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December 2008





3.3.1 CLAYS













Generally a material property is a measure of its response to imposed stimuli and
constraints. Response of material can be qualitative (how the material respond)
and/or quantitative (the magnitude of the response).
Thus material property can be re-defined as the factor which affects
qualitatively/quantitatively the response of a given material to imposed stimuli or
The elasticity, opacity, transparency, viscosity, electrical and thermal conductivity
are materials properties. These on their own are various measures of response of
different materials to stimuli in the form of stress/force, shear, temperature
gradient. A structural property is dependent on the atomic and crystal structure of
the material and is applicable to material in which the position of the elementary
particle is practically fixed. Elasticity of solid is a structural property of materials.
Materials properties which are associated with motions of elementary particles
that extend well beyond the sub-atomic level and cover several atomic distances
are macroscopic properties. They include viscosity electrical and thermal


The behaviour (response) of a material to applied force/stress takes the form of
varying deformation. These deformations which are due to disturbances (stresses)
set up in the material are of two types:- Elastic and plastic deformations.
(a) Elastic Deformation: This is a reversible (recoverable) deformation in
which the original dimensions are recovered after externally applied
stresses are removed. Elastic deformation occurs instantaneously with the
application of external stress.
(b) Plastic deformation: Plastic deformation is an irreversible deformation in
crystals that is caused by a permanent set of strains macroscopically. It

manifest as slip or shearing of the crystal lattice on crystal planes on an
atomic level.


Stress: The intensity of the internal force, which is the magnitude of the total
force within a section, is divided by the area of the cross-section is defined as the
stress. It is given as δ = F/A N/m2

Strain: The change in the dimension(s) of a material in a state of stress is defined

as the strain.

Stresses can be either compressive or tensile. Tensile stress results in extension of

length while compressive stress shortens the length of a material. Strain is given
ε = L – L0 Where
L0 is original length
L is strained length
ε is dimension stress

The tensile strength is the measure of the materials resistance to a steady applied
force. It is measured by a testing machine like the Extensometer or universal
testing machine.
Strain gauge or Extensometer is used in the process of measuring the amount of
strain or extension of the specimen. Strain is as a result of stress (applied load) on
the material.


The strain developed in a material is directly proportional to the stress producing
it. Thus there is a linear relationship between stress and strain which is tenable
within certain limits for most materials.

The modulus of elasticity (young) is the ratio of the stress in a material to the
strain it produces
E = δ/ε (N/m2)
It is a measure of stiffness of a material. The relationship between stress and
strain is shown graphically below in Figure 1.1



c e

O ε
Figure 1.1 Stress and Strain Diagram

EL – Elastic Limit
Pl – Proportionality Limit
UYP – Upper Yield Point
LYP – Lower Yield Point
UTS - Ultimate Tensile Strength

Length oa of the curve shows the portion of the curve for which the material is
elastic (Stress is proportional to strain). Beyond point “a” the material is not
completely elastic and there is some permanent deformation. Slip is noticeable at
the UYP stress.

UTS are the maximum stress on the curve and are the maximum stress obtained at
the highest applied force.

These are materials (usually metals) which have unfilled valence band and thus
provide vacant energy states into which electrons in the valence state can move.
The movement of electrons in an electric field is facilitated by gain of velocity
and momentum as it moves towards the positive electrode. This is due to added
energy which therefore requires an unoccupied energy state at a higher level. E.g.
of conductors are Cu, Al.
Metals with few electrons in their valence which are therefore unfilled make
excellent conductors of electricity. Forms of conductors are wires, cables and bus-
bars (rods, tube etc.)

