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CE5604

Lecture 1
Summary of CE5604 \\ Lecture 1

Introduction
Concrete originated from the ancient Greeks who mixed volcanic ash and hydraulic limes
to create a new construction material. The Romans adapted this technology and used it to
build iconic structures which would last for centuries. There are different types of concrete
which were created to suit different purposes.

Different Types of Concrete


Fiber-reinforced concrete (also known as Ductal) contains fiber strands which
compensate for concretes low tensile strength. The fivers basically holds the concrete
matrix in place much like how roots hold onto soil. This reduces the reliance on reinforcing
steel bars (rebar) and enables more creative structures to be built.
Self-compacting concrete (SCC) has a high flowability and makes it easier to flow
into small spaces. Normally, a source of vibration would be needed to eliminate air voids
from the concrete before it sets. SCC is able to do this on its own which reduces noise
from construction sites and saves the need for extra manpower (i.e. to operate the
vibrator). In addition, SCC sets with an excellent surface finish (i.e. smooth surface).
Translucent concrete allows light to pass through it by means of glass optical
fibbers embedded into the concrete matrix. Different diameters of optical fibers allows
different levels of light to pass through. Possible uses for this concrete include increasing
the amount of indoor natural lighting without the need for extra amounts of glass.
Self-cleaning concrete breaks down pollutants, bacteria and fungi on the surface
of the concrete by means of the photocatalyst TiO 2. The foreign material on the concretes
surface contribute to its darkening. In fact, this may reduce the effect of environmental
attack on the concrete and improve its durability.
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CE5604

Lecture 1

Portland Cement
Concrete is classified according to three attributes: unit weight, compressive
strength and additives. Normal concrete has a unit weight of 2400 kg/m 3 and a
compressive strength of 20-50 MPa.
Portland cement is basically a combination of limestone (CaO) and clay/shale
(SiO2, Al2O3). Gypsum and clinker is grinder together to create the basic form of cement.
Clinker is made of 4 chemicals written in shorthand as C 3S, C2S, C3A and C4AF. The other
component of cement is gypsum (also known as calcium sulcate dihydrate) and is written
in shorthand as CSH2. Figure 1 shows the weight percentage of the aforementioned
chemicals. Table 1 shows the typical composition of ordinary Portland cement. The typical
oxide composition of a general-purpose Portland cement is shown in Table 2.
The Bogue equation may be used to calculate the phases of concrete.
Excessive expansion (also known as unsoundness) is caused by the hydration of
free lime (CaO) to form calcium hydroxide (Ca(OH) 2) or the hydration of periclase (MgO) to
form magnesium hydroxide (Mg(OH)2) (Struble, 2006). Unsoundness may be determined
by the Autoclave expansion test (ASTM C 151).
Alkalis such as Na2O and K2O generally do not cause problems except when
certain aggregates are used that can participate in an alkali-aggregate reaction.

Types of Portland Cement


There are 5 Portland cement types according to ASTM known as Types I, II, III, IV
and V.
Type I is the most common cement used in construction and is generally known as
OPC.

CE5604

Lecture 1

Type II is modified cement and has moderate sulphate resistance and moderate
heat of hydration. It has a lower C3A content compared to Type I.
Type III is rapid hardening Portland cement (RHPC) which is used for early high
strength and precast concrete. In addition, RHPC is used in cold weather due to its high
heat of hydration. It has a higher fineness compared to Type I.
Types IV, on the other hand, is low heat Portland cement (LHPC) which are used
for mass concreting in order to reduce the amount of heat produced during the hydration
process. Mass concrete structures include dams and raft foundations. Also, LHPC is
suitable for hot weather environments. It has lower C 3S, but higher C2S compared to Type
I. This is because C3S is responsible for the early strength of the concrete while C 2S is
responsible for its late strength. However, both C 3S and C2S will contribute to the ultimate
strength of the cement.
Type V is sulphate resisting Portland cement (SRPC) and is used when the ground
water or soil of the construction site contains high sulphate content. It has a lower C 3A
content, but higher C4AF content than Type I.
In comparing the strengths of the different concrete types, the early compressive
strength of Type IV (low heat Portland cement) is the lowest among the types while Type III
(rapid hardening cement) is the highest. However, the late compressive strength of Type III
is the lowest among the types. It is interesting to note that at 90 days, the compressive
strengths of concrete made with all types of cements will be the same.

Properties of Cement
The fineness of a cement affects the rate of cement hydration. The Blaine airpermeability method (ASTM C 204) is used to determine the specific surface of any
material.

CE5604

Lecture 1

The time of setting of a cement is defined as the continuous stiffening of the


cement paste. It the time since water is added to the cement until the point when the paste
reaches a certain stiffness. The initial set of the cement paste is when it stiffens
considerably and can no longer be molded. The final set is when the paste has hardened
to the point at which it may begin to sustain load. The stiffness of a cement paste may be
determined by the VIcat needle (ASTM C 191) or Gillmore needle (ASTM C 266).
The heat of hydration of a cement is the amount of heat evolved during the setting
and hardening of Portland cement at a given temperature measures in J/g of unhydrated
cement. It may be measured by the heat of solution method (ASTM C 186).
The compressive strength of the cement is determined using ASTM C 109 which
uses 50 mm mortar cubes. Singapore follows EN 196 which uses 40x40x160 mm prisms.
Hydration is the reaction with water which will yield hydration products. Both
tricalcium silicate (C3S) and dicalcium silicate (C2S) react with water to produce calcium
silicate hydrate (C-S-H) and calcium hydroxide (CH) as a by-product. Tricalcium aluminate
(C3A) will react with gypsum (CSH 2) and water to produce ettringite (C 6AS3H32). It must be
noted that ettringite is a stable hydration product only if a good supply of suphate is
present. When there is not enough sulphate before C 3A is completely hydrated, then the
tricalcium aluminate (C3A) will react with ettringite to produce monosulphoaluminate
(C4ASH12). The hydration of tetracalcium alumino ferrite (C 4AF) is similar to that of
tricalcium aluminate and will yield similar hydration products, but the reaction is slower and
produces less heat.
Gypsum is a retarder which reduces the setting time of the concrete. However, too
much can affect the cements setting and hardening. In the long term, too much gypsum
may affect volume stability. Too much ettringite produced will cause expansion and
cracking since ettringite has a high volume. The more C 3S there is in the cement, the more
gypsum required.
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CE5604

Lecture 1

The rate of hydration during the first few days assumes that the cement compounds
hydrate independently and follows the order of C 3A, C3S, C4AF and C2S. Both C3A and
C4AF compete for sulphate ions. Gypsum may accelerate the hydration of C 3S.
There are 5 stages in the change of rate of heat evolution of cement hydration.
Stage 1 is dissolution with a rapidly dropping rate of heat evolution. Stage 2 is the
induction or dormant stage where there is no change in rate of heat evolution. Stage 3 is
the acceleration stage where the rate of heat evolution rises at a rapid rate. Stage 4 is
when the rate of heat evolution decreases at a steady rate and is known as deceleration.
Finally, Stage 5 sees the rate of heat evolution plateau.
For every 100 kg of OPC hydrated, there is a temperature rise (under adiabatic
conditions) of about 12-14C.

References
Struble, L. (2006). Chapter 37: Hydraulic cements-Physical properties. In Lamond, J. F. &
Pielert, J. H. (Eds.), Significance of tests and properties of concrete and concrete-making
materials (pp. 435-449). West Conshohocken, PA: ASTM International
http://digilib.mercubuana.ac.id/manager/file_ebook/Isi1216464381267.pdf