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CMT 1501









iii CMT1501/1

The study material for Construction Material I is primarily based on the prescribed textbook,
Construction materials for civil engineering by E van Amsterdam, as published by Juta & Co.

You should study this guide in conjunction with the prescribed textbook. There are certain
instances where misprints occurred in the prescribed book. These misprints are corrected or
explained in this study guide.

Since the testing of materials used in construction is fundamental to the understanding of their
behaviour when put into use, South Africa National Standards (SANS) govern the test
procedures. SANS documents can be bought online at www.store.sabs.co.za. However, the
now obsolete Standard methods of testing road construction materials (TMH1) can be obtained
from http://asphalt.csir.co.za/tmh/ for free.

Reference is made to other publications to which students should refer in order to get a
better understanding of a particular topic. In fact, students should try to improve their
general understanding by reading as widely as possible, especially periodicals and
magazines from the construction industry.


When studying, try to use the following method [SUNSET]:

Scan the study material: Read the table of contents and the introduction, then scan the units
(chapters) and the sections (page through each unit).

Understand the sections, one at a time.

Note: Make notes and close the book.

Summarise from memory and compare the summary with your notes.

Evaluate: Do the self-assessment exercises.

Test yourself with the assignments.

v CMT1501/1
The information contained in this study manual is supplementary to your prescribed book,
Construction materials for civil engineering (second edition) by E van Amsterdam, and is
intended to provide you, the student, with additional or explanatory information on particular
sections of the prescribed book. It also corrects some misprints in the prescribed book. These
notes form an integral part of your study material and must be studied together with the
prescribed book.

Only those units to which changes, corrections or additions were made are enclosed in this
study manual. Where changes were effected in the prescribed book, each sub-section within a
specific unit was changed on a page-by-page approach.

The engineering field encompasses many fields or disciplines. During one’s career, it may be
possible to obtain specialist or detailed knowledge of maybe one or two of these specialties.
However, it is necessary that one is aware of the different fields of specialty and to obtain an
understanding of the basic core of engineering. Engineering is a holistic approach to providing
solutions to various fields of life, where foundations interact with soil, concrete with steel and
building works, roads with water, storm water and sewage, the site with the environment, and
so on. All disciplines interact; be aware of this fact throughout your studies and try to ascertain
these interactions for yourself while studying not only this subject, but also your whole course!

Some of these specialist fields include but are not limited to

• structural steel
• structural concrete
• water and sewage reticulation
• roads and drainage
• geotechnics
• earthworks

Each of the above fields may further be subdivided into smaller specialist fields. Each unit in
the prescribed book, together with its sub-sections, is dealt with, where necessary, in a page-
by-page approach in this study guide.




UNIT 1 SOILS Additional material

UNIT 2 CONCRETE Additional material
UNIT 3 BITUMEN Additional material
UNIT 4 OTHER MATERIALS Additional material

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Table of contents
SECTION 1.1 – INTRODUCTION........................................................................................................ 2
SECTION 1.2.1 – ORIGIN ..................................................................................................................... 2
SECTION 1.2.2 – TYPE ......................................................................................................................... 5
SECTION 1.3.1 – FIELD IDENTIFICATION ...................................................................................... 6
SECTION 1.3.3 – MOISTURE CONTENT ........................................................................................... 6
SECTION 1.3.4 – CONSISTENCY ....................................................................................................... 7
SECTION 1.3.5 – SPECIFIC GRAVITY TEST .................................................................................. 10
SECTION 1.3.6 – PARTICLE SIZE DISTRIBUTION ....................................................................... 10
SECTION 1.3.7 – SOIL VOLUME CHARACTERISTICS ................................................................ 15
SECTION 1.6.1 – MEASUREMENT OF COMPACTION ................................................................. 24
SECTION 1.7.1 – DEVELOPMENT OF QUARRY ........................................................................... 25
SECTION 1.7.2 – BLASTING ............................................................................................................. 25
SECTION 1.8.1 – MECHANICAL STABILISATION ....................................................................... 25
SECTION 1.8.2 – CEMENT STABILISATION ................................................................................. 26

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In order to understand how a material will behave or respond under various conditions or
imposed loading, it is necessary to know its composition and its relationship to other materials.
The earth consists of three basic layers, namely, the core (comprising an inner and outer core),
the mantle and the crust (see figure 1). This study unit only deals with the crust and then
only with soils. The different materials constituting the crust are derivatives of (i.e. come from)
the three main rock types, namely, igneous rock, metamorphic rock and sedimentary rock.
Soil is weathered rock. Weathering is the process whereby rock is worn down by the action of
natural forces such as wind, rain, temperature, chemical working and pressure. Each agent or
force has its own effect on rock and the eventual composition of soil.



Figure 1: The earth’s crust


Subsoil is the layer of soil directly below the topsoil and it normally contains little or no
organic matter. Therefore, it is the datum (base) for all engineering applications of soil.

The soil type in every stratum (layer) is described on the basis of grain size. Refer to section
1.4, “Classification of soil”, in the prescribed book. In order to identify the soil type, test holes
are normally dug and profiled. From these holes, representative samples are taken for various
tests. (You will in later studies learn more about the geotechnical and geological aspects of
soil, which fall outside this syllabus.) This process enables one to classify the soil into types.
Refer to the definition of “classification” in your prescribed book.

Soil is divided into the following five main groups that are typically “profiled” from test holes:

• Boulders are fragments of rock that are larger than 200 mm. When soil is profiled, the
rock types and range of sizes should be recorded. It should be stated whether there is a
matrix (a material such as soil or smaller rocks) in the voids and whether or not the
matrix fills the voids between the rock fragments. The matrix should be described as a
soil. Where the volume of matrix material is large in comparison with the volume of
the rock aggregate, the engineering behaviour will be determined by the matrix and not
by the boulders. Click here to view a picture of boulders.
• Gravel consists of fragments of rock that are between 200 mm and 2,5 mm in size. The
method of description follows that for boulders and, again, particular care should be
taken to describe the matrix and its relative volume. The shape of gravel particles should
also be described since this often aids the interpretation of origin. Terms that are used
for the descriptions are
• well-rounded (nearly spherical) (figure 1a)
• rounded (tending to oval shape)
• sub-rounded (all corners rounded off)
• sub-angular (corners slightly bevelled)
• angular (corners sharp or irregular) (figure 1b)

a. Well-rounded gravel b. Angular gravel

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c. Sand

Figure 1: Aggregates

• Sand consists of discrete particles that are between 2,5 mm and 0,074 mm (No. 2 sieve
size) in size. Except for the finer sizes, the particles are visible to the naked eye (see
figure 1c). Sand is clearly distinguishable by the presence of gritty particles that do not
break down when rubbed with water on the palm of the hand.
• Silt consists of discrete particles that are smaller than 0,074 mm and larger than 0,002
mm (2 µm). In general, silt particles are barely felt when rubbed with water on the palm
of the hand. When a small quantity of the wetted soil is placed on the tongue, the
particles can be felt grating the enamel of the teeth. When moulded with water into a
pat, silt exhibits dilatancy. Dilatancy is the increase in volume of a material consisting
of closely packed soil grains as shearing occurs. If a compacted mass of saturated silt
is placed on the palm of the hand and shaken back and forth, or tapped, a film of water
will appear on the surface. If this pat is then squeezed in the palm, or probed with a
finger, the surface will become dull as the water is withdrawn into the dilating material.
• Clay consists of particles that are smaller than 0,002 mm (2 µm). In general, the
particles are flaky and, when rubbed on the palm of the hand with water, have a soapy
or greasy feel. There is no sensation of grittiness when placed between the tongue and
the teeth.

The particle size limits between the different soil types are not entirely arbitrary but are largely
based on inherent mineralogical differences.

Most natural soils are a combination of one or more of the above types and in describing a soil,
adjectives are used to denote the lesser type, for example, silty clay is clay with some silt. A
silt-clay, however, has approximately equal proportions of silt and clay.

The most important reason for the classification of soils into gravels, sands, silts and clays
relates to the drainage characteristics of the soils. All clays and most silts are poorly draining
soils and give rise to time effects in soil behaviour, which are of great importance, particularly
in shear. Consequently, depending upon the type of engineering structure under consideration,
differences in the behaviour of silty clays, silt-clay or clayey silt may be relatively unimportant
– all of these soils drain slowly with respect to the time rate of most load applications. For some
very rapid loading conditions, silty sands may even behave as clays. These differences must be
judged by the design engineer and confirmed by laboratory tests if such tests are warranted for
the work concerned.

This classification is based on the particle size of the soil type, with boulders being the largest
or coarsest and clay the smallest or finest. You will learn more about this in section 1.3.6 of
the prescribed book.

For engineering purposes, soil is grouped into the categories shown in table 1.1.

Table 1.1: Soil classification


(granular soils or non-cohesive (cohesive soils)
Gravel Sand Silt Clay Organic soils

Highly organic soils are very compressible and are not suitable for construction. These soils
contain particles of leaves, grass and branches. Peat, humus and swamp soil have a highly
organic texture. The moisture content is also very high in this type of soil. The engineering
differentiation between coarse and fine soils can be found in section 2.3.3 of the prescribed


Wherever one goes on earth, whether one constructs or builds, all structures are supported by
the soil on which they were erected at a particular location. Since no engineering structure is
better than the materials of which and on which it is founded or built, it is of the utmost
importance to understand and/or determine the soil type.

5 CMT1501/1
DEFINITION: The bearing capacity of a soil is the safe load per unit area that the ground can
carry or withstand, measured in KN/m2.

In order to improve the bearing capacity of a soil, one needs to get rid of the air voids and
ascertain its correct moisture content. (Refer to the definition of “compaction” in section 1.6 of
the prescribed book.) The process of ensuring the correct or desired bearing capacity is called
stabilisation – refer to section 1.8 of the prescribed book.


The important descriptors of the engineering properties of soil are as follows:

Moisture condition – determines the consistency

Colour – means of correlation of soil layers from one hole to another

Consistency – cohesiveness or hardness – affects bearing capacity

Structure – a means of predicting behaviour under tensile stress

Soil type – affects drainage characteristics

Origin – guide to prediction of engineering behaviour

Remember the acronym MCCSSO. The above descriptors are used in soil profiling.

