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SPECIAL TYPES OF CONCRETE USED IN MODERN CONSTRUCTION

Dr. A. N. Nayak1, FIE (I), Er. S.R.Sethi2, FIE (I), Er. P.K.Tripathy3, MIE (I) and Er. A.K.Sahoo4, AMIE (I)

ABSTRACT: Radical new advancements are occurring in cement sciences resulting in a new generation of ultra high performance materials. This paper discusses briefly the technical aspects of most recently developed special types of concrete used in modern construction industry, such as Self Compacting Concrete (SCC), Geo Polymer Concrete (GCC) and Ultra-High-Strength Concrete (UHSC). KEYWORDS: Special concrete, Self compacting concrete, Geopolymer concrete, Ultra-high-strength concrete.
1.0 INTRODUCTION Concrete, a proven building material over hundreds of years, continues to enjoy the status as the most popular and cost effective construction material. It can be economically produced to meet the performance requirements from the locally available component materials. Notwithstanding its versatility, the conventional concrete suffers from several drawbacks, such as low tensile strength, permeability to liquids and consequent corrosion of reinforcement, susceptibility to chemical attack, and low durability. Research and development efforts on concrete technology over last decades have resulted improved quality of concrete produced. The existing concrete technology knowledge is allowing the concrete plants to produce high performance economic concrete mixes with respect to workability, stability, strength, stiffness and durability. The concrete used in modern construction is comprising of high-tech complex materials consisting of a family of materials, having many types of binder materials, aggregates, admixtures, fibres and others and known as special concretes. Some of them are Self-Compacting Concrete (SCC), Geo Polymer Concrete (GPC) and Ultra-High Strength Concrete (UHSC) which change the complete scenario of construction industry. A thorough knowledge of these type concretes is very much essential for the engineers associated with the modern construction industry. This paper presents a brief description on these types of special concretes. 2.0 SELF COMPACTING CONCRETE: Self-compacting concrete (SCC) is viewed as a major breakthrough in concrete construction. It was first developed in Japan in late 1980s to overcome the problem of shortage of skilled labour due to which the quality of concrete structure was getting affected. Since then, it has been widely accepted around the world for both cast-in-situ and precast concrete work. Practical application has been accompanied by much research into the physical and mechanical characteristics of SCC and the wide range of knowledge generated has been gathered in the literature. Few notable works are due to Okamura and Ozawa (1994 1. Professor in Civil Engineering, VSS University of Technology, Burla, Sambalpur, Odisha
2. Chief Engineer (Building), Works Department, Govt. of Odisha, Bhubaneswar 3. Assistant Engineer, Design-II,Buildings, Works Department, Govt. of Odisha, Bhubaneswar 4. Assistant Engineer, PMU, OSRP, World Bank Projects, Govt. of Odisha, Bhubaneswar

& 1995), Kayat and Guizani (1997), Okamura (1997), Okamura and Ouich (1999), Rols et. al. (1999), Henderson (2000), Bouzoubaa and Lachemi (2001) and Akram et. al. (2009). Self-compacting concrete as the name indicates is a type of concrete that does not require any external vibrations for compaction because it flows under its own weight. SCC can spread and fill every corner of formwork, by means of its self-weight. The required flowability is achieved with the help of super plasticizer. In other words, SCC is a category of High Performance Concrete that has excellent deformability in the fresh state and high resistance to segregation, able to flow and fill every part of formwork even in the presence of the dense reinforcement without imparting any compaction energy and minimized noise. This is also known as Zero-Energy Concrete. SCC mixes generally have a much higher content of fine fillers, including cement, and produce excessively high compressive strength concrete, which restricts its field of application to special concrete only. Cohesiveness of mixture is ensured by increasing cement/filler and a reduced coarse aggregate content. Filler materials used in SSC are fly ash, silica fumes, limestone quarry dust fumes etc. To use SCC mixes in general concrete construction practice, requires low cost materials to make inexpensive concrete. Its key benefits to the construction industry include an improved working environment, reduced noise, faster construction, improved quality of finished product, less remedial work, greater freedom in design, thinner concrete sections, and increased overall productivity. Specification & Guidelines for Self-Compacting Concrete In the event that satisfactory performance cannot be obtained, then consideration should be given to fundamental redesign of the mix. Depending on the apparent problem, the following courses of action might be appropriate: the use of additional or different types of filler, (if available); modify the proportions of the sand or the coarse aggregate; the use of a viscosity modifying agent, if not already included in the mix; adjust the dosage of the super plasticizer and/or the viscosity modifying agent; the use of alternative types of super plasticizer (and/or viscosity modifying agent) which may be more compatible with local materials; different dosages of admixture to modify the water content, and hence the water / powder ratio. 3.0 GEO-POLYMER CEMENT CONCRETE The growing interest in sustainable materials and structures has led to considerable research and development (R & D) efforts in the development of viable alternatives to ordinary portland cement concretes. While many new binder systems have been suggested, Geopolymer Cement Concrete (GPC) have emerged in the forefront and shown considerable promise (Swanepoel and Strydom, 2002; Bakhearev et al., 2003; Bakhearev, 2005; Phair, 2006; Sirivivatnano, 2006; Duxson et al., 2007). The term geopolymer was first introduced by Davidovits in 1991 to describe a family of mineral binders with chemical composition similar to zeolites but with an amorphous microstructure. Geopolymer Cement Concretes are inorganic polymer composites, which are prospective concretes with the potential to form a substantial element of an environmentally sustainable construction by replacing/supplementing the conventional concretes. GPCs have high strength, with good resistance to chloride penetration, acid attack, etc. These are commonly formed by alkali activation of industrial aluminosilicate waste materials such as FA and GGBS, and have a very small Greenhouse footprint when compared to traditional concretes.

