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Concrete is considered to be an artificial

stone obtained by binding together the

particles of relatively inert fine and
coarse materials with cement paste

There are two commonly used structural
materials concrete and steel
They sometimes compliment one another, and
sometimes compete with one another
Aggregates are generally cheaper than cement
and impart greater volume stability and
durability to concrete.
Used primarily for the purpose of providing
bulk to the concrete
To increase density of resulting mix, aggregate
is frequently used in two or more sizes.
Most important function of fine aggregate is
to assist in producing workability and
uniformity in mixture
Provide about 75% of the body of the concrete
Must be of proper shape (rounded or approximately
cubical), clean, hard, strong and well graded
Should possess chemical stability, abrasion resistant
and resistant to freezing and thawing
Classification of aggregates
Geological origin
Natural aggregate
Generally obtained from natural deposits of sand and
gravel, or from quarries by cutting rocks such as
granite,quartzite,basalt,sand stone.
The river deposits are the most common and are of
good quality.
Igneous,sedimentary or metamorphic in origin.

Artificial aggregate
Most widely used are clean broken bricks (brick
aggrerate not suitable fro waterproof construction and
road work)and air-cooled fresh blast-furnase-slag(good
fire resisting quality,corrosion of steel due to sulphar
content),sintered fly ash, bloated clay
Largest maximum size conveniently used for concrete
Using largest possible maximum size will result in
reduction of cement content,
reduction in water requiremnent,
reduction of drying and shrinkage
The particle size distribution is called grading
Maximum size of aggregate may be limited by
Thickness of section
Clear cover
Spacing of reinforcement
Mixing, handling and placing techniques
Fine aggregate
Passing through 4.75mm IS sieve.
Three types-natural sand,crushed stone sand, crushed
gravel sand.

Coarse aggregate
Retained one 4.75mm IS sieve.
Types- crushed gravel, uncrushed gravel and partially
crushed gravel.

All-in one aggregate

Combined aggregates available in nature comprising
different fractions of fine and coarse aggregate.
not generally used for making high quality concrete.

Single size aggregate

Comprising particles falling essentially within a narrow limit
of size fractions
Influence workability
Rounded aggregates are preferable to angular
Fully water worn or completely shaped by attrition
Eg. River or seashore gravels, desert, seashore and wind blown sands
Naturally irregular or partly shaped by attrition, having rounded
Eg. Pit sands and gravels, land or dug flints, cuboid rock
Possessing well defined edges formed at the intersection of roughly
planar faces
Crushed rocks of all types , talus, screes (accumulation of broken rock
fragments at the base of cliffs)
Flaky and elongated
Material usually angular, of which the thickness is small relative to the
width and/or length
Eg. Laminated rocks
Unit weight
Normal weight aggregate
Commonly used aggregate (sand and gravel)
Specific gravity between 2.5 and 2.7 produce
concrete with unit weight 23 to 26 KN/m3
Crushing strength at 28 days between 15 to 40
MPa are termed normal weight concrete
Heavy weight or high density
Concrete of unit weight 30 to 57KN/m3 can be
produced by using goethite to scrap iron
Drawback- not suitably graded and difficult to
have adequate workability
Light weight
Bond of aggregate
Bond between aggregate and cement paste is
an important factor in the strength of
concrete especially the flexural strength. Bond
is partly due to the interlocking of the
aggregate and the paste owing to the
roughness of the surface of the former rough
surface result in better bond, better bond is
also obtained with softer, porous and
mineralogically heterogenous particles.
Generally, with a good bond, a crushed
concrete specimen should contain some
aggregate particles broken right through in
addition to the more more numerous ones
pulled out from their sockets. The excess of
fractured particles, however, might suggest
that the aggregate is too weak.
Particle shape and texture
Specific gravity
Bulk density
Porosity and absorption of aggregate
Moisture content
Bulking of fine aggregate
Ability to resist stress without failure
Compared to most other properties, testing of strength is
relatively easy
Many properties of concrete, such as elastic modulus,
water tightness or impermeability and resistance to
weathering agents are believed to be dependent on
Compressive strength of concrete cannot exceed that of
the bulk of the aggregate contained therein.
Aggregate crushing value should not exceed 45% for
aggregate used for concrete other than for wearing
surfaces and 30% for concrete for wearing surfaces, such as
runways, roads and pavements
Aggregate crushing value
A sample of aggregate passing through 12.5 mm sieve and
retained on 10mm is obtained by sieving and dried in an
oven at 100C for few hours, placed in a cylindrical mould
and tamped.
The sample is then blown 15 times by standard hammer.
The crushed sample is sieved through a 2.36 mm sieve and
the material passing though 2.36 mm sieve is weighed .

