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Workability, testing, and performance of self-consolidating concrete

Article  in  Aci Materials Journal · May 1999

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Kamal H. Khayat
Missouri University of Science and Technology


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Title no. 96-M43

Workability, Testing, and Performance of Self-Consolidating

by K. H. Khayat

Self-consolidating concrete is a new category of high-performance Self-consolidating concrete (SCC) is a highly flowable
concrete that exhibits a low resistance to flow to insure high flow- concrete that can spread into place under its own weight and
ability, and a moderate viscosity to maintain a homogeneous achieve good consolidation in the absence of vibration
deformation through restricted sections, such as closely spaced without exhibiting defects due to segregation and bleeding.
reinforcement. Self-consolidating concrete is used to improve the
Self-consolidating concrete is a product of technological
productivity of casting congested sections and to insure the proper
filling of restricted areas with minimum or no consolidation. Such advancements in the area of underwater concrete technology
concrete can improve the homogeneity of highly flowable concrete where the mix is proportioned to insure high fluidity as well
that is necessary to insure good bond development with reinforcing as high resistance to water dilution and segregation. The use
steel, adequate structural performance, and proper durability. of SCC has gained wide acceptance in Japan since the late
This paper reviews the benefits of using self-consolidating 1980s for casting congested members, as well as the place-
concrete to facilitate the casting of densely reinforced sections and ment of concrete in restricted areas where consolidation may
improve productivity and on-site working conditions. Workability not be practical.1-12 For example, the repair of the bottom
requirements necessary to secure self-consolidation and the princi- sides of beams, girders, and slabs often necessitates filling
ples involved in proportioning such highly flowable concrete are narrow and difficult to access areas. Other areas where SCC
discussed. Field-oriented tests useful in evaluating the deform- can be employed to facilitate concrete placement and assure
ability, filling capacity, and stability of self-consolidating concrete
durability can involve the filling of complex formwork and
are presented. The performance of concrete mixes proportioned
according to two main approaches needed to insure high deform- the casting of tunnel lining sections with restricted access to
ability, low risk of blockage during flow, and proper stability are consolidation. Self-consolidating concrete can also be used in
compared. Such approaches involved the proportioning of concrete casting noncongested structures where limitation of concrete
with a moderate water-to-cementitious material ratio (w/cm) of consolidation or the required duration of intervention can
0.41 and using a viscosity-enhancing admixture to increase reduce construction costs as well as noise, which can be
stability, as well as mixes without any viscosity-enhancing admix- important in some urban areas. This can contribute to an
ture, but with lower w/cm of 0.35 to 0.38 to reduce free water improvement in working conditions and overall productivity
content and provide stability. Mixes with both moderate and high of the construction site. Because of the highly stable nature of
contents of ternary cementitious materials were evaluated. The SCC, its use can enable the casting of deep sections in fewer
performance of each concrete was compared to that of a flowable
lifts without greater risk of settlement, segregation, or
concrete with 250-mm slump.
bleeding. This can reduce the number of lifts in deep sections,
hence decreasing construction time and labor requirements.
Keywords: bleeding (concrete); consolidation; high-performance con-
crete; rheological properties; segregation; stability; viscosity; workability. Self-consolidating concrete can also be used for filling
noncongested sections to accelerate the progress of construc-
INTRODUCTION tion without mitigating mechanical properties and durability
The required workability for casting concrete depends on that can result from segregation and bleeding. For example,
the type of construction, selected placement and consolidation relatively lean concrete is sometimes used to construct base-
methods, the complex shape of the formwork, and structural ment walls in residential construction. The lack of strict
design details that affect the degree of congestion of the performance criteria for basement construction and the need
reinforcement. With the increasing use of congested rein- for speedy construction often result in the placement of
forced concrete members to enhance structural performance, highly fluid concrete so that the discharge of concrete can
such as in mat foundations and moment-resisting frames, proceed quickly with minimum need for consolidation.
there is a growing need to use highly flowable concrete to Often, such concrete is proportioned with a high water
insure proper filling of the formwork. Providing adequate content to be self-leveling and self-consolidating. However,
consolidation of such congested elements can be difficult, such structures often exhibit low in situ impermeability and
given the restricted access to the poker vibrators and the high resistance to cracking. As a result, basements can be damp and
compaction energy required to insure proper filling of the have poor visual quality to be used as permanent surfaces. The
section. Because of the highly fluid nature of such concrete, use of properly designed SCC can maintain the high work-
excessive vibration can lead to segregation, bleeding, and ability necessary for the ease of placement (constructibility
blockage of the concrete deformation when flowing across
narrow spaces between reinforcement. Skilled labor and strict
quality control are required to insure sufficient compaction ACI Materials Journal, V. 96, No. 3, May-June 1999.
Received September 27, 1997, and reviewed under Institute publication policies.
and adequate homogeneity of the cast concrete. Such charac- Copyright © 1999, American Concrete Institute. All rights reserved, including the
teristics are essential to insure proper bond to the reinforcing making of copies unless permission is obtained from the copyright proprietors. Perti-
nent discussion will be published in the March-April 2000 ACI Materials Journal if
steel and adequate mechanical performance and durability. received by December 1, 1999.