Micro-structure of GeopolymerCement: Unlike ordinary Portland/pozzolanic cements, geopolymer do not form calciumsilicate-hydrates (CSHs) for matrix formation and strength, but utilize the polycondensation of silica and alumina precursors and a high alkali content to attain structural strength. Composition of the geopolymer is similar to natural zeolitic materials, but the microstructure is amorphous instead of crystalline. From the earlier investigation, it is found that when NaOH reacts with fly ash particles, there is remarkable difference in the roughness of surface before and after reacting with NaOH, as shown in Figures 1 & 2.

Fig. 1: Roughness of surface of Fly-Ash before reacting with NaOH

Fig. 2: Roughness of surface of Fly-Ash after reacting with NaOH Two main aspects of geopolymers are source materials and alkaline liquids. The source materials on alumino-silicate should be rich in silicon (Si) and aluminium (Al). They could be by-product materials such as fly ash, silica fume, slag, rice husk ash, red mud, etc. Geopolymers are also unique in comparison to other alumino-silicate materials (e.g. aluminosilicate gels, glasses, and zeolites). The concentration of solids in geopolymerisation is higher than in aluminosilicate gel or zeolite synthesis. Properties of Geopolymer Concrete Geopolymer is a type of amorphous alumino-silicate cementitious material. Comparing to Portland cement, the production of geopolymers has a relative higher strength, excellent volume stability, better durability. Geopolymer concrete based on pozzolana is a new material that does not need the presence of Portland cement as a binder. Compressive Strength: With proper formulation of mix ingredients, 24 hour compressive strengths of 25 to 35 MPa can be easily achieved without any need for any special curing. Such mixes can be considered as self curing. However, GPC mixes with 28 day strengths up to about 60-70 MPa have been developed at SERC,Chennai.

Modulus of Elasticity: The Youngs modulus or modulus of elasticity (ME), Ec of GPCC is taken as tangent modulus measured at the stress level equal to 40 percent of the average compressive strength of concrete cylinders. The MEs of GPCCs are marginally lower than that of conventional cement concretes (CCs), at similar strength levels.Stress Strain Curves The stress-strain relationship depends upon the ingredients of GPCCs and the curing period. Rate of Development of Strength This is generally faster in GPCCs, as compared to CCs. Resistance to corrosion: Since no limestone is used as a material, geopolymer cement has excellent properties within both acid and salt environments. It is especially suitable for tough environmental conditions. Sea water can be used for the blending of the geopolymer cement. This can be useful in marine environments and on islands short of fresh water. (It is impossible to make Portland cement with sea water). The GPCC are found to possess very high acid resistance when tested under exposure to 2% and 10% sulphuric acids. High Performance concrete made from OPC suffer from explosive spalling when to accidental fire exposure.Geopolymer becomes highly flexible at a temperature of around 700 degree Celcius which allows the material to accommodate large strains without fracturing.Further, hardened Portland cement pastes(C-S-H) dehydrate and disintegrate at high temperatures(>200 deg C), whereas geopolymer gains strength when exposed to fire. The variation of strength of conventional concrete and geopolymer concrete in fire as obtained from literature (Kong and Sanjayan,2010) is shown in Figure 3.