Aggregate abrasion value
Apart from testing aggregate with respect to
its crushing value, impact resistance, tesing
the aggregate with respect to its resistance to
wear is an important test agregate to be used
for road constructions, warehouse floors and
pavement construction.
Deval atrition test
Dorry abrasion test
Los Angels test
Bulk density
Bulk density or unit weight
Gives information on shape and grading of the
Higher the bulk density, lower the void content
to be filled by sand and cement.
Angular aggregate show lower bulk density
Bulk density
Aggregates are filled in a container
Weight of aggregate gives bulk density calculated
in kg/lit or kg/m3
Knowing specific gravity in saturated and surface
dry condition, void ratio can be calculated

= x100

Gs = specific gravity of the aggregate
=bulk density in kg/litre
Specific gravity
Is made use of in design calculation of
concrete mix
Weight can be converted into solid volume by
knowing its specific gravity
Also required in calculating compacting factor
in connection with workability measurement
Average specific gravity of rock ranges
between 2.6 to 2.8
Absorption and moisture content
Aggregates are porous and absorptive
Porosity and absorption will affect the water
cement ratio and hence workability, durability
(freezing and thawing, chemically aggressive
Water absorption
Increase in weight of an oven dry sample when
immersed in water for 24 hours
The ratio of increase in weight to the weight of
dry sample expressed as percentage is known as
absorption of aggregate
In practice, aggregates are either dry and
absorptive to various degrees or they have
surface moisture
Fine aggregates dredged from river bed usually
contains surface moisture
Absorption capacity of coarse aggregate is
about 0.5 to 1 percent by weight of aggregate.
Eg. Pune Mumbai express highway :
absorption of around 4%
Bulking of aggregate
Fine aggregate
Free moisture forms a film around each particle
This film exerts surface tension which keeps
particle away from each other
So no point of contact between the particles,
leading in bulking
Increase in bulking with the increase in moisture
content up to certain limit and then decrease,
showing no bulking
Sand bulks more compared to coarse aggregates,
so it is neglected(CA)
Extremely fine sand and particularly the
manufactured fine aggregate bulks as much as
about 40%
Alkali aggregate reaction
Expansion and cracking of concrete leading to
loss of strength and elastic modulus resulting
from chemical reaction involving alkali and
hydroxyls ions from Portland cement paste
and certain reactive siliceous minerals that are
often present in the aggregate is known as
Recent literature, it is referred to as Alkali-
silica reaction(ASR)
Types of rocks which contain reactive
constituents include traps, andesites,
rhyolites, siliceous limestones and certain type
of sand stones

