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Concrete Quality Control & Admixtures

Week 7

Concrete Mix Design & BS EN 206-1

Principles requires the selection of the correct proportions of cement, fine & coarse aggregate & water, to meet specified properties Many properties can be specified but the most usual are: Workability/Consistence Compressive strength - Cylinder/Cube (at specified age) Durability (min. cement, max. w/c or type of material)

Workability/Consistence - Slump
Typical results: S1 - 10 to 40mm S2 - 50 to 90mm S3 - 100 to 150mm S4 - 160 to 210mm S5 - 220mm

Compressive Strength - Cylinders

BS EN 12390 British/European standards for sample manufacture, storage and testing.


Compressive Strength - Cubes

Part 1 Moulds Part 2 Making & curing Part 3 Compressive strength cylinders & cubes Standards also cover reporting of results

Linked to min cement content Max free water/cement ratio Compaction Curing

From restricted data available - mix proportions are derived which attempt to match the required workability/consistence and strength A trial mix is made - from the results and information available adjustments of the mix proportions is possible A revised trial mix is prepared

Normal Distribution of Concrete Strengths

Mean strength Specified characteristic

(%) 10

(K) 1.28



1.96 2.35

5% defectives

1.64s Margin








Compressive strength (N/mm2)

Fig 1

Standard Deviation
This normal distribution curve is symmetrical about its mean, has a precise mathematical equation and is completely specified by two parameters, its mean, m and its standard deviation, s

Equation for Standard Deviation

The standard deviation is a measure of the variability calculated from the equation:

x m
n 1

Where, x = an individual result n = the number of results m = the mean of the n results

Standard Deviation & Characteristic Strength

It is now generally accepted that at a given level of control the standard deviation increases as the specified characteristic strength increases up to a particular level and is independent of the specified strength above this level

Basic Concepts of Mix Design - Strength Margin

Due to the workability of concrete, a mix must be designed to have a considerably higher mean strength than that specified The characteristic strength specified in BS 8110 replaces the old concept of minimum strength and the difference between this and the target mean strength is called the margin

Target Mean Strength

f m f c ks
Target mean strength Characteristic strength Margin

BS EN 206 1 Compressive strength classes

Where concrete is classified with respect to its compressive strength, Table 7 for normal-weight and heavy-weight concrete or Table 8 for lightweight concrete apply The characteristic compressive strength at 28 days of 150 mm diameter by 300 mm cylinders (fck,cyl) or the characteristic compressive strength at 28 days of 150 mm cubes (fck,cube) may be used for classification

NOTE In special cases intermediate strength levels between those in Table 7 or 8 may be used if this is permitted by the relevant design standard

Table 7 of the Standard

Compressive strength class C8/10 C12/15 C16/20 C20/25 C25/30 C30/37 C35/45 C40/50 C45/55 C50/60 C55/67 C60/75 C70/85 C80/95 C90/105 C100/115 Minimum characteristic Minimum characteristic cylinder strength cube strength 2 2 fck,cyl (N/mm ) fck,cube (N/mm ) 8 12 16 20 25 30 35 40 45 50 55 60 70 80 90 100 10 15 20 25 30 37 45 50 55 60 67 75 85 95 105 115

Table 8 of the Standard

Compressive strength class LC8/9 LC12/13 LC16/18 LC20/22 LC25/28 LC30/33 LC35/38 LC40/44 LC45/50 LC50/55 LC55/60 LC60/66 LC70/77 LC80/88 Minimum characteristic Minimum characteristic cylinder strength cube strength 2 2 fck,cyl (N/mm ) fck,cube (N/mm ) 8 12 16 20 25 30 35 40 45 50 55 60 70 80 9 13 18 22 28 33 38 44 50 55 60 66 77 88

Quality Control Techniques

Based on statistical schemes level of defectives Simple calendar charts Moving average charts Shewhart charts Cussum charts Operating characteristics curves (O-C curves)

Shewhart Charts
Calendar charts can be turned into Shewhart charts for control purposes. The objective is to detect significant variations in the mean or standard deviation.

