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Proc. Instn Ciu. Engrs, Part 1, 1986,80, Feb.,145-159

8802

ENGINEERING

STRUCTURAL

GROUP

Concrete pressure on formwork

N. J. GARDNER. PhD*

The Paper reviews recent literature concerned with the lateral pressure exerted by fresh concrete against vertical form surfaces. For formwork design purposes the lateral pressure envelope can be considered hydrostatic from thefree surface up to alimiting valueand then constant at the limiting value. The limiting lateral pressure increases with concrete density, slump, flyash or slag content, admixtures, rate of pour, vibration and decrease in concrete temperature. From the literature review and laboratory experimental results a method is presented to calculate the limiting lateral pressure for formwork design purposes.The lateral pressure method presented and the CIRIA method are compared with field and laboratory experimental results. After statistical analysis, it is concluded that the proposed method is more reliable than the CIRIA method.

Introduction

The pressure exerted by freshly poured concrete against vertical form surfaces is of concern to construction engineers because an overestimate of the pressure results in heavy expensive formwork and anunderestimate results in malformed structur- al elements or, in extreme cases, failure of the formwork.

2. In conventional construction practice concrete is poured into wall and

column forms in lifts which are vibrated to consolidate the concrete. The concrete

is consolidated by poker-type vibrators which are immersed into only the top metre or so of concrete and only the concrete in this top metre or so will be vibrated sufficiently to develop full fluidpressure.

3. While the concrete is being vibrated it acts as a homogeneous slurry with

the properties of a fluid having the density of concrete. When the concrete is not being fluidized because the vibrator is off or the concrete is remote from the vibrator the heavier aggregate particles settle in the cement gel and the hydrating cement gel starts to form a crystalline structure between the heavy particles. During the hydration process the sand and cement particles join together in a

weak particulate structure; the fluid phase of the cement gel becomes less dense and consequently the pore fluid pressure reduces. Eventually the composition 01 the fluid component reverts to water with all the solids having crystallized out. If for any reason the now semi-set concrete dilates the fluid pressure can become tensile. As soon as the fluid phase ceases to be continuous the pore fluid pressure will cease being hydrostatic.

4. The lateral pressure exerted by the particulate structure reduces as the

structure develops shear strength capability and becomes capable of carrying

vertical loads.

Written discussioncloses 18 April 1986;for further detailssee p. (ii). * University of Ottawa.

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GARDNER

Previouswork

5. Rodin' reviewed the published experimental data on the pressure of fresh

concrete against formwork and concluded that the major factors influencing the lateral pressure were rate of pour, vibration, mix consistency and mix proportion, concrete temperature, concretesetting time and size and shape of the form. Rodin concluded that where external vibrators are used the formwork should be designed for the full hydrostatic pressure of a liquid having the same density as concrete. For internally vibrated concrete Rodin proposed the lateral pressure

envelope given in Fig. 1 where P,,, and H,,, are given by the equationbelow for a 1 : 2 : 4 concrete with 150mm slump at a temperatureof 21°C.

H,,,

= 1.63R1l3

(m)

(14

P,,,

= 23.5H,,,

(kPa)

(1b)

where the concrete densityis assumed to be 2400 kg/m3, H,,, is the head atwhich maximum pressure occurs(m),P,,, is the maximumlateral pressure (kPa) andR is

the rate of pour (m/h). Rodin presented correction curves, to adjust for mix pro- portions, slump and concrete temperature.

6. Schojdt' developed a theoretical model for the pressure envelope using soil

mechanics concepts, including pore pressure andlaterala pressure coefficient. The factors consideredin Schojdt's derivationwere rate of pour, immersed depthof the vibrator, setting time, slump, permeabilityof the form, and the size and shape of the form. Schojtd's method did not receive acceptance due to its complexity and the problem of determining the strength propertiesof fresh concrete.

I T

Fig. 1. Lateral pressure envelopesforformwork design purposes

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CONCRETE PRESSURE

ON FORMWORK

7. ACI Committee 3473 concluded that the significant variables affecting the

lateral pressure were rate of pour, consistency of the concrete, maximum aggregate

size, temperature of the concrete, smoothness and permeability of the form, size and shape of the form, method of consolidation, placement method, porewater pressure, type of cement, and depthof placement.