This section deals with characteristics of soil in field identification. The characteristics of soil,
mentioned on pages 4 to 7 of the prescribed book, help in identifying the soil type by virtue of
the fact that certain soils will or will not display certain characteristics, for example, clayey
soils display good plastic characteristics while sand lacks these characteristics.

Gravels and sands are generally free draining while silts and clays are slow draining.


When collecting a soil sample for testing, one must ensure that the sample is sealed in an
airtight PVC or similar container or bag.
The moisture condition of the layer of soil should be described, which is a necessary precursor
to the assessment of consistency that is largely dependent on the moisture content at the time
of inspection. The moisture condition should be recorded as one of the following: dry, slightly
moist, moist, very moist, wet.

The interpretation of moisture condition in terms of approximate moisture content will depend
on the grain size of the soil. Sand with a moisture content of 5% to 10% will, for example, be
observed to be wet, while a clay at the same moisture content may be dry or only slightly moist.

Whatever the soil type may be, the assessment of moisture condition provides a useful
indication of water requirements for compaction. Dry and slightly moist materials will require
the addition of water to attain the optimum moisture content for compaction. Moist materials
are near the optimum moisture content while very moist soils require drying to attain optimum
moisture content. Wet soil generally comes from below the water table.


Consistency is a measure of the hardness or toughness of a soil and is an observation based on
the effort required to dig into the soil or, alternatively, to mould it with the fingers. (The
following definition is given in the prescribed book: “Consistency is that property of soil that
displays resistance to flow.”) Since these operations involve shearing, the assessment of
consistency is, in fact, a rough measure of a soil’s shear strength. As a result, this measure can
be considered immediately in terms of bearing capacity.

The various definitions of consistency are adapted from the Code of Practice No. 1 of the
Institution of Civil Engineers, London. The separation of soils into cohesive and non-cohesive
classes in order to describe consistency arises because of differences in permeability or
drainage characteristics that profoundly affect shear strength.

Study figure 1.9 of your prescribed book well to fully understand the relationship and
boundaries between the defined limits of the consistency of soil. Section 1.3.4 introduces you
to the defined limits of the consistency of soils. These defined limits, also known as the
ATTERBERG limits or constants, are as follows:

• Liquid limit (LL) – The liquid limit is the minimum water content at which a soil will
flow under a specified small disturbing force. In order words, it is the moisture content
at which a soil behaves like a liquid.
• Plastic limit (PL) – The plastic limit is the minimum water content at which a soil can
be deformed plastically with the ability to be moulded into a shape and retain that shape.
When moisture content is below the plastic limit, it behaves like a solid (non-plastic)

7 CMT1501/1
material. As the moisture content increases past the plastic limit, the liquid limit will be
Note that the plastic limit is an average of three trials.
• Plasticity index (PI) – The plasticity index is the range of water content at which the
soil is in a plastic condition (PI = LL - PL).
• Shrinkage limit (SL) – The shrinkage limit is the water content below which no further
shrinkage (volume reduction) takes place as the soil is dried.
• Liquidity index (LI) – The liquidity index expresses the natural water content in terms
of the liquid and plastic limits.

The Atterberg limit tests, whose procedures can be found on the TMH website provided earlier
(TMH A2 and A3), are a series of empirical tests. It is possible to estimate the engineering
properties of fine-grained soils from the results of these tests.

Liquid limit: Take note that irrespective of which method is used (3-point, 2-point or 1-point
method as explained in section 1.3.4 of the prescribed book), the point where 25 taps are
reached is the point where the LL is determined.

In figure 1.11 of the prescribed book, the LL will be 25,5% and in figure 1.12 it will be 27%.
In the case of the 1-point method, the LL is determined between 22 and 28 taps. The moisture
content is calculated and then adjusted using the following formula:

Moisture content (LL) = (moisture content at N number of taps) X Constant

(see table 1.2)

Table 1.2: Constant for calculating liquid limit

N Constant
22 0,985
23 0,990
24 0,995
25 1,000
26 1,005
27 1,009
28 1,014

Example to calculate the PI of a soil
After the PL and the LL of the portion of the material that passed through the 0,425-mm sieve
had been determined, the following results were obtained:

Mass of container = 184 g

Mass of dry soil and container = 4 012 g
Mass of wet soil and container = 5 480 g

Mass of container = 175 g

Mass of dry soil and container = 3 681 g
Mass of wet soil and container = 4 528 g

Calculate the PI of the soil.

Plasticity index (PI) = LL – PL

Calculation of LL:

LL = Moisture content (%) =

(𝑚𝑚𝑚𝑚𝑚𝑚𝑚𝑚 𝑜𝑜𝑜𝑜 𝑐𝑐𝑐𝑐𝑐𝑐𝑐𝑐𝑐𝑐𝑐𝑐𝑐𝑐𝑐𝑐𝑐𝑐 + 𝑤𝑤𝑤𝑤𝑤𝑤 𝑠𝑠𝑠𝑠𝑠𝑠𝑠𝑠)−(𝑚𝑚𝑚𝑚𝑚𝑚𝑚𝑚 𝑜𝑜𝑜𝑜 𝑐𝑐𝑐𝑐𝑐𝑐𝑐𝑐𝑐𝑐𝑐𝑐𝑐𝑐𝑐𝑐𝑐𝑐 + 𝑑𝑑𝑑𝑑𝑑𝑑 𝑠𝑠𝑠𝑠𝑠𝑠𝑠𝑠)

(𝑚𝑚𝑚𝑚𝑚𝑚𝑚𝑚 𝑜𝑜𝑜𝑜 𝑐𝑐𝑐𝑐𝑐𝑐𝑐𝑐𝑐𝑐𝑐𝑐𝑐𝑐𝑐𝑐𝑐𝑐 + 𝑑𝑑𝑑𝑑𝑑𝑑 𝑠𝑠𝑠𝑠𝑠𝑠𝑠𝑠)−(𝑚𝑚𝑚𝑚𝑚𝑚𝑚𝑚 𝑜𝑜𝑜𝑜 𝑐𝑐𝑐𝑐𝑐𝑐𝑐𝑐𝑐𝑐𝑐𝑐𝑐𝑐𝑐𝑐𝑐𝑐 𝑜𝑜𝑜𝑜𝑜𝑜𝑜𝑜)
𝑥𝑥 100

5 480−4 012
= 4 012−184
𝑥𝑥 100

1 468
= 3 828 𝑥𝑥 100

= 38,3%

Calculation of PL:

(𝑚𝑚𝑚𝑚𝑚𝑚𝑚𝑚 𝑜𝑜𝑜𝑜 𝑐𝑐𝑐𝑐𝑐𝑐𝑐𝑐𝑐𝑐𝑐𝑐𝑐𝑐𝑐𝑐𝑐𝑐 + 𝑤𝑤𝑤𝑤𝑤𝑤 𝑠𝑠𝑠𝑠𝑠𝑠𝑠𝑠) − (𝑚𝑚𝑚𝑚𝑚𝑚𝑚𝑚 𝑜𝑜𝑜𝑜 𝑐𝑐𝑐𝑐𝑐𝑐𝑐𝑐𝑐𝑐𝑐𝑐𝑐𝑐𝑐𝑐𝑐𝑐 + 𝑑𝑑𝑑𝑑𝑑𝑑 𝑠𝑠𝑠𝑠𝑠𝑠𝑠𝑠)
𝑥𝑥 100
(𝑚𝑚𝑚𝑚𝑚𝑚𝑚𝑚 𝑜𝑜𝑜𝑜 𝑐𝑐𝑐𝑐𝑐𝑐𝑐𝑐𝑐𝑐𝑐𝑐𝑐𝑐𝑐𝑐𝑐𝑐 + 𝑑𝑑𝑑𝑑𝑑𝑑 𝑠𝑠𝑠𝑠𝑠𝑠𝑠𝑠) − (𝑚𝑚𝑚𝑚𝑚𝑚𝑚𝑚 𝑜𝑜𝑜𝑜 𝑐𝑐𝑐𝑐𝑐𝑐𝑐𝑐𝑐𝑐𝑐𝑐𝑐𝑐𝑐𝑐𝑐𝑐 𝑜𝑜𝑜𝑜𝑜𝑜𝑜𝑜)

= 3681−175
𝑥𝑥 100

9 CMT1501/1
= 3506 𝑥𝑥 100 =24,2%

∴ PI = 38,3 – 24,2

= 14,1

= 14%

Refer to the recommended prescribed book, THM1, for the full testing procedures for the
above-defined limits of soil. You can get this information on http://asphalt.csir.co.za/tmh/.
Select “TMH1”; select a method.

The methods are as follows:

Method A2 – The determination of the liquid limit of soils by means of the flow curve method

Method A3 – The determination of the plastic limit and the plasticity index of soils

Method A4 – The determination of the linear shrinkage of soils


The distribution of particles larger than 0,075 mm is determined by sieving (refer to section
1.3.6 of the prescribed book) while the distribution of particles smaller than 0,075 mm is
determined by a sedimentation process. This last process is based on Stokes’s Law and uses a
hydrometer. Method A1, as described in TMH1, only establishes particle sizes up to 0,075 mm.
The balance of the material passing through the 0,075-mm sieve is tested in accordance with
TMH1, Method A6: The determination of the grain size distribution in soils by means of a

Specific gravity (SG) is the ratio of the weight of solid material per unit volume to the weight
of an equal volume of water under standard conditions. This property is used to calculate the
density and porosity of materials. The SG of water is 1,0, the SG of cement is 3,0-3,2 and the
SG of steel is 7,8.


TMH1 Method A1: The preparation and sieve analysis of gravel, sand and soil samples and
Method A6 are the old methods that were used to determine the particle size distribution of

soil. Refer to page 16, “Particle size distribution test or sieve analysis”, of the prescribed book.
The new methods for determining particle size distribution are as follows:

• SANS 201:2008 (Ed. 2.02): Sieve analysis, fines content and dust content of aggregates
• SANS 3001-AG1:2014 (Ed. 1.02): Particle size analysis of aggregates by sieving

Figure 1.1: Set of sieves

Sieves used in a sieve analysis by test methods (see figure 1.1) are shown in table 1.3.