The reaction starts with the attack on the

reactive siliceous materials in the aggregate by
the alkaline hydroxide derived from the
alkalies in cement
As a result, alkali silicate gels of unlimited
swelling type are formed
When the conditions are congenial,
progressive manifestation by swelling takes
place, which result in disruption of concrete
with the spreading of pattern cracks and
eventual failure of concrete structures
Basalt rock in Deccan plateau, Madhya
Pradesh, Kathiawar, Hyderabad, Punchal
hill(J&K), bengal and Bihar should be used
with caution
Factors promoting Alkali- Aggregate
Reactive type of aggregate
Petrographic examination of thin rock sections
Mortar bar expansion test
Chemical method
High alkali content in cement
Alkali content should be kept less than 0.6 percent
Availability of moisture
Lack of water reduces rate of deterioration
Optimum temperature conditions
Ideal temperature for the promotion of alkali
aggregate reaction is in the range of 10 to 38C
Mechanism of deterioration of concrete through
the Alkali-Aggregate Reaction
The mixing water turns to be a strongly caustic
solution due to solubility of alkalies from the
cement. This caustic liquid attacks reactive silica
to form alkali-silica gel of unlimited swelling type.
The reaction proceeds more rapidly for highly
reactive substances. If continuous supply of water
and correct temperature is available, the
formation of silica gel continues unabated. This
silica gel grow in size. The continuous growth of
silica gel exerts osmotic pressure to cause pattern
cracking particularly in thinner sections of
concrete like pavements.
Formation of pattern cracks due to the stress
induced by the growth of silica gel results in
subsequent loss in strength and elasticity.

Alkali-aggregate reaction also accelerates other

process of deterioration of concrete due to the
formation of cracks. Solution of dissolved carbon
dioxide, converts calcium hydroxide to calcium
carbonate with consequent increase in volume.
Control of Alkali-aggregate reaction
Selection of non-reactive aggregates
By the use of low alkali cement
By the use of corrective admixtures like
By controlling void space in concrete
By controlling moisture condition and

Eg. Kaiga Nuclear power project (0.4% alkali content

Deleterious Substances in Aggregate
Impurities which interfere with the process of
hydration of cement
Coatings which prevent the development of
good bond between aggregate and cement
Certain individual particles which are weak or
unsound in themselves.
Deleterious Substances in Aggregate
Organic impurities (decay of vegetable matter), clay and other
fine material (silt and crusher dust), salt contamination (river
estuary- causes efflorescence).

Iron pyrites, clay nodules, soft shale particles- swell

when wetted (damage the concrete when subjected to freezing and thawing
or wetting and drying)
The most widely used construction material is
concrete, commonly made by mixing Portland
cement with sand, crushed rock and water. The total
world consumption of concrete last year is estimated
at three billion tons, or one ton for every living
human being. Man consumes no material except
water in such tremendous quantities.

S. Brunauer and L.E.Copeland, two eminent scientists in

the field of cement and concrete in an article published in
Scientific American in April 1964.
Concrete is neither as strong nor tough as steel,
so why is it the most widely used engineering
Three primary reasons
Concrete possess excellent resistance to

Unlike wood and ordinary steel, the ability of

concrete to withstand the action of water
without serious deterioration makes it an ideal
material for building structure to control, store,
and transport water.
The ease with which structural concrete
elements can be formed into a variety of
shapes and sizes

Freshly made concrete is of a plastic consistency,

which enables the material to flow into
prefabricated formwork.
Usually the cheapest and most readily
available material on the job.

