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Journal of Cleaner Production 135 (2016) 148e157

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Journal of Cleaner Production

journal homepage: www.elsevier.com/locate/jclepro

Engineering properties of lightweight aggregate concrete containing

limestone powder and high volume fly ash
Payam Shafigh a, *, Mohammad A. Nomeli b, U. Johnson Alengaram c, Hilmi Bin Mahmud c,
Mohd Zamin Jumaat c
Department of Building Surveying, Faculty of Built Environment, University of Malaya, 50603 Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
Department of Mechanical Engineering, University of Maryland, College Park, MD 20742, USA
Department of Civil Engineering, Faculty of Engineering, University of Malaya, 50603 Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

a r t i c l e i n f o a b s t r a c t

Article history: Concrete industry is one of the major sources of consuming high volume of natural resources. On the
Received 31 August 2015 other hand, cement industry is a significant point source of carbon dioxide emissions due to the
Received in revised form decomposition of raw material and burning fuel during the manufacturing process. As the demand for
31 May 2016
concrete is growing, one of the effective way to minimize the negative environmental impact of the
Accepted 15 June 2016
Available online 16 June 2016
industry is the use of waste and by-product materials as cement and aggregate replacement in concrete.
In the current study, possibility of making structural lightweight aggregate concrete using large
amounts of waste material was investigated. The waste materials comprised oil palm shell, which was
Lightweight aggregate concrete
used as coarse aggregate, and a high volume (50% and 70%) of type F fly ash, as cement replacement by
Limestone powder mass. The mechanical properties, such as compressive strength in different curing conditions, splitting
Fly ash tensile and flexural strengths, as well as density, ultrasonic pulse velocity, water absorption, and drying
Mechanical properties shrinkage up to one year were investigated. All oil palm shell concretes containing high volume fly ash
Drying shrinkage are found to have adequate strength for formwork removal. Oil palm shell concretes containing high
volume fly ash had 46%e60% lower cement content compared to previous studies with a similar
compressive strength. Although, using high volume fly ash in oil palm shell concrete significantly
reduced short-term mechanical properties, however, the use of limestone powder significantly improved
the compressive strength at early and later ages. Test results also showed that there is no significant
difference between the drying shrinkage of oil palm shell concrete containing 50% fly ash and the control
oil palm shell concrete.
© 2016 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

1. Introduction 2013). However, Mehta and Monteiro (2006) estimated that the
demand for concrete will grow to approximately 18 billion tonnes a
Concrete is, after water, the most widely used material and its year by 2050.
production and utilization is rapidly increasing (Meyer, 2005). Concrete industry is one of the main emitters of CO2, which
Increasing demand for concrete is due to low costs in constituent contributes to global warming (Benhelal et al., 2013; Nomeli and
materials, construction of concrete structures, and its maintenance Riaz, 2015). Lee and Wang (2016) have proposed an equation to
(Mehta, 1999). About 6.5 billion tonnes of concrete were produced calculate the total CO2 emission from concrete production process.
in 2002 worldwide (Naik, 2008). Meyer (2009) reported that the In the proposed equation, emission of CO2 from concrete materials
total annual concrete production is more than 10 billion tonnes. For such as cement, mineral admixture, water, aggregates, and super-
this amount of global concrete production more than 0.9 billion plasticizer; transportation and mixing of concrete are considered.
tonnes of Portland cement, 5 billion tonnes of aggregate and 0.6 They reported that, for example, the total CO2 emissions during
billion tonnes of potable water are required (De Brito and Saikia, production process of 1 m cube concrete containing ordinary
Portland cement, sand, gravel and water of 300 kg, 890 kg, 970 kg
and 150 kg, respectively, is about 287 kg.
* Corresponding author. The concrete industry is increasing its compliance with the
E-mail addresses: pshafigh@um.edu.my, pshafigh@gmail.com (P. Shafigh). demand for sustainable development. The use of supplementary

0959-6526/© 2016 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
P. Shafigh et al. / Journal of Cleaner Production 135 (2016) 148e157 149

