Concrete Mix Design – ITS Acceptance

Materials Engineer, Roorkee

Concrete mix design is the process of choosing suitable ingredient of concrete and determining their relative quantities with the object of producing as economically as possible concrete of certain minimum properties, notable workability, strength and durability. It should be explained that an exact determination of mix proportions by means of table or computer data is generally not possible. The materials used are essentially variable and many of their properties cannot be assessed truly quantitatively. A Laboratory trial mix does not provide the final answer even when the moisture condition of aggregates are taken into account. Only a mix made and used on the site can guarantee that all properties of the concrete are satisfactory in every detail for the particular job in hand. In fact mix selection requires a knowledge of the properties of concrete and experimental data, and above all the experience of the expert who conduct the mix design. The selection of mix proportions is an art as much as a science. It is not enough to select a suitable concrete mix; it is also necessary to ensure a proper execution of all the operation involved in concreting. It cannot be stated too strongly that, competently used, concrete is a very successful construction material but, in the literal service of the word, concrete is not fool proof. The mix proportions once chosen, cannot expected to remain entirely immutable because the properties of the ingredients (cement, sand, aggregate, water and admixture) may vary from time to time.
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Concrete Mix Design with Fly Ash and Superplasticizer

Materials Engineer, Roorkee

Fly ash or pulverished fuel ash (pfa) is a finely divided powder thrown out as a waste material at the thermal power plants using pulverized coal for raising steam in the boilers. In the building industry, the use of fly ash a part replacement of cement in mortar and concrete at the construction site has been made all over the world including India and is well known. The important building materials which can be produced from fly ash are:

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Alkali-Silica Reaction In Concrete

Materials Engineer, Roorkee

The problem of Alkali-silica reaction was believed to be non-existent in India till 1983, when its occurrence was diagnosed in two concrete dams. This paper describes this problem with respect to Indian aggregates and cement. A rapid method of test for alkali-aggregate reaction is investigated and described in the paper.

The most common causes of deterioration in structural concrete with steel reinforcement in it are

  • carbonation and chloride penetration leading to corrosion of steel resulting cracking and spelling of the concrete cover.
  • inadequate cover to reinforcing steel Less common causes of deterioration in clude,
  • freezing and thawing
  • sulphate attack
  • alkali-aggregate reaction.

There are three types of alkali-aggregate reactions, namely the alkali-silica, alkali-silicate and akali-carbonate reactions. Deterioration due to the alkali-silica reaction is more common and this paper refers to this aspect.
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Concrete Curing Compound

Materials Engineer, Roorkee


The necessity for curing arises from the fact that hydration of cement can take place only in water-filled capillaries. That is why a loss of water by evaporation from the capillaries must be prevented. Evaporation of water from concrete, soon after placing depends on the temperature and relatively humidity of the surrounding air and on the velocity of wind over the surface of the concrete. Curing is essential in the production of concrete to have the desired properties. The strength and durability of concrete will be fully developed only if it is properly cured. The amount of mixing water in the concrete at the time of placement is normally more than required for hydration & that must be retained for curing. However, excessive loss of water by evaporation may reduce the amount of retained water below what necessary for development of desired properties. The potentially harmful effects of evaporation shall be prevented either by applying water or preventing excessive evaporation.


The two systems of maintaining a satisfactory moisture content are: (1) continuous or frequent application of water through ponding, sprays, steams, or saturated cover materials such as burlap or cotton mats, rugs, earth, sand, sawdust and straw. (2) prevention of excessive loss of water, from the concrete, by the application of a membrane forming curing compound to the freshly placed concrete.


Curing by water not more than 11 deg C cooler than the concrete is one of the most efficient way for curing concrete. The curing should begin as soon as possible after the casting of concrete. Any delay in curing will lead to evaporation of mixing water and the early drying may lead to shrinkage and cracking of concrete. However, in practice, on some construction sites regular supply of potable water for curing may not be available or it may be inconvenient and expansive. To such sites, concrete curing compound is recommended in place of water curing.


Concrete curing compound consists essentially of waxes, natural and synthetic resins, and solvents of high volatility at atmospheric temperatures. The compound forms a moisture retentive film shortly after being applied on fresh concrete surface. White or gray pigments are often incorporated to provide heat reflectance, and to make the compound visible on the structure for inspection purpose. Curing compound should not be used on surfaces that are to receive additional concrete, paint, or tile which require a positive bond, unless it has been demonstrated that the membrane can be satisfactorily removed before the subsequent application is made, or that the membrane can serve satisfactorily as a base for the later application.

The compound should be applied at a uniform rate. The usual values for coverage range from 0.20 to 0.25 m2/lit. Curing compound can be applied in two applications at right angles to each other by hand or power sprayer usually at about 0.5 to 0.7 MPa pressure. For small areas, the compound can be applied with a wide, soft-bristled brush or paint roller.

For maximum beneficial effect on open concrete surfaces, compound must be applied after finishing and as soon as the free water on the surface has disappeared and no water is visible, but not so late that the liquid curing compound will be absorbed by the concrete.