11 CMT1501/1
Table 1.3: South African sieve sizes
TMH1 SANS 201:2008 SANS 3001-AG1:2014
Sieves (mm) Sieve sizes (mm) Sieve sizes (mm)
- 75 75
63,0 - -
53,0 53 50
37,5 37,5 37,5
26,5 26,5 25
19,0 19,0 20
- 16,0 -
13,2 13,2 14
- 9,50 10
- 6,70 7,10
4,75 4,75 5
- 2,36 2
2,0 2,00
- 1,18 1
- 0,600 0,600
0,425 0,425 -
- 0.300 0,300
- 0.150 0,150
0,075 0,075 0,075

(For notes on calculating the amount of material passed through a sieve, refer to question 3(b)
in the prescribed book.)

NOTE: In the example you are given the mass retained on each sieve. That means that the
mass retained on the 53,0 sieve is the sum of the mass retained on the 63,0 sieve plus that
retained on the 53,0 sieve.

NOTE: Another way to simplify this is to break down the calculations into simple columns as
illustrated in the example below.

Mr Coetzee asked you to assist him with the sieve analysis of the fine aggregate he will be
using for the mix design of concrete slab. After sieving, you recorded the mass retained

on each sieve as shown below. His interest is in the fineness modulus of the fine aggregate.
Please assist him.

SABS sieve size, mm Retained by sieve

Mass, g % soil retained % soil passing
4,75 10 1,7 (100-1,7) = 98,3
2,36 65 10,8 (98,3-10,8) = 87,5
1,18 160 26,7 60,8
0,60 80 13,3 47,5
0,30 200 33,3 14,2
0,15 50 8,3 5,9
0,075 25 4,2 1,7
<0,075 (pan) 10 1,7 -
TOTAL 600 100


NOTE: 4,75 mm is the same as 4 750 micron meter, which is represented by µm, so 0,15 mm
is 150 µm. Section 1.3.7 of the prescribed book will assist you in populating the above table.

% soil retained= 𝟔𝟔𝟔𝟔𝟔𝟔 ∗ 𝟏𝟏𝟏𝟏𝟏𝟏 =1.66667 =1.7%. Except otherwise stated, answers are left in

1 decimal point.

In order to calculate the fineness modulus (FM), you have to add a new column, “Cumulative
percentage of total mass retained”.

13 CMT1501/1
SABS sieve size, Retained by sieve
mm Mass, g % soil Cumulative % soil passing
retained percentage of total
mass retained
4,75 10 1,7 1,7 (100-1,7) = 98,3
2,36 65 10,8 (1,7+10,8) = 12,5 (100-12,5) = 87,5
1,18, 160 26,7 (12,5+26,7) = 39,2 (100-39,2) = 60,8
0,60 80 13,3 52,5 47,5
0,30 200 33,3 85,8 14,2
0,15 50 8,3 94,1 5,9
0,075 25 4,2 98,3 1,7
<0,075 (pan) 10 1,7 100
TOTAL 600 100 285,8


The average fineness or coarseness of an aggregate is referred to as its fineness modulus. FM

is normally only used for sand, as seen in the mix design formulas on pages 118–123 of the
prescribed book. It may also be applied to stone, but then one has to ignore the intermediate
sizes and consider only the standard sizes. The FM of sand is obtained by adding the cumulative
percentage of total mass retained (except that retained on 0,075 mm downward) and dividing
it by 100.

For the above example:

1.7+12.5+39.2+52.5+85.8+94.1 285.8
FM = 100
= 100

FM = 2,86

NOTE: FM is not a size in millimetres, but it is convenient to remember it as the average

particle size of the sand.


 Very fine sand has an FM below 1,0.

 Fine sand has an FM of between 1 and 2.

 Medium sand has an FM between 2 and 2,9.

 Coarse sand has an FM above 2,9.


𝐵𝐵𝐵𝐵𝐵𝐵𝐵𝐵 𝑣𝑣𝑣𝑣𝑣𝑣𝑣𝑣𝑣𝑣𝑣𝑣, 𝑤𝑤ℎ𝑖𝑖𝑖𝑖ℎ 𝑖𝑖𝑖𝑖 𝑡𝑡ℎ𝑒𝑒 𝑣𝑣𝑣𝑣𝑣𝑣𝑣𝑣𝑣𝑣𝑣𝑣 𝑜𝑜𝑜𝑜 𝑎𝑎𝑎𝑎 𝑢𝑢𝑢𝑢𝑢𝑢𝑢𝑢𝑢𝑢𝑢𝑢𝑢𝑢𝑢𝑢𝑢𝑢𝑢𝑢𝑢𝑢 𝑠𝑠𝑠𝑠𝑠𝑠𝑠𝑠 𝑠𝑠𝑠𝑠𝑠𝑠𝑠𝑠𝑠𝑠𝑠𝑠 𝑏𝑏𝑏𝑏𝑏𝑏𝑏𝑏𝑏𝑏𝑏𝑏 𝑒𝑒𝑒𝑒𝑒𝑒𝑒𝑒𝑒𝑒𝑒𝑒𝑒𝑒𝑒𝑒𝑒𝑒𝑒𝑒

Bank cubic metre is one cubic metre of the natural, in situ, undisturbed material that is to be

𝐿𝐿𝐿𝐿3 = 𝐿𝐿𝐿𝐿𝐿𝐿𝐿𝐿𝐿𝐿 𝑣𝑣𝑣𝑣𝑣𝑣𝑣𝑣𝑣𝑣𝑣𝑣, 𝑤𝑤ℎ𝑖𝑖𝑖𝑖ℎ 𝑖𝑖𝑖𝑖 𝑡𝑡ℎ𝑒𝑒 𝑣𝑣𝑣𝑣𝑣𝑣𝑣𝑣𝑣𝑣𝑣𝑣 𝑜𝑜𝑜𝑜 𝑎𝑎 𝑑𝑑𝑑𝑑𝑑𝑑𝑑𝑑𝑑𝑑𝑑𝑑𝑑𝑑𝑑𝑑𝑑𝑑 𝑠𝑠𝑠𝑠𝑠𝑠𝑠𝑠 𝑠𝑠𝑠𝑠𝑠𝑠𝑠𝑠𝑠𝑠𝑠𝑠, 𝑡𝑡ℎ𝑎𝑎𝑎𝑎 𝑖𝑖𝑖𝑖, the
volume of the soil after excavation

Loose volume is the volume of transported material after it has been disturbed and has swollen
due to the action of loading and excavation. In this state the same mass of material will occupy
more space than in its bank volume.

= 𝐶𝐶𝐶𝐶𝐶𝐶𝐶𝐶𝐶𝐶𝐶𝐶𝐶𝐶𝐶𝐶𝐶𝐶 𝑣𝑣𝑣𝑣𝑣𝑣𝑣𝑣𝑣𝑣𝑣𝑣, 𝑤𝑤ℎ𝑖𝑖𝑖𝑖ℎ 𝑖𝑖𝑖𝑖 𝑡𝑡ℎ𝑒𝑒 𝑣𝑣𝑣𝑣𝑣𝑣𝑣𝑣𝑣𝑣𝑣𝑣 𝑎𝑎 𝑠𝑠𝑠𝑠𝑠𝑠𝑠𝑠 𝑠𝑠𝑠𝑠𝑠𝑠𝑠𝑠𝑠𝑠𝑠𝑠 𝑜𝑜𝑜𝑜𝑜𝑜𝑜𝑜𝑜𝑜𝑖𝑖𝑒𝑒𝑒𝑒 𝑤𝑤ℎ𝑒𝑒𝑒𝑒 𝑐𝑐𝑐𝑐𝑐𝑐𝑐𝑐𝑐𝑐𝑐𝑐𝑐𝑐𝑐𝑐𝑐𝑐

NOTE: When you excavate soil and transfer it to another location for compaction/filling, the
mass of the soil sample remains constant; only the volume changes.

To get an idea of the relation between bank, loose and compacted volumes, see table 1.4, which
gives typical soil volume conversion factors.

15 CMT1501/1
Table 1.4: Soil volume conversion factors
Soil type Condition representing Altered condition (m3)
1 m3 Bank Loose Compacted
Sand Natural state 1 1,11 0,95
Loose 0,9 1 0,86
Compacted 1,05 1,27 1
Average soil Natural state 1 1,35 0,81
Loose 0,8 1 0,72
Compacted 1,22 1,29 1
Clay Natural state 1 1,43 0,9
Loose 0,7 1 0,63
Compacted 1,11 1,59 1

NB: The above values are indicative only of the typical variation in volume between the states
of density that may occur in the process of earthmoving operations. The precise values can
only be determined by density tests conducted on the actual materials encountered in the field.