cementitious and recycled materials, as well as improving the has many advantages such as saving of reinforcement, smaller cross
mechanical properties, durability, and reuse of wash water have sections, possibility of constructing higher structures and reduction
made concrete an environmentally sustainable material (Meyer, in the size of the foundation (Tanyildizi and Coskun, 2008; Günduz
2005). The major part of the energy consumed in the production and Ugur, 2005). Akeiber et al. (2016) reported that application of
of concrete is associated with the Portland cement (Struble and lightweight floors and walls in building can affect the interior
Godfrey, 2004). Therefore, the use of a high volume cement temperature of the room and improve the occupant's thermal
replacement in concrete with industrial by-products, such as comfort. Therefore, successful production of a structural light-
ground granulated blast furnace slag (GGBFS) or fly ash (FA), will be weight aggregate concrete containing high volume FA, particularly
highly beneficial with respect to cost, energy efficiency, overall in the case of OPS concrete, not only reduces the negative envi-
ecological and environmental benefits, low permeability, and ronmental impact of concrete making but also reduces the cost of
durability (Arezoumandi and Volz, 2013; Malhotra and Mehta, construction (Hassanpour et al., 2014).
2002). It was reported (Jow et al., 2015) that 777 million tons FA
was produced globally in 2008 and just 54% was utilized. Disposal 2. Experiment
of this huge amount of FA will cause dust, air pollution and the
damage the ecological environment (Wang et al., 2016). 2.1. Materials used
Solid waste production is one of the main environmental, eco-
nomic, and social concerns in the world. On the other hand, super- Ordinary Portland cement and FA were used as binder in the
plasticised high volume slag or FA concrete is the most promising current study. OPC has a specific gravity of 3.14 and, 7 days and 28
waste treatment process for the disposal of materials in the con- days compressive strengths of 34 and 46 MPa, respectively. The
crete industry (Mehta, 1999). One of the solid wastes that can be specific gravity test was conducted using a specific gravity bottle
used in super-plasticised high volume FA concrete is oil palm shell with 100 ml capacity. For compressive strength test of the cement
(OPS). OPS is the shell of the kernel of the oil palm fruit and is used, the specimens were in the form of cubes
considered as one of the nonhazardous solid wastes in the palm oil 70.6  70.6  70.6 mm. Blaine surface area of the cement was
industry. OPS together with other solid wastes such as empty fruit measured using Blaine fineness apparatus. It was 3510 cm2/g for
bunches (EFB) and palm pressed fibres (PPF) has been used as fuel the cement used.
to generate steam in waste-fuel boilers in the palm oil processing The local FA, which is used here, is classified as Class F
plant (Abdullah and Sulaiman, 2013). However, the burning of (SiO2 þ Al2O3 þ Fe2O3 > 70%, SO3 < 5%, LOI < 6%) according to
these solid fuels causes the emission of dark smoke and air pollu- ASTM: C618. The FA is finer than OPC with a Blaine surface area and
tion to increase (Sumiani, 2006). Previous studies revealed that OPS specific gravity of 7290 cm2/g and 2.18, respectively. Limestone
can be used as coarse aggregate for manufacturing both normal powder, with a Blaine surface area of 7270 cm2/g, is employed as a
strength lightweight (Teo et al., 2006) and high strength (Shafigh filler and a part of the fine aggregate; 92% of the limestone powder
et al., 2011a) lightweight aggregate concretes. In addition, previ- is smaller than 75 mm and 85% is smaller than 45 mm. The chemical
ous studies (Mo et al., 2015) revealed that it is possible to produce compositions of binder and limestone powder are shown in Table 1.
sustainable structural lightweight aggregate concretes using OPS as Crushed old OPS and crushed granite with maximum nominal
coarse aggregate and high volume GGBFS as cement replacement. sizes of 8 and 12.5 mm, respectively, were used as coarse aggregate.
More than 50% of total volume of the reported concretes contain The specific gravity and 24-h water absorption of the OPS were
waste materials. about 1.21 and 20%, respectively. OPS aggregate was used in Satu-
The common percentage use of FA in concrete is in the range of rated Surface Dry (SSD) condition. In addition, local mining sand
15e35 wt.% (Arezoumandi et al., 2013; Yao et al., 2015). The use of with a fineness modulus of 2.70 and specific gravity of 2.65 was
high volume FA in concretes containing conventional aggregates used as fine aggregate.
has been also studied and well established over the last 30 years
(Malhotra and Hemmings, 1995; Sadati et al., 2016). However, there
is little information available regarding the engineering properties 2.2. Mix proportions
of structural lightweight aggregate concrete containing high vol-
ume FA. In the most cases, application of FA in lightweight concrete Table 2 shows mix proportion of four different concrete mixes.
was as a partial replacement of cement up to a moderate volume Mix F is a grade 40 OPS concrete, without FA and limestone powder,
(Kayali et al., 2003; Real et al., 2015; Subaşı, 2009). FA also was used and is the control mixture. Mix proportions of the control mix were
as raw material to produce lightweight aggregate (Lo et al., 2016; selected according to the previous report from the authors (Shafigh
Güneyisi et al., 2015). Nisnevich et al. (2001) studied the mechan- et al., 2011a). In mix F50, 50% of OPC was substituted with FA. In the
ical and thermal properties of a low strength lightweight concrete F50L and F70L mixes, OPC was substituted with 50% and 70% of FA,
using bottom ash as lightweight aggregate and high volume fly ash. respectively. Additionally, in both of these mixes, 20% of normal
Maximum ration of FA to total binder was 0.8 in their study. Babu
et al. (2005) also reported that it is possible to produce an Table 1
expanded polystyrene lightweight concrete containing high vol- Chemical composition of cement, fly ash and limestone powder (%).
ume FA with fresh density of about 1725 kg/m3 and the 28- and 90-
Oxide compositions wt%
day compressive strengths of 12.5 and 16 MPa, respectively. To
achieve to this compressive strengths they used 309 kg Portland OPC Fly ash Lime stone powder

cement and 309 kg FA in the concrete mixture. SiO2 19.80 64.60 0.21
The aim of the current study is to investigate the mechanical and Fe2O3 3.10 4.00 0.16
CaO 63.40 1.00 53.23
durability properties of OPS structural lightweight concretes con-
MgO 2.50 0.66 2.54
taining high volume (up to 70%) Class F fly ash. As the specific Al2O3 5.10 20.9 e
gravity of FA is lower than Portland cement it is expected that the SO3 2.40 0.30 0.35
substitution of Portland cement with a high volume of FA will K2O 1.00 1.20 0.03
further reduce density of oil palm shell lightweight concrete. Na2O 0.19 0.32 e
LOI 1.80 5.10 41.55
Application of lighter structural concrete in building construction
150 P. Shafigh et al. / Journal of Cleaner Production 135 (2016) 148e157

Table 2
Mix proportions of concretes (kg/m3) and slump value (mm).