When forms are removed, the exposed concrete surface should be wetted with water immediately and kept moist until the curing compound is applied. Just prior to application, the concrete should be allowed to reach to a uniformly damp appearance with no free water on the surface and then application of the compound should begun at once.


Curing compound can be used with advantage where wet curing is not possible. It is very suitable for large areas of concrete which are directly exposed to sunlight, heavy winds and other environmental influences. It can be used for curing of:

  • Concrete pavements, airport runways, bridge decks, industrial floors.
  • Canal linings, dams and other irrigation related structures.
  • Sport arenas and ice ring.
  • Precast concrete components
  • Roof slabs, columns  and beams
  • Chimneys, cooling towers and other tall structures.


The curing compound should be tested in accordance to ASTM for the following tests:

a)     Water retention – The test should be conducted in accordance with test method C 156.

b)     Reflectance – Determine the daylight reflectance of white – pigmented compound in accordance with test method E 97.

c)      Drying time – The test should be conducted in accordance to ASTM C 309 clause 10.3

d)     Long term setting – For routine testing use test method D 1309. In case of dispute use method D 869.

e)     Nonvolatite content – Test in accordance with test method D 1644 method 4.


15 cm size Cubes were cast from concrete having w/c of 0.6, 0.5 and 0.4, nine cubes of each w/c ratio. After casting, the cubes were left in the open air as per the identical condition of our local construction sites. From open surface of the cubes, just when surface sheen has disappeared, 3 cubes of each w/c ratio were identified randomly for the application of curing compound. On top surface of these cubes, curing compound was applied by bush as per manufactures instructions.

After 24 hours all the 27 cubes were demoulded, 3 cubes of each W/C ratio were kept in the open air. The other sets of 3 cubes were also kept in the same place but covered with wet gunny bags. They were cured for 7 days by sprinkling of water on the gunny bags. After which the curing was stopped. The cubes which were identified for the application of curing compound were also kept at the same place. Curing compound was applied by brush on the remaining 5 faces of these cubes.

All the cubes were left at the same open place for 27 days. After which curing compound coated cubes faces were cleaned with hot water. Then all the cubes were fully immersed in clean water for 24 hours and then tested in saturated surface dry condition. During this period there were no rains. Day temperature was between 34oC to 39oC and nigh temperature was between 20oC to 27oC. The test result is given in Table-2.

1. Concrete curing compound, provided it is not punctured or damaged will effectively prevent evaporation of water from the concrete but will not allow ingress of water to replenish that is lost by self-desiccation.

2. At most of the construction sites, wet curing is often applied only intermittently so in practice curing compound may lead to better results.

3. Where water curing is inconvenient or potable water for curing is not available, sealing fresh concrete surfaces with curing compound is the best way of curing.

Table – 1: ASTM C-309 specifications of curing compound

S.No.    Detail of test

1. Water retention – Water loss

After 72 hours in kg/m2

2. Reflectance


3. Drying time

Requirement as per ASTM C-309

Not more than 0.55 Kg/m2


The white-pigmented compound when Tested as specified herein, shall exhibit. A day/light reflectance of not less than 60%of that of magnesium oxide.

Note more than 4 hours.

Table – 2: Average compressive strength of cube



Condition of curing

W/C ratio OPC 43 Grade Kg/m3 28-days compressive strength N/mm2
1. In air




2. Wet cured




3. Curing compound (Roffcure WB 2)




4. In air




5. Wet cured




6. Curing compound (Roffcure WB 2)




7. In air




8. Wet cured




9. Curing compound (Roffcure WB 2)




1. Birt, J.C., Curing concrete – an appraisal of attitudes, practices and knowledge. CIRIA Rep. 43, 1981, 31, pp.
2. R. Shalon and D. Ravina, Studies in concreting in hot countries RILEM Int. Symp. On concrete and reinforced concrete in Hot countries, Haifa, July, 1960.
3. ASTM C-156, Standard Test Method for water retention by concrete curing materials.
4. ASTM C-309, Standard specification for liquid membrane-forming compound for curing concrete.
5. Kishore Kaushal – Seminar on Construction Admixtures, School of Building Science & Technology, Ahmedabad, December 17, 1994, pp. 110-112.

We at are thankful to Er. Kaushal Kishore for submitting the paper on Concrete Curing Compound. This will be of great help to fellow civil engineers and will answer many questions which arise due to various problems related to curing of concrete.

M-80 Grade Pumpable Concrete

Kaushal Kishore
Materials Engineer, Roorkee

A mix of M-80 Grade suitable for pumped concrete is to be designed with the following materials and detail.

1. OPC 53 Grade, 7-day strength 52.5 N/mm2, Spgr 3.15

2. Silica Fume Specific Gravity 2.20

3. Standard deviation for the mix 5.0 N/mm2

4. Grading and properties of river sand and 12.5 mm crushed aggregate are given in Table-1

5. Superplasticizer based on modified Polycarboxylate, specific gravity 1.06, liquid pH 6.0. With the given set of materials, it was found that at a dosages of 2.5 % bwc it gives a reduction of 30% of water for the required slump of 100 mm after one hour at the average day site temperature of 37 degree C.
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