Semi-Conductors: These are metals in which the valence band are completely
filled and electrons are readily available for movement into the conduction band
and creating an electron-hole pair in the structure of the material and apparent
electrical conduction.
Group IV elements such as carbon, silicon germanium and tin are very good semi
conductor materials.
Semi conductors can be classified unto two forms:
(a) Intrinsic semi conductors: These are pure materials and should not contain
any imparity either accidentally or deliberately during the manufacturing
(b) Extrinsic semi conductors: These are formed by the introductory of
foreign materials in form of impurities to the product during manufacture;
the temperature dependence of electrical conductivity of an extrinsic semi-
conductor is determined primarily by the variations in the number of holes
and electrons, and sometimes to a small extent by a mobility factor. Semi

conductors are used in making junction diodes transistors and for making
electrical gadgets and electronics.

An aggregate: This can be defined as the material comprising of percentage
required of gravel, crushed stone and natural sharp sand of their specific size of
particle mixed together at a required ratio to form part of concrete mortar (they
occupy 70-75% of ion volume).
Aggregates are classified as natural and artificial

Natural Aggregates
(a) Coarse Aggregates: This comprises of natural and crushed stones. It ranges
between 20mm-10mm. Particles with larger sizes cause reduction in strength of
concrete. Shown below is heap of coarse aggregate.

Figure 2.1 Coarse Aggregate

(b) Fine aggregate: This comprises of natural sharp sand and crushed stone sand.
Fine aggregate consist of particle passing 25mm which are retained on a 600
microns sieve. These particles with fine aggregates bond very well and increase
the strength of the concrete. Shown Below in Figure 2.2 is the heap of a fine

Fig 2.2 Fine Aggregate

(c) Sand and Gravel Aggregates: It consists of particles of broken stone deposited
by the action of river and stream or from glacial action. Its size ranges from (20-
0.5mm) and it is not suitable for use if better concrete strength is to be achieved.
(d) Granite Aggregates: These are used commercially to describe a wide range of
crushed natural stones. Some of which are not true igneous rocks. Natural granite
is hard and dense and serves as an excellent aggregate.
(e) Hard Sandstone and Close Grained Crystalline Stones Aggregate: These
when crushed and graded are commonly used as aggregate in areas where sand
and gravel are not readily available.

Artificial Aggregate
(f) Blast furnace Slag Aggregates: These are by-product of the conversion of iron
ore to pig iron and consist of the non-ferrous constituent of iron ore. The molten
slag is tapped from the blast furnace and is cooled and crushed.

In areas where there is a plentiful supply of blast furnace slag, it is an economical
and satisfactory aggregate for concrete.
(g) Clean broken aggregate: Clean broken brick is used as an aggregate for concrete
required having a good resistance to fire. The strength of the concrete produced
with this aggregate depends on the strength and density of the bricks from which
the aggregate is produced.
(h) Porous Brick Aggregate: Porous brick aggregate should not be used for
reinforced concrete work in exposed position as the aggregate will absorb
moisture and encourage corrosion of the reinforcement.
Crushed engineering brick aggregate will produce a concrete of medium crushing
(i) All-in Aggregate (Ballast): is one of the cheapest materials that can be used for
making concrete and was used for mass concrete work such as large open
The proportion of fine to coarse particle in an all-in aggregate cannot be varied
and the proportion may vary from batch to batch.
(j) Mixture of fine and coarse aggregate: This is more expensive than natural all-in
aggregate. The reason for using a mixture of fine and coarse aggregate is that, by
combining them in the correct proportion, a concrete with very few voids or
spaces in it can be made and this reduces the quantity of comparatively expensive
cement required to produce a strong concrete.