8. The Committee proposed that for form design purposes the lateral pressure

envelope should be hydrostatic

equations and then constant at this limiting value. For walls with R (rate of placing) < 2.14 m/h

785R

up to the limiting value given by the following

P,,,

P,,,

= 7.19 +

17.78 + T not to exceed 23.5h or 95.8

(kPa)

For walls with 2.14 < R < 3 m/h

For columns

P,,,

= 7.19 +

P,,,

P,,,

P,,,

= 7.19 +

1155

244

R

17.78 + T + 17.78 + T

not to exceed 23.5h or

785R

17.78 + T

not to exceed 23.5h or 143.7

(kW

(kPa)

(2b)

where h is the total depth of formwork (m), P,,, is the limiting value of lateral pressure (kPa), Ris the rateof pour (m/h) andT is the temperature (“C). 9.Ritchie4x5 and Ritchie and McDowel16published a number of articles reporting laboratory measurements of form pressure and work on the triaxial testing of fresh concrete.

10. Adam et al.’ conducted laboratorytests on a large form, 3 m high by 2.5 m

wide with variable thickness, to study the effect on form pressure of cement type,

additives, aggregate size, rate of pour, slump and vibration.

11. The results of this study were summarized in the lateralpressure equations

given below. WhenR < 2 m/h

 

P,,,

=

19.6 + 12.3R

(kPa)

temperature

< 5°C

(34

P,,,

= 19.6 +

9.8R

(kPa)

temperature = 15°C(3b)

P,,,

= 19.6 +

8.3R

(kPa)

temperature > 25°C(3c)

When R > 2 m/h

 
 

P,,,

=

40.1

+ 1.96R

(kPa)

temperature < 5°C

(34

P,,,

= 35.3

+ 1.96R

(kPa)

temperature = 15°C

(34

P,,,

= 32.4 + 1.96R

(kPa)

temperature > 25°C

(3f)

12.

TheConstructionIndustry

 

Research

and

Information

Association

(CIRIA) sponsored a large-scale field study into formwork pressures which was

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GARDNER

carried out by the Cement and Concrete Association and published in 1965.8

13. The CIRIA study proposed a lateral pressure design method which

involved consideration of rate of pour, concrete temperature, slump, minimum form dimension, and continuity of vibration. The CIRIA design procedure con- sidered the lateral pressure envelope to be hydrostatic up to a value P,,, limited by the lesser of concrete stiffening and arching effects. Arbitrary limits were placed upon the maximum values of P,,, . For the arching criterion

P,,, = 14.37 + 0.094d + 3.14R (kPa) (44

and for the stiffening criterion

p,,,

=

+

+ (4.6 - 1.89R)

(kPa)

but P,,, is not to exceed 24h or 143.7 (kPa), where R is the rate of pour (m/h), d is the minimum form dimension (mm), t is the time from start of pour (h), t,,, is the

stiffening time (h), c is the vibration constant,y, is the unitweight of concrete and h is the height of pour; and where c and tmaXwere defined in empirically derived charts.

14. In 1978 CIRIA published a two-page design chartg to replace equations

(4a) and (4b). Because of the rounding to metric

minimum value of the limiting lateral pressure of 35 kPa the chart gives slightly more conservative values than theoriginal CIRIA equations.

15. Gardner and Quereshi" and Gardner" reported a series of laboratory

studies using a large instrumented form. The variables considered were depth of vibration, power of the vibrator, rate of pour, concrete temperature, member dimension and concrete slump. A formula was proposed for calculating the limit- ing lateralpressure.

16. A subsequent investigati~n,'~*'~using the same apparatus, investigated

the effect on lateral pressure of superplasticizers and type F flyash concrete. It was

found that provided the slump used in equation (5) was the slump of the concrete after application of the superplasticizer the equation gave suitably conservative values for P,,, . The initial slow strength development of flyash concretes increases formwork pressures and an additional factor was introduced in the equation for flyash percentage. The equation was shown to give conservative design values for flyash concretes.