346 ACI Materials Journal/May-June 1999

strength and durability criteria. Basic workability require-
ACI member K. H. Khayat is a professor of civil engineering at the Université de
Sherbrooke, QC, Canada. His research interests include self-consolidating concrete, ments for successful casting of SCC are summarized in Fig.
rheology, and concrete repair. 1. They consist of tailoring the concrete mix to insure good
balance between deformability and stability and preventing
the blockage of concrete flow. Deformability of concrete is
criteria) while insuring adequate stability and homogeneous defined as the ability of the concrete to undergo a change in
distribution of in situ engineering properties and durability. its shape under its own weight, even in the vicinity of obsta-
The objective of this paper is to highlight the workability cles that can interfere with its flow. Maximum deformability
requirements needed to secure self-consolidation and present refers to the maximum flow value, while speed of deform-
some field-oriented tests that can be used to evaluate ability takes into account the rate of deformation. For
deformability, filling capacity, and stability of SCC. The example, a highly viscous concrete designed for underwater
paper also reviews the principals involved in proportioning placement can attain a slump flow of 570 mm (high deform-
SCC that consist of reducing the coarse aggregate volume ability) after 15 sec, compared with an SCC proportioned
and providing excellent deformability and adequate with a higher water content to fill a restricted section that can
viscosity. Such viscosity can be provided either by incorpo- attain the same deformability after only 5 sec (high deform-
rating a viscosity-enhancing admixture (VEA) or by ability speed). These flow notions are, of course, related to
reducing the water-to-cementitious material ratio (w/cm) to the yield value and the viscosity of the concrete.
limit free water content. Fresh concrete characteristics of As shown in Fig. 1, it is important to insure both high
seven SCC mixes made with either low w/cm and no VEA, or flowability (low-yield value) and a high resistance to segre-
higher w/cm and VEA are compared for mixes made with rela- gation (moderate viscosity) to secure an SCC that can flow
tively medium and high contents of cementitious materials. readily around various obstacles and achieve good filling
capacity. The deformability of concrete is closely related to
RESEARCH SIGNIFICANCE that of the cement paste that increases with the incorporation
Self-consolidating concrete is a new class of high-perfor- of high-range water reducer (HRWR). Unlike water addition
mance concrete used to facilitate and accelerate concrete that reduces both the yield value and viscosity, the incorpora-
placement without mitigating in situ properties and durability. tion of HRWR lowers mostly the yield value (better flow-
With the increasing use of SCC, it is important to provide ability), but results in a limited drop in viscosity. Therefore, a
guidelines for the proportioning and characterization of such highly flowable concrete can be obtained without significant
concrete. Discussion provided in this paper concerning mix reduction in cohesiveness.
proportioning alternatives, simple test methods to assess The reduction of the water-to-powder ratio (w/p) can limit
deformability, stability, and filling capacity, as well as perfor- the deformability of the cement paste. Powder materials
mance of various SCC mixes prepared with different contents include cementitious materials and various fillers, such as
of cementitious materials, w/cm, and VEA, should be useful to limestone filler. Therefore, an increase in w/p can secure high
engineers considering the use of SCC. deformability; however, it can also reduce the cohesiveness of
the paste and mortar and lead to segregation of fine and coarse
WORKABILITY REQUIREMENTS OF aggregate particles, hence causing blockage of the flow.
SELF-CONSOLIDATING CONCRETE Therefore, a balance is needed to increase the w/p to enhance
The successful use of SCC to fill congested structural deformability without a substantial reduction in cohesiveness.
sections and restricted elements requires that the concrete Another important parameter that affects deformability is
can flow readily under its own weight around various the interparticle friction between the various solids (coarse
obstructions without exhibiting segregation and blockage of aggregate, sand, and powder materials). Such solid-to-solid
the flow. The cast concrete should self-consolidate and meet friction increases the internal resistance to flow, thus

Fig. 1—Basic workability requirements for successful casting of SCC.