Mix no. Cement Fly ash Water Limestone powder Super plasticizer Coarse aggregate (kg/m3) Sand Slump
(kg/m3) (kg/m3) (kg/m3) (kg/m3) (kg/m3) (kg/m3) (mm)
Oil palm shell Crushed granite

F 550 0 158.4 0 5.5 326 178 900 145

F50 275 275 176.0 0 5.5 326 178 900 240
F50L 275 275 194.7 180 5.5 326 178 720 250
F70L 165 385 213.4 180 5.5 326 178 720 230

sand was substituted with limestone powder. All the substitutions travel time is measured. The UPV value is a ratio of width of sample
were by mass in this study. to time taken by pulse to go through. Higher UPV value indicates
As can be seen in Table 2, all mixes containing FA had higher good quality of concrete, while low UPV value shows that concrete
water content. The higher demand for water in these concretes is has many voids. These voids maybe are in the form of cracks.
due to the total surface area of FA and limestone powder is about Regardless of the type of NDT test used, sufficient and reliable
two times that of OPC. When the materials for these concretes were correlation data with standard 28-day compressive strength data is
mixed together with water content similar to the control mix (mix usually necessary to evaluate the accuracy of the NDT method
F), the fine constituents tended to agglomerate. A longer mixing (Kostmatka et al., 2002). The quality of concrete equates to excel-
time, as well as additional superplasticiser, could not solve this lent with UPV values of 4.5 km/s and above, good with UPV values
problem. Therefore, further water was added into the mixtures to in the range of 3.5e4.5 km/s, doubtful in the range of 3.0e3.5 km/s,
achieve workable concrete. Table 2 shows slump values for all the poor in the range of 2.0e3.0 km/s, and very poor for values of
mixes. Although mix F had a good slump value, the other mixes had 2.0 km/s and below (Ranjbar et al., 2013). In this study, the UPV
much better slump values compared to mix F. However, all of them tests conducted on hardened concretes at 1, 3, 7, 28, 56 and 90 days
were sticky. No segregation occurred in any of the mixes. before doing compressive strength tests according to ASTM C597-
09 (2009).
2.3. Test methods
2.4. Curing conditions
2.3.1. Concrete mixing procedure
The mixture ingredients were mixed in a rotary drum mixer As shown in Table 3, five curing regimes have been selected to
with a capacity of 0.2 m3. Coarse and fine aggregate were mixed in a investigate the influence of curing conditions on the 28-day
mixer for 2 min. Afterwards, cement, FA, and limestone powder compressive strength of the concrete specimens. The temperature
were added and mixing continued for three minutes. A mixture of of the laboratory environment was 29 ± 3  C with a relative hu-
superplasticiser and mixing water was gradually added for 2 min midity of 67e82%.
while mixing continues. Mixing was continued for a further three
minutes. Agglomeration of the materials occurred in the mixture at 3. Results and discussion
this stage. To overcome this issue, more water was added to these
mixtures and mixing continued for another 2 min. Then slump test 3.1. Density
was conducted using slump cone with internal dimension of
200 mm diameter at base, 100 mm top diameter and 300 mm Table 4 shows demoulded, air dry, and oven dry densities for all
height. mixes. The control OPS concrete has approximately 13e19% lighter
density than ordinary concrete. It was reported that with suitable
2.3.2. Concrete castings lightweight aggregate, structural lightweight concretes can be
Concrete specimens were cast in 100  100  100 mm cubes for made with densities of 25e40% lower than normal aggregate
compressive strength and water absorption tests. Cylinders of concrete (CEB/FIP, 1977). Although, the density of control mix is not
100 mm diameter and 200 mm height were used for the splitting in the normal range of structural lightweight aggregate concrete,
tensile strength test. In addition, prisms of 100  100  500 mm high volume fly ash OPS concretes showed lower density than
and prisms of 100  100  300 mm were used for measuring the normal weight concrete in the range of 17e30%. This occurs
flexural strength and drying shrinkage strain, respectively. The because the density of FA is lower than that of cement. Moreover, all
compressive, splitting tensile and flexural strengths tests were FA mixes have higher water content compared to the control OPS
conducted using the 3000 kN compression testing machine. concrete, which causes a further reduction in density.
Concrete specimens were compacted using a vibrating table. Results show that substitution of normal sand with limestone
The concrete specimens were demoulded 24 h after casting. The powder further decrease the density of concrete. It is also found
results reported in this study are the average of three tests for that the mix F50L has about 4% lower oven dry density compared to
mechanical properties and two concrete specimens were used for the mix F50. Previous studies (Kılıc et al., 2003; Mannan and
measuring drying shrinkage strain. The drying shrinkage test was
conducted immediately after demoulding under laboratory envi- Table 3
ronment conditions. The drying shrinkage strain value for each age Curing conditions.
was average of six readings.
Curing code Day in mould Days in water Days in lab
2.3.3. Ultrasonic pulse velocity test AC 1 0 27
One of the non-destructive tests (NDTs) that can be used to 3W 1 2 25
measure the compressive strength of concrete and assess the 5W 1 4 23
quality of this material is ultrasonic pulse velocity (UPV) test. In this 7W 1 6 21
FW 1 27 0
test, a pulse of ultrasonic wave is passed through concrete and the
P. Shafigh et al. / Journal of Cleaner Production 135 (2016) 148e157 151

Table 4
Density of concrete (kg/m3).

Mix no. Density (kg/m3)