Changes in the Mean

Gradual increase in mean

Sudden increase in mean

Changes in the Standard Deviation

Gradual increase in standard deviation

Sudden increase in standard deviation

Variability of Concrete in Practice

Variations have been attributed to differences in random structure No two pieces of concrete can be identical & therefore they cannot have the same properties Variation is seen to follow a Normal Distribution

Practical Differences
Differences in practice have other origins: Materials Placing Batching Curing Mixing Age Transportation Testing

Admixtures BS EN 934 - 2

Usually added to effect a change in the properties of the concrete (or mortar) which would not be possible by normal means (by design) Probably the most important factor in the development & use is the need to produce economic concrete

France Italy U.K. Germany Australia Japan U.S.A.

% of all concrete with admixture

70 70 70 80 90 100 100

What Are Admixtures?

Admixtures are chemical substances (other than fine and coarse aggregates, cement, or water), which are added in small amounts just before or during the mixing stage to concrete products.

When Should They be Used?

They should normally only be used where it is desirable to modify the properties of either fresh or hardened concrete (or both) for particular reason when such a change cannot be effected by changes in the composition or properties of the normal mix.

How Much to Use?

Dosages are critical, but basically a fundamentally poor quality concrete cannot be converted to a good concrete by the addition of any type of admixture.

Main Types
Retarders Accelerators Water reducing / plasticising Air-entraining Superplasticisers

British & Euro Standards

BS 5075 Admixtures for concrete: Part 1 - Accelerating admixtures, retarding admixture & water reducing admixtures Part 2 - Air-entraining admixtures Part 3 Super-plasticisers
BS EN 934 - 2 is the new standard covering admixtures for concrete

Delay the beginning of setting & hardening Useful in hot countries for slip forming & transportation Set retarded from 1 to 4 hours Lignosulphates, carbohydrates, CaSO4

Traditionally CaCl2 used in flake or granular form Dosage about 2% Now use calcium formate Used when more rapid set & hardening required

Heat of Hydration 110.0 100.0 90.0

Temperature C

80.0 70.0 60.0 50.0 40.0 30.0 20.0 0 100 200 300 400 500 600 700 800 900 Time (minutes)
opc rhpc srpc HA

Heat of Hydration 55.0 50.0 45.0

Temperature C

40.0 35.0 30.0 25.0 20.0 0 100 200 300 400 500 600 700 800 900 Time (minutes)
opc opc + 5%Ca opc + pfa rhpc

Water Reducing / Plasticising

Reduces water required for a given workability Causes better dispersion of cement particles Results in higher workability

Discovered by accident & used to increase durability against freeze/thaw effect Entrains finely dispersed bubbles normally <0.5mm, typically in the range 0.01 0.02mm Increases workability, pressure relief, breaks up continuous capillaries, provides barrier to water movement by capillary action Dosage 3-9% in normal dense concrete, optimum is 13% in cement paste basically a surfactant

Two main types: 1.) Sulphonated melamine formaldehyde condensates 2.) Sulphonated naphthalene formaldehyde condensates

Common uses
Uses flowing concretes & high strength water reduced concretes Act as dispersion agents preventing cement flocculation

Mineral Admixtures
Used to increase workability & improve other properties Basically powders & some act as pore fillers whilst others act react with the cement Lime, bentonite, PFA, slag, clay

Water Proofers
Used to prevent absorption No use against water under pressure Usually metallic soap, vegetable or mineral oils Gradually leached and lose effect act as pore blockers

Expansion Admixtures
Shrink compensating or self-stressing Used to minimise cracking due to dry shrinkage Magnesia, finely granulated iron and chloride, sulphoaluminates

Surface Hardening Agents

Used to reduce surface abrasion Physical and chemical types in use Metallic carborundum, fused alumina, iron particles Chemical silicofluorides, SiF4

Gas Formers
Used to form lightweight concrete (80% of buildings in Sweden) Used to produce high thermal insulation materials that can be sawn and nailed Low density reduces dead load Air whipped, foamers, gas formers (Al, H2O2, CaC2)

Bonding Admixtures
Assist in bonding of fresh to hardened concrete Several types Metallic Iron Filings Latex Synthetic resin polymer as an emulsion

Corrosion inhibitors - sodium benzoate Fungicidal - sodium nitrite Germicidal and - halogenated phenols Insecticidal admixtures- copper compounds