17. The comparisons presented later in this Paper show that equation (5) can

also be used for slag cement concretes simply by substituting percentage slag for

percentage flyash.

numbers and an arbitrary

(

~

100

100-F

)

f

= 24hi +- 3000HP

d

d

+-+-

40

400R'''

18+T

slump - 75

10

P,,,

(kW

(5)

P,,,

< 24h

(kPa)

where d is the minimum form dimension (mm) (not to exceed 1000 mm), h is the total height of the form (m), hi is the immersed depth of vibrator (m) (to be not less than 1 m), HP is the horsepower of the vibrator,F is the percentage flyash or slag slump in mm after application of superplasticizer and R is the rate of pour (m/h).

18. The German Standard DIN 1821814 on form pressure presents a series of

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CONCRETE PRESSURE ON FORMWORK

equations to calculate the limiting lateral pressures of internally vibrated concrete of various mobilities at a concrete temperature of 15°C.

P,,,

= 21

+ 5R

(kPa)

stiff mix

(64

P,,,

=

19 + 10R

(kPa)

soft mix

, , ,

P,,,

P

18 + 14R

= 17 + 17R

=

(kPa) (6c)

(kPa)

mix

fluid

liquid concrete

(64

where R is the rateof pour (m/h).

19. To adjust for concrete temperatures other than 15°C the limiting pressure

must be increased by 3% forevery degree below 15°C and can be decreased by 3%

for everydegree above 15°C to amaximum

published the results of recent site pressure measurements and

compared them with both the ACI and CIRIA design values. Some of Harrison's site measured pressures were for slag cement concretes. This paper also compared the original CIRIA (pre-1965)field data with the ACI and CIRIA methods. Harri- son presented a porewater pressure theory to explain the lateralpressure problem.

reduction of 30%.

20. Harrison'

Comparison of the theoretical methods

21. Validation of any formwork pressure equation is difficult owing to the lack

of well-documented data relevant to current construction practices. The most extensive field data are those sponsored by CIRIA, between 1960 and 1962, and used in the derivation of the CIRIA method.' Gardner and Quereshi" and Gardner' '-l3 investigated the form pressures resulting from Portland cement concretes, superplasticized Portland cement concretes and flyash concretes. Harri- son's results'$ included Portland cement concretes, superplasticized Portland cement concretes, partial slag cement concretes and low heat slag cement con-

cretes. The CIRIA9 formwork pressure method, and the method suggested by Gardner, equation (5),are compared with the above experimental data.

22. To use equation (5) it is necessary to know, or to assume, the depth to

which the vibrator is immersed and the vibrator power relative to the size of the element being formed. Unfortunately, values for neither of these items are reported in either the CIRIA data or Harrison's results. Hence for comparison purposes it was assumed that the vibrator was immersed 1 m into the concrete and that the horsepower was unity per 300 mm of minimum form dimension. Because equation

(5) was developed on a form with a maximum-minimum form dimension of 500 mm the minimum form dimension was arbitrarily limited to a maximum of 500 mm.

23. For graphical illustration the experimental data are grouped into the orig-

inal CIRIA 1965 data, the Portland cement concrete data of Gardner and Harri-

son and the non-Portlandcement data of Gardner andHarrison.

24. The CIRIA method and equation (5) are compared with the original

CIRIA field data in Figs 2 and 3. Experimental results with measured pressures less than 30 kPa were discarded on the basis that the pressure was too low for vibrated concrete.

25. The more recent Portland cement concrete results of Gardner and

Quereshi," Gardner" and Harrison" are compared with the CIRIA data and

equation (5) in Figs 4 and 5.

26. The CIRIA method was not developed to apply strictly to flyash or slag

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GARDNER

15c

 

3000

 

CIRIA method

Experlmental data

ClRlA 65

100

 

2000

a,

VI

VI

a,

Q

 

kPa

p.s.f.

/

L

3

VI

m

I

5c

1000

0

0

0

0

/

/ /

/

/

/ 1000

I

I

P.S.f.

2000

I

kPa

Calculated llrnltlng pressure

50

1Q0

Fig.

2. Comparison o f

pressures

CIRIA 65

experimentaldatawith

3000

1

150

CIRIA calculated

concretes but Harri~on’~used the method to compare with his slag element

concretes results. The non-conventional concrete results, excluding the flyash con- cretes, are compared with the CIRIA method in Fig. 6. Equation (5) is compared with the non-conventionalcement concretes in Fig. 7.

27. By observation of Figs 2-5 the proposed method has fewer unconservative

data points than theCIRIA method for Portland cement concretes. The proposed

method is more

cement, flyash or slag cement concretes.