The formulae for load and shrinkage factors in section 1.3.8 of the prescribed book are

Load factor = 𝑀𝑀𝑀𝑀𝑀𝑀𝑀𝑀/𝐵𝐵𝑚𝑚3

Shrinkage factor = 𝑀𝑀𝑀𝑀𝑀𝑀𝑀𝑀/𝐶𝐶𝐶𝐶3

When soil is excavated from its natural, undisturbed state (i.e. from bank to loose condition),
swelling (bulking) occurs. The percentage by which the soil swells can be calculated as follows:

𝐵𝐵𝐵𝐵𝐵𝐵𝐵𝐵 𝑑𝑑𝑑𝑑𝑑𝑑𝑑𝑑𝑑𝑑𝑑𝑑𝑑𝑑
𝑆𝑆𝑆𝑆𝑆𝑆𝑆𝑆𝑆𝑆 (%) = � − 1� × 100
𝐿𝐿𝐿𝐿𝐿𝐿𝐿𝐿𝐿𝐿 𝑑𝑑𝑑𝑑𝑑𝑑𝑑𝑑𝑑𝑑𝑑𝑑𝑑𝑑

𝑀𝑀𝑀𝑀𝑀𝑀𝑀𝑀 𝑜𝑜𝑜𝑜 𝑠𝑠𝑠𝑠𝑠𝑠𝑠𝑠 𝑒𝑒𝑒𝑒𝑒𝑒𝑒𝑒𝑒𝑒𝑒𝑒𝑒𝑒𝑒𝑒𝑒𝑒 (𝑚𝑚)

𝐵𝐵𝐵𝐵𝐵𝐵𝐵𝐵 𝑑𝑑𝑑𝑑𝑑𝑑𝑑𝑑𝑑𝑑𝑑𝑑𝑑𝑑 =
𝐵𝐵𝐵𝐵𝐵𝐵𝐵𝐵 𝑣𝑣𝑣𝑣𝑣𝑣𝑣𝑣𝑣𝑣𝑣𝑣(𝐵𝐵𝐵𝐵3 )


𝑀𝑀𝑀𝑀𝑀𝑀𝑠𝑠 𝑜𝑜𝑜𝑜 𝑠𝑠𝑠𝑠𝑠𝑠𝑠𝑠 𝑒𝑒𝑒𝑒𝑒𝑒𝑒𝑒𝑒𝑒𝑒𝑒𝑒𝑒𝑒𝑒𝑒𝑒 (𝑚𝑚)

𝐿𝐿𝐿𝐿𝐿𝐿𝐿𝐿𝐿𝐿 𝑑𝑑𝑑𝑑𝑑𝑑𝑑𝑑𝑑𝑑𝑑𝑑𝑑𝑑 =
𝐿𝐿𝐿𝐿𝐿𝐿𝐿𝐿𝐿𝐿 𝑣𝑣𝑣𝑣𝑣𝑣𝑣𝑣𝑣𝑣𝑣𝑣(𝐿𝐿𝐿𝐿3 )

𝑆𝑆𝑆𝑆𝑆𝑆𝑆𝑆𝑆𝑆 (%) = � − 1� × 100

Since 𝑀𝑀𝑀𝑀𝑀𝑀𝑀𝑀/𝐿𝐿𝐿𝐿3 = 𝐿𝐿𝐿𝐿𝐿𝐿𝐿𝐿 𝑓𝑓𝑓𝑓𝑓𝑓𝑓𝑓𝑓𝑓𝑓𝑓

𝑆𝑆𝑆𝑆𝑆𝑆𝑆𝑆𝑆𝑆 (%) = � − 1� × 100
𝐿𝐿𝐿𝐿𝐿𝐿𝐿𝐿 𝑓𝑓𝑓𝑓𝑓𝑓𝑓𝑓𝑓𝑓𝑓𝑓


Load factor = 𝑺𝑺𝑺𝑺𝑺𝑺𝑺𝑺𝑺𝑺
�𝟏𝟏 + 𝟏𝟏𝟏𝟏𝟏𝟏 �


Shrinkage is the term used to describe a reduction in the volume of a material that has been
excavated when it is used to fill an embankment. A small proportion of this loss may be
attributed to spillage during transport from the cut to the fill, but the main loss occurs because
the unit volume of the material is greater when it is in its natural state before it is excavated
than the unit volume after it has been compacted to form an embankment. This shrinkage factor
must be determined for the material concerned and included in the calculations of the
earthworks cost estimate and claims for payment. Shrinkage is usually not applicable to rock
but is significant for most soils.

When soil is compacted, there is a volume reduction but mass is kept constant.

17 CMT1501/1
𝐵𝐵𝐵𝐵𝐵𝐵𝐵𝐵 𝑑𝑑𝑑𝑑𝑑𝑑𝑑𝑑𝑑𝑑𝑑𝑑𝑑𝑑
𝑆𝑆ℎ𝑟𝑟𝑟𝑟𝑟𝑟𝑟𝑟𝑟𝑟𝑟𝑟𝑟𝑟 (%) = �1 − � × 100

𝑀𝑀𝑀𝑀𝑀𝑀𝑀𝑀 𝑜𝑜𝑜𝑜 𝑠𝑠𝑠𝑠𝑠𝑠𝑠𝑠 𝑒𝑒𝑒𝑒𝑒𝑒𝑒𝑒𝑒𝑒𝑒𝑒𝑒𝑒𝑒𝑒𝑒𝑒 (𝑚𝑚)

𝐵𝐵𝐵𝐵𝐵𝐵𝐵𝐵 𝑑𝑑𝑑𝑑𝑑𝑑𝑑𝑑𝑑𝑑𝑑𝑑𝑑𝑑 =
𝐵𝐵𝐵𝐵𝐵𝐵𝐵𝐵 𝑣𝑣𝑣𝑣𝑣𝑣𝑣𝑣𝑣𝑣𝑣𝑣 (𝐵𝐵𝐵𝐵3 )


𝑀𝑀𝑀𝑀𝑀𝑀𝑀𝑀 𝑜𝑜𝑜𝑜 𝑠𝑠𝑠𝑠𝑠𝑠𝑠𝑠 𝑒𝑒𝑒𝑒𝑒𝑒𝑒𝑒𝑒𝑒𝑒𝑒𝑒𝑒𝑒𝑒𝑒𝑒 (𝑚𝑚)


𝑆𝑆ℎ𝑟𝑟𝑟𝑟𝑟𝑟𝑟𝑟𝑟𝑟𝑟𝑟𝑟𝑟 (%) = �1 − � × 100

Since shrinkage factor = 𝑀𝑀𝑀𝑀𝑀𝑀𝑀𝑀/𝐶𝐶𝐶𝐶3

𝑆𝑆ℎ𝑟𝑟𝑟𝑟𝑟𝑟𝑟𝑟𝑟𝑟𝑟𝑟𝑟𝑟 (%) = [1 − 𝑆𝑆ℎ𝑟𝑟𝑟𝑟𝑟𝑟𝑟𝑟𝑟𝑟𝑟𝑟𝑟𝑟 𝑓𝑓𝑓𝑓𝑓𝑓𝑓𝑓𝑓𝑓𝑓𝑓] × 100

Shrinkage factor = 𝟏𝟏 − 𝑺𝑺𝑺𝑺𝑺𝑺𝑺𝑺𝑺𝑺𝑺𝑺𝑺𝑺𝑺𝑺𝑺𝑺/𝟏𝟏𝟏𝟏


Swell is the converse (opposite) of shrinkage. The swell factor is the ratio of embankment
volume to excavation volume greater than one. It is usually only applicable to rock where the
rock in situ unit volume prior to (before) excavation is less than the final compacted
embankment unit volume. This factor should also be included in costing calculations. Swell is
the ratio by which the loose-measure volume is greater than the bank volume after excavation.

What these three conditions of soil basically mean is that the amount of soil that one excavates
from a borrow pit, hole or quarry, Lm3, will be more in volume but less in weight than the
amount of undisturbed soil, Bm3, for one cubic metre of soil. This is due to the presence of
voids of entrapped air and moisture within the disturbed soil. In other words, if one excavates
1 m3 of in situ soil weighing, say, 1 500 kg/m3, the excavated material will also weigh 1 500
kg but its volume will be, say, 1,5 m3.

Conversely, when soil is compacted, making the voids smaller and driving out the air, one
requires more soil, Cm3, than the excavated soil, because the voids are reduced and the designed
moisture content is achieved by compaction. In other words, the density of the soil decreases
(Lm3) with excavation or increases (Cm3) with compaction from the undisturbed (Bm3) state.

Figure 1.2 illustrates the foregoing notes.


Volume of material
to be transported by
the contractor
factor (loose)


In-situ or bank
volume in place in
cut or borrow pit

Volume in
place and
Shrinkage compacted
(paid for)

Figure 1.2: Illustration of bulking, shrinkage and compaction

Please note that the size of the blocks, although not to scale, indicates that the volumes change
between the three states.

Consider example 3 in the prescribed book:

A soil’s mass is 1 163 kg/𝐋𝐋𝐋𝐋𝟑𝟑 , 1 661 kg/𝐁𝐁𝐁𝐁𝟑𝟑 and 2 077 kg/𝐂𝐂𝐂𝐂𝟑𝟑

a) Calculate the load factor and the shrinkage factor.

b) How much Bm3 and Cm3 is contained in 593 300 Lm3 of this soil?


a) Given: Loose density: 1 163 kg/𝑚𝑚3

Bank density: 1 661 kg/𝑚𝑚3

Compacted density: 2 077 kg/𝑚𝑚3

𝐿𝐿𝐿𝐿𝐿𝐿𝐿𝐿𝐿𝐿 𝑑𝑑𝑑𝑑𝑑𝑑𝑑𝑑𝑑𝑑𝑑𝑑𝑑𝑑 1163

Load factor: = = 0,70
𝐵𝐵𝐵𝐵𝐵𝐵𝐵𝐵 𝑑𝑑𝑑𝑑𝑑𝑑𝑑𝑑𝑑𝑑𝑑𝑑𝑑𝑑 1661

NOTE: The C, L and B are used to differentiate the type of volume considered. Their unit is
𝐦𝐦𝟑𝟑 .

19 CMT1501/1
𝐵𝐵𝐵𝐵𝐵𝐵𝐵𝐵 𝑑𝑑𝑑𝑑𝑛𝑛𝑛𝑛𝑛𝑛𝑛𝑛𝑛𝑛 1661
Shrinkage factor: = = 0,80
𝐶𝐶𝐶𝐶𝐶𝐶𝐶𝐶𝐶𝐶𝐶𝐶𝐶𝐶𝐶𝐶𝐶𝐶 𝑑𝑑𝑑𝑑𝑑𝑑𝑑𝑑𝑑𝑑𝑑𝑑𝑑𝑑 2077

b) Given: Loose volume (not density) = 593 300 𝐿𝐿𝐿𝐿3

The load factor was calculated to be 0,70.

