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EFFECTS OF COARSE AGGREGATE SIZES ON THE FLEXURAL STRENGTH OF CONCRETE

Ozioko, H. O.

Department of Civil Engineering, Michael Okpara University of Agriculture Umudike, Abia State Nigeria.

Email: obinnamicheal@yahoo.com Phone: +2348034933579

ABSTRACT

In order to determine the effects of coarse aggregate size on the flexural strength of concrete, concrete beams were produced
in accordance with BS 1881-108 (1983) and American Society for Testing of Materials (ASTM C293) with varying aggregate
sizes 9.0mm, 14mm, 18mm, and 24mm, using a standard mould of internal dimension of 150 x 150 x 750mm for the reinforced
concrete beam. The water cement ratio was kept at 0.65 with a mix proportion of 1:2:4. The specimen produced were all
subjected to curing in water for 28days and were all tested to determine the flexural strength using Universal Testing Machine.
The slump tests (Workability) of the concrete mixtures prepared with each of the aggregate sizes were also conducted. The
results showed that, aggregate sizes of 9.0, 14.0, 18.0 and 24.0mm have slump values of 101, 120, 158 and 160mm and
flexural strengths of 4.91, 4.81, 4.13 and 4.03N/mm². It was concluded that, concrete to be used mostly to resist flexural
stresses should be made of finer coarse aggregates.

Keywords: Coarse Aggregate, Flexural Strength.

1. INTRODUCTION

Flexural strength is a measure of the tensile strength of take about three-quarter of the volume of concrete with
concrete. It is a measure of the ability of an unreinforced the coarse aggregates taking between 50 and 60% of the
concrete beam or slab to resist failure resulting from concrete mix depending on the mix proportion used
bending stresses. Flexural Strength is the theoretical (Waziri et. al., 2011). The larger percentage of coarse
maximum tensile stress reached in the bottom fibre of a aggregate in concrete mix makes it to contribute a lot to
test beam during a flexural strength test. The flexural test the strength of concrete. Its properties like toughness,
measures the force required to bend a beam under single hardness, shape, size, soundness, density, and specific
or double point loading conditions (Ajamu and Ige, 2015). gravity also affect the strength of concrete.
Reinforcements are provided to enhance the tensile
strength of concrete. The ability of concrete to induce Concrete structures deflect, crack, and loose stiffness
tensile stresses to reinforcement depends mostly on the when subjected to external load. Loss of flexural strength
bonding force between the two materials and also on the of concrete is largely responsible for cracks in structure.
size of aggregates. Inability of the reinforcement to absorb In reinforced concrete structures, the mix proportions of
tensile stresses created in concrete leads to cracking; the materials of the concrete and aggregate type
cracks will open up bond that exist between the two determine the compressive strength while the composite
materials (concrete and steel). This eventually reduces action of concrete and steel reinforcement supplies the
the stiffness of the whole composite, and reinforcement flexural strength. In occasion of loss of stiffness, steel
will be exposed to corrosion agents (water, chloride, air reinforcement no longer supports flexural stresses;
etc.). concrete in turn is subjected to flexure. The compressive
strength and flexural strength therefore play a crucial role.
This study therefore focused on the effect of coarse
aggregate size on the flexural strength of concrete. To Many researchers (Wu et. al. 1997; Zhang et. al. 2010;
evaluate the flexural strength (the theoretical maximum Waziri et. al. 2011; Abdullahi, 2012 and Joseph et. al.
tensile and compressive stress reached in the bottom fibre 2012) have carried out studies on the strength
of a test beam during a flexural strength test) of concrete characteristics of concrete produced using different
implies subjecting concrete to loading on flexural testing aggregate materials and using different brands of cement
machine in order to measure it’s resistance to tensile but little or no attention have been focused on the flexural
stresses. bond stress (which is the stress in structural concrete
members between the concrete and the reinforcing
The constituents of concrete are cement, water and element that results from the application of external loads)
aggregates (fine and coarse aggregates). Aggregates between reinforcement and concrete. Use of poorly
EFFECTS OF COARSE AGGREGATE SIZES ON THE FLEXURAL STRENGTH OF CONCRETE. Ozioko, 2015