Quarrying consists of separating rough blocks of stone from formations. In small
scale, the quarrying work is done using hand tools with more or less help from
explosives, but machines are used in larger quarries. The explosives are used to
shatter the rock into smaller handle pieces. Shown below are methods of

Fig 2.3 Bench Drilling Fig 2.4 Stone Splitting by Manual Method

Building stone is removed from the quarry in rough blocks which are later cut into
pieces of the desired size. In stones such as limestone, marble and sandstone
which are soft, primary cuts are made with channeling machines. The channel
bars operate with a chopping action by moving vertically upwards and
downwards, and by so doing, a channel about 5cm wide is cut to a depth of 2.5 to
3.50m. When a channel is completed, the block is broken at the floor by driving
wedges in horizontal drill holes. The splitting is sometimes done by using wooden
plugs driven into the holes and then soaked with water which causes the plugs to
expand and sometimes done by using wooden plugs driven into the holes and then
soaked with water which causes the plugs to expand and exert forces which split
the rock.

Hard stone like granite is cut by the rise of combination of drilling and broaching.
Holes are drilled in a single roll close together. A broaching tool is used to break
the wedge between the holes and the channel is formed. Granite is removed from
the quarry in the form of large stone blocks.

Loose rocks are removed from the quarry with the help of power shovels. Dredges
are used widely to remove gravel from the river and lake beds and sea shelf. The
quantity of the aggregates significantly affects the quality and cost of concrete
products, additional treatment is often required
The conversion of quarried stone blocks into finished product is called dressing. It
includes sawing of blocks into slabs of desired thickness with suitable saws;
planning them to improve the surface finish or (of) moldings on the surfaces;

milling recesses, patterns and lettering on the faces of stones by means of milling
machines, carving the stone into various forms with hand tools, and finally
finished the surface.

In selecting stones for use in a particular work, the conditions under which it will
remain have to be taken into consideration. No particular kind of stone is suitable
for all purposes and for all situations. Colors and appearance are important
deciding factors in the choice of stones for use as facing stones in building.
Availability of the required quantity, proximity (nearness) of quarry, transport
facilities and availability of labor are some important deciding factors in the
choice of a particular kind of stone for any work. However, the durability and
general performance of stone can vary appreciably depending on the conditions of
air exposure and air pollution to which it is subjected.

Granite and gneiss are usually suitable for heavy engineering works like
abutments of bridges, retaining walls, dams, docks and harbors etc because they
have strength, durability and weight Ballast of granite and quartzite are used as
aggregates for concrete because they are hard, tough and resistance to abrasion.

Porosity and Absorption
The porosity, permeability and absorption of aggregates influence the bond
between it and the cement paste, the resistance of concrete to freezing and
thawing, as well as chemical stability, resistance to abrasion and specific gravity.
The pores in aggregate vary in size over a wide range, but even the smallest pores
are larger than the gel pores in the cement paste. Some of the aggregate pores are
wholly within the solid whilst others open onto the surface of the particle so that
water can penetrate the pores, the amount and rate of penetration depending on
their size, continuity, and total volume. The range of porosity of common rocks
varies from 0 to 50%, and since aggregate represents some three-quarters of the
volume of concrete, it is clear that the porosity of the aggregate materially
contributes to the overall porosity of concrete.

When all the pores in the aggregate are full, it is said to be saturated and surface-
dry. If this aggregate is allowed to stand free in dry air, some water will evaporate
so that the aggregate is air-dry. Prolonged drying in an oven would eventually
remove the moisture completely and at this stage the aggregate is bone-dry (or

The water absorption is determined by measuring the decrease in mass of a

saturated and surface-dry sample after oven drying for 24 hours. The ratio of the
decrease in mass of the dry sample expressed as a percentage is termed

Bulk Density: The weight of aggregate that would fill a container of unit volume
is known as bulk density of aggregate.