Statistical analysis

reliable than the CIRIA method

for superplasticized Portland

28. From Figs 2-7 it is difficult to quantify the relative goodness of the three

methods in describing the experimental results.

29. The statistical parameters considered here

were the mean and standard

deviation of the ratio of measured pressure/calculated pressure, the 95% t dis- tribution confidence limit of calculated pressure/measured pressure, the correla-

tion coefficient, special correlation coefficient and integral absolute error of the

pressure. Regression analysis is not appropri-

pressure and calculated pressure are not dependent and

independent variables. Similarly, the correlation coefficients and the integral

150

measured pressure to ate as the measured

the calculated

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a,

v)

v)

15c

100

a, Q kPa

Tl

a,

v)

m

‘F I

3000

2000

p s.f.

50 1000

CONCRETE PRESSURE

Gardner method

Expenmental data

ClRlA 65

./

0

0

0,’

/

/.

/

/

/

0

ON FORMWORK

/ /

0

/

/

/

/

/

/

/

/‘

/

/

/ / p.s.f.

0

0

Fig. 3. Comparison o f pressures

1000

I

50

k 150

Pa

2000

I

100

3000

I

Calculated ltmitlng pressure

CIRIA 65

experimental

data w i t h Gardnercalculated

absolute error areonly indicators of the goodness of fit. The 95% confidence limit index is given by

Index =

1

mean - 95% t X standard deviation

The correlationcoefficient is givenby

R= XOiPi - nOP

(n - 1H0, up

The special correlation coefficient is givenby

R, = 2XOiPi - XP?

X02

The integral absolute error(IAE) is given by

IAE =

Z[(Oi - Pi)Z]”*

EOi

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GARDNER

 

150

 

3000

 

100

 

2000

0,

m

m

a

 

kPa

p.s f

L

3

0

m

z

 

50

/ /

ClRlA method-OPC concrete

Expenmental data Gardner (refs. 6,7,8) 0 Harrison (ref. 9)
Expenmental data
Gardner (refs. 6,7,8)
0
Harrison (ref. 9)

/

/

/

1000

I

50

e

p.s f

kPa

2000

I

I

100

Calculated llmlting pressure

/ / / / / / / / 0 0
/ /
/
/
/ /
/
/
0
0

3000

l

150

Fig. 4. Comparison of OPC experimental data with calculated pressures

in which Oi is the observed value and Pi is the predicted value.

30. The experimental results in Table 1 are grouped into the original CIRIA

data for Portland cement concretes; the more recent data of Gardner and Harri- son for Portland cement concretes; and separately superplasticized concretes, slag

cement concretes and fly ash cement concrete.

31. For Portland cement concretes each of the five indicators of consistency,

standard deviation, 95% confidence limit, correlation coefficient, special correla- tion coefficient and integral absolute error show that equation (5) is more consis-

tent than the CIRIA method. For Portland cement concretes the only indicators for which the CIRIA method is marginally better than equation (5) are the mean values for the original CIRIA 1965 results and the recent experimental results of Gardner andHarrison.

32. For slag cement concrete the CIRIA method fits the results better than

equation (5) for mean value, 95% confidence limit, special correlation coefficient and integral absolute error. However, the original CIRIA data sheets were devel- oped for Portland cement concretes and had a mean value of approximately 0.8. Slag cement concretes develop higher formwork pressures and thus the mean value of the experimental pressure/calculated pressure ratio will increase. The

152

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ar

v)

v)

2

a

7J

W

m

2

1-

15c

3000

CONCRETE PRESSURE

Gardner method-OPC concrete

experlmenial data Gardner (refs.6.7.8) 0 Harrison (ref 9)
experlmenial data
Gardner (refs.6.7.8)
0
Harrison (ref
9)

1 oc

1-

-

2000

kPa

p.s.1.

5c

C

1- 1000

/

/

/

/

/ /

/

/

/

/ 1000

IL

0

I

i0

PSf.

k Pa

8

2000

1

100

Calculated llmltlng pressure

ON FORMWORK

/

/

/

/'

/

/

/

3000

I

i

150

Fig. 5. Comparison of OPC experimental data with Gardner calculated pressures

deliberate conservatism in the original method has been eliminated, which appar- ently 'improves' the statistical mean and 95% confidence limit; however, the standard deviation indicates poor consistency.