ACI Materials Journal/May-June 1999 347

The third property essential to enhancing self-consolida-
tion is a reduction in the risk of blockage resulting from the
flow in narrow spaces. The risk of blockage is reduced by
providing adequate viscosity, thus insuring good suspension
of solid particles during flow. This can then reduce interpar-
ticle friction and limit deformability and the ability to prop-
erly fill the formwork. To prevent blockage of concrete flow
among closely spaced obstacles, concrete should have
adequate cohesiveness by reducing the w/p and/or incorpo-
rating an adequate dosage of a VEA. As the clear spacing
between the obstacles in the congested section decreases, the
coarse aggregate volume and MSA should be reduced to
limit interparticle collision in the vicinity of reinforcement
and hence the risk of blockage.
The previously described workability requirements necessary
to secure adequate filling capacity of the congested and
Fig. 2—Trade-off between fluidity and stability of concrete. restricted sections are illustrated in Fig. 2 using the V-funnel
test presented later in this paper. A short flow out of concrete
limiting the deformability and speed of flow of the fresh under its own weight from the funnel outlet reflects high
concrete. The extent of interparticle friction increases when deformability and good stability and resistance to blockage.
the concrete spreads through restricted spacing because of When the concrete is proportioned with a low w/cm and a
the greater collision between the various solids. This fixed dosage of HRWR, it can exhibit a relatively low slump
increases viscosity, thus requiring greater shear stresses to and high viscosity, which results in a high flow time (Point
maintain a given capacity and speed of deformation. The use A1). With the increase in w/cm, the viscosity and segregation
of HRWR can disperse cement grains and reduce interpar- resistance decrease and the deformability increases,
ticle friction and enable the reduction in water content while resulting in a net reduction in flow time. Further increase in
maintaining the required levels of flowability and viscosity. deformability does not necessarily secure constant reduction
It is also essential to reduce the coarse aggregate and sand in flow time, since highly flowable concrete may not possess
volumes, and increase the paste volume to enhance deform- enough cohesion between the mortar and coarse aggregate to
ability. The incorporation of continuously graded cementi- insure uniform deformation through the tapered outlet.
tious materials and fillers can also reduce interparticle friction. Therefore, because of the local coagulation of coarse aggre-
It is important to note that the selection of proper combina- gate that can cause blockage, the flow time can increase
tions of binary or ternary binder should take into account the despite the higher nonrestrained deformability. An optimum
effect of such powder on the adsorption of water and admix- point (A2) exists where a balance between the deformability
tures, on workability loss and temperature rise, as well as on and stability can lead to the lowest flow time out for a partic-
the development of engineering properties and durability. It is ular mix. An increase in mortar viscosity, through the use of
important to minimize fluidity loss until the end of casting fine powder or a VEA, can maintain good suspension of
since loss in deformability can substantially limit the filling coarse aggregate, and reduce interparticle collision and
capacity and self-consolidation of the concrete. coagulation of coarse aggregate. As a result, higher stability
Another primary parameter necessary to provide self- can be assured for a given slump flow, hence securing low
consolidating properties is the stability of the concrete. It is flow times at higher slump flow values (Point B2).
important to note that a highly flowable concrete that In addition to providing adequate stability during place-
exhibits adequate stability once cast in place may undergo ment, the concrete should have proper stability, once in a
some segregation during the pumping or spread into place. stationary state, until it hardens to minimize any migration of
This is because the apparent viscosity at such shear rates can free water and segregation of suspended solid particles. This
be significantly lower than that at rest because of the pseudo- is important to secure homogeneous properties of the hard-
plastic nature of the concrete. Such shear rates can be high ened concrete. The lack of stability can weaken the interface
locally as the concrete flows around various obstacles. There- between the aggregate and cement paste, and increase the
fore, when the concrete flows through restricted areas, such tendency to develop local microcracking that can increase
as between closely spaced reinforcement, it is important to permeability and reduce mechanical properties. Bleeding can
insure that it has sufficient viscosity to maintain uniform also result in some accumulation of porous cement paste
suspension of solid particles. Concrete with low cohesive- under the lower half of horizontally embedded reinforcement
ness can segregate since it cannot maintain proper suspen- and under the ribs of vertically positioned bars. The surface
sion of aggregate to insure uniform deformation around settlement of fresh concrete, which is related to the segrega-
obstacles. As concrete deforms around a restricted section, a tion of concrete, can reduce the effective projection of
portion of the coarse aggregate can begin to segregate, which concrete lugs and further contribute to the reduction in bond
can result in an increase in aggregate density leading to coag- strength.16 Insuring adequate stability is especially critical in
ulation and arching of the aggregate, and hence, blockage of deep structural elements where highly flowable concrete can
the flow.13-15 As shown in Fig. 1, enhancement of stability exhibit segregation, bleeding, and surface settlement that
involves the reduction in coarse aggregate content and the reduce strength, stiffness, bond to reinforcing steel, and dura-
lowering of the maximum size aggregate (MSA). It is also bility. The decrease of bleeding can involve the reduction of
important to increase cohesion of the mix to enhance bond water content through the reduction of w/p and incorporation
between the mortar and coarse aggregate, hence providing of HRWR, and use of VEA and/or high volume of cementi-
enough cohesion to insure uniform flow of both phases. tious materials and fillers to bind some of the free water.

348 ACI Materials Journal/May-June 1999

Fig. 4—V-funnel test used to evaluate flowability through
restricted section.

Fig. 3—Variations between slump and slump flow measurements.