Load factor = 𝑀𝑀𝑀𝑀𝑀𝑀𝑀𝑀/𝐵𝐵𝑚𝑚3

As stated earlier, the mass of the soil is constant. Therefore:


Load factor = 𝐿𝐿𝐿𝐿3
÷ 𝐵𝐵𝑚𝑚3

0,70 = 593300

𝐵𝐵𝑚𝑚3 = 415 310 𝑚𝑚3

Or the bank volume = 415 310 𝐵𝐵𝑚𝑚3

𝐵𝐵𝐵𝐵𝐵𝐵𝐵𝐵 𝑑𝑑𝑑𝑑𝑑𝑑𝑑𝑑𝑑𝑑𝑑𝑑𝑑𝑑
Shrinkage factor = 𝐶𝐶𝐶𝐶𝐶𝐶𝐶𝐶𝐶𝐶𝐶𝐶𝐶𝐶𝐶𝐶𝐶𝐶 𝑑𝑑𝑑𝑑𝑑𝑑𝑑𝑑𝑑𝑑𝑑𝑑𝑑𝑑

Shrinkage factor = 𝑀𝑀𝑀𝑀𝑀𝑀𝑀𝑀/𝐶𝐶𝑚𝑚3


Shrinkage factor = 𝐵𝐵𝐵𝐵3
÷ 𝐶𝐶𝑚𝑚3

0,80 = 415310

𝐶𝐶𝑚𝑚3 = 0,80 * 415 310 = 332 248 𝑚𝑚3

Compacted volume = 332 248 𝐶𝐶𝑚𝑚3



B/2 B/2

Figure 1.3: Side view (section) of a Figure 1.4: 3D view of a triangular spoil
triangular spoil

Volume of spoil = section area * length

Area of a triangle = 2 ∗ 𝑏𝑏𝑏𝑏𝑏𝑏𝑏𝑏 ∗ ℎ𝑒𝑒𝑒𝑒𝑒𝑒ℎ𝑡𝑡

Base = B (base or width of the stockpile)

Height = H (height of the stockpile)

∗ 𝑳𝑳 ……………………………………………… equation 1

It is usually difficult to measure out the base, B, and the height, H, of the stockpile; therefore,
we use the known to obtain the unknown.

From figure 1.3, based on geometry:


R is the angle of repose, which can be obtained from table 1.5 of the prescribed book.
Height H = 𝟐𝟐
……………………………………… equation 2

21 CMT1501/1
Substituting the value of H in equation 2 into equation 1:
𝑉𝑉 = 2
*� 2
� ∗ 𝐿𝐿

𝑉𝑉 =
Making B the subject of the formula:
4𝑉𝑉 2
𝐵𝐵 = � � ……………………………………………………….. equation 3



Figure 1.5: A conical spoil pile (bank)

The volume of a cone, V, is given by the formula:

𝑉𝑉 = 𝜋𝜋𝑟𝑟 2 3

𝑟𝑟 =
𝐷𝐷 2 𝐻𝐻 𝜋𝜋𝐷𝐷2 𝐻𝐻
𝑉𝑉 = 𝜋𝜋 ∗ � � ∗ = …………………………… equation 4
2 3 12

From geometry:


H= …………………………….. equation 5

Substituting equation 5 into equation 4:

𝑉𝑉 = ∗ 𝐷𝐷 2 ∗
12 2

𝐷𝐷3 =
π =3,142

𝟕𝟕.𝟔𝟔𝟔𝟔𝟔𝟔 𝟑𝟑
𝑫𝑫 = � � ………………………….. equation 6


Find the base width and the height of a triangular spoil bank containing 76,5 Bm3 if the
length is 9,14 m, the angle of repose is 37° and the swell is 25%.

𝐿𝐿𝐿𝐿𝐿𝐿𝐿𝐿 𝑓𝑓𝑓𝑓𝑓𝑓𝑓𝑓𝑓𝑓𝑓𝑓 =
1 + 100

Swell = 25% hence load factor = 25 = 0,8


𝐵𝐵𝑚𝑚3 = 76,5 𝑚𝑚3

L = 9,14 m

R = 37°

Load factor = 0,8

Load factor = 𝑀𝑀𝑀𝑀𝑀𝑀𝑀𝑀/𝐵𝐵𝑚𝑚3 = 𝐿𝐿𝐿𝐿3

𝑳𝑳𝑳𝑳3= 95,63 𝑚𝑚3

Since it is a triangular spoil:

B = �9.14 𝑇𝑇𝑇𝑇𝑇𝑇37 = 7,45 𝑚𝑚

23 CMT1501/1

7.45 𝑇𝑇𝑇𝑇𝑇𝑇 37
𝐻𝐻 = = 2,81 𝑚𝑚


Density: In order to understand compaction, one must be aware of the different types of density
and what each type of density refers to.

The density of any soil type is its mass divided by its volume:


Relative density (RD), also called particle relative density: This is the density of a particle,
relative to the density of water.

Remember that 1 000 litres of water weighs 1 000 kg. Therefore, the RD of water is 1.

Bulk density: This is the mass of soil or aggregate that would fill a container with a capacity of
1 m3 .

Loose bulk density (LBD): This refers to non-compacted soil or aggregate that is just placed,
poured or shovelled into a container of 1 m3.

Consolidated bulk density (CBD), also referred to as compacted bulk density: This refers to
soil or aggregate that is compacted into a 1 m3 container.

Difference between dry density and bulk density: By saying dry density is the mass of solid
material per unit volume of soil, the author means that you must use the DRY MASS of the

If we put that into a formula, it will be:

𝑀𝑀𝑀𝑀𝑀𝑀𝑀𝑀 𝑜𝑜𝑜𝑜 𝑑𝑑𝑑𝑑𝑑𝑑 𝑚𝑚𝑚𝑚𝑚𝑚𝑚𝑚𝑚𝑚𝑚𝑚𝑚𝑚𝑚𝑚 (𝑖𝑖𝑖𝑖 𝑘𝑘𝑘𝑘)

Dry density = 𝑉𝑉𝑉𝑉𝑉𝑉𝑉𝑉𝑉𝑉𝑉𝑉 (𝑖𝑖𝑖𝑖 𝑐𝑐𝑐𝑐𝑐𝑐𝑐𝑐𝑐𝑐 𝑚𝑚𝑚𝑚𝑚𝑚𝑚𝑚𝑚𝑚𝑚𝑚)

𝑀𝑀𝑀𝑀𝑀𝑀𝑀𝑀 𝑜𝑜𝑜𝑜 𝑤𝑤𝑤𝑤𝑤𝑤 𝑚𝑚𝑚𝑚𝑚𝑚𝑚𝑚𝑚𝑚𝑚𝑚𝑚𝑚𝑚𝑚 (𝑖𝑖𝑖𝑖 𝑘𝑘𝑘𝑘)

Bulk density = 𝑉𝑉𝑉𝑉𝑉𝑉𝑉𝑉𝑉𝑉𝑉𝑉 (𝑖𝑖𝑖𝑖 𝑐𝑐𝑐𝑐𝑐𝑐𝑐𝑐𝑐𝑐 𝑚𝑚𝑚𝑚𝑚𝑚𝑚𝑚𝑚𝑚𝑚𝑚)

Remember that density is mass divided by volume. Therefore:


Dust control

The control of dust is not restricted to quarries alone, but also extends to construction sites
where dust, aggravated by the wind, has a serious effect on the surrounding area, both
environmentally and socio-economically. Residents within the immediate vicinity of such a
site will be negatively influenced and communication channels should be established with them
to deal with the impact of the construction operation for the period of its duration. The project
may be required to repaint or clean certain properties due to the construction operation. It is
therefore necessary to ensure as effective a dust control policy as possible. The following
measures will help to keep the dust down:

• Keeping the earth moist by applying water by means of a water tank.

• Retaining as much natural vegetation for as long as possible.
• Limiting the size of the stockpile and the periods of stockpiling.
• Regularly removing the stockpiled material to spoil where applicable.
• Moistening the stockpiled material during loading by spraying.
• Producing an efficient execution of earthworks to ensure there is no prolonged activity.
• Applying common sense – do not load or move soil in extremely windy conditions.
• Providing earth berms around the quarry to break wind velocity.


Blasting is normally divided into two distinct stages, namely, primary blasting and secondary
blasting, as explained in section 1.7.2 of the prescribed book.


Cohesion is that property of material particles to “cling” or stick to each other. Clay and silts
have very small particle sizes and the molecular attraction between the particles is high,
resulting in a bond between the particles that cannot readily be overcome.

25 CMT1501/1
Friction is “the rubbing of one object or surface against another”. Internal friction, therefore,
is the rubbing of the particles of a soil against one another, thereby creating a bond, hence
strength; the higher the internal friction, the stronger the material. Therefore, the smoother the
particles, the easier the soil will tend to slip or slide whereas the coarser the particles, the more
friction will be created between the particles. Sandy or gravely soil has very little cohesion but
displays reasonable to good internal frictional characteristics. Silts and clays, on the other hand,
display poor internal friction but a high degree of cohesion.


Refer to unit 2, section 2.3.1, “Cement”, for more information about the characteristics of


1. You are asked to determine the PI of material. The following results are obtained:
Mass of dry soil and container = 2 641 g
Mass of wet soil and container = 3 260 g
Mass of container = 261 g

Mass of dry soil and container = 3 526 g
Mass of wet soil and container = 4 684 g
Mass of container = 308 g

In the case of PL, calculate the following:

[The answers are provided to enable you to check your answers.]
The mass of the wet soil: 2 999 g
The mass of the dry soil: 2 380 g
The mass of the moisture in the sample: 619 g
The moisture content of the sample: 26,01%

In the case of the LL, calculate the following:
The mass of the wet soil: 4 376 g
The mass of the dry soil: 3 218 g
The mass of the moisture in the sample: 1 158 g
The moisture content of the sample: 35,99%
Calculate the PI of the material: 9,98

Soil is a very important material in the construction industry. Most structures are built
on soil while some are built in soil and some are built using soil. We therefore need to
understand soil and know how to test and classify it.

27 CMT1501/1

Table of contents

SECTION 2.1 – INTRODUCTION...................................................................................................... 29

SECTION 2.2.1 – MIX REQUIREMENTS ......................................................................................... 29
SECTION 2.2.6 – PROPERTIES OF HARDENED CONCRETE ...................................................... 32
SECTION 2.3.1 – CEMENT ................................................................................................................ 39
SECTION 2.5.1 – THE DESIGN PROCESS ....................................................................................... 39
SECTION 2.7 – REINFORCEMENT .................................................................................................. 42



You are advised to obtain and read the free publications published by the Concrete Institute,
Midrand, Gauteng. The institute’s web address is http://www.theconcreteinstitute.org.za/.

Go to “Resources & Publications” on the homepage and double-click on “Leaflets”. Thereafter,

choose any publication you wish to read.