Demoulded Air dry Oven dry

F 2046 2011 1898

F50 1948 1886 1805
F50L 1920 1851 1737
F70L 1863 1727 1654

Ganapathy, 2004) reveal that one of the main advantages of using

low percentage levels of cementitious materials in structural LWAC
is its effect on the further reduction of density. Bremner (2001)
stated that in a design when the dead load is equal to the live Fig. 1. Compressive strength development of F50 and F50L mixes.
load, a saving of 14% in the energy intensive steel reinforcement
could be achieved if a structural lightweight concrete that is 28%
lighter than ordinary concrete is used. adequate strength at the 1-day age for formwork removal.
The compressive strength of F50 and F50L mixes gradually
increased after 28 days and up to 56 days. The rates of increase for
3.2. Compressive strength F50 and F50L mixes are 11% and 12%, respectively in this period of
time. This rate for control mix (F), however, is only 4%. The higher
3.2.1. Under continuous moist curing rate of increase for F50 and F50L mixes compared to mix F is due to
Test results of compressive strength of all mixes up to 90 days the continuing pozzolanic effect of FA in the mixes. The rates of
are given in Table 5. All high volume fly ash OPS concretes showed strength gain from 28 to 56 days for F50 and F50L mixes are almost
lower compressive strength compared to the control OPS concrete similar. This occurs because limestone powder still acts as an inert
at all ages. All high volume FA concrete, however, exhibit adequate material and only has a filling effect in mix F50L. However, as can be
strength at both the early and later ages. The 1-day compressive seen in Fig. 1, the rate of strength gain for F50L mix from 56 to 90
strength of high volume fly ash OPS concrete was about 6e14 MPa, days is significantly more than F50 mix. These results demonstrate
or approximately 27%e66% of the strength of the control OPS the pivotal role of limestone powder at later ages. This may be due
concrete. These 1-day compressive strength values are quite to pozzolanic effect of limestone powder in high volume FA
enough for formwork removal. It was reported (Mehta and concrete.
Monteiro, 2006) that under normal moist curing and temperature Pozzolanic materials, like FA, need calcium hydroxide for
conditions, conventional concrete mixtures made with ordinary pozzolanic reaction, which causes the production of additional
Portland cement with 6e7 MPa compressive strength have calcium silicate hydrate (CeSeH). Therefore, the existing calcium
adequate strength for formwork removal. Moreover, Malhotra and hydroxide is essential in Portland-pozzolan cements. In a concrete
Ramezanianpour (1994) stated that the 1-day compressive containing high volume content of pozzolanic materials, due to the
strength of high volume FA concrete could vary within a range of decrease in the cement in the mixture, there is not enough calcium
5e9 MPa, which is more than enough for formwork removal at hydroxide for its consumption by the pozzolanic reactions. There-
normal temperatures. fore, with addition of external lime, the lack of calcium hydroxide
One of the main findings of the current study is the pivotal role can be compensated for in high volume pozzolanic concretes (Isaia
of limestone powder in the high volume fly ash OPS concrete. To and Gastaldini, 2009). Moreover, it has been found that limestone
show the significant performance of limestone powder in mix in fly ash OPC blended cement reacts with cement by binding
proportions of a high volume fly ash concrete, the compressive calcium hydroxide with free silica through pozzolanic reaction,
strength development of the F50 and F50L concrete mixes are thereby forming a non-soluble CSH structure (Gesoglu et al., 2012).
shown in Fig. 1. As can be observed in this figure, the main differ- The rate of compressive strength gain of mix F50L from 56 to 90
ences between the two compressive strengths are at the 1- and 90- days is about 20% while that of mix F50 is only 6%. Meanwhile, the
day ages. In these two ages, the compressive strength result for the water content of mix F50L is more than the mix F50. Such an in-
F50L mix is greater compared to the F50 mix. The compressive crease in strength gain of mix F50L at 90 days indicates the per-
strength results, however, are almost similar between these two formance of external lime in this mixture. The importance of the
ages. The results indicate that at the 1-day age, the compressive lime contribution in high volume FA concrete becomes more sig-
strength of mix F50L is about 135% more than that of mix F50. This nificant when the compressive strength of the mix F50 and F70L are
might be due to the pore-filling effect of the limestone powder, compared at later ages. The 28- and 56-day compressive strength of
which provides a more compact structure (Gesoglu et al., 2012). mix F70L are about 35% and 29% lower compared to the mix F50.
The excellent performance of limestone powder enables OPS The 90-day compressive strength of F70L, however, is the same as
lightweight concrete, even with 70% FA content, to achieve mix F50 because of the existing lime in mix F70L. Meanwhile, the
cement content of mix F70L is 40% less, and its water content is
about 10% more compared to mix F50.
Table 5
Compressive strength of concretes under continuous moist curing (MPa). The benefits of using limestone powder in FA, natural Pozzolans
or slag blended cements, have been investigated by some re-
Mix no. Compressive strength (MPa)
searchers (Ghrici et al., 2007; Weerdt et al., 2011; Yilmaz and Olgun,
1 day 3 days 7 days 28 days 56 days 90 days 2008). Weerdt et al. (2011) stated that ternary Portland cements
F 21.1 36.8 42.3 44.5 46.4 48.7 containing pozzolanic materials and limestone powder have higher
F50 5.9 16.5 22.1 30.0 33.2 35.5 strength than their equivalent composite cements without lime-
F50L 13.9 18.0 21.6 30.8 34.6 41.5 stone up to 90 days. They also confirmed that the beneficial effect of
F70L 5.8 8.5 11.3 19.6 23.7 35.1
limestone powder on the compressive strength of FA blended
152 P. Shafigh et al. / Journal of Cleaner Production 135 (2016) 148e157

