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8/13/2018 ACI Method of Concrete Mix Design - Procedure and Calculations

ACI Method of Concrete Mix Design –


Procedure and Calculations

ACI method of concrete mix design is based on the estimated weight of the concrete per unit volume.
This method takes into consideration the requirements for consistency, workability, strength and
durability. This article presents ACI method of concrete mix design.

ACI Method of Concrete Mix Design

Required Data:
Before starting concrete mix design, basic information on raw materials shall be prepared which
include:

Sieve analyses of fine and coarse aggregates.


Unit weight (dry rodded density) of coarse aggregate.
Bulk specific gravities and absorptions or moisture content of aggregates.
Mixing-water requirements of concrete developed from experience with available aggregates.
Specific gravities of Portland cement and other cementitious materials, if used.
Relationships between strength and water-cement ratio or ratio of water-to-cement plus other
cementitious materials, for available combinations of cements, other cementitious materials if
considered, and aggregates.

Procedure for ACI Method of Concrete Mix Design

1. Choice of slump
If slump is not specified, a value appropriate for the work can be selected from Table 1. The values
provided in table can be used only when vibration is used to consolidate concrete. To read more about
slump, Please click here.

Table 1 Recommended slumps for various types of construction

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8/13/2018 ACI Method of Concrete Mix Design - Procedure and Calculations

Slump value, mm
Construction type
Minimum Maximum*
Reinforced foundation walls and footings 25 75
Plain footings, caissons, and substructure walls 25 75
Beams and reinforced walls 25 100
Building columns 25 100
Pavements and slabs 25 75
Mass concrete 25 50
*May increased 25mm for methods of consolidation other than vibration

Fig. 1: Measuring slump

2. Choice of maximum size of aggregate


commonly, maximum aggregate size should be the largest that is economically available and
consistent with dimensions of structural element. ACI 211.1-91 specify that, maximum aggregate size
shall not surpass:

One-fifth of the narrowest dimension between sides of forms.


one-third the depth of slabs
3/4-ths of the minimum clear spacing between individual reinforcing bars, bundles of bars, or pre-
tensioning strands.

These limitations may be ignored provided that workability and methods of consolidation are such
that the concrete can be placed without honeycomb or void.

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8/13/2018 ACI Method of Concrete Mix Design - Procedure and Calculations

Fig. 2: Coarse aggregate

3. Estimation of mixing water and air content


The quantity of water per unit volume of concrete required to produce a given slump is dependent
on:

nominal maximum size


particle shape
grading of the aggregates
concrete temperature
amount of entrained air
use of chemical admixtures.

Table 2 and Table 3 provide estimates of required mixing water for concrete made with various
maximum sizes of aggregate, for non-air and air-entrainment concrete, respectively.

Table 2 Approximate mixing water (Kg/m3) and air content for different slumps and
nominal maximum sizes of aggregates for non-air content concrete

Water, Kg/m3 of concrete for indicated nominal maximum


sizes of aggregate
Slump, mm
9.5 12.5 19 25 37.5 50 75 150
mm mm mm mm mm mm mm mm
25-50 207 199 190 179 166 154 130 113
75-100 228 216 205 193 181 169 145 124
150-175 243 228 216 202 190 178 160 —-
Approximate Air content
3 2.5 2 1.5 1 0.5 0.3 0.2
quantity, %

Table 3 Approximate mixing water (Kg/m3) and air content for different slumps and
nominal maximum sizes of aggregates for air content concrete

Water, Kg/m3 of concrete for indicated nominal maximum sizes of


aggregate
Slump, mm
9.5 12.5 19 25 37.5 50 75 150
mm mm mm mm mm mm mm mm
25-50 181 175 168 160 150 142 122 107
75-100 202 193 184 175 165 157 133 119
150-175 216 205 197 184 174 166 154 —-
Recommended average total air content (%) for different level of exposure
Mild exposure 4.5 4 3.5 3 2.5 2 1.5 1

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8/13/2018 ACI Method of Concrete Mix Design - Procedure and Calculations

Moderate 6 5.5 5 4.5 4.5 4 3.5 3


exposure
Severe exposure 7.5 7 6 6 5.5 5 4.5 4

Fig. 3: mixing water

4. Selection of water-cement or water-cementitious material ratio


Strength, durability, and determine water to cement ratio:Without strength vs. w/c ratio data for a
certain material, a conservative estimate can be made for the accepted 28-day compressive strength
from Table 4.