In a real-life situation, the engineer will specify a strength requirement. The reason for this is
that all cements are not the same. The properties of coarse aggregates (stone) and fine
aggregates (sand) can vary according to their sources. Most aggregates, including stone and
sand, are obtained from natural resources and can either be used as they are or modified.

Stone may be obtained from natural sources, but there are only a few places in the country
where suitable stone is found. Typical stone aggregate sizes are 26,5, 19, 13,2 and 9,5 mm.
Hitherto, 19-mm stone has been the most commonly used course aggregate. However, new
stone sizes are emerging, for example, 22,5-mm stones, which are now in the market.

Sand is manufactured by crushing stone or is obtained from borrow pits. In certain places in
the country, river sand is used where available. Crushed sand is normally not washed, resulting
in up to 10% more sand per volume. The result is an improvement of the concrete quality due
to the presence of substantial fines, and the process is more environmentally friendly since
there is no need to discharge polluted or dirty water into streams or storm water systems. River
sand is more rounded, but variable with non-uniform grading. It also changes after every flood
and requires additional testing. The urban sources of river sand are becoming depleted and
from an environmental perspective, the use of river sand has become a sensitive issue. Pit sand
is normally obtained from the source where it originated. Pit sands are normally very fine and
are often blended with manufactured sands to obtain a good soil grading.

The four traditional constituent materials of a concrete mix are

 water
 cement
 stone
 sand

29 CMT1501/1
 Water

The amount of water added to any mix determines its strength, hence the water-to-cement ratio
is the most important criterion for any concrete design mix. The water initiates the hydration
process in the cement, which, in simple terms, is a chemical reaction between the cement and
the water. This reaction results in the outward growth from the surface of the cement of
crystalline rods that “mesh” with rods from neighbouring cement molecules. This process of
hydration is continuous throughout the lifespan of the concrete, but the 28-day crushing
strength is normally taken as the maximum design strength of the concrete.

 Cement
Cement is a substance that is used in its soft or plastic state to bind, glue or adhere aggregate
particles in such a way that when it hardens, a strong rigid composite is formed.
The types of cement covered in SANS 50197-1 and SANS 50413-1 are

 common cements
 masonry cements

The other type of cement – which is not covered by any SANS of the South African Bureau of
Standards (SABS) – is white cement.

Common cement
Common cement includes the following:
 Ordinary Portland cement (OPC): OPC consists of clinker (see section 2.3.1 of the
prescribed book) and gypsum. An example of OPC is PPC OPC 52.5N.
 OPC plus cement extenders: Examples of this type of common cement include PPC
SUREBUILD 42,5N, Lafarge Buildcrete 42,5N, Lafarge Powercrete Plus 42,5R and
AfriSam All Purpose Cement 42.5N.

Masonry cement

This is a blend of Portland cement and lime or limestone. It is used for making mortar and
plaster. Cement companies in South Africa currently do not produce masonry cement and have
substituted it with the all-purpose cements.

White cement

White cement has a low iron content. It is much more expensive because it is imported and it
is used for decorative work.


Besides the hydration process, several non-measurable attributes of a concrete mix influence
the strength of the concrete. These attributes include bleeding, workability (this is why a slump
value is specified), compactibility, curing and finish-ability. Temperature also has an effect on
concrete strength – normally a reasonable temperature of not less than 5 ° C is acceptable. All
these attributes have to do with how the concrete “looks and feels”, which is something that
one learns through experience.

When mix design is to be performed, the engineer gives the 28-day strength desired. This is
called the characteristic strength. In reality, a mix designer may not achieve this characteristic
strength if it is used for the mix design. Therefore, a mix designer adds a marginal strength,
which is determined by the quality of the operation of the concrete plant. Typical minimum
margins derived from the following formula are shown in table 2.1:

Margin = 1,64 x standard deviation

Table 2.1: Used degree of control, standard deviation and margin

Control SD, MPa Minimum margin,

Poor 7 11,5
Average 6 9,8
Good 5 8,2

The new strength when a margin is added to the characteristic strength is the target strength
that is used in the design of the concrete mix.

𝑇𝑇𝑇𝑇𝑇𝑇𝑇𝑇𝑇𝑇𝑇𝑇 𝑠𝑠𝑠𝑠𝑠𝑠𝑠𝑠𝑠𝑠𝑠𝑠𝑠𝑠ℎ = 𝐶𝐶ℎ𝑎𝑎𝑎𝑎𝑎𝑎𝑎𝑎𝑎𝑎𝑎𝑎𝑎𝑎𝑎𝑎𝑎𝑎𝑎𝑎𝑎𝑎 𝑠𝑠𝑠𝑠𝑠𝑠𝑠𝑠𝑠𝑠𝑠𝑠𝑠𝑠ℎ + 𝑀𝑀𝑀𝑀𝑀𝑀𝑀𝑀𝑀𝑀𝑀𝑀

There is a further attribute of concrete that is an important design consideration, namely,

durability, which refers to the concrete’s resistance to adverse natural or industrially imposed
conditions and environments. Consider harbour structures exposed to saline (salt) conditions.
It is necessary to specify the correct type of concrete for these conditions. Typically, 50%
ground granulated blast furnace slag (GGBS – see section 2.3.1 of the prescribed book) is added
to cement used in marine applications.

Most concrete is manufactured with certain admixtures that change the way in which the
concrete behaves in either its fresh or hardened state. Examples are water-reducing admixtures
that provide three options: enhancing the workability of concrete while keeping the water-to-

31 CMT1501/1
cement ratio constant; using less water for a stronger mix; and using less water and cement for
a cheaper mix of the same strength. There are many applications for admixtures, but this topic
falls outside the scope of this curriculum. You can browse the Concrete Institute’s website for
more background information.

The mix designer communicates the mix design in terms of either volume or mass requirements,
thus taking the responsibility of the strength of the concrete on him-/herself. Refer to section
2.5, “Concrete mix design”, of the prescribed book.


Determining the compressive strength of concrete:

𝐶𝐶𝐶𝐶𝑚𝑚𝑝𝑝𝑝𝑝𝑝𝑝𝑝𝑝𝑝𝑝𝑝𝑝𝑝𝑝𝑝𝑝 𝑠𝑠𝑠𝑠𝑠𝑠𝑠𝑠𝑠𝑠𝑠𝑠𝑠𝑠ℎ =
𝑀𝑀𝑀𝑀𝑀𝑀𝑀𝑀𝑀𝑀𝑀𝑀𝑀𝑀 𝑙𝑙𝑙𝑙𝑙𝑙𝑙𝑙 𝑎𝑎𝑎𝑎 𝑓𝑓𝑓𝑓𝑓𝑓𝑓𝑓𝑓𝑓𝑓𝑓𝑓𝑓 (𝑁𝑁𝑁𝑁𝑁𝑁𝑁𝑁𝑁𝑁𝑁𝑁)
𝐶𝐶𝐶𝐶𝐶𝐶𝐶𝐶𝐶𝐶−𝑠𝑠𝑠𝑠𝑠𝑠𝑠𝑠𝑠𝑠𝑠𝑠𝑠𝑠𝑠𝑠𝑠𝑠 𝑎𝑎𝑎𝑎𝑎𝑎𝑎𝑎 𝑜𝑜𝑜𝑜 𝑡𝑡ℎ𝑒𝑒 𝑠𝑠𝑠𝑠𝑠𝑠𝑠𝑠𝑠𝑠𝑠𝑠𝑠𝑠𝑠𝑠 𝑜𝑜𝑜𝑜 𝑤𝑤ℎ𝑖𝑖𝑖𝑖ℎ 𝑡𝑡ℎ𝑒𝑒 𝑐𝑐𝑐𝑐𝑐𝑐𝑐𝑐𝑐𝑐𝑐𝑐𝑐𝑐𝑐𝑐𝑐𝑐𝑐𝑐𝑐𝑐 𝑓𝑓𝑓𝑓𝑓𝑓𝑓𝑓𝑓𝑓 𝑎𝑎𝑎𝑎𝑎𝑎𝑎𝑎 (𝑚𝑚𝑚𝑚2 )

Note: 1 N⁄mm2 = 1 MPa. Also, three cubes are used on average to determine the compressive
strength of concrete (see figure 2.1f). The average compressive strength should also be
recorded to the nearest 0,5 MPa, for example, 24,3 MPa ≈ 24,5 MPa.

A test was done on a concrete cube with dimensions of 150 mm x 150 mm x 150 mm. The load
at which the cube failed was 400 KN. Determine the compressive strength of the cube.

Maximum load in meganewton = maximum load in N *1 000
= 400 ∗ 1000
= 400000N
Area of cube in mm2 = 150 x 150
= 22 500 mm2
𝑀𝑀𝑀𝑀𝑀𝑀𝑀𝑀𝑀𝑀𝑀𝑀𝑀𝑀 𝑙𝑙𝑙𝑙𝑙𝑙𝑙𝑙 (𝑚𝑚𝑚𝑚𝑚𝑚𝑚𝑚𝑚𝑚𝑚𝑚𝑚𝑚𝑚𝑚𝑚𝑚𝑚𝑚)
∴ Compressive strength = 𝐴𝐴𝐴𝐴𝐴𝐴𝐴𝐴 (𝑚𝑚𝑚𝑚2 )
= 22500

= 17,8 MPa ≈ 17,5 MPa

The cube test is described below. The following method of obtaining cube test results is taken
from SANS 5861-3:2006: Making and curing of test specimens and SANS 5863:2006:


Concrete tests – compressive strength of hardened concrete. Please note that these methods are
not available on the internet.