A number of tests can be used to evaluate the self-
compactability of concrete, including deformability (consis-
tency), filling capacity, and stability. The tests presented
herein include the slump flow test to evaluate free deform-
ability in the absence of obstructions. Flow time and filling
capacity tests are used to assess the flowability through
restricted areas that combines deformability and resistance to
blockage during the flow. Monitoring the surface settlement
can be used to evaluate stability of the concrete after the
casting and until the onset of hardening.
Slump flow is determined by measuring the mean of two
orthogonal diameters of the concrete base following the Fig. 5—Schematic of filling capacity apparatus.18
removal of the slump cone. In addition to assessing the deform-
ability capacity under low shear rate (self weight), segregation
of aggregate near the edges of the spread-out concrete can be Another test that can be used to determine the facility of
observed. However, the lack of material separation does not concrete to deform readily among closely spaced reinforce-
guarantee good stability during and after casting. It is important ment is the filling capacity test shown in Fig. 5.18 The test
to note that the slump measurement is not as sensitive as that of consists of casting concrete in a box with dimensions of 300 x
the slump flow value in reflecting small changes in the consis- 500 x 300 mm. A number of closely spaced smooth hori-
tency of SCC, as shown in Fig. 3, for mixes with slump values zontal bars are used to evaluate the filling capacity of the
greater than 250 mm for stable mixes. concrete through the restricted section. The concrete is intro-
The facility of aggregate and mortar to change their flowing duced from a tremie pipe equipped with a hopper at a constant
paths and spread through a restricted area without blockage rate until the concrete reaches a height of 220 mm in the
can be evaluated using the V-funnel flow test shown in Fig. 4, nonreinforced section. The concrete flows under its own
which is similar to that suggested in Reference 17. The funnel weight among the closely spaced bars. The concrete is poured
is filled completely with concrete and the bottom outlet is at a constant rate of approximately 0.7 l/sec. This is
opened, allowing the concrete to flow out. The flow of the continued until the concrete height reaches 220 mm in the
concrete is noted as the lapse of time between the removal of nonreinforced section following proper flow among the
the outlet and the seizure of the flow. An alternative way to obstacles, or until an abrupt backup takes place in the nonre-
perform this test is to observe the flow from the top side of inforced section. The latter case occurs when the concrete is
the funnel and report the flow time as the time between the either too viscous to spread readily into place under its own
removal of the outlet gate and the time when the light weight, or when it is highly flowable but not stable, leading
becomes visible from the bottom. A high flow time can be to aggregate collision and blockage. The filling capacity is
associated with either a low deformability due to a high paste calculated as the ratio of A/(A + B), where A is the area of the
viscosity, a high interparticle friction, or a blockage of the region filled by concrete in the reinforced section, and B is
flow. In the case of a highly flowable concrete (slump flow equal to 300 x 50 mm. The maximum theoretical filling
of 630 mm), a slow flow time (for example, 20 sec) indicates capacity is approximately 73 percent. It is important to point
that the concrete does not possess enough stability to insure out that B can be taken as the area corresponding to a height
uniform deformation of coarse aggregate along with the of 220 mm, or that where the concrete reaches a stable state
mortar. The lack of cohesion of the mortar can cause coagula- after some settlement where the maximum filling capacity
tion of coarse aggregate particles in the tapered outlet. This can reach 100 percent.
can lead to arching of aggregate that interferes with the rate A low filling capacity value (for example, 20 percent) of a
deformability. When the concrete is both fluid and cohesive, a concrete that exhibits excellent deformability (for example,
high flow time indicates that the volume of coarse aggregate slump flow of 650 mm) indicates the need to reduce the
or MSA should be reduced to decrease the risk of blockage. volume of coarse aggregate or the MSA, change the aggregate