cements is more pronounced than the effect of OPC. powder and its pivotal role in promoting the pozzolanic reaction of
Mix proportions, density and compressive strength test results FA at later ages (more than 56 days). However, it should be noted
of lightweight aggregate concretes available in the literature are that the achieved compressive strengths for high volume fly ash
given in Table 6. It can be observed that at the same 28-day OPS concretes in this study are more than the compressive
compressive strength, F50 and F50L mixes have 46%e51% lower strengths of lightweight concrete containing high volume fly ash
cement content compared to OPS concretes investigated by Teo reported in the literature (Nisnevich et al., 2001; Babu et al., 2005).
et al. (2006) and Alengaram et al. (2011). The saving of cement in It should be taken into account that, depending on the appli-
mix F50L, if the 56-day compressive strength is considered, is about cation, the compressive strength of concrete may be considered for
48% compared to OPS concrete mix proportions (Yap et al., 2013). strength at 56 or 90 days rather than the standard 28 days (Aitcin
Mix F70L has about 60% lower cement content compared to et al., 2004). This is because the most important concrete struc-
recommend mix proportions for 28-day compressive strength of tures are charged with the total design load for ages of more than 3
20 MPa (Mannan and Ganapathy, 2001). months (Isaia and Gastaldini, 2009). The 90-day compressive
As can be observed in Table 6, mix F50L has equivalent 28-day strength of high volume fly ash OPS concrete (F70L) in the current
compressive strength and air-dry density with a type of whole study is 35 MPa or more. Concrete with this amount of strength is
lightweight aggregate concrete made of a natural lightweight suitable for use in many structural applications (Al-Gahtani, 2010).
aggregate, namely basaltic-pumice (Scoria) (Kılıc et al., 2003). The
cement consumption in F50L mix is 31% less than Scoria light- 3.2.2. Under partial early curing regimes
weight concrete. In another comparison, the 28-day compressive The cost of water curing is 0.1e1.5% of total construction cost of
strengths of F50 and F50L mixes are similar to two mixes of a type concrete structures (Aitcin et al., 2004). The curing of concrete
of lightweight aggregate concrete made with coarse lightweight incorporating supplementary cementitious materials, such as silica
cold-bonded FA aggregate (Gesoglu et al., 2004). This comparison fume, FA or GGBFS, are more important than concrete containing
shows that, at the same compressive strength, the oil palm shell just OPC (Ramezanianpour, 1995). It is therefore crucial to deter-
concrete containing 50% FA has significantly lower cement content mine the effect of curing duration and methods on the strength
compared to cold-bonded FA lightweight concrete. properties of OPS concrete containing high volume FA.
Mechanical properties of OPS concrete containing 50% and 70% Table 7 shows the test results of the 28-day compressive
ground granulated blast furnace slag (GGBFS) have been investi- strength of OPS concrete mixes under different curing regimes. As
gated by Shafigh et al. (2013a). Test results of the current study specified, the lowest compressive strengths are achieved under the
show that OPS concrete containing GGBFS has better compressive AC regime. The test results show that water curing after
strength development compared to OPS concrete containing high demoulding is essential for OPS concrete, particularly when OPS
volume fly ash. A comparison on the short and long terms concrete contains high volume FA. Limestone powder in high vol-
compressive strengths of OPS concrete containing GGBFS and FA in ume fly ash OPS concrete, however, considerably reduces the
high volume substitution levels reveals that OPS concrete con- sensitivity of the compressive strength of this type of concrete in
taining 50% GGBFS has 30e150% higher compressive strength at
early ages and 10e20% higher compressive strength at later ages
compared to GGBFS-OPS concrete. At 70% GGBFS content, however, Table 7
the compressive strength of GGBFS-OPS concrete at early and later The 28-day compressive strength of concretes under air drying and partial early
curing regimes (MPa).
ages are 80e140% and 40e65% higher than FA-OPS concrete,
respectively. Mix no. 28-day compressive strength (MPa)*
The test results of the current study indicate that using lime- FW AC 3W 5W 7W
stone powder is a good way to compensate for the low compressive
F 44.5 38.3(0.86) 39.1(0.88) 42.5(0.96) 43.4(0.98)
strength of high volume FA concrete. It is found that although the F50 30.0 22.0(0.73) 27.0(0.90) 28.7(0.96) 28.0(0.93)
pozzolanic reaction of FA is much lower than that of Portland F50L 30.8 26.1(0.85) 30.4(0.99) 30.6(0.99) 31.8(1.03)
cement, using limestone powder in high volume fly ash OPS con- F70L 19.6 14.2(0.72) 17.9(0.91) 17.8(0.91) 18.4(0.94)
crete can significantly improve its compressive strength at early *
The data in parentheses are percentages of compressive strength of concrete under
ages (first 3 days). This occurs due to the filler effect of limestone FW curing.

Table 6
Mix proportions, density and compressive strength test results of different types of lightweight aggregate concrete.

Mix Ref. Cement Fly ash Silica fume Water Coarse lightweight aggregate Sand Density 28-day compressive
(kg/m3) (kg/m3) (kg/m3) (kg/m3) (kg/m3) (kg/m3) strength (kg/m3)
Quantity Type

Teo et al., 2006 510 0 0 194 308 Oil palm shell 848 1960a 28.1
Alengaram et al., 2011 515 27 54 179 542 Oil palm shell 436 1680a 30.2
Alengaram et al., 2011 564 30 60 229 475 Oil palm shell 475 1760a 30.1
Yap et al. (2013) 530 0 0 159 320 Oil palm shell 970 1800b 35.3**
Mannan and 408 72 0 197 370 Oil palm shell 821 1900c 19.5
Ganapathy (2001)
Kılıc et al., 2003 400 100 0 275 550 Basaltic-pumice 700* 1850a 29.2
Gesoglu et al., 2004 547 0 0 192 646 Cold-bonded fly ash 624 2015 29.1
Gesoglu et al., 2004 396 0 40 218 326 Cold-bonded fly ash 1104 2093d 30.4
Lightweight sand, ** 56-day compressive strength.
Air dry density.
Oven dry density.
Demoulded density.
Fresh density.
P. Shafigh et al. / Journal of Cleaner Production 135 (2016) 148e157 153