The principal components for making

concrete, namely aggregate, water and
Portland cement are relatively inexpensive
and are commonly available.
Maintenance, fire resistant, resistance to cyclic
Properties of concrete
Fresh concrete or plastic concrete
Freshly mixed material which can be moulded into
any shape.
Cement, aggregate and water mixed together,
control the properties of concrete in wet as well
as in hardened state
To enable the concrete to be fully compacted with given efforts,
normally a higher water/cement ratio than that calculated by
theoretical considerations may be required.
Function of water is also to lubricate the concrete so that the
concrete can be compacted with specified effort forthcoming at
the site of work
The lubrication required for handling concrete without
segregation, for placing without loss of homogeneity, for
compacting with the amount of efforts forth-coming and to
finish it sufficiently easily.
The quality of concrete satisfying above
requirements is termed as a workable
Workability is that property of freshly mixed
concrete or mortar which determines the ease
and homogeneity with which it can be mixed,
placed, compacted and finished.
Workablility consists of the following four
partial properties of concrete-
Ability of the mix to produce a homogeneous green
concrete from the constituent materials of the batch, under
the action of mixing forces.
A less mixable concrete requires more time of mixing to
produce a homogeneous and uniform mix
Capacity of the concrete mix to keep the
homogeneous concrete mix from segregating
during limited time period of transportation,
when forces due to handling operations of
limited nature act.
Ability of fresh concrete mix to fill completely
the forms or moulds without loosing
continuity or homogeneity under the available
techniques of placing the concrete for a
particular job
Complex property; considered under dynamic
Ability of a concrete mix to be compacted into a
dense, compact concrete, with minimum voids,
under the existing means of compaction at the
The best mix from the point of view of
compactibility should close the voids to an
extent of 99% of the original voids resent, when
the concrete was placed in the moulds.
Sometimes the terms consistency of the mix and
plasticity are used to denote the property of
Consistency of the mix really means the wetness
of the mix and wetter mix need not have all the
above desired properties
Too wet mix may cause segregation
Plasticity is the cohesiveness of the mix that is the
property of certain concrete mixes to hold the
individual grains together by the binder which is
the cement paste.
Factors affecting workability
Water content
Mix proportions
Size of aggregate
Shape of aggregate
Surface texture of aggregate
Grading of aggregate
Use of admixtures
Water Content
Higher the water content per cubic meter of
concrete, higher will be fluidity
From the desirability point of view, increase of
water content is the last recourse to be taken for
improving workability even in the case of
uncontrolled concrete
More water can be added, provided a
correspondingly higher quantity of cement is also
added to keep the water-cement ratio constant,
so that the strength remains same
Mix proportion
Aggregate occupy 70-75 percent of the total
volume of the concrete
Higher the aggregate / cement ratio, leaner is the
In lean concrete, less quantity of paste is available
for providing lubrication, per unit surface area of
aggregate and hence mobility of aggregate is
In case of rich concrete, with lower
aggregate/cement ratio, more paste is available
to make the mix cohesive and fatty to give better
An increase in water content results in
monotonous increase in workability but
eventually a state is reached where
segregation and bleeding occur, and use of
higher water content will result in the more
serious problems of shrinkage and creep of
hardened concrete
Water-cement ratio itself determines the
intrinsic properties of cement paste
Size of aggregate
Bigger the size of aggregate, the less is the
surface area and hence less amount of water
is required for wetting the surface and less
matrix or paste is required for lubricationg the
surface to reduce internal friction
Shape of aggregate
Shape of aggregate influences workability in
good measure
Angular, elongated or flaky aggregate makes
the concrete very harsh when compared to
rounded aggregate(cubical)
Rounded aggregate will have less surface area
and less voids than angular or flaky aggregate
Frictional resistance is also greatly reduced(for
Surface texture
Total surface area of rough textured aggregate