Fig. 3: OPC and GPC in fire (Sanjayan, 2010) 4.0 ULTRA-HIGH-STRENGTH CONCRETE One of the breakthroughs in concrete technology is ultra-high-strength concrete with a steel like compressive strength up to 250 N/mm2 and a remarkable increase in durability compared even with high-performance concrete. In combination with steel fibres, it is now possible to design sustainable filigree, lightweight concrete constructions with or even without additional reinforcement. Wide span girders, bridges, shells and high rise towers are ideal applications widening the range of concrete applications. It is commonly accepted that the strength of brittle materials is related to the porosity of the material. As porosity decreases, an exceptional increase in the strength is often observed. Lower porosity and higher strength can be achieved by reducing water-to-cement ratio(w/c). When water is mixed with conventional concrete, cement particles are attracted to each other forming floccules that result in large capillary voids as shown in Fig. 1. While plasticizers can be used to decrease the (w/c) in turn increasing the performance of normal

strength concrete, the development of ultra high strength concrete (UHSC) requires further improvement to the microstructure. The newest generation of high performance cement based materials has been achieved by either modifying cement with a polymer (micro-defects free, MDF) or densification with the addition of micro-fine particles as reported in the literature (Shah and Weiss, 1998). The following paragraphs provide a brief description of these two procedures. Densification with micro-fine particles relies on concepts of particle packing and is the approach much frequently exploited commercially. As previously mentioned, super plasticizers allow the cement particles to pack more uniformly, reducing the porosity of conventional concrete, thereby increasing strength. The particle-packing concept can be taken one step further with addition of submicron particles that fill remaining void space, resulting in a dense, strong material (Figure 4). If these particles are also pozzolanic (rective with cacium hydroxide in the presence of water), additional increase in strength occurs. High strength concrete made using submicron particles (silica fume, metacaoline, etc.) has become widely used. In addition, the increased density of these materials reduces the connected porosity, decrasing penetrability to water and corrosive agents making these materials an attractive possibility for improved long term durability. The commercial potential high strength concrete became evident in columns of high rise buildings in Chicago (Shah and Ahmed, 1994). Use of high strength concrete in long span bridges and high rise buildings is occurring worldwide, the latest examples of which includes the world tallest building, Petronas Towers and Canadas Confederation Bridge. Micro-defect free (MDF) materials are made using cement, a water-soluble polymer (such as PVA, typically less than 5%), and a low w/c (typically less than 0.2). Originally it was though that the very high tensile strength MDF (200 MPa approaching that of steel) was caused by the reduced in pore size which occurs as a result of processing. However, subsequent work has shown a significanr increase in strength arises as a result of the crosslinking between cement and polymer (Poyola et al., 1990). As a result, high shear process is required for MDF mixtures to produce the mechano-chemical reaction between the mineral and polymer phases (McHugh and Tan, 1993).

Fig. 4: Schematic microstructures of different pastes (Shah and Weiss, 1998)

5.0 CONCLUDING REMARKS These new generation of cement-based materials provides an economical option to replace several alternative materials currently in use. Although several projects have been used to demonstrate the usefulness of these materials, research is still needed to update current code requirements, quality assurance procedures and design processes to safely utilize these new materials to their fullest potential. REFERENCES 1. Akram, T., Memon, S. and Obai, H (2009), Production of low cost self compacting conctrete using bagasse ash, Construction and Building Materials, Vol. 23, pp. 703712. 2. Bakharev, T. (2005),Durability of geopolymer materials in sodium and magnesium sulphate solutions, Cement and Concrete Research, 35 (6), 1233-1246. 3. Bakharev, T., Sanjayan, J. G. and Cheng, J. B. (2003), Resistance of alkali-activated slag concrete to acid attack, Cement and Concrete Research, 33, 1607-1611. 4. Bouuzoubaa, N. and Lachemi, M. (2001), Self compacting concrete incorporating high volumes of class F fly ash preliminary results [J], Cement and Concrete Research, Vol. 31 (3), pp. 413-420. 5. Champion, J. M. and Jost, P. (1998), Self compacting concrete: Expanding the possibility of concrete design and placement, Concrete International, Vol. 22 (4), pp. 159-178. 6. Duxson, P., Provis, J. L., Lukey, G. C., Palomo, A and van Deventer, J. S. J. (2007), The role of Inorganic Polymer Technology in the Development of Green Concrete, Cement and Concrete Research, Vol. 37, pp.1590-1597. 7. Henderson, N. (2000), Self compacting concrete at millennium point, Concrete, Vol. 34 (4), pp. 26-27. 8. Kayat, K. H. and Guizani, Z. (1997), Use of viscosity modifying admixtures to enhance stability of fluid concrete, ACI Material Journal, Vol. 94 (4), pp. 332-340. 9. McHugh, A. J. and Tan, S. R. (1993), Mechano-Chemical Aspects of the Processing/Property/Structure Interactions in Macro-Defect Free Cement, ACBM Journal, Vol. 1, pp. 2-11.

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