poor curing condition. For instance, OPS concrete containing 50% FA demonstrated that the fibres do not have a remarkable effect on the
shows a 27% reduction in compressive strength compared to UPV value. They proposed the following equation to estimate the
standard curing. The reduction in compressive strength in mix compressive strength from the UPV value:
F50L, however, was about 15%.
For different types of concrete, the following relationship exists fcu ¼ 0:082ðUPVÞ4:4 (2)
between the compressive strength in wet and dry curing conditions
at the 28-day age: where fcu is the cube compressive strength (MPa) and UPV is the
ultrasonic pulse velocity (km/s).
fcðdryÞ ¼ a  fcðwetÞ (1) Fig. 2 shows the relationship between the UPV value and the
corresponding compressive strength of OPS concrete in the current
where, “a” is a constant varies between 0.80 and 0.95 (Atis et al., study. It can be seen that there is a relationship with a strong
2005; Shafigh et al., 2013a,b). In the current study, based on the correlation (R2 ¼ 0.94) between the UPV and compressive strength
results, a ¼ 0.81 can be used for high volume fly ash OPS concrete of oil palm shell concrete. Therefore, Equation (3) can be used to
containing limestone powder. estimate the compressive strength from the UPV value with good
When the specimens were cured under water for just two days engineering accuracy:
(3W condition), compared to the AC condition, the compressive
strength improved by about 2%, 17%, 14% and 19% for concrete mixes fcu ¼ 0:072e1:54ðUPVÞ (3)
F, F50, F50L and F70L, respectively. It can be seen that even by
As a comparison, the predicted compressive strengths using
providing two days moist curing, the compressive strength of OPS
Equation (2) are plotted in Fig. 2. It can be seen that the compres-
high volume FA concrete significantly improved. In the case of F50L
sive strength predicted by this equation is close to the exponential
mix, the compressive strength under the 3W condition was the
function of this study. Therefore, a more comprehensive prediction
same as the FW condition. This means that although OPS concrete
function for OPS concrete can be obtained from combining the data
containing high volume FA is very sensitive to a poor curing envi-
of this study and the data reported by Yap et al. (2013) using the
ronment, even by providing a short period of water curing, the
following equation:
sensitivity reduces significantly. This curing regime is more effec-
tive if limestone powder is used in OPS high volume FA concrete. In
fcu ¼ 0:037ðUPVÞ4:98 (4)
comparison with the air-drying condition, a significant improve-
ment in strength due to just two days moist curing was also re-
ported by Ramezanianpour, (1995).
Under 5W and 7W curing conditions, all OPS concrete showed 3.3. Tensile strength
almost the same compressive strength of FW condition. In the case
of F50L, under 7W curing condition, the compressive strength was The 28-day tensile strength for concrete mixes is shown in
even slightly more than the FW condition. Therefore, in the case of Table 9. It is found that the splitting tensile strength of oil palm
the compressive strength, the 5W curing method can be used shell concrete containing high volume FA is significantly less than
instead of the 7W and FW curing conditions for oil palm shell the control OPS concrete. As reported earlier, inclusion of high
concrete containing FA or without it. This will result in a reduction volume fly ash in OPS concrete reduced the compressive strength at
in the curing cost and will save on construction time. It should be all ages. However, the results show that the reduction in the
noted that curing is essential for strength and durability properties. splitting tensile strength is more than reduction in the compressive
Therefore, the effect of initial curing regimes on the durability strength. In comparing with the control concrete (mix F), reduction
properties of OPS concrete containing FA needs to be considered. A in the 28-day splitting tensile strength of F50, F50L, and F70L mixes
previous study on the durability properties of OPS concrete cured in are 39%, 48% and 61%, respectively, while the reduction in the
different curing environments (Teo et al., 2010) shows that oil palm compressive strength at 28 days are 33%, 31% and 56%, respectively.
shell concrete needs at least 7 days moist curing. Although, the 28-day compressive strength of mix F50L is
similar to mix F50, reduction in the splitting tensile strength of mix
3.2.3. Ultrasonic pulse velocity (UPV) F50L is about 9% more than mix F50. Therefore, using limestone
The UPV values for the high volume fly ash OPS concretes are powder instead of sand could improve the short term (the first day)
given in Table 8. These results show that OPS concrete without FA is and long term (the 56 days and onward) compressive strengths of
considered as a good condition for all ages, while high volume fly OPS concrete. However, it has a negative effect on the splitting
ash OPS concrete achieves this condition at 28 days and onwards.
Yap et al. (2013) stated that for OPS concrete containing poly-
propylene and nylon fibres with a compressive strength ranging
from 12 to 37 MPa, the UPV could be correlated with its corre-
sponding compressive strength with an R2 of 0.91. They

Table 8
Range of UPV values for the high volume fly ash OPS concrete (km/s).

Days Range of UPV values (km/s)

High volume fly ash OPS concrete Control OPS concrete

1 2.77e3.44 3.64
3 3.40e3.62 4.03
7 3.20e3.76 4.19
28 3.71e3.89 4.24
56 3.65e4.13 4.10
Fig. 2. Relationship between the UPV value and the corresponding compressive
90 3.88e4.04 4.21
154 P. Shafigh et al. / Journal of Cleaner Production 135 (2016) 148e157

Table 9
Measured and predicted the 28-day splitting tensile and flexural strengths of OPS concretes (MPa).

Mix no. Splitting tensile strength (MPa) Flexural strength (MPa)

Measured Predicted by Predicted by Predicted by Measured Predicted by Predicted by

Eqn. (5) Eqn. (6) Eqn. (7) Eqn. (8) Eqn. (9)