Voids: With respect to a mass of aggregate, the terms voids refer tow the space
between the aggregate particles. Numerically this voids space is the difference

between the gross volume of aggregate mass and the space occupied by the
particles alone. The knowledge of voids of coarse and fine aggregate is used in
the mix design.
Percentage voids = Gs – γ x 100

Where Gs = Specific gravity of aggregate and

γ = Bulk density in kg/liter

Unit Weight: The weight of a unit volume of aggregate is called as unit weight.
For a given specific gravity, greater the unit weight the smaller the percentage of
voids and better the gradation of the particles which affects the strength of
concrete to a great extent.
Below is the water absorption by aggregates
S/N Aggregate Moisture absorption by liter of
1 Average sand 1.0%
2 Pebbles and crushed of lime stone 1.0%
3 Granite and trap rock 0.5%
4 Porous sand stone 7.0%
5 Very light and porous aggregate 25.%

Bulking of Sand: The moisture present in fine aggregate causes increase in its
volume, known as bulking of sand. The moisture in fine aggregate develops a film
of moisture around the particles of sand and due to surface tension pushes apart
the sand particles, occupying greater volume. The bulking of sand affects the mix
proportion, if mix is design by volume batching, bulking results in smaller weight
of sand occupying the fixed volume of the measuring box, and the mix becomes
deficient in sand and the resulting concrete becomes honey combed and its yield
is also reduced.

Deleterious substances can be classified into the following three categories;
(a) Impurities which interfere with the process of hydration of cement.
(b) Coating on aggregate which prevent the development of good bond
between aggregate and the cement paste.
(c) Unsound or weak particle.

Coatings on aggregate clay silt and crusher dust etc may be present in aggregate
in the form of surface coatings and interfere with bond between the aggregate and
cement paste. These materials should not be present in excessive quantity because
they need more water for concrete of a definite workability.
The quantities of these materials may be determined by sedimentation method (to
be done in the laboratory).
The quantity of all the three materials together should not be more the following
a) 15% by weight in crushed stone sand.
b) 30% by weight in natural or crushed gravel sand.
c) 10% by weight in coarse aggregate.

Test: The quantities of three materials may be determined by sedimentation. The

sand sample is placed in a sodium oxalate solution (containing 8 gram solution
oxalate per liter of distilled water) in a stopper jar and rotated with the axis of the
jar horizontal for 15mins at approximates 10 revolutions per minutes. The fine
solids become dispersed and the amount of suspended materials is then measured
by means of Anderson Pipette.
Percentage of silt, clay or fine dust = 100 100W2 – 0.8
W1 V
W1 = wt. in gram of the original sample
W2 = wt. in gram of the dried residue
V = volume in cc or ml of the pipette

0.8 = is the wt. in gram of sodium oxalate in one liter of dilute solution.


Aggregate exposed to rain collects a considerable amount of moisture on the
surface of the particles, and, except at the surface of the stockpile, keeps this
moisture over long period. This is particularly true of fine aggregate, and the
moisture content must be allowed for in calculation of batch quantities and of the
total water requirement of the mix. In effect the mass of water added to the mix
has to be decreased and the mass of aggregate must be increased by an amount
equal to the mass of the moisture content.

The total moisture content can be determined by means of oven-drying method

prescribed by BS 812; part 109:1990. If A is the mass of an air-tight container, B
the mass of the container and sample, and C the mass of the container and sample
after drying to a constant mass, the total moisture content (%) of the dry mass of
aggregate is
B – C x 100

The process of dividing a sample of aggregate into fractions of same particle size
is known as a sieve analysis, and its purpose is to determine the grading or size
distribution of the aggregate. A sample of air-dried aggregate is graded by
shaking or vibrating a nest of stacked sieves, with the largest sieve at the top, for a
specified time so that the material retained on each sieve represents the fraction
coarser than the sieve in question but finer than the sieve above.
Usually sieve sizes for concrete aggregate are 75.0, 50.0, 37.5, 20.0, 10.0, 5.0,
2.36, 1.18mm and 600, 300 and 150micron.
Shown below in Figure 3.1 and Figure 3.2 are sieve sizes and mechanical sieve
shaker for grading test.

Fig 3.1 Set of Sieve for grading test Fig 3.2 Mechanical Sieve Shaker


The compressive strength of concrete cannot exceed that of the aggregate used
therein. The bulk aggregate crushing strength is usually determined. Aggregate is
considered ten times stronger than crushing strength of concrete, but some
particles break also and influence its strength.

