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(Source: General Specification for Civil Engineering Works)

2/21

2. Designed Mix

such as strength.

Actual strength of the concrete produced is a variable quantity.

Source of variability include variations in mix ingredients, changes in concrete

making and placing; variations also occur in sampling procedure and testing.

Knowledge of variability is required so that the strength values can be

interpreted properly.

mix follows the normal distribution as shown below:

(Source: Building Research Establishment)

2

In the figure above, the mean strength of the mix is 40 N/mm . That is, we can

expect half of the test results will be higher than 40 N/mm2 and half will be

lower.

In practice, we specify the quality of concrete not as a minimum strength, and

not as a mean strength, but as a characteristic strength below which a specified

percentage of the test results, often called defectives, may be expected to fall.

Characteristic strength may be defined as to have any proportion of defectives.

(BS 5328 Guide to Specifying Concrete, and BS8110 Structural Use of

Concrete adopt the 5% defective level.)

than the specified characteristic strength by an amount termed the margin.

Target mean strength = characteristic strength + margin

fm = fk + k s

where fm = target mean strength

fk = characteristic strength

ks = margin

k = constant

s = standard deviation

Defective Constant

1% 2.33

2.5 % 1.96

5% 1.64

Example 1

To design a concrete mix with characteristic strength of 30 MPa, what should the

target mean strength be?

Given that : defective level 5%, standard deviation 5 MPa.

Solution

fk = 30 MPa k = 1.64 s = 5 MPa

fm = fk + k s

= 30 + 1.64 x 5 MPa

= 38.2 MPa

The target mean strength should be 38.2 MPa

2.3 BRE Mix Design Method (Formerly DoE Method)

Establishment Ltd. in 1997. (Formerly by Department of Environment).

The design procedure is summarized in chart below:

(Source: Building Research Establishment)

4/21

(Source: Building Research Establishment)

5/21

Equations for mix design

C1 M=kxs

where M = the margin

k = a value appropriate to the percentage defectives permitted below the

characteristic strength

s = the standard deviation

C2 fm = fc + M

where fm = the target mean strength

fc = the specified characteristic strength

M = the margin

C3

Cement content = free - water content

free - water / cement ratio

3

where D = the wet density of concrete (kg/m )

3

C = the cement content (kg/m )

3

W = the free water content (kg/m )

Coarse aggregate content = total aggregate content fine aggregate content

C6

Portland cement content = (100 p) W

(100 0.7 p) [W / (C 0.3 F)]

3

where W = the free water content (kg/m )

3

C = the cement content (kg/m )

3

F = pfa content (of the mix) (kg/m )

p = proportion of pfa specified as percentage of the combined weight of cement and

pfa

the ratio of W/(C+0.3F) is derived from Table 10 and Figure 4

C7

pfa content = pC

100 - p

3

where C = the cement content (kg/m )

p = proportion of pfa specified as percentage of the combined weight of cement and

pfa

CF

3

where W = the free water content (kg/m )

3

C = the cement content (kg/m )

3

F = pfa content (kg/m )

3

where W = the free water content (kg/m )

6/21

3

C = the cement content (kg/m )

3

F = pfa content (of the mix) (kg/m )

3

D = the wet density of concrete (kg/m )

7/21

Figure 3

Relationship between standard deviation

and characteristic strength

Figure 4

Relationship between

compressive strength and

free-water/cement ratio

8/21

Figure 5 Estimated wet density of fully compacted concrete

9/21

Figure 6 Recommended proportions of fine aggregate according to percentage passing 600 m sieve

10/21

Example 2 unrestricted design

2

Characteristic compressive strength 30 N/mm at 28 days

Defective rate 2.5 %

No previous control data

Cement: OPC class 42.5

Slump required, 10-30 mm

Maximum free-water/Cement ratio 0.55

3

Minimum cement content 290 kg/m

Coarse aggregate: Uncrushed single sized 10 mm and 20 mm (1:2 by weight)

Fine aggregate: Uncrushed with 70% passing 600 m sieve

Relative density of aggregate : 2.6 (assumed)

3

Volume of trial mix : 0.05 m

2

Characteristic compressive strength 25 N/mm at 28 days

2

No previous control data but a margin of 10 N/mm is specified

Cement: OPC class 42.5

Slump required, 30-60 mm

Maximum free-water/Cement ratio 0.5

3

Minimum cement content 290 kg/m

Coarse aggregate: Uncrushed single sized 10, 20 and 40 mm

(Suggested ratio 1 : 1.5 : 3 by weight)

Fine aggregate: Uncrushed with 90% passing 600 m sieve

Relative density of aggregate : 2.5 (assumed)

3

Volume of trial mix : 0.08 m

Solution of Example 2

Solution of Example 3

(Source: Building Research Establishment)

Example 4 mix restricted by minimum cement content

Same as example, but

Slump required 0 -10 mm

2

Characteristic compressive strength 50 N/mm at 7 days

Defective rate 1 %

2

Previous control data: standard deviation 5 N/mm

Cement: RHPC class 52.5

Slump required, 30-60 mm

3

Maximum cement content 550 kg/m

Coarse aggregate: Crushed single sized 10 mm

Fine aggregate: Uncrushed with 45% passing 600 m sieve

Relative density of aggregate : 2.7 (assumed)

3

Volume of trial mix : 0.08 m

Solution of Example

4

(Source: Building Research Establishment)

Solution of Example

5

(Source: Building Research Establishment)

3 Trial Mixes

Oven dry:- prolonged drying in an oven would eventually remove the moisture

completely.

