrete to fail or break apart. Type of cement: Type of cement affect the hydration process and therefore strength of concrete. Type of cementing material 3. Type of Aggregate: Rough and angular aggregates is preferable as they provide greater bonding. Factors affecting Strength: Following are the factors that affect the strength of concrete: 1. The aggregate should be washed for a better bonding between paste and aggregate. Creep is factored in when concrete structures are designed. Clay hampers the bonding between paste and aggregate. This deformation usually occurs in the direction the force is being applied. long term pressure or stress on concrete can make it change shape. Mineral admixtures affect the strength at later stage and increase the strength by increasing the amount of cementing material. Factors Affecting Creep 1. Aggregate 2. Admixtures: Chemical admixtures like plasticizers reduce the water cement ratio and increase the strength of concrete at same water cement ratio. Amount of cementing material: it is the paste that holds or binds all the ingredients. Aggregate strength: It is mainly the aggregate that provide strength to concrete especially coarse aggregates which act just like bones in the body. or a beam bending. Rough and angular aggregate provides better bonding and high strength. Creep in concrete Concrete creep is defined as: deformation of structure under sustained load. greater will be strength. Thus greater amount of cementing material greater will be strength. Air content 6. Age of concrete . Type of aggregate 5.

2. In other words. on account of differential temperature conditions at the interior and surface. Light weight aggregate shows substantially higher creep than normal weight aggregate. it can be said that creep increases with increase in water/cement ratio. Influence of Aggregate Aggregate undergoes very little creep. It can be easily imagined that the higher the modulus of elasticity the less is the creep. it can also be said that creep is inversely proportional to the strength of concrete. all precautions and steps must be taken to see that increase in temperature does not take place in the interior of mass concrete structure. Effects of Creep  In reinforced concrete beams. Influence of Mix Proportions: The amount of paste content and its quality is one of the most important factors influencing creep. Influence of Age: Age at which a concrete member is loaded will have a predominant effect on the magnitude of creep. Such gel creeps less. Broadly speaking. To the practical engineer. It is really the paste which is responsible for the creep. whereas a young gel under load being not so stronger creeps more. Shrinkage in concrete Concrete is subjected to changes in volume either autogenous or induced. Therefore. The stronger the aggregate the more is the restraining effect and hence the less is the magnitude of creep. 3. However.  In mass concrete structures such as dams. the aspect of volume change in concrete is important from the point of view that it causes unsightly cracks in concrete. the aggregate influences the creep of concrete through a restraining effect on the magnitude of creep.  In eccentrically loaded columns. A poorer paste structure undergoes higher creep. creep increases the deflection with time and may be a critical consideration in design. creep increases the deflection and can load to buckling. all other factors which are affecting the water/cement ratio are also affecting the creep. The modulus of elasticity of aggregate is one of the important factors influencing creep. What is said above is not a very accurate statement because of the fact that the moisture content of the concrete being different at different age also influences the magnitude of creep. We have discussed elsewhere the effect of volume change due to thermal properties of aggregate and concrete. temperatures changes or movement of support. Volume change is one of the most detrimental properties of concrete.  Loss of prestress due to creep of concrete in prestressed concrete structure.1. The paste which is creeping under load is restrained by aggregate which do not creep. creep is harmful and by itself may be a cause of cracking in the interior of dams. due to . which affects the long-term strength and durability. Therefore. Creep property of concrete will be useful in all concrete structures to reduce the internal stresses due to non-uniform load or restrained shrinkage. This can be easily understood from the fact that the quality of gel improves with time.  In case of statically indeterminate structures and column and beam junctions creep may relieve the stress concentration induced by shrinkage.

Plastic concrete is sometimes subjected to unintended vibration or yielding of formwork support which again causes plastic shrinkage cracks as the concrete at this stage has not developed enough strength. The aggregate particles or the reinforcement comes in the way of subsidence due to which cracks may appear at the surface or internally around the aggregate or reinforcement. rapid drying. is believed to be the reasons of plastic shrinkage. the surface concrete collapses causing cracks. One of the important factors that contribute to the cracks in floors and pavements is that due to shrinkage.. b. large quantity of water bleeds and accumulates at the surface. When this water at the surface dries out. or by working at night. Now the question is how to reduce the shrinkage and shrinkage cracks in concrete structures. Sometimes even if the concrete is not subjected to severe drying. when this large surface is exposed to hot sun and drying wind. Loss of water by evaporation from the surface of concrete or by the absorption by aggregate or subgrade. by fog spray that keeps the surface moist. Use of small quantity of aluminium powder is also suggested to offset the effect of plastic shrinkage. The term shrinkage is loosely used to describe the various aspects of volume changes in concrete due to loss of moisture at different stages due to different reasons.alkali/aggregate reaction. unintended vibration etc. Types of Shrinkage in Concrete To understand this aspect more closely. expansive cement or shrinkage compensating cement also can be used for controlling the shrinkage during the setting of concrete. but poorly made with a high water/cement ratio. shrinkage can be classified in the following way: (a) Plastic Shrinkage (b) Drying Shrinkage (c) Autogeneous Shrinkage (d) Carbonation Shrinkage The Types of shrinkage are explained as below: a. Drying Shrinkage . The loss of water results in the reduction of volume. are some of the reasons for plastic shrinkage. One of the most objectionable defects in concrete is the presence of cracks. due to sulphate action etc. It is difficult to make concrete which does not shrink and crack. From the above it can be inferred that high water/cement ratio. It can also be further added that richer concrete undergoes greater plastic shrinkage. Presently we shall discuss the volume change on account of inherent properties of concrete “shrinkage”. greater bleeding. This can be done by covering the surface with polyethylene sheeting immediately on finishing operation. the surface of concrete dries very fast which results in plastic shrinkage. Plastic shrinkage can be reduced mainly by preventing the rapid loss of water from surface. particularly in floors and pavements. badly proportioned concrete. In case of floors and pavements where the surface area exposed to drying is large as compared to depth. Similarly. It is only a question of magnitude. Plastic Shrinkage Shrinkage of this type manifests itself soon after the concrete is placed in the forms while the concrete is still in the plastic state.