1. Aim
Making, curing and testing concrete test cubes for compressive strength.

2. Apparatus

2.1 Steel, cast iron, nylon rubber or plastic cubical mould (see figure 2.1a and figure 2.1b)
2.2 A steel tamping bar that is of length 600 ± 2 mm and that has at least one hemispherical
end (see figure 2.1g)
2.3 A compression testing machine that is of sufficient capacity to measure the strength of
the concrete specified and able to maintain a rate of loading of 0,3 MPa/second; the
machine should be dimensionally stable and rigid under full load (see figure 2.1f)
2.4 A balance to weigh up to 10 kg, accurate to 10 g (see figure 2.1c)
2.5 A carpenter’s square, 300 mm long and marked in mm
2.6 Mixing trowels, basins, etcetera for hand-mixing and batching of the concrete, or a small
laboratory mixer (see figure 2.1d)

3. Method

Air-dry the aggregate to be used and bring it to a temperature of 22 to 25 oC. Mix the
cement thoroughly and bring it to a temperature of 22 to 25 oC. Proportion the materials
by mass to the nearest 0,5% or by volume using calibration containers.

a. Steel cube mould b. Plastic cube mould

33 CMT1501/1
d. Laboratory pan mixer
c. Weighing balance

e. Vibrating table f. Compressive strength cube press


g. Compressive strength cube press

Figure 2.1: Apparatus

4. Mixing

Mix the concrete in such a manner so as to avoid any loss of water or material by using one of
the following procedures.

i. Machine mixing (this method is preferred): If the mixer is loaded by skip, introduce all
the mixing water into the drum before adding any of the solid materials. Load the skip
with about one half of the coarse aggregate, then with the fine aggregate, then with the
cement and finally with the remainder of the coarse aggregate. If the drum is hand-loaded
or if the mixer is of the pan type, fitted with a discharge gate, charge it with the solid
materials in the reverse order to that given above and add water slowly, starting as soon
as the drum pan starts to rotate. Continue mixing until the concrete is uniform in
appearance but not for less than two minutes after all the materials have been loaded in
the drum and not for more than three minutes.

ii. Hand-mixing: Mix each batch of concrete on a watertight non-absorbent platform,

proceeding as follows:

(a) Mix the dry cement and fine aggregate until the mixture is thoroughly blended and
uniform in colour.
(b) Add the coarse aggregate and mix thoroughly until it is uniformly distributed in the
mixture of cement and fine aggregate.

35 CMT1501/1
(c) Add the water slowly and mix the entire batch until it appears to be homogeneous
and of uniform consistency.

5. Moulding

i. Preparation and filling of mould: Prepare the mould by cleaning, lightly oiling and
assembling it and clamping it onto the oiled base plate. Ensure that all nuts are securely
tightened and that the inside faces are square. Fill all three moulds with a composite of
concrete sampled from the site or with the concrete mixed in the laboratory in layers of
approximately 50 mm deep, in such a way as to provide full compaction of the concrete,
without segregation.

ii. Compaction: Compact each layer as follows: Using the tamper, distribute the strokes
uniformly over the cross-section of the mould. The number of strokes required per layer
will vary according to the type of concrete but should not be below one stroke for every
500 mm2 of area of the layer. (This means 45 well-distributed strokes should be given
per layer for a 150-mm square mould and 20 well-distributed strokes per layer for a 100-
mm square mould.)

6. Curing

Curing is the process of providing adequate moisture and temperature so that concrete reaches
its desired properties. It is one of the most important factors in creating a strong and durable
concrete. For hydration to take place, the proper amount of water is necessary, which makes
curing very important. Depending on where the concrete is placed, different methods of curing
can be used.

i. Laboratory-made specimens: Cover the test cubes (in the moulds) with an impervious
sheet or plastic (see figure 2.2a) and store them in a place free from vibrations in an
atmosphere with a relative humidity of at least 90% at a temperature of 22 to 25 oC for
24 hours ± 30 minutes after the addition of the water to the dry ingredients. After this
initial curing period, mark each cube so that it can be easily identified and then remove
it carefully from the mould. Submerge the cubes immediately in clean fresh water at a
temperature of 22 to 25 oC (see figure 2.2b). Renew the water once the level of water
drops and ensure that the cubes do not become dry during this operation. Moist sand can
also be put on the concrete to cure it, as shown in figure 2.2c, but it must be kept damp.


a. Curing by covering concrete b. Curing in a water bath

with plastic

c. Curing with damp sand

Figure 2.2: Concrete curing

ii. Site or field-made specimens: Cover the test cubes (in the moulds) with impervious
sheeting or wet hessian and store them in a place free of vibration, excessive draughts
and direct sunlight for 24 hours ± 30 minutes after the time of the addition of the water
to the dry ingredients. After this initial curing period, mark each cube so that it can be
easily identified and take the cubes to the testing laboratory in their moulds. The cubes
should be handled with care during this transit period. If the cubes have to be kept on the
site for a prolonged period, remove them from their moulds after marking them, and keep
them immersed in water at 22 to 25 oC until they are transferred to the laboratory for
testing. Ensure that loss of moisture is prevented during transportation and that, if the
moulds have been removed, the cubes are well protected against damage. On arrival at
the testing laboratory, the moulds must be carefully removed and then cured. Membrane-

37 CMT1501/1
forming curing compounds can also be applied to cast surfaces such as road slabs to
reduce the evaporation of water from concrete.

7. Compression strength testing

Test each specimen immediately after removing it from the water and while it is still wet.
Wipe off surface water and projecting fins and determine the dimensions to the nearest 1
mm and mass to the nearest 10 g before testing. Use a carpenter’s square to ensure that all
sides are square to within 90 ± 0,5o.

Clean the bearing platens of the testing machine (see figure 2.1f) and position the specimen
in the machine so that the load is applied to opposite side faces of the specimen as cast (i.e.
not to the top and bottom). The load from the platens must be applied directly onto the
concrete samples without any packing in between the platen and the sample. Align the axis
of the cube with the centre of thrust of the spherically-seated platen and, as this platen is
brought to bear on the specimen, rotate the platen gently by hand so that uniform seating
is obtained. Apply the compression load without shock and increase it continuously at a
uniform rate of approximately 0,3 MPa/second until the specimen fails.

Record the maximum load applied, the appearance of the specimen and any unusual
feature in the type of failure.

8. Calculations

Calculate the compressive strength of each specimen by dividing the maximum load
applied during the test by the cross-sectional area of the specimen, and express it in MPa
to the nearest 0,5 MPa.

Calculate the average of the three results as the compressive strength of the test sample. If
the difference between the highest and lowest results exceeds 15% of the average, the test
should be regarded as invalid and the results discarded. Report the average of the three
results together with the following details:

• Date and time of manufacture

• Identification number or mark
• Date of test
• Age of cubes
• Any unusual appearance of the concrete


• Type of fracture or curing conditions


a. If mechanical compaction is specified or preferred, it may be done by means of an

electric or pneumatic vibration rod or preferably a suitable vibrating table. The table
should have a frequency of more than 3 600 vibrations per minute and provision should
be made for clamping the mould to the table. If an internal vibrator is used, the diameter
of the shaft should not be greater than one-third of the diameter of the mould and the
vibrator should not touch the sides of the mould when in use. Sufficient vibration has
been applied when the surface of the compacted layer becomes smooth.

b. A proven way of transporting cubes is to place them on a foam sheet of at least 50 mm

thick in the back of a light truck or car and to cover them with wet hessian bags.

SANS 5861-3:2006
SANS 5863:2006


Storage and handling of cement: It is important to use cement in the order it arrived on site, in
other words, the cement that came in first, must be used first. The reason for this is that cement
loses some of its strength over time. This principle is referred to as “first in, first out”.


Certain steps must be followed to obtain a specific concrete strength that is determined by the
design mix. The following example illustrates the principle in a logical way. The mix design
process currently adopted in South Africa is the Cement and Concrete Institute (C&CI) method.
The design process is explained by means of example 2.1.

39 CMT1501/1
EXAMPLE 2.1: Design a concrete mix using the following information:

Cement Type CEM 1 32,5N

Particle relative density 3,14

Sand Particle relative density 2,63

Given Fineness modulus 2,3

Stone Particle relative density 2,72

Size 19 mm

Compacted bulk density (CBD) 1 580 𝐾𝐾𝐾𝐾⁄𝑚𝑚3

Target strength at 28 days 25 MPa
Required Consistence (slump) 100 mm
(hand compaction)

STEP 1: Determine water content

From table 2.7 in the prescribed book, for a 75-mm slump and 19-mm stone, the water
requirement is 210 l/m3.

Since the required slump is 100 mm, interpolation is necessary, using figure 2.22.
Therefore, add 5 l/m3 for a 100-mm slump.

∴ Water required = 215 l/m3

Note: In mix design, 1 litre of water is taken to be 1 kg.

STEP 2: Determine the cement content

From table 2.6, for 25 MPa concrete, the W: C ratio = 0,61.

Since the water requirement = 215 l/m3:

= 0,61
𝐶𝐶𝐶𝐶𝐶𝐶𝐶𝐶𝐶𝐶𝐶𝐶 𝑟𝑟𝑟𝑟𝑟𝑟𝑟𝑟𝑟𝑟𝑟𝑟𝑟𝑟𝑟𝑟 =
Therefore, the cement required = 352,45 kg/m3.

STEP 3: Determine the stone content

St = CBDst * (K – 0,1*FM)
From table 2.8, for 19-mm stone, 75–150-mm slump and hand-compacted, K = 0,94.


You were given the following:

FM = 2,3 – fineness modulus of sand

CBDst = 1 580 kg/m3 – compacted bulk density of stone

CBD just means that if one melts all the loose stone down to make one solid lump of it,
one will end up with a certain number of kilograms, which will take up much less
volume than the volume of the loose stone. This is called the absolute or solid volume
of the stone.

St = 1580 * (0,94–0,1*2,3)
Stone = 1 121,8 kg/m3

STEP 4: Determine the sand content

Volume of sand = 1 – (vol of cement + vol of stone + vol of water) because the four
constituents make up 1 m3 or 1 000 litres concrete.