Material for the standard crushing test should pass through 12.5mm I.S sieve and
retained on 10mm I.S sieve. They shall be thoroughly sieved on the above sieved,
surface dried, period not less than four hours. Aggregate should be heated to bone
dry at 1000c to 1100c for four hours and then cooled before use.

The test is carried out by filling the cylinder of the test apparatus up to 1/3rd of its
height with prepared aggregate and tamped with 25 strokes by tamping rod. The

filling is repeated to fill the cylinder through the above method. Load is applied
uniform rate is such a way that the total 40 tonne is applied in 10 minutes or rate
of loading should be 22.7kg/cm2 per minute.

Load is released and the whole aggregate in the cylinder is sieved through a
2.26mm sieve and fraction passing through the sieve weighed. The ratio of the
passing fraction should not be more than 45% for all types of concrete and 30%
for wearing surfaces.

Building Stone: Building stones which are deprived from natural rock have been
used by man from the very beginning, first as tools, weapon and ornament, later
for building purpose.
The term stone usually signifies blocks or pieces of rock which have undergone
cutting, sawing, shaping and sometimes polishing operation.


The following forms are available for construction purposes:
(a) Rubble stone (b) Dimension stone (cut stone) (c) Flagstone (flat slab) (d) Crushed
and broken stone (e) Stone dust or powder.

a) Rubble Stone: Stones of irregular shape and sizes, which are either collected
(field stones) or obtained from quarries are made up into blocks or pieces for
building walls, coping or sills (See Fig. 3.1).

Fig. 3.1 Rubble stone wall

b) Dimension or Cut Stone: Stone which are cut to specific size and quickness and
finished at the stone mill. Cut stone are seldom used as structures members and
are commonly used masonry veneers, partitions, flooring, coping, sill etc.

c) Flagstone (Flat slabs): Flat slabs of thin stone 925-50mm thick) are used for
paths, work, terraces, flooring, coping, sills roofing etc.

d) Crushed and Broken Stone: Stones crushed or broken mechanically vary in

shapes and sizes and have usually rough surface texture and sharp edges. They are
used as aggregates for concrete work, road work etc. Below in Figure 3.2 is a
picture of Crushed stones.

Fig 2.8.2 Crushed Stones

e) Stone Dust or Powder: Used for surfacing asphalt paving, as filler in paints,
resilient flooring etc.

Properties of building stone

The main requirements of building stones are;
1) Strength: Many types of stones are generally strong for construction purposes (a
compressive strength of 35m/mm2 is considered to be satisfactory) with the
exception of same weaker forms of limestone and sand stones.
2) Durability: Stones are generally extremely durable and withstand well the
adverse effects of weathering, heat and aggressive chemicals. Durability is
dependent on porosity and composition.

3) Hardness: Very variable – some sandstones can be scratched easily while some
granite can be harder than steel.
4) Ease of Working: This affects cost in producing stones of required sizes and
shapes, and is related to hardness of the materials.
5) Appearance: For aesthetic purposes- color, grain and texture of stones.
6) Availability: This too affects cost as transportation over long distance can be
cumbersome and expensive.
7) Maintenance: Ideally, stone should be easy and cheap to maintain and clean. This
proves to be a problem in practice for many building stones.


Soils in civil engineering works have various uses. Foundations in every civil
engineering structures, whether it is a building, a bridge or a dam, is founded on
or below the surface of the earth. These foundations are required to transmit the
load of the structure to soil and the soil is expected to resist all downward forces
from the structures. In road construction, pavement is placed on soil (sub grade)
for the purpose of providing strong foundation for it. All highway constructions
require embankment slope and excavation slope, through the cutting and
compacting of soils.

Sharp sand which is used for the production of concrete is another form of soil
which has been washed and deposited into river bed through reduction in velocity
of flow of rivers.