ACI Materials Journal/May-June 1999 349

One approach to enhance cohesiveness of the paste is to
lower the free water content by reducing the w/cm (i.e, 0.33).
This may require a relatively high content of HRWR to
obtain the required deformability. An alternative approach is
to maintain the w/cm needed to secure strength and dura-
bility (i.e., 0.45) and to incorporate a VEA to enhance the
rheological parameters. The use of a VEA along with an
HRWR can insure both high deformability and adequate
stability that can insure high filling capacity and uniformity
of in situ mechanical properties and bond to reinforce-
ment.16,24 The VEA increases both the yield value and
viscosity, while the HRWR primarily reduces the yield
value. The resulting combination can then secure a mix with
Fig. 6—Setup to measure surface settlement of concrete.19,20 relatively low yield value and moderate viscosity necessary
for the successful casting of SCC.
shape, or enhance the viscosity of the mix to reduce the risk Commonly used VEA in concrete include cellulose deriv-
of segregation and blockage. atives and polysaccharides of microbial sources—in partic-
ular, welan gum. The incorporation of VEA affects the
A simple test that can be used to evaluate the stability of
aqueous phase of the cement paste where chains of the
concrete and its ability to insure proper suspension of aggre-
water-soluble polymer can imbibe some of the free water in
gate and fines is shown in Fig. 6.19,20 An 800-mm-high PVC
the system, thus enhancing viscosity of the paste.25 This can
column measuring 200 mm in diameter and 800 mm in height
improve the capacity of the paste to suspend solid particles
is filled with approximately 700 mm of concrete to monitor
that can lower the risk of flow blockage. Higher resistance to
surface settlement. A linear deflectomer, or LVDT, fixed on
segregation over a wide range of fluidity levels can be
top of an acrylic transparent thin plate positioned at the top obtained when a suitable dosage of VEA is incorporated.26,27
surface of the concrete column is used to monitor surface Mixes containing VEA exhibit shear thinning behavior
settlement. The plate is anchored to the concrete through three whereby the apparent viscosity decreases with the increase in
75-mm-long screws cast into the concrete. Surface settlement shear rate. This can facilitate the deformability of the concrete
measurements carried out on fluid and SCC mixes show that during placement. Once in place, the shear rate decreases, and
surface settlement is closely related to segregation.21 the apparent viscosity increases, resulting in greater stability at
rest and better capability to retain water and suspend solid
TYPICAL SELF-CONSOLIDATING CONCRETE MIXES particles. It is important to note that the VEA type and content
As previously discussed, the design of an SCC involves can be selected to provide higher thixotropy to increase
tailoring the selection of materials and mix proportioning to viscosity build-up after casting and further enhance stability.
secure excellent deformability and adequate resistance to The incorporation of a VEA at small dosages can improve
segregation to insure high filling capacity and flow around the robustness of the SCC and make it less sensitive to changes
obstructions without blockage. Such contradicting proper- in material properties and placement conditions. For example,
ties involve various measures, including the reduction in compared to an SCC made without any VEA, the use of low
coarse aggregate volume, free water content, etc. These prin- dosage of welan gum was reported to reduce the degree of vari-
cipals needed to limit the interparticle friction among coarse ability in slump flow due to variations of Blaine fineness of the
aggregate, sand, and powder materials are taken into consid- cement (318 to 342 m2/kg), fineness modulus of the sand (2.08
eration in proportioning SCC. For example, one general mix to 3.06), and concrete temperature (10 to 30 C).22
proportioning method recommends limiting the coarse In general, the coarse aggregate volume of SCC, which
aggregate volume to 50 percent of the bulk unit weight of affects stability and blockage, is kept low, especially when the
coarse aggregate and the sand volume to 40 percent of the MSA is high or when the aggregate incorporates some elon-
mortar volume. Depending on the cement properties, the w/p gated and flat particles. The reduction in coarse aggregate
can be initially taken as 0.90 to 1.0, by volume.12 The dosage volume decreases with the increase in w/cm and content of
of the HRWR and final w/p can then be determined by trial fines. This is accompanied by an increase in the paste volume
batches to insure high fluidity (slump flow) and deform- and a reduction in the sand-to-paste volume ratio (S/Pt).
ability through restricted area (V-funnel test or others). The two main approaches for enhancing stability of SCC
Given the required fluidity and mechanical properties, the are evaluated here. Three SCC mixes made with low w/cm
final w/p can be specified. and no VEA and three others incorporating moderate
The reduction in aggregate content necessitates the use of contents of welan gum VEA and higher w/cm were prepared
a higher volume of cement that increases cost and tempera- (Table 1). Two SCC mixes made with high content of cementi-
ture. Therefore, an SCC often contains high-volume replace- tious materials (555 kg/m3), a low w/cm of 0.35, and no VEA,
ments of fly ash, blast furnace slag, limestone filler, or stone are compared to two other mixes containing similar cementi-
dust to enhance fluidity and cohesiveness and limit heat tious material contents but a higher w/cm of 0.41 and
generation. Such materials are generally less reactive than moderate VEA content. Because of the partial replacements
cement and can reduce problems resulting from fluidity loss of cement by supplementary cementitious materials, the
of the rich concrete. The incorporation of one or more cement contents of the optimized rich mixes were approxi-
powder materials having different morphology and grain- mately 310 and 410 kg/m3. Mixes made with lower cementi-
size distribution can improve particle packing density and tious materials of 425 kg/m3 and w/cm of 0.38 (compared to
reduce interparticle friction and viscosity, hence improving 0.50 w/cm and VEA) are also evaluated. This was carried out
deformability, self-compactability, and stability.19,20,22,23 to determine the effect of cementitious material content, and

350 ACI Materials Journal/May-June 1999

Fig. 7—Comparison of relative flow resistance values of Fig. 8—Comparison of relative viscosity of SCC and
tested mixes. conventional concrete mixes.

Table 1—Mix proportions of seven evaluated concretes

650 ± 10 440
Slump flow, mm, CM content, 560 SF-SG 555 SF-FA 425 SF-FA 340 SF-FA
combination w/cm, VEA 0.41/WG 560 SF-SG 0.35 0.41/WG 555 SF-FA 0.35 0.50/WG 425 SF-FA 0.38 0.50-CONV
Cement, kg/m3 307 307 417 417 327 327 262
Silica fume, kg/m3 18 18 18 18 13 13 10
Fly ash, kg/m3 0 0 118 118 85 85 68
Slag, kg/m3 235 235 0 0 0 0 —
Total CM, kg/m3 560 560 553 553 425 425 340
w/cm 0.41 0.35 0.41 0.35 0.50 0.38 0.50
Total water, kg/m3 230 196 227 194 213 162 170
Sand, kg/m3 690 700 690 700 690 730 960
5 to 14 mm CA, kg/m3 570 629 568 629 714 771 634
5 to 20 mm CA, kg/m3 247 269 247 269 306 330 272
Total CA, kg/m3 817 898 815 898 1020 1102 906
HRWR, L/m3 5.9 3.7 4.8 4.1 3.1 5 2.1
Welan gum VEA, kg/m3 0.42 0 0.41 0 0.32 0 0
Percent of water 0.17 0 0.17 0 0.16 0 0
Total CM, L/m3 186 186 186 186 143 143 115
Sand volume, L/m3 257 260 257 260 257 271 357
CA volume, L/m3 300 330 300 330 375 405 333
Paste volume, L/m3 432 396 428 394 369 320 297
Mortar volume, L/m3 689 656 685 654 626 591 654
CA/solid volume 0.40 0.43 0.40 0.43 0.48 0.49 0.41
Sand/mortar volume 0.37 0.40 0.38 0.40 0.41 0.46 0.55
Sand/aggregate volume 0.46 0.44 0.46 0.44 0.41 0.40 0.52
Sand/paste volume 0.60 0.66 0.60 0.66 0.70 0.85 1.20
w/cm by volume 1.2 1.1 1.2 1.0 1.5 1.1 1.5
Note: SF-SG = silica fume-slag; SF-FA = silica fume-fly ash; WG = welan gum; CM = cementitious materials; and CA = coarse aggregate.