F 3.22 2.51 3.26 2.61 4.95 3.77 5.98

F50 1.98 1.93 2.68 2.03 2.70 2.90 3.99
F50L 1.67 1.97 2.71 2.06 2.98 2.95 4.1
F70L 1.25 1.45 2.16 1.54 2.00 2.18 2.57

tensile strength. Shafigh et al. (2013b) found that OPS concrete with if the specified 28-day strength is considered, the use of fibres can
a constant water to binder ratio using 10% FA (replacement with be used as a good solution to compensate for the low tensile
cement by mass), increases its 28-day compressive strength by strength of high volume fly ash OPS concrete.
about 4%, while, its splitting tensile strength reduces by about 20%. Several equations predicting the splitting tensile strength from
Using high and even low volume FA in OPS concrete therefore re- the cube compressive strength for OPS concrete, which have been
duces its splitting tensile strength. reported in the literature, are as follows:
The reduction in the splitting tensile strength because of using For original OPS (uncrushed OPS) concrete with a cube
FA as well as the further reduction of this strength due to the compressive strength ranging from 17 to 37 MPa the equation is
incorporating limestone powder instead of sand confirms that any (Shafigh et al., 2010):
reduction of aggregate content in OPS concrete adversely affects
the splitting tensile strength. The total aggregate content in one m3 qffiffiffiffiffiffi
ft ¼ 0:20
3 2
of all fly ash OPS concretes reduced due to substitution of OPC with fcu (5)
FA and also substitution of normal sand with limestone powder
was based on mass not volume. Therefore, it can be said that the where ft is the splitting tensile strength (MPa) and fcu is the cube
total volume of OPS concrete containing high volume FA increased compressive strength (MPa).
compared to control OPS concrete. Neville (2008) reported that For crushed OPS concrete the following equation has been
reduction in the volume of aggregate leads to a decrease in the suggested (Shafigh et al., 2012):
tensile strength of concrete.
Moreover, mixes containing high volume FA have higher water pffiffiffiffiffiffi
ft ¼ 0:4887 fcu (6)
content than control mix, which results in increased porosity of the
interfacial transition zone (ITZ). Ollivier et al. (1995) claimed that For crushed OPS concrete containing 10e50% FA, the following
concrete is as a three-phase composite including aggregate, ITZ and equation has been suggested (Shafigh et al., 2013b):
matrix. Therefore, in the analysis of many properties of concrete
these three phases should be considered. Mehta and Monteiro 0:64
ft ¼ 0:23fcu (7)
(2006) reported that the quality and properties of ITZ have more
influence on the tensile strengths than the compressive strength. In Table 9 shows the predicted splitting tensile strength from the
addition, it was found that OPS concrete containing low volume FA above mentioned equations, which were compared with the
has a lower tensile strength compared to OPS concrete without FA measured values in the laboratory. It is found that none of these
at the same water content (Shafigh et al., 2013b). This may be equations gives an accurate estimation for F50L and F70L mixes. As
because FA adversely affects the quality of the ITZ. Therefore, in can be seen in Table 9, for higher amount of total powders (fly ash
summary, it can be said that compared to the compressive strength, and limestone powder), the measured splitting tensile strength is
reduction in the splitting tensile strength of oil palm shell concrete considerably smaller than the estimated values from the above
containing high volume FA is more because of the lower aggregate equations. Therefore, an appropriate equation should be created for
content and lower quality of the ITZ. this special type of lightweight aggregate concrete.
In most cases, the splitting tensile strength of lightweight con- Mehta and Monteiro (2006) stated that in normal weight con-
crete with a cube compressive strength of 20 and 30 MPa is in the crete, the tensile to compressive strength ratio is 10%e11% for low
range of 1.4e2.0 and 1.8e2.7 MPa, respectively (CEB/FIP, 1977). It strength (less than 20 MPa) concrete, 8%e9% for moderate strength
can be seen that in OPS high volume FA concrete the splitting (20e40 MPa) concrete, and 7% for high strength (more than
tensile strength of mix F50 is in the normal range. It should be 40 MPa) concrete. It can be seen that when OPS concrete only
noted that the minimum splitting tensile strength required for a contains OPC, this ratio is close to the range. Concretes with high
structural lightweight concrete is 2.0 MPa (Kockal and Ozturan, volume FA, however, are far from the lower limit of the ranges.
2011). The F50L and F70L mixes cannot fulfil this requirement. In Therefore, it can be concluded that the tensile strength of high
this respect, two points should be considered here. First, in high volume fly ash OPS concrete is its major weakness.
volume FA concrete, the hardened properties of concrete improve In general, the flexural to compressive strength ratio is in the
significantly with age. This occurs because of the increasing range of 8%e11% for concretes with compressive strength more
pozzolanic reaction of FA over time. For instance, it was reported than 25 MPa (Shetty, 2005). Test results in Table 9 show that the
(Malhotra and Mehta, 2002) that the increase in tensile strength of ratio for high volume fly ash OPS concretes is in this range. Table 9
a high volume FA concrete between 28 days and one year could be also shows the predicted flexural strength from the compressive
as high as 40%. Therefore, the acceptance ages of high volume fly strength. The flexural strength can be predicted by the following
ash OPS concrete can be at later ages (for example 56 days or later) two equations. Equation (8) is suggested for original OPS concrete
instead of the selected age of 28 days. Secondly, it has been shown with normal strength, as reported by Alengaram et al. (2008), and
that the inclusion of low volume steel fibres (Shafigh et al., 2011b) Equation (9) is suggested for crushed OPS concrete having a
as well as using polypropylene or nylon fibres (Yap et al., 2013) in compressive strength of between 35 and 53 MPa (Shafigh et al.,
OPS concrete significantly improves its tensile strength. Therefore, 2012).
P. Shafigh et al. / Journal of Cleaner Production 135 (2016) 148e157 155

fr ¼ 0:30
3 2
fcu (8)