𝐵𝐵𝐵𝐵𝐵𝐵 𝑑𝑑𝑑𝑑𝑑𝑑𝑑𝑑𝑑𝑑𝑑𝑑𝑑𝑑 =

From this, the formula is:

𝑀𝑀𝑐𝑐𝑐𝑐𝑐𝑐𝑐𝑐𝑐𝑐𝑐𝑐 𝑀𝑀𝑠𝑠𝑎𝑎𝑛𝑛𝑛𝑛 𝑀𝑀𝑠𝑠𝑠𝑠𝑠𝑠𝑠𝑠𝑠𝑠 𝑀𝑀𝑤𝑤𝑤𝑤𝑤𝑤𝑤𝑤𝑤𝑤
1= + + +
𝐷𝐷𝑐𝑐𝑐𝑐𝑐𝑐𝑐𝑐𝑐𝑐𝑐𝑐∗1000 𝐷𝐷𝑠𝑠𝑠𝑠𝑠𝑠𝑠𝑠 ∗1000 𝐷𝐷𝑠𝑠𝑠𝑠𝑠𝑠𝑠𝑠𝑠𝑠 ∗1000 𝐷𝐷𝑤𝑤𝑤𝑤𝑤𝑤𝑤𝑤𝑤𝑤∗1000

𝑀𝑀𝑐𝑐𝑐𝑐𝑐𝑐𝑐𝑐𝑐𝑐𝑐𝑐 𝑀𝑀𝑠𝑠𝑠𝑠𝑠𝑠𝑠𝑠𝑠𝑠 𝑀𝑀𝑤𝑤𝑤𝑤𝑤𝑤𝑤𝑤𝑤𝑤

𝑀𝑀𝑠𝑠𝑠𝑠𝑠𝑠𝑠𝑠 = 𝐷𝐷𝑠𝑠𝑠𝑠𝑠𝑠𝑠𝑠 ∗ �1000 − + + �
𝐷𝐷𝑐𝑐𝑐𝑐𝑐𝑐𝑐𝑐𝑐𝑐𝑐𝑐 𝐷𝐷𝑠𝑠𝑠𝑠𝑠𝑠𝑠𝑠𝑠𝑠 𝐷𝐷𝑤𝑤𝑤𝑤𝑤𝑤𝑤𝑤𝑤𝑤

352.45 1121.8 215

𝑀𝑀𝑠𝑠𝑎𝑎𝑎𝑎𝑎𝑎 = 2,63 ∗ �1000 − + + �
3.14 2.72 1

∴ Sand = 2,63 x 260,33

= 684,668 kg/m3

Sand = 684,67 kg/m3

Note: Because one works with batching, accurate figures like the above are not really
possible in practice. So, all answers may be rounded up to the nearest whole number.
However, for purposes of this course, we will stick to accurate numbers to at least two

Remember, one will normally use sand that has a certain moisture content. This
means that part of the volume and mass of the sand is actually taken up with water. In
the above example, if the sand had a moisture content of 10 %, it means that:

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𝑚𝑚𝑚𝑚𝑚𝑚𝑚𝑚 𝑜𝑜𝑜𝑜 𝑤𝑤𝑤𝑤𝑤𝑤 𝑠𝑠𝑠𝑠𝑠𝑠𝑠𝑠𝑠𝑠𝑠𝑠−𝑚𝑚𝑚𝑚𝑚𝑚𝑚𝑚 𝑜𝑜𝑜𝑜 𝑑𝑑𝑑𝑑𝑑𝑑𝑑𝑑𝑑𝑑 𝑠𝑠𝑠𝑠𝑠𝑠𝑠𝑠𝑠𝑠𝑠𝑠
𝑀𝑀𝑀𝑀𝑀𝑀𝑀𝑀𝑀𝑀𝑀𝑀𝑀𝑀𝑀𝑀 𝑐𝑐𝑐𝑐𝑐𝑐𝑐𝑐𝑐𝑐𝑐𝑐𝑐𝑐 = 𝑚𝑚𝑚𝑚𝑚𝑚𝑚𝑚 𝑜𝑜𝑜𝑜 𝑑𝑑𝑑𝑑𝑑𝑑 𝑠𝑠𝑠𝑠𝑠𝑠𝑠𝑠𝑠𝑠𝑠𝑠
x 100
10 684.59−𝑚𝑚𝑚𝑚𝑚𝑚𝑚𝑚 𝑜𝑜𝑜𝑜 𝑑𝑑𝑑𝑑𝑑𝑑𝑑𝑑𝑑𝑑 𝑠𝑠𝑠𝑠𝑠𝑠𝑠𝑠𝑠𝑠𝑠𝑠
= 𝑚𝑚𝑚𝑚𝑚𝑚𝑚𝑚 𝑜𝑜𝑜𝑜 𝑑𝑑𝑑𝑑𝑑𝑑 𝑠𝑠𝑠𝑠𝑠𝑠𝑠𝑠𝑠𝑠𝑠𝑠

Mass of dry sample = 622,35 kg

Mass of water in the sand = 684,59-622,35 = 62,24 kg

Note: It is also possible for the stone to have a more than negligible moisture content. If this is
the case, it must also be factored in the mix design.

This implies that one must add 62,24 kg of sand and subtract the same amount from the water.

Therefore, the new mix will be:

Water: 215 - 62,24 = 152,76 litres

Cement: 352,45 kg
Stone: 1 121,8 kg
Sand: 684,59 + 62,24 = 746,83 kg


Refer to section 4.4.3 of the prescribed book, “Manufacture of steel”, for the properties of mild
and high tensile steel.


Do self-assessment exercises 2.1, 2.2 and 2.3, and the advanced exercises in the prescribed


Table of contents

SECTION 3.7.3 – BLOWN GRADE BITUMENS .............................................................................. 44

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Where blown grade bitumen product is applied on a road surface, the unit of application is
specified in litres/m2 (l/m2). The design of the amount of spray will be in net bitumen, that is,
the amount of real bitumen that stays behind after all the volatiles have escaped.


The design engineer calculated that 0,8 l/m2 of bitumen is necessary for a certain layer. He
decided to use a 60% cationic emulsion. What is the application rate of the emulsion?


0,8 l/m2 is the application rate of the net bitumen, not bitumen + emulsion, but this bitumen is
60% of the bitumen emulsion; therefore:

𝑥𝑥 = 0,8 𝑙𝑙/𝑚𝑚2

Where x is the application rate of the bitumen emulsion. Therefore:

Application rate of emulsion = 0.6

= 1,33 l/m2

60% of 1,33 = 0,8 l/m3, which is the desired net bitumen application rate; therefore, 40% of the
emulsion will eventually evaporate.

Do self-assessment activities 3.1 and 3.2.


Table of contents
SECTION 4.3.1 – PROPERTIES OF BRICKS .................................................................................... 46

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The same apparatus that is used to determine the compressive strength of the concrete is also
used to test bricks. The formula is also the same, namely:

𝑀𝑀𝑀𝑀𝑀𝑀𝑀𝑀𝑀𝑀𝑀𝑀𝑀𝑀 𝑙𝑙𝑙𝑙𝑙𝑙𝑙𝑙 (𝑚𝑚𝑚𝑚𝑚𝑚𝑚𝑚𝑚𝑚𝑚𝑚𝑚𝑚𝑚𝑚𝑚𝑚𝑚𝑚)

Compressive strength = 𝐴𝐴𝐴𝐴𝐴𝐴𝐴𝐴 (𝑚𝑚2 )


A standard size brick was subjected to a load 520 KN before it collapsed. What was the
maximum compressive strength of the brick?


The standard size of a brick is 222 mm x 106 mm x 73 mm (see p 189).

Area of brick in mm2 = 222 mm x 106 mm

= 23532 mm2

= 1000 𝑥𝑥 1000mm2

= 0,023532 m2

𝑀𝑀𝑀𝑀𝑀𝑀𝑀𝑀𝑀𝑀𝑀𝑀𝑀𝑀 𝑙𝑙𝑙𝑙𝑙𝑙𝑙𝑙 (𝑚𝑚𝑚𝑚𝑚𝑚𝑚𝑚𝑚𝑚𝑚𝑚𝑚𝑚𝑚𝑚𝑚𝑚𝑚𝑚)

∴ Compressive strength = 𝐴𝐴𝐴𝐴𝐴𝐴𝐴𝐴 (𝑚𝑚2 )

= 0.023532

= 22,1 MPa

SECTION 4.2.11

Note: A one-brick or whole-brick wall has the thickness of the length of a brick, that is, t = L
+ mortar joint.

Where t is the thickness and L is the length. Click here to view a one-brick wall.
A half-brick wall is a brick wall with the thickness of a brick laid as a stretcher, that is, t = t +
mortar joint. Click here to view a half-brick wall.



Calculate the quantities (bricks, sand and cement) required to build a one-brick wall, 6 m long
and 2,7 m high, with a door opening of 2 m x 1 m in the wall. Assume 10% wastage.


Area = length x height

= 6 m x 2,7 m
= 16,2 m²

Area of opening = length x height

= 2 m²

Area of brick = 16,2 m² - 2 m²

= 14,2 m²

Area of one brick = (73+12) x (106+12) = 10030 mm2 = 0,01003 m2

For a 1-m2 wall, number of bricks = 0.01003 = 99,70 bricks + 10% wastage = 109,67 =

approximately 110 bricks.

For a 14,2 m2-wall, number of bricks = 14,2 x 110 = 1 562 bricks.

1 000 bricks =1 m3 sand

1 562 bricks = 1,562 m3 sand

167 litres cement for 1 000 litres sand, therefore 260,85 litres cement for 1 562 litres sand:
260,85 / 33 = 7, 9; therefore, 8 bags of cement.

Do self-assessments exercises 4.1, 4.2, 4.3, and the advanced exercises in the prescribed

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SUMMARY .......................................................................................................................................... 49


Chapter five of the prescribed textbook introduces the field of environmental engineering and
emphasises the need for engineers to seriously consider the impact of development on the
conservation of resources and the environment. Relevant natural and man-made processes and
causes of environmental and resource degradation such as soil erosion, water pollution, toxic
waste and air pollution are also discussed, with emphasis on ways to prevent them in the case
of man-made processes or to manage them in the case of natural degradation processes. The
interaction between the field of civil engineering and the environment is also highlighted, with
emphasis on ways of performing construction activities without causing harm to the

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SUMMARY .......................................................................................................................................... 51


Chapter six of the prescribed textbook introduces the basic engineering materials used as
finishes in buildings, which include floor finishes such as ceramic tiles, natural stone tiles,
granite, marble, limestone, travertine and slates. These finishes are clearly defined so that they
can be easily identified. Their properties and the places where they should preferably be
installed in buildings are also discussed. Timber-based flooring such as solid wood and
engineered wood are also extensively discussed, with emphasis on finishes that are used to
maintain and protect timber-based floors. The different types of paint are also discussed.

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