hence, paste and aggregate volumes, on filling capacity of plastic viscosity h values are compared in Fig. 7 and 8, respec-
the highly flowable SCC. A fluid conventional concrete tively. These rheological parameters were determined using a
made with 340 kg/m3 of cementitious materials and 0.50 w/cm IBB rheometer (modified two-point workability rheometer) that
was also prepared. The slump flow values of the SCC and measures torque values required to maintain a given speed of a
conventional mixes were approximately 650 and 440 mm, four-finger impeller rotating in planetary motion. The g and h
respectively. All concretes were prepared with ternary parameters were derived by linear regression of the torque
cementitious materials made with Type 10 cement and either speed data to fit a Bingham flow model. Except for the 425
3 percent silica fume and 20 percent Class F fly ash or 3 silica fume-fly ash (SF-FA) 0.38 mix, the g value of the conven-
percent silica fume and 40 percent blast furnace slag replace- tional concrete was higher than those of the SCC, 1.59 Nm.
ments, by mass of cementitious materials. Previous studies Unlike the other SCC mixes, the 425 SF-FA 0.38 concrete had
prove that such combinations provide high flowability and a high g value of 1.35 Nm that can be due to the low water
stability of SCC.19,20 All mixes were made with crushed content of the mix and the high interparticle friction resulting
limestone aggregate with an MSA of 20 mm. from a relatively high coarse aggregate volume of 455 L/m3.
As shown in Table 1, for each SCC type with a fixed content For SF-FA mixes, the g value decreased with the increase in
of cementitious materials, the increase in w/cm enables the cementitious material content (555 versus 425 kg/m3) despite
increase in water content and reduction of coarse aggregate the similar slump flow values. Slightly higher values were
volume and S/Pt. The initial flow resistance g and relative obtained with SCC made with silica fume and slag (SF-SG).

ACI Materials Journal/May-June 1999 351

Fig. 9—Comparison of filling capacity values of SCC and Fig. 11—Comparison of surface settlement values of SCC
conventional concrete mixes. and conventional concrete mixes.