33. For superplasticized concretes, with the exception of the mean value, equa-

tion (5) is better than the CIRIA method. For completeness it must be noted that when the original CIRIA method was developed concrete slumps above 150 mm were not envisaged.

34. It would be unrealistic to expect any empirically derived formulae to fit

exactly the measured results. A good theory would be conservative with a mean measured/predicted value between 0.8 and 0.9 and a standard deviation of about 0.20. Using this criterion caution shouldbe exercised in using the CIRIA method for slag or superplasticized concrete. The proposed method is consistently more reliable than the CIRIA method and can be used for flyash, slag and super- plasticized concretes with the same confidence as for ordinary Portland cement

concretes.

Code provisions

35. The preferred form of a code provision would be to have an equation(s)

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GARDNER

,000

ClRlA method

 

Expenmental data OPC + superplastlclzer-Gardner

50% OPC+50%slaq I

50% OPC+50%slaq

I

 

+ superplasticlzerHarrson(rei

 

0

LHPBFC

A

Slag cement

!OOO

1 s.f

I000

/‘

/

m/ /

/

(ref. 8)

/

/

9)

/

1000

p.s 1.

2000

3000

50

kPa

1 do

150

Calculated llmlting pressure

Fig. 6. Comparison of non-OPC experimental data withCIRIA calculated pressures

which took account of the effect of all the possible parameters on the formwork pressure-obviously this is not practicable.

36. A more practical method is to present a simplified method or equation

which accounts for the major parameters and a phenomenological description of

what to expect under various construction methods.

Phenomena

37. From a

review of the literature the

following factors can be considered

significant to the lateral pressure problem.

Density ofconcrete

38. The lateral pressure contribution from the solid phase of the concrete is

directly proportional to the submerged unit weight of the concrete but thelateral pressure contribution from the fluid phase is proportional only to the density of the fluid phase. The published experimental results relate only to normal weight concrete.

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15c

CONCRETE PRESSURE ON

3000

Gardnermethod

Experimental data

PRESSURE ON 3000 Gardnermethod Experimental data 0 OPC + superplastnzer Flyash 50% OPC + 50% slag

0

OPC + superplastnzer

Flyash

50% OPC + 50% slag + superplasllclzer LHPBFC

A OPC-Superplastuxer

0

0

}
!

Gardner(re1 8)

Harrlson (ref 9)

FORMWORK

 

100

/

 

2000

/

/

2

VI

VI

~

a,

a

kPa

P s.1

a,

VI

m

 

50

 

L

3000

 

0

I

I

 

0

50

kPa

100

150

Fig.

7. Comparison o f

pressures

Vibration

Calculated llmlllng pressure

non-OPC

experimentaldatawithGardnercalculated

39. If concrete is vibrated using poker-type vibrators the depth of immersion

of the vibrator, power of the vibrator and duration of vibration all influence the lateral pressure on the formwork. For external vibration the formwork should be

designed for full hydrostatic pressure.

Revibration

40. If revibration is used

the formwork must be designed for

depth of the vibrator during revibration.

Size of member

being

formed

the immersed

41. It is easily justified that, the larger theminimum dimension of the member being formed, the larger the lateralpressure on theform as the wall shear becomes smaller relative to themass of the concrete. Frictional restraintfrom reinforcement reduces the lateralform pressure.

Temperature

42. The mechanical properties of fresh concrete, which can be measured indi-

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GARDNER

156

d

*v) W2

Ov)

Pc? ?3 l" Nt N

N

00

00

0 00 00

C'OP?? (**?op*

00

00

0

00

00

dd

wm

m

-v)

r-m

ww\Dw ww

3-

13w=mm

3

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CONCRETE PRESSURE

ON FORMWORK

rectly as setting time, are a function of the temperature of the concrete. The lower the temperature, the slower the concrete hydrates and the slower the mechanical properties of the concrete develop, and consequently, the higher the lateral press- ure exerted by the concrete on the formwork. It is the temperature of the concrete, not theambient temperature,which controls the hydration of the cement.

Rate of pour

43. With fast rates of pour, less time is available for the concrete to develop its

strength and, therefore, the limiting lateral pressure is greater.

Slump

44. Slump is a measure of the early age shear strength of concrete. Tests have

shown that themore workable a concrete the higher the lateralpressure.