fr ¼ 0:12fcu (9)
The use of Equation (8) for high volume fly ash OPS concrete
gives an error below 10%, while, using Equation (9) gives an over
estimation of between 22 and 32%. Therefore, Equation (8) can be
used for original OPS concrete with normal strength as well as for
oil palm shell concrete containing high volume FA. Fig. 3 shows the
relationship between the 28-day compressive strength and the
splitting tensile and flexural strengths for all the mixes. It can be
seen that there is an exponential relationship with strong correla-
tion between the compressive strength and tensile strength of the
OPS concrete when the FA content varies from 0 to 70%. Moreover,
it can be observed that the flexural strength is more than the Fig. 4. Water absorption of concrete mixes at 28-day age.
splitting tensile strength. However, it is clear that the difference
between the two tensile strengths decreases in high volume FA
concretes, particularly mix F70L, will be lower at later ages (i.e. 56
Wesche (1991) stated that when FA is used in concrete, the
or 90 days) than the 28-day age. In addition, it is expected that the
flexural and splitting tensile strengths can be predicted from the
reduction in water absorption of mix F70L at 56- and 90-day could
compressive strength results and the ratio of flexural to compres-
be more than the other concrete due to the significant improve-
sive strength is generally slightly higher than the ratio of the
ment in the compressive strength of this concrete at these ages
splitting tensile to compressive strength. The test results of the
compared to the other concrete.
current study show that in OPS concrete without FA the flexural to
compressive strength ratio is 4% greater than the splitting tensile/
compressive strength ratio while the difference in OPS high volume 3.5. Drying shrinkage
FA concrete is 3.5%.
Restrained concrete cracks if the stresses formed by drying
shrinkage exceed the tensile strength of the concrete. The cracks act
3.4. Water absorption
as pathways for gases, such as CO2, O2 and, NOx as well as aggres-
sive water, such as sulphate and chloride, which subsequently in-
One of the methods for assessing the durability properties of a
fluence the future serviceability of the concrete members
concrete is its absorption characteristics (Khatib and Mangat, 1995).
(Kaufmann and Matschei, 2003). Therefore, this characteristic of
Neville (2008) stated that water absorption is not a good indicator
the concrete is very important and directly related to the sustain-
to measure the quality of concrete. The absorption of most good
ability of concrete structures.
concretes, however, is below 10% by mass (Neville, 2008). Water
Fig. 5 shows the development of drying shrinkage for all mixes
absorption for all the mixes at their 28-day age is shown in Fig. 4. It
up to about one year. It is found that, for all mixes, drying shrinkage
can be seen that oil palm shell concrete containing high volume FA
significantly increases over the first three months, particularly in
has higher water absorption compared to the reference concrete.
the case of mix F70L. From three to six months, it is almost constant
Mixes F, F50, and F50L have water absorption of less than 10% and
for all mixes; afterwards, it tends to increase. In general, it can be
may be classified as a good concrete. Mix F70L has a water ab-
seen that there is no significant difference between drying
sorption of about 12%, which is relatively high.
shrinkage of the control mix, the F50, and F50L mixes. It has been
(Teo et al., 2008) measured water absorption of an OPS concrete
reported that the use of FA in normal proportions does not signif-
containing 510 kg/m3 OPC and cured in water for 7 days. They
icantly influence drying shrinkage strain of concrete (Malhotra and
observed that water absorption of the concrete reduced as the age
Ramezanianpour, 1994). Shafigh et al. (2013b) expressed that the
of the concrete increased. This occurs because the quality of the
drying shrinkage for two mixes of OPS concrete and OPS concrete
surrounding cement paste around the shell improves over time.
containing 10% FA, with the same water to binder ratio, is similar at
Therefore, it is expected that water absorption of high volume FA
all ages. Mix F70L, however, has significantly higher drying

Fig. 3. Relationship between the 28-day compressive strength and the splitting tensile
and flexural strengths. Fig. 5. Development of drying shrinkage of concretes.
156 P. Shafigh et al. / Journal of Cleaner Production 135 (2016) 148e157

2) The use of limestone powder in high volume fly ash OPS con-

crete is a key factor to compensate for the very low 1-day
compressive strength due to its filler effect. Moreover, it pro-
vides external lime for promoting pozzolanic reaction of fly ash.
It has, therefore, significant performance on the compressive
strength of high volume fly ash OPS concrete not only in the
short term of one day but also at a later age (i.e. 90 days).
3) The rate of compressive strength gain in high volume fly ash OPS
concrete at 28-day age and onwards is significantly more than
OPS concrete without fly ash. This occurs due to the effective-
ness of the pozzolanic reaction of fly ash. The rate of compres-
sive strength gain in concrete with more fly ash content, as well
as mixes containing limestone powder, is more significant.
4) OPS concrete containing high volume fly ash has about 46%e
60% lower cement content compared to the concretes in the
previous studies with the same 28-day compressive strength.
5) Water curing after demoulding is essential for OPS concrete,
particularly when this concrete contains high volume fly ash.
This sensitivity is significantly reduced by incorporating lime-
stone powder in the concrete mixture.
Fig. 6. Influence of water to cement ratio and aggregate content on shrinkage (Neville
6) The evaluation of the quality of the high volume fly ash OPS
and Brooks, 1987).
concrete using ultrasonic pulse velocity shows that such con-
crete has good quality at 28 days and onwards.
7) High volume fly ash OPS concrete shows low 28-day tensile
shrinkage compared the control mix. strength, particularly in splitting tensile strength. It is suggested
It should be noted that, because of the reason mentioned in that the acceptance age for high volume OPS concrete be
Section 2.2, water to binder ratio of mix F70L is significantly more changed to a later age rather than 28 days or this concrete be
than mix F. Moreover, the total volume of OPS concrete containing reinforced with fibres.
these powders exceed from 1 m3, indicating that in 1 m3 of this mix 8) Water-absorption test results showed that OPS concrete con-
aggregate content is less than control mix. This occurs because the taining 50% fly ash, with and without limestone powder could
substitution of fly ash and limestone powder is by mass. As can be be classified as a good concrete.
seen in Fig. 6, water to cement ratio has significant affect on drying 9) Drying shrinkage of OPS concrete significantly increases during
shrinkage strain of concrete (Neville and Brooks, 1987). Fig. 6 also the first three months. The increasing rate is even more signif-
shows that another influential factor on the drying shrinkage is the icant in the mix containing 70% fly ash. In general, there is no
volume content of aggregate. It is found from this figure that the significant difference between the drying shrinkage of OPS
variation of the water to cement ratio on drying shrinkage has more concrete containing 50% fly ash and the OPS concrete without fly
influence in a concrete with lower aggregate content. Therefore, ash.
drying shrinkage in mix F70L becomes greater than the control mix.
Fig. 5 shows that even after one year, the high drying shrinkage
value of mix F70L tends to increase. The tensile strength for this
mix, however, is very low. Thus, mix F70L has great potential for
This research work was funded by the University of Malaya
cracking. Further research is needed to find ways to compensate for
under the University of Malaya Grand Challenge Project GC003D-15
such weakness.
SUS: Application of Environmental-Friendly Building Materials
Consisting of Local Waste Materials for Affordable Housing.
4. Conclusions
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