Additionally, if there are severe exposure conditions, such as freezing and thawing, exposure to
seawater, or sulfates, the w/c ratio can be obtained from table 5.

Table 4 Relationship between water-cement or water-cementitious materials ratio and


compressive strength of concrete

Water cement ratio by weight


28-days compressive strength in MPa (psi)
Non-air entrained Air entrained
41.4 (6000) 0.41 —
34.5 (5000) 0.48 0.40
27.6 (4000) 0.57 0.48
20.7 (3000) 0.68 0.59
13.8 (2000) 0.82 0.74

Table 5 maximum permissible water/cement ratios for concrete in severe exposure

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8/13/2018 ACI Method of Concrete Mix Design - Procedure and Calculations

Types of structure Structure wet continuously of Structure


frequently exposed to freezing exposed to
and thawing seawater
Thin sections (railings, curbs, sills, ledges,
ornamental work) and sections with less than 0.45 0.40
25mm cover over steel
All other structures 0.50 0.45

Fig. 4:water to cement ratio

5. Calculation of cement content


The amount of cement is fixed by the determinations made in Steps 3 and 4 above.

Fig.5: Cement

6. Estimation of coarse aggregate content


The most economical concrete will have as much as possible space occupied by coarse aggregate
since it will require no cement in the space filled by coarse aggregate.

The percent of coarse aggregate to concrete for a given maximum size and fineness modulus is given
by Table 6. Coarse aggregate volumes are based on oven-dry rodded weights obtained in accordance
with ASTM C 29.

Table 6: Volume of coarse aggregate per unit of volume of concrete

fineness moduli of fine aggregate


Maximum aggregate size, mm
2.40 2.60 2.80 3
9.5 0.50 0.48 0.46 0.44
12.5 0.59 0.57 0.55 0.53
19 0.66 0.64 0.62 0.60
25 0.71 0.69 0.67 0.65
37.5 0.75 0.73 0.71 0.69
50 0.78 0.76 0.74 0.72

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Fig. 6:Coarse aggregate

7. Estimation of fine aggregate content


At the completion of Step 6, all ingredients of the concrete have been estimated except the fine
aggregate.

There are two standard methods to establish the fine aggregate content, the mass method and the
volume method. the “volume” method will be used because it is a somewhat more exact procedure.

The volume of fine aggregates is found by subtracting the volume of cement, water, air, and coarse
aggregate from the total concrete volume.

Then once the volumes known the weights of each ingredient can be calculated from the specific
gravities.

The volume occupied in concrete by any ingredient is equal to its weight divided by the density of
that material (the latter being the product of the unit weight of water and the specific gravity of the
material).

Fig.7: Fine aggregate

8. Adjustments for aggregate moisture

Aggregate weights

Aggregate volumes are computed based on oven dry unit weights, but aggregate is typically batched
based on actual weight.

Therefore, any moisture in the aggregate will increase its weight and stockpiled aggregates almost
always contain some moisture. Without correcting for this, the batched aggregate volumes will be
incorrect.

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8/13/2018 ACI Method of Concrete Mix Design - Procedure and Calculations

Amount of mixing water

If the batched aggregate is anything but saturated surface dry it will absorb water (if oven dry or air
dry) or give up water (if wet) to the cement paste.

This causes a net change in the amount of water available in the mix and must be compensated for
by adjusting the amount of mixing water added.

Fig.8:aggregate water content

9. Trial Batch Adjustments


The ACI method is written on the basis that a trial batch of concrete will be prepared in the
laboratory, and adjusted to give the desired slump, freedom from segregation, finishability, unit
weight, air content and strength.

Madeh Izat Hamakareem


Madeh is a Structural Engineer who works as Assistant Lecturer in Koya University. He is the author, editor and partner
at theconstructor.org.

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