d. Carbonation Shrinkage Carbon dioxide present in the atmosphere reacts in the presence of water with hydrated cement. Under drying conditions. The rate of shrinkage decreases rapidly with time.e. possibly because water released by carbonation promotes the process of hydration and also calcium carbonate reduces the voids within the cement paste. As the new product is less in volume than the product replaced. 40 to 80 per cent of the 20 year shrinkage occurs in 3 months and 66 to 85 per cent of the 20 year shrinkage occurs in one year. instead there will be a slight swelling. The richness . Carbonation shrinkage is probably caused by the dissolution of crystals of calcium hydroxide and deposition of calcium carbonate in its place.Just as the hydration of cement is an ever lasting process. It is observed that 14 to 34 per cent of the 20 year shrinkage occurs in 2 weeks. the gel water is lost progressively over a long time. The loss of free water contained in hardened concrete. Carbonation penetrates beyond the exposed surface of concrete very slowly. As the magnitude of carbonation shrinkage is very small when compared to long term drying shrinkage. Another important factor which influences the magnitude of shrinkage is water/cement ratio of the concrete. Autogeneous Shrinkage In a conservative system i. It is the loss of water held in gel pores that causes the change in the volume. Cement paste shrinks more than mortar and mortar shrinks more than concrete. The finer the gel the more is the shrinkage. If the concrete is placed in 100 per cent relative humidity for any length of time. The graph shows that the magnitude of shrinkage increases with time and also with the reduction of relative humidity. Such a complete decomposition of calcium compound in hydrated cement is chemically possible even at the low pressure of carbon dioxide in normal atmosphere. does not result in any appreciable dimension change. Carbonation is accompanied by an increase in weight of the concrete and by shrinkage. The shrinkage of such a conservative system is known as autogeneous shrinkage. there will not be any shrinkage. The drying shrinkage of concrete is analogous to the mechanism of drying of timber specimen. c. shrinkage takes place. Carbonation of concrete also results in increased strength and reduced permeability. The magnitude of drying shrinkage is also a function of the fineness of gel. when temperature is constant some shrinkage may occur. where no moisture movement to or from the paste is permitted. The rate of penetration of carbon dioxide depends also on the moisture content of the concrete and the relative humidity of the ambient medium. the drying shrinkage is also an ever lasting process when concrete is subjected to drying conditions. The typical relationship between shrinkage and time for which concrete is stored at different relative humidities is shown in Figure. Calcium hydroxide [Ca(OH)2] gets converted to calcium carbonate and also some other cement compounds are decomposed.Autogeneous shrinkage is of minor importance and is not applicable in practice to many situations except that of mass of concrete in the interior of a concrete dam. this aspect is not of much significance Factors Affecting Shrinkage One of the most important factors that affects shrinkage is the drying condition or in other words. as long as the concrete is kept in drying conditions. Concrete made with smaller size aggregate shrinks more than concrete made with bigger size aggregate. the relative humidity of the atmosphere at which the concrete specimen is kept.

swelling. The water molecules act against the cohesive force and tend to force the gel particles further apart as a result of which swelling takes place. when continuously placed in water is also an ever continuing process. the ingress of water decreases the surface tension of the gel. It is interesting to note that all the initial drying shrinkage is not recovered even after prolonged storage in water which shows that the phenomenon of drying shrinkage is not a fully reversible one. and its modulus of elasticity influence the magnitude of drying shrinkage. Moisture Movement Concrete shrinks when allowed to dry in air at a lower relative humidity and it swells when kept at 100 per cent relative humidity or when placed in water. it starts swelling. The quantum of an aggregate. is subjected to wetting condition. . swelling is due to the adsorption of water by the cement gel. Harder aggregate with higher modulus of elasticity like quartz shrinks much less than softer aggregates such as sandstone. In addition. its size. Aggregate plays an important role in the shrinkage properties of concrete. Just as drying shrinkage is an ever continuing process. Just as the drying shrinkage is due to loss of adsorbed water around gel particles. at some stage.of the concrete also has a significant influence on shrinkage. If a concrete sample subjected to drying condition.

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