is more than surface area of smooth rounded
aggregate of same volume
Rough textured aggregate will show poor
Smooth or glassy textured aggregate better
workability, due to inter particle frictional
Grading of aggregate
This has maximum influence on workability
Well graded aggregate- least amount of voids
Total voids are less better lubricating effect
With excess amount of paste, the mixture
becomes cohesive and fatty, which prevents
Better the grading, less void content, higher
Use of admixture
Most important factor affecting workability
Plasticizer and super plasticizers
Air entraining agent surface active, reduce
internal friction between particles
also act as artificial fine aggregates of
smooth surface
Measurement of workability
Slump cone test
Compaction factor test
Vee Bee consistometer test
Volume batching
Weigh batching
Volume batching
Not a good method- due to difficulty in
measuring granular material
Volume of moist sand and weighs much less than
same volume of dry sand
Used for unimportant concrete or for small job
Cement is always measured by weight
for each batch mix, one bag of cement is used
Weigh batching
Correct method of measuring the materials
Facilitates accuracy, flexibility, and simplicity
Large weigh batching plant will have
automatic weighing equipment
In small jobs, cement is often not weighed; it
is added in bags assuming the weight of the
bag as 50 kg. but in reality, due to
transportation and handling there is loss of
weight sometimes of the order of 5 kg.
therefore in major concreting jobs, cement
should be weighed
Measurement of water must be done
accurately. It is suggested to use a horizontal
or vertical tank, fitted to mixer and filled up
after every batch
Modern batching plant have sophisticated
automatic microprocessor controlled weigh
batching arrangements. It is also measuring
the moisture content of aggregate, so that
correction can be made while adding water
Essential for the production of uniform concrete
Two methods
Hand mixing
Machine mixing
Hand mixing
Is practiced for small scale unimportant concrete works
Should be done over an impervious concrete or brick floor
of sufficiently large size to take one bag of cement
Spread the fine and coarse aggregate in alternate layers
Pour the cement on top of it, and mix them dry by a
shovel, until uniform colour is attained
This uniform mixture is spread out in thickness
of about 20 cm.
Water is taken in a water can fitted with a rose
head and sprinkled over the mixture and
simultaneously turned over. This operation is
continued till a good uniform, homogeneous
concrete is obtained.
Caution - Water is not poured, but sprinkled
Machine mixing
Used for medium or large scale mass concrete work
Efficient and economical
Two types of mixers
Batch mixers
Produce concrete batch by batch
Used in normal concrete work
Continuous mixers
Produce concrete continuously without stoppage till the plant
is working
Materials are fed continuously by screw feeders and they are
mixed and continuously discharged
Used in large works as dams
Transporting Concrete
Variety of methods and equipment
Homogeneity should be maintained
Mortar pan
Wheel barrow, hand cart
Crane, bucket and ropeway
Truck mixers and dumpers
Belt conveyers
Skip and hoist
Transit mixer
Pump and pipe line
Transit mixer
Placing concrete
Concrete must be placed in systematic manner to
yield optimum results
Precautions must be taken while placing the
concrete in the bellow situations
Placing concrete within earth mould (foundation
concrete for wall or column)
Placing concrete within large earth mould or timber
plank formwork (road slab and air field slab)
Placing concrete in layers within timber or steel
shutters (mass concrete in dam construction or
construction of concrete abutment or pier)
Placing concrete within usual formwork (column,
beam and floor)
Placing concrete under water
Concrete is invariably laid as foundation bed
below the walls or columns. Before placing the
concrete in the foundation, all the loose earth
must be removed from the bed
Any root of trees passing through the
foundation must be cut, charred or tarred
If dry, must be made damp
If too wet or rain-soaked, should be removed
Seepage to be checked and diverted
Road construction, airfield slabs, surface must
be free from loose earth and organic matters
Earth must be properly compacted and made
sufficiently damp to prevent absorption
A polyethylene film may be used between
concrete and ground
Provision for contraction joints should be
given if placed in bays
Layers should be 15 to 30 cm thick in case of
general and 35 to 45 cm in mass concrete