Superplasticizer

45. Using superplasticizer to increase the workability or slump of the mix increases the maximum lateral pressure exerted on the formwork compared with the unplasticized concrete. The duration of effect of a superplasticizer to increase mobility is relatively short lived and hence the rate of apparent strength gain is relatively higher than for conventional concrete. The effectiveness of a super- plasticizer is temperature dependent and is different for each of the various prop- rietary brands.

Flyash

46. Slump tests show that the use of flyash to partially replace the cement in a

concrete increases the mobility of the concrete and also reduces the rateof gain of

strength. Consequently concrete made with flyash partial cement replacement will exert higher form pressures than the same slump conventional concrete.

Slag cement

47. Concretes made with blended blastfurnace slag and Portland cement exert

higher lateral pressure on formwork than do conventional Portland cement con-

cretes.

Admixtures

48. Any admixture that reduces the rate of strength gain of the concrete will

increase the pressure on the formwork.

Pumped concrete

49. If concrete is pumped from the base of the form the formwork must be

designed for full hydrostatic pressures plus the pumphead.

Expansive cements

50. Concretes using shrinkage compensating cements and expansive cements

can cause forces in formwork greater than those that would be calculated from the full hydrostatic pressure. Contractors and engineers using such cements should monitor closely the formwork and remove the formwork before significant expan- sion of the concrete occurs.

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GARDNER

Design method

51. For formwork design purposes it would be

preferable to eliminate the

horsepower term in equation (5) by assuming 3 horsepower per 300 mm of section width.

P,,,

d

= 24hi +-+

40

400R’’’

~

18+T

(

~

100

100-F

)

slump

+-

(64

10

(kW

where d is the minimum form dimension (mm) (not to exceed loo0 mm), h is the total height of the form (m), hi is the immersed depthof the vibrator(m) (to be not less than 1 m), HP is the horsepower of the vibrator andF is the percentageflyash or slag slumpin mm after application of superplasticizer.

52. Further, at very low rates of pour the concrete set can be considered to be

an upper bound. Assuming a set time for the concrete of 4 hours irrespective of temperature the upper bound becomes

P,,,

< 96R

(kPa)

Finally, the pressure cannot be greater than the hydrostatic pressure

Conclusions

P,,,

< 24h

(kPa)

53. For formwork design purposes the lateral pressure envelope can be taken

as hydrostatic from thefree surface to alimiting valueand thereafter constant.

54. The limiting lateral pressure increases with increases in concrete density,

concrete slump, flyash or slag cement content, admixtures, rateof pour, vibration

rate of placement, and decrease in temperature.

55. The method presented to calculate the limiting pressure is consistently

statistically more reliable than the CIRIA method.

Acknowledgement

56. The Author would

like to acknowledge the financial assistance

of the

Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada under grant

A5645.

57. The Author would also like to thank CIRIA for permission to access the

original field data andthe Cement and Concrete Associationfor the facilities given in accessing the original data.

References

1. RODINS.Pressure of concrete on formwork. Proc. Instn Cio. Engrs, Part 1,1952,1, Nov., No. 6,709-746.

2. SCHlODT R.

Calculations of pressure o f concrete on forms.

Proc. Am. Soc. Cio. Engrs,

1955,81, May, 1-16.

3. ACI COMMITTEE 347 (formerly ACI COMMITTEE 622).Pressure on formwork. J. Am. Concr. Inst., 1958,55, Aug., No. 2, 173-190.

4. RITCHIE,A. G. B. The triaxial testing of fresh concrete. Mag. Concr. Res., 1962,14, Mar., No. 40,3742.

5. RITCHIE,A. G. B. Pressure developed by concrete on formwork. Ciu. Engng Publ. Wks Reo., 1962,57, July, No. 672,885-888.

6. RITCHIE,A. G. B. and MCDOWELL,D. C. Effects of mix characteristics

on the early

stiffening ofconcrete onformwork pressure. Unpublished report to CIRIA, Project No.

RP64,1969.

158

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CONCRETE PRESSURE ON FORMWORK

7. ADAM,M. et al. Poussee du beton frais sur les coffrages. Ann. Inst. Tech. Biitiment Trav. Publics, Ser. Btton,1963, Mar.-Apr., Nos 207-208,403-423.

Research and

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