graded coarse aggregate in concrete matrix also has it very delicate and requiring much care in order to achieve
share in the causes of structural failure due to the the maximum strength required to resist these stresses.
development of horny comb in the concrete. This also
results in a cohesionless composite of concrete and steel Aggregates (Coarse and fine) are the major constituents
with poor flexural bond. In such a case concrete will not of any concrete mixture. It has been established that
be able to effectively transmit the induced external aggregate grading has a significant impact on the strength
(flexural) load to the reinforcement, thus resulting in of concrete as it can either decrease or increase it, a factor
structural failure as the concrete will be subjected to which is as a result of the aggregate sizes, shape, texture
tensile stresses than it can accommodate. Therefore it is etc. It can therefore be said that aggregate sizes in a
imperative to determine the effect of coarse aggregate particular concrete mixture have an effect on the strength
size on the flexural bond strength of concrete. of the concrete which in turn affects its ability to resist
these bending stresses which it is subjected to. It is these
There is strong evidence that aggregate type is a factor in effects (of aggregate sizes) on a concrete subjected to
the strength of concrete. Ezeldin et al. (1991) compared these stresses that will be established in this research.
concretes with the same mix proportions containing four
different coarse aggregate types. They concluded that, in OBJECTIVES OF STUDY
high-strength concretes, higher strength coarse
aggregates typically yield higher compressive strengths, The objectives of this research include:
while in normal-strength concretes; coarse aggregate
i. To determine the effects of aggregate sizes on
strength has little effect on compressive strength. Other
the flexural strength of concrete mixtures
research has compared the effects of limestone and ii. To determine the corresponding workability
basalt on the compressive strength of high-strength (slump values) associated with the aggregate
concrete (Giaccio et al., 1992). Darwin et al. (1995) sizes.
observed that concretes containing basalt coarse
aggregate exhibited higher bond strengths with reinforcing 2. THEORETICAL ANALYSIS
steel than concretes containing limestone.
To determine the flexural strength of each of the sample,
the equations (1) and (2) from American society for testing
There is controversy, however, on the effects of coarse
and materials (ASTM C 78) was used. The flexural
aggregate content on the compressive strength of strength, expressed in terms of modulus of rupture, is
concrete. Ruiz (1966) found that the compressive strength given in N/mm², and can be calculated as follow:
of concrete increases with an increase in coarse
aggregate content until a critical volume is reached, while If the specimen breaks within the middle third of the span
Zhou et al., (1995) found little correlation between length, use equation (1) as follows:
compressive strength and coarse aggregate content.
R=PL/bd² (1)
Kaplan (1959) studied the effects of the properties of
Where: R = modulus of rupture in (N/mm²), P = maximum
coarse aggregates on the flexural and compressive applied load in (KN), L = span length in (mm),
strength of high-strength and normal-strength concrete.
Walker et al. (1960) studied the effects of coarse b = average width of specimen in (mm), = average depth
aggregate size on the properties of normal-strength of specimen in (mm)
concrete. Their work demonstrates that an increase in
aggregate size from 10 to 64mm results in a decrease in If the specimen breaks outside the middle third of the span
the compressive strength of concrete, by as much as 10 length by not more than 5 percent of the span length,
calculate the modulus of rupture using equation (2) as
percent; however, aggregate size seems to have follows:
negligible effects on flexural strength. The study also
shows that the flexural-to compressive strength ratio R=3Pa/bd² (2)
remains at approximately 12 percent for concrete with
compressive strengths between 35 MPa and 46 MPa. Where: a = L – l, l = distance of failure from left support.

Depending on the structural member/element, concrete is a = distance (in mm) between the line of fracture and the
often subjected to bending stresses (flexural), nearest support, measured along the centre line of the
bottom surface of the beam. Other parameters remain the
compressive stresses, etc. which makes its preparation
same as above.
EFFECTS OF COARSE AGGREGATE SIZES ON THE FLEXURAL STRENGTH OF CONCRETE. Ozioko, 2015

If the specimen breaks outside the middle third of the span Aggregate Sizes Slump
length by more than 5 percent of the span length, discard
the results of the test. (mm) (mm)

9.0 101
3. MATERIALS AND METHODS
14.0 120
The materials used for this work are coarse aggregate,
fine aggregate (sand), cement (Ordinary Portland Cement 18.0 158
type I) and water. While the apparatus and equipment
24.0 160
used are beam mould (750mm x 150mm x 150 mm),
shovel, weighing balance, set of sieve, UTM (Universal
Testing Machine). The coarse aggregate used was
sourced from a single construction site to ensure
uniformity of results. 5. DISCUSSION