Air dry:- when the aggregate is allowed to stand in dry air, some water will

evaporate so that the aggregate is air-dry.

Saturated surface dry (SSD):- all pores in the aggregate are full of water, i.e.,

saturated, but the surface of the aggregate is dry.

Damp or wet:- containing an excess of moisture on the surface (free water).

(Source: Design and Control of Concrete Mixtures Portland Cement Association)

The batch quantities determined in the mix design are based on saturated

surface-dry (SSD) aggregates.

Very often, aggregates are in other conditions, adjustment of actual weights of

aggregates and water have to be made.

3.3 Determination of mass of aggregate for trial mix

( 1 M.C. )

3.3.1 M T = MD

1A

where

MT = the mass of aggregate to be weighed for trial mix

MD = mass of aggregate designed, which the aggregate is assumed in SSD

condition.

M.C. = insitu moisture content of the aggregate (mass of water/mass of dry

aggregate) presented in decimal.

A = water absorption of the aggregate (mass of absorbed water/mass of dry

aggregate) presented in decimal.

MT = MD (1 + M.C. A)

This formula gives an approximate result only but is accurate enough for most

practical purpose.

MD = MT

or MTw + MTf + MT10 + MT20 + MT40 = MDw + MDf + MD10 + MD20 + MD40

MTw = MDw + MDf + MD10 + MD20 + MD40 - (MTf + MT10 + MT20 + MT40)

Example 6

3

Quantities of the constituent materials for 0.05 m of a designed mix are:

Cement 17.0 -

Coarse aggregate (SSD) 69.2 1

Sand (SSD) 25.7 2

Water 8.0 -

If oven-dried aggregates are use, determine the mass of each constituent for trial mix.

Solution

1

M.C. ) Using MT = MD (1 + M.C. A)

Using MT = MD (

1A

Coarse agg: MTc = 69.2 10 MTc = 69.2 (1 + 0 0.01)

1 0.01

= 68.5 kg = 68.5 kg

10

MTs = 25.7 (1 + 0 0.02)

Sand: MTs = 25.7 1 0.02

= 25.2 kg = 25.2 kg

Water: Using MD = MT

69.2 + 25.7 + 8 = 68.5 + 25.2 + MTw

MTw = 9.2 kg

Cement: unchanged

Example 7

If moisture content of aggregates in example 6 are:

Coarse aggregate: 1.4 %

Sand 2.8%

determine the mass of each constituent for trial mix.

3.5 Workability of trial mix

During the mixing of the trial mix, an experienced technician is able to adjust

the water content by eye inspection if the workability of the mix is much outside

the target range.

It is thus useful, initially, to withhold a small proportion, say 10% of the mixing

water until assessment of workability has been made to determine whether

deduction or addition of water is necessary.

Any adjustment of water ( MAw) must be recorded for later use.

The design tables and charts in the BRE method are based on the statistical data

in England.

Due to different sources of cement and aggregates, there may be deviation of

actual cube strength of trial mix from target strength. It is thus necessary to

undergo the re-design procedure.

The re-design procedure is same as the original design procedure excepted that

data obtained from tables and charts shall be replaced with actual measured data

in the first trial.

In Item 2.3 of the design table, use actual free-water content in the first trial

instead of obtaining from table 3.

3

Actual free water content (per m ) = (MDw MAw) volume of first trial mix

Please note that any addition or deduction of water to bring the aggregate back

to SSD condition shall not be involved in the above calculation.

In Item 4.2, use actual measured fresh concrete density in the first trial.

4.3 Free-water/cement ratio

a. Determine the actual free-water/cement ratio in the first trial, which is

(MDw MAw) Mcement

b. When the actual cube strength of the first trial is available, plot this result

together with the result in (a) on figure 4 to obtain a re-design water/cement ratio.

(Two examples are given as below.)

Example 8

First trial

Free-water/cement ratio 0.37

No addition or deduction of water during first trial

Actual cube strength 70 MPa

Re-design

Plot point C1: W/C = 0.37, and

fc = 70 MPa

Get point D1: target = 60 MPa, and

W/C = 0.44

Example 9

First trial

Free-water/cement ratio 0.62

Some water is added such that the actual free-water/cement ratio became 0.69

Actual cube strength 14 MPa

Re-design

Plot point C2: W/C = 0.69, and

fc = 14 MPa

Get point D2: target = 22 MPa, and

W/C = 0.54

(Source: Building Research Establishment)

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