As was the case for the filling capacity test, the resistance
to blockage and ease of flow through restricted spacing were
evaluated using the V-funnel test. The results presented in
Fig. 10 show that the flow time of the conventional concrete
was 7 sec and varied between 2.7 and 6.4 sec for the SCC
mixes containing 555 and 560 kg/m3 of cementitious mate-
rials. On the other hand, the two SCC mixes made with 425
kg/m3 of cementitious materials had relatively high flow
times, especially in the case of the lower w/cm mix made
without any VEA. Such SCC contained 405 L/m3 of coarse
aggregate compared to 375 L/m3 for the mix made with 0.50
w/cm. The 425 SF-FA 0.38 mix had a flow time of 15.5 sec
and exhibited the highest h value among the other SCC
mixes, 12.5 Nm-sec. The 425 SF-FA 0.50/WG mix had
Fig. 10—Comparison of flow time values of SCC and
conventional concrete mixes. lower volume of coarse aggregate and higher water content.
Its h value of 10.1 Nm-sec and flow time of 10.9 sec were
The h values, which reflect internal resistance to flow, are lower than those of the 425 SF-FA 0.38 mix.
shown to be relatively high, considering the highly flowable The maximum surface settlement values are compared in
nature of the SCC mixes. These values were similar to the h Fig. 11. A low settlement value reflects the high stability of the
value obtained with the conventional concrete with a slump of concrete while in a plastic state that is essential to secure
250 mm (slump flow of 440 mm). The higher torque viscosity homogeneous properties of the hardened concrete. The settle-
is due to the low w/cm in some mixes and moderate concentra- ment of the conventional concrete was 10 mm, which corre-
tion of VEA in others. The h value decreases with the increase sponds to 1.4 percent of the 700-mm-high sample. The 425
in paste volume because of the reduction in coarse aggregate SF-FA 0.38 concrete exhibited high settlement that can be due
content that reduces internal friction among aggregate particles. to a lack of cohesiveness of the mix and the high coarse aggre-
The filling capacity values are compared in Fig. 9 and show gate volume that can increase the extent of segregation.
striking differences between values obtained for the various Despite the increase in w/cm from 0.38 to 0.50, the settlement
mixes. The filling capacity of the conventional concrete, sharply decreased from 19 to 3.1 mm (2.7 to 0.44 percent)
which had a high g value and a relatively high coarse aggre- with the use of a moderate dosage of a VEA. The settlement
gate content of 333 L/m3, was limited to 30 percent. The values of the four SCC mixes with 555 and 560 kg/m3 of
highest values of 63 percent were obtained with the rich SCC cementitious material contents were low, except for the 560
mixes containing 0.41 w/cm and low contents of coarse SF-SG 0.35 mix that had a settlement value of 10 mm. Again,
aggregate (300 L/m3). Slightly lower values of 56 and 58 with the decrease in aggregate content and incorporation of
percent were obtained with the rich SCC mixes made with VEA, and despite the higher w/cm, the concrete exhibited high
lower w/cm and no VEA. This is mainly due to the slightly stability with a settlement value of 3.2 mm.
higher volume of coarse aggregate that was 330 L/m3
compared to 300 L/m3 for the 0.41 w/cm mixes. The filling DICUSSION
capacity considerably decreased in the case of SCC mixes The previously described results demonstrated that the
containing 425 kg/m3 of cementitious materials, despite the reduction of cementitious material content and increase in
high deformability of the concrete. This was especially the coarse aggregate volume can cause some interference with
case for the 425 SF-FA 0.38 concrete that had a filling concrete deformability in narrow areas, as was the case for the
capacity of 19 percent. This mix had the highest g value, high deformability between closely spaced reinforcement (filling
coarse aggregate volume of 405 L/m3, and S/Pt value of 0.85. capacity test) and in the restricted tapered outlet (V-funnel
The filling capacity of the 425 SF-FA 0.50/WG improved to flow test). In both SCC systems made with 555 and 425 kg/
42 percent. Such mix had a lower g value than the 425 SF-FA m3 of binder, the incorporation of a VEA at a moderate
0.38 concrete and a coarse aggregate content and S/Pt value dosage was shown to enhance deformability and stability,
of 375 L/m3 and 0.70, respectively. despite the greater w/cm. This was especially beneficial in