From table 1 and figure 1, it is evident that the slump


Dangote brand of Ordinary Portland Cement (OPC) was
values of the concrete consistency test performed
used; clean water fit for drinking was used throughout for
increases as the coarse aggregate distribution increases.
the research work. The aggregate sizes used were
The relationship between the workability of the concrete
Sample A – 9mm coarse aggregate, Sample B – 14mm
and its aggregate distribution is that of direct
coarse aggregate, Sample C – 18mm coarse aggregate
proportionality. As shown in the table 1 and figure 1, with
and Sample D – 20mm coarse aggregate. The procedures
average aggregate sizes of 9.0mm, the slump was
for conducting the flexural strength test were as listed in
recorded to be 101mm and increases as the aggregate
American Society for Testing of Materials (ASTM C 78).
sizes increases.

In table 2 and figure 2, the average flexural strength was


seen to be highest at the average aggregate size of
9.0mm and decreases as the sizes increases. The
relationship between the flexural strength of concrete and
its coarse aggregate distribution is that of inverse
proportionality. The maximum flexural strength was
achieved at an aggregate size of 9.0mm and decreases
as the sizes increases. It could therefore be concluded
that to achieve maximum flexural strength in a concrete,
the concrete should be made of well-graded coarse
4. RESULT OF THE SLUMP TEST aggregates.

Table 1: Slump Test Result for Different Aggregate Sizes


with the Same Water Cement Ratio of 0.65 and Mix
Proportion of 1:2:4.

Table 2: Result of the flexural strength test after 28 days curing

Aggregate Weight after Deflection Distance of Crushing Flexural Average


Sizes curing failure from left Load Strength Flexural
(mm) supportl Strength
(mm) (Kg) (KN) (N/mm²)
(mm) (N/mm²)

9.00 38.20 1.45 201.00 30.00 4.88

9.00 38.60 1.90 194.00 29.50 4.86 4.91

9.00 39.10 1.70 198.00 30.50 4.99


EFFECTS OF COARSE AGGREGATE SIZES ON THE FLEXURAL STRENGTH OF CONCRETE. Ozioko, 2015

14.00 40.20 1.50 182.00 28.50 4.80

14.00 40.60 1.80 190.00 28.00 4.66 4.81

14.00 41.00 2.10 171.00 29.00 4.98

18.00 39.80 1.75 200.00 27.50 4.48

18.00 40.40 1.50 248.00 25.00 3.72 4.13

18.00 41.10 1.30 218.00 26.50 4.18

24.00 41.20 1.40 190.00 26.00 4.31

24.00 40.30 1.55 222.00 25.50 3.99 4.02

24.00 39.90 1.30 240.50 25.00 3.77

6. CONCLUSIONS
7. RECOMMENDATIONS
The effects of coarse aggregate sizes on the flexural For a reinforced concrete beam, well graded coarse
strength of concrete beam were explored in this research. aggregate size 9.00mm or lower should be adopted as
The following are the conclusions; they give appreciable flexural strength and compressive
strength and it also appropriate for minimum bar spacing
i. Coarse aggregate size is directly proportional to in beam.
the slump (workability) of a fresh concrete with i. The choice of lower size aggregates in concrete
constant water cement ratio. mix is as important as proper compaction of
ii. Flexural strength of concrete beam is inversely fresh concrete in order to prevent honey comb
affected by the increase in coarse aggregate which can result to loss of stiffness of structural
size. component and consequently result in flexural
iii. The concrete mixture made of 9.00mm crack.
aggregate has the highest flexural strength than ii. Concrete to be used mostly to resist flexural
that with 14mm, and so does the strength stresses should be made of finer coarse
reduces as the aggregate sizes increase. aggregates.
iv. Aggregate sizes affect the flexural strength of
concrete.
EFFECTS OF COARSE AGGREGATE SIZES ON THE FLEXURAL STRENGTH OF CONCRETE. Ozioko, 2015

SLUMP GRAPH
180
160 158 160
140
SLUMP (mm)

120 120
100 101
80
60
40
20
0
0 5 10 15 20 25 30
AGGREGATE SIZES (mm)

Figure 1: Slump aggregate size graph

FLEXURAL STRENGTH GRAPH


6
AVERAGE FLEXURAL STRENGTHS

5
4
3
2
1
0
0 5 10 15 20 25 30
AGGREGATE SIZES (mm)

Figure 2: Flexural strength graph

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EFFECTS OF COARSE AGGREGATE SIZES ON THE FLEXURAL STRENGTH OF CONCRETE. Ozioko, 2015