Fresh concrete on previous layer- cleaned with

jet of water, sand blasting, scrubbing by wire
brush, cement slurry or mortar
To minimize segregation, concrete should not
be moved over too long a distance during the
placement into forms.
In general, the concrete mixture is deposited
in horizontal layers of uniform thickness, and
each layer is thoroughly compacted before the
next is placed.
The rate of placement is kept rapid enough so
that the layer immediately below is still plastic
when a new layer is deposited. This prevents
cold joints, flow lines, and planes of weakness
that occur when fresh concrete is placed on
hardened concrete
Compaction or consolidation
Is the process of molding concrete within the
forms and around embedded items and
reinforcing steel to eliminate pockets of empty
space and entrapped air.
The operation is carried out by hand rodding and
tamping, mechanical methods such as power
tampers and vibrators that make it possible to
place stiff mixtures with low water-cement ratio
or high content of coarse aggregate.
Caution- vibrators should be used only to
compact, not to move it horizontally, to avoid
Inadequate curing frequently causes lack of proper
strength and durability
To prevent loss of moisture i.e. preservation of adequate
water content in the concrete
Maintenance of the most favorable temperature of the
concrete for good hydration
Preservation of fairly uniform temperature throughout the
whole of concrete
Protection of structural members from mechanical
disturbances, excessive vibration etc., during curing period
Ensuring adequate curing period for hydration of cement
and hardening of concrete to the degree necessary for the
safe use in service of article or structure which it forms
Retaining formwork
Shading of concrete work
Covering of surfaces with hessian or cotton
mats, etc., which are kept continuously moist
Continuous sprinkling of water over exposed
Ponding method
Membrane curing
Steam curing
Electrical method of curing
Retaining formwork
Useful for curing vertical surfaces of structural
Eg. Walls, columns, ceiling
Formwork used for casting concrete kept in
place for four to seven days. Formwork
preserve the moisture inside concrete
Used in cold countries
Shading of concrete work
Consists of curing surfaces by canvas stretched on
frames in initial stages of hardening, even prior to
Canvas or burlap should be placed directly on the
surface the concrete.
In hot and dry climate, it is used to prevent
In cold climates, it is used to preserve the heat of
Hard to handle in case of strong winds
Inefficient when w/c ratio are low
Not recommended when smooth concrete finish is
Covering concrete surface with wet
Most widely used
Done by covering the concrete surfaces by wet
hessian cloth, canvas or sackling and is kept
constantly wet for at least 7 days from the
date of placing concrete.
Frequency of wetting is depend upon the
temperature, velocity of wind, humidity etc.
Concrete should not be allowed to dry and
exposed to extremes of temperature even for
short intervals
Continuous sprinkling of exposed
Done by spraying water through hose.
Ensure the surface is continuously kept wet
for 3 days and later on spraying may be
Using single hose pipe. For larger areas,
perforated hosepipe can be used
Used only when ponding method is not
feasible, as total requirement of water is more
Ponding method
Most efficient method
For first 18 to 24 hours, the exposed surface is
covered with moist hessian or canvas
After that small banks of dykes of clay or earth
are built across and along the slab, dividing the
slab into number of rectangular ponds
These ponds are filled with water.
Suitable for construction of floors, roof slabs,
roads and airfields
This method is very efficient for concrete with
w/c ratio 0.4
Difficult to remove mud from the slab on completion
of curing process
Membrane curing
Method of maintaining a satisfactory state of
wetness in the body of concrete to promote
continuous hydration when original
water/cement ratio used is not less than 0.5
To achieve best results, membrane is applied
after one or two days of actual wet curing
Membrane should be of good quality
Sealing compounds are sprayed on to the
concrete surfaces to form impervious coating,
which prevents the loss of water
Different sealing compounds are

Bituminous and asphaltic emulsion or cutbacks

Coal tar thinned by means of a solvent
Rubber latex emulsions
Emulsions or solutions of resins, varnishes, Waxes,
drying oils, and water repellant substances
Emulsions of paraffin or boiled linseed oil with
For effective sealing of the surface, two coats
of the compounds is necessary
Black color coatings absorb more heat from
atmosphere and result in loss of moisture. So
should be applied in the interior surface
Steam curing
Often adopted for prefabricated concrete
Difficult in the case of in situ constructions
Prefabricated elements should be stored in a
big chamber
Door is closed and steam is applied either
continuously or intermittently
Results in accelerated hydration, concrete
products attain 28 days strength in 3 days
Concrete subjected to higher temperature at the early
period of hydration is found to lose some of the
strength gained at a later stage. Such concrete is said to
undergo retrogression of strength
Concrete subjected to higher temperature at early age
attains higher strength in short duration, but suffers
considerable retrogression of strength. On the
contrary, concrete cured at a comparatively lower
temperature takes longer time to attain strength but
strength attained will not be lost at later ages
Electrical Curing
Applicable in cold climatic regions
Concrete can be cured electrically by passing
an alternating current through the concrete
itself between two electrodes either buried in
or applied to the surface of the concrete. Care
must be taken to prevent the moisture from
going out leaving the concrete completely dry.
Tests on Fresh Concrete as per IS
Tests for Workablity
Slump Test
Compacting factor test
Vee-Bee consistometer test
Flow of cement concrete by use of flow table