352 ACI Materials Journal/May-June 1999

the moderate cement factor concrete made with 425 kg/m3 of struction of a 20-Story Building,” High-Performance Concrete in Severe
cementitious materials. The increase of w/cm from 0.38 to Environments, SP-140, P. Zia, ed., American Concrete Institute, Farming-
ton Hills, Mich., 1993, pp. 147-161.
0.50 and the incorporation of a moderate concentration of 5. Okamura, H., and Ozawa, K., “Self-Compactible High-Performance
VEA resulted in a net decrease of settlement from 19 to 3.1 Concrete in Japan,” ACI International Workshop on High-Performance Con-
mm, increase in filling capacity from 19 to 42 percent, and crete, American Concrete Institute, Farmington Hills, Mich., 1994, 16 pp.
decrease in flow time from 15.5 to 10.9 sec. The g and h 6. Takeuchi, H.; Higuchi, M.; and Nanni, A., “Application of ‘Flowable’
values decreased from 1.35 to 0.29 Nm and from 12.5 to 10.1 Concrete in a Tunnel Lining,” Concrete International, V. 16, No. 4, Apr.
1994, pp. 26-29.
Nm.s, respectively. Such improvement in performance is 7. Fukute, T. et al., “Development of Superworkable Concrete for Multi-
attributed, in part, to the reduction in coarse aggregate Functional Port Structures,” Advances in Concrete Technology, SP-154, V.
volume (405 to 375 l/m3) and S/Pt value (0.85 to 0.70). Such M. Malhotra, ed., American Concrete Institute, Farmington Hills, MI,
reduction in aggregate volume can decrease the extent of colli- 1995, pp. 335-356.
8. Hayakawa, M.; Matsuoka, Y.; and Yokota, K., “Application of Super
sion of coarse aggregate and sand particles in the vicinity of Workable Concrete in the Construction of 70-Story Building in Japan,”
various obstruction that can increase internal resistance to Advances in Concrete Technology, SP-154, V. M. Malhotra, ed., American
flow (increase in g and h values and flow-out time) and lead to Concrete Institute, Farmington Hills, Mich., 1995, pp. 381-397.
interference with the flow of the concrete (higher flow time 9. Izumi, I. et al., “Placing 10,000 m3 Super Workable Concrete for
and lower filling capacity). The incorporation of a VEA, Guide Track Structure of Retractable Roof of Fukuoka Dome,” Advances
despite the higher w/cm, can increase cohesion and reduce in Concrete Technology, SP-154, V. M. Malhotra, ed., American Concrete
Institute, Farmington Hills, Mich., 1995, pp. 171-185.
the interparticle collision and friction, hence providing 10. Khayat, K. H., and Manai, K., “Self-Leveling Concrete—Properties
more uniform flow of concrete through restricted sections. and Applications,” Proceedings, Workshop on Self-Leveling Concrete, K.
H. Khayat, ed., Sherbrooke, 1996, pp. 1-30. (in French)
CONCLUSION 11. Kitamura, H.; Ukaji, K.; and Okamura, H., “Improvement of Ductility
and Liquid-Tightness of Prestressed Concrete for LNG Containment,” Con-
The workability requirements for successful placement of crete for Infrastructure and Utilities, E&FN Spon, London, 1996, pp. 469-479.
SCC necessitate that the concrete exhibits excellent deform- 12. Okamura, H., “Self-Compacting High-Performance Concrete,” Con-
ability and proper stability to flow under its own weight crete International, V. 19, No. 7, July 1997, pp. 50-54.
through closely spaced reinforcement without segregation and 13. Nanayakkara, A.; Ozawa, K.; and Maekawa, K., “Flow and Segrega-
blockage. Insuring high stability is important to limit bleeding, tion of Fresh Concrete in Tapered Pipes,” Proceedings, Third International
Symposium on Liquid-Solid Flows, ASME, FED-75, 1988, pp. 139-144.
segregation, and surface settlement of concrete after place- 14. Ozawa, K. et al., “High-Performance Concrete Based on the Durabil-
ment and secure uniform properties of the hardened concrete, ity of Concrete Structures,” Proceedings, Second East Asia Pacific Confer-
including bond to embedded reinforcement. In general, the ence on Structural Engineering and Construction, 1989, Chiang-Mai.
SCC exhibits low yield value and adequate cohesiveness 15. Ozawa, K.; Maekawa, K.; and Okamura, H., “Development of High-
(moderate viscosity). In addition to the slump flow test used to Performance Concrete,” Journal of the Faculty of Engineering, University
of Tokyo (B), V. XLI, No. 3, 1992, pp. 381-439.
evaluate deformability, the filling capacity or V-funnel flow 16. Khayat, K. H., “Use of Viscosity-Modifying Admixture to Reduce
test should be used to evaluate the ability to achieve smooth Top-Bar of Anchored Bars Cast with Fluid Concrete,” ACI Materials Jour-
flow through restricted spacing without blockage. nal, V. 95, No. 2, Mar.-Apr. 1998, pp. 158-167.
An SCC with a slump flow of 650 mm containing 300 to 17. Ozawa, K.; Sakata, N.; and Okamura, H., “Evaluation of Self-Com-
pactability of Fresh Concrete Using the Funnel Test,” Proceedings, Japan
330 l/m3 of 20-mm MSA, 555 kg/m3 of cementitious mate- Society of Civil Engineering, V. 23, No. 490, 1994.
rials, and 0.60 to 0.66 S/Pt volumes, can be more suitable for 18. Yurugi, M. et al., “Development of Self-Consolidating Concrete,”
casting highly congested structural sections than a mix Annual Report of Kajima Research Institute, V. 39/1992-11, 1992.
containing 375 to 400 l/m3 of coarse aggregate, 425 kg/m3 of 19. Manai, K., “Evaluation of the Effect of Chemical and Mineral
cementitious materials and 0.70 to 0.85 S/Pt volumes. Binary Admixtures on the Workability, Stability, and Performance of Self-Com-
pacting Concrete,” master’s thesis, Université de Sherbrooke, Québec, Can-
or ternary binders containing high volumes of pozzolanic or ada, 1995, 182 pp. (in French)
nonpozzolanic fillers, such as limestone powder, can be used 20. Trudel, A., “Workability, Uniformity, and Structural Behavior of
to reduce the cement content, heat of hydration, and shrinkage. High-Performance Self-Compacting Concrete,” master’s thesis, Université
One approach to enhance viscosity is to lower the w/cm to de Sherbrooke, Québec, Canada, 1996, 198 pp. (in French)
maintain adequate cohesion friction between the mortar and 21. Khayat, K. H., and Guizani, Z., “Use of Viscosity-Modifying Admix-
tures to Enhance Stability of Fluid Concrete,” ACI Materials Journal, V. 94,
coarse aggregate and insure uniform flow of SCC through No. 4, July-Aug. 1997, pp. 332-340.
restricted sections. Another way is to incorporate a low to 22. Yurugi, M.; Sakai, G.; and Sakata, N., “Viscosity Agent and Mineral
moderate dosage of a VEA without lowering the w/cm. This Admixtures for Highly Fluidized Concrete,” Proceedings, Concrete under
can enable the reduction of coarse aggregate volume and Severe Conditions, Environment and Loadings, K. Sakai, N. Banthia, and O. E.
Gjørv, eds., Sapporo, Japan, V. 2, 1995, pp. 995-1004.
reduce the risk of blockage, which is especially useful in
23. Ozawa, K.; Tangtermsirikul, S.; and Maekawa, K., “Role of Powder
mixtures containing moderate content of cementitious Materials on the Filling Capacity of Fresh Concrete,” Supplementary
materials and fine fillers. Papers, Fourth CANMET/ACI International Symposium on Fly Ash, Silica
Fume, Slag, and Natural Pozzolans in Concrete, Istanbul, 1992, pp. 121-137.
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