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Quality of Concrete

Concrete is manufactured from the materials whose properties are variable.

Since the introduction of concrete for building structural elements, the importance of controlling
the manufacture of concrete to achieve the desired strength has been felt strongly.

Effective inspection reduces failures, prevents mistakes and improves the adherence to
specifications. Adequate inspection of concrete construction permits the use of advanced design
procedures and specifications and will frequently expedite construction and reduce the cost of
the work. Moreover, it is expected to reduce the maintenance cost.

Statiscally, the variability in quality is measured by “ Standard Deviation” or “ Co efficient of

Variation:. Considering that the concrete compressive strength test results from n cubes as x1,
x2, x3……….xn :

Average Strength = x= (x1 + x2 + x3 …. +xn) / n


Standard Deviation = S= {∑(X—X)2 / (n-1)}1/2

Co efficient of Variation = v= S / x *100 %

The average strength of test samples in the field has to be higher than the structural design
strength, as with reference to average strength, half the test values will fall below it.


Three stages

1. Preparatory to construction, the quality control involves:

(a) Specification of concrete quality strength and workability requirements.
(b) Initial and detailed testing of materials for the approval of sources,
(c) (i) Obtaining mix design data for controlled concrete from a central laboratory
(ii) Aggregate grading and absorption, mix proportion and w / c ratio
(iii) Initial field trial mix testing for ordinary concrete for adjustment of w / c ratio
and mix proportions (C / A ratio and coarse / fine aggregate ratio) for required
strength and workability
(d) Setting up a field laboratory for controlled testing.
(e) Inspection for approval of batching and mixing facilities.
2. During construction, the exercise involve:
(a) Testing of materials for concrete : Test and their frequency
(b) Controls and adjustments for aggregate grading, moisture content, bulking of sand
(c) Testing of concrete : Workability and strength and their frequency
(d) Controls and adjustments for maintaining constant workability and strength- direct
field adjustment chart.
(e) Control on concrete operations.
3. Assessment of concrete quality after construction which involves:
Interpretation of the strength data and the assessment of the concrete.


• Cement Aggregate ratio

• Grading of the aggregates

• Volume/ weight batching

• Mixing

• Compaction

• Curing

• Water / Cement Ratio

• Quality of Sand

• Quality of Water

Concrete Mix Design

• Concrete must be satisfactory in two stages, namely in the plastic stage and the hardened
stage. If the condition of the plastic concrete is not satisfactory it can not be properly
compacted and its structural value is reduced. Thus, if there are 5% of air voids due to
incomplete compaction, the strength will be reduced by 30% and 10% of air voids will
cause a loss of strength of about 60%. The satisfactory compaction can be obtained only
if the concrete is satisfactorily and sufficiently workable. The property of workability,
therefore become of vital importance from structural point of view.

2. Workability of Concrete

• A Concrete is said to be workable, if it can be easily mixed, placed, compacted and

finishes at the surface.

• A workable concrete should not show any segregation or bleeding.

• Segregation occurs when coarse aggregate try to separate out from the paste and get
accumulated at one side. This results in large voids, less strength and less durability.

Tests for workability

• Slump Test – I.S. 1199 para 5 deals with this test. The slump test apparatus is very simple
and cheap and the test can be conducted during the progress of work in the filed. I.S. 456
para 7.1 prescribes the values of workability.


• The durability of concrete depends on adequate cement content and low water cement
ratio. Cement and water is needed to bind together the aggregates firmly. Thus, the
suitable combination of the aggregates is key to quality concrete. The proper grading of
the aggregates make the concrete dense. This also governs the quantity of water required
for workability