Earth dams are huge structures in which soil is used as a construction material.
The earth dams are built for creating water reservoirs. The design and
construction of earth dam require extreme care and thorough knowledge of soil

Laterite soils constitute an important soil group occurring in the tropics and
mostly used for construction purposes.

Laterite is a highly weathered material, rich in secondary oxides of iron,
aluminium or both. It is nearly void of bases and primary silicates, but it may
contain large amounts of quartz and kaolinite. It is either hard or capable of
hardening on exposure to wetting and drying. These materials are also categorized
into Laterite, lateritic and non-lateritic soils from the knowledge of the silica-
sesquioxides ratios SiO2 / (FeO3 + AlO3). A ratio less than 1.33 indicate Laterites,
between 1.33 and 2.00 indicate lareritic soil and above 2.00 indicate non-lateritic
soils, which have also been tropically weathered.

Tropical materials have characteristic reddish shades, which appear to be due to

the various degree of iron, titanium and manganese hydration. The shade also
reflects the degree of maturity, for example with age ferruginous Laterite soils
seems to change from red to brown to black.

Laterites have been very useful in most fills in civil engineering construction. It
plays vital role in the formation of sub base of pavement construction as well as
hardcore for over site concrete of buildings.

Before Laterites are used, they must conform to Nigerian specifications

complemented by Road Note No. 29&31.
The following are in line with the Federal Ministry of Works and Housing
FMW&H specifications.
1. Fill materials :
a. Liquid Limit : 0 – 45%
b. Plastic Index 0 – 20%
c. CBR : 10% (mm) un-soaked

2. Sub- Base materials
a. Liquid Limit : 0 – 35%
b. Plastic Index : 0 – 12%
c. CBR : 30%(mm) un-soaked

3. Base Materials
a. Liquid Limit : 0 - 30%
b. Plastic Index : 0 – 12 %
c. CBR : 80%(mm) un- soaked
d. CBR: ≤ 80% soaked.

3.3.1 CLAYS
Clay has been and is still used for building, pottery and modeling purposes. It is
not easy to define clay precisely, as its definition varies according to different
fields (e.g. geology, mineralogy, soil science, civil engineering etc).
However, it can be regarded by the layman as a kind of natural earth which
becomes plastic and moldable when mixed with water, and becomes hard on
drying and firing. The products are known as clay ware, clay products or

All clays were formed by the weathering and disintegration of primary (igneous)
rocks, and their composition varies. Clays are composed mainly of silica (Si02),
alumina (Al2O3) and water and is often contaminated with an appreciable amount
of iron, oxides, lime magnesia.

In raw clay, the alumina is usually combined chemically with the silica as
hydrated present in clay, as intermixed sand. Clays containing large amount of
such sand are termed loams. Some other clays containing chalk in quantity are
referred to as marls. Kaolin (china clay) is clay used in the manufacture of fire
resisting cement because of its white color, it is also used in the manufacture of
white Portland cement.

Silica alone will not melt except of exceedingly high temperature but together
with alumina and presence of a flux such as lime or lime oxide, it will fuse at
much lower temperature.

The firing of the raw clay entails heating it to at least the point of incipient fusion,
which varies with the clays composition but is well over 10000c.

Plastic clays are not generally as suitable for firing at such high temperature as
clays of high silica content, because of high shrinkage of the alumina gives
tendency to warp and crack. As a result, plastic clays in general give a high
porous but strong product, quite suitable for most classes of bricks, block and
roofing tiles.

Expansion of clay products

After leaving the kiln, clay product take up moisture from the atmosphere and
undergo slight expansion in the process. This action may continue at a decreasing
rate over a number of year before the equilibrium is reached, during which the
total expansion may be up to 0.1%. Since the greater part of this long term
process (expansion) normally occur during the first seven to ten days after leaving
the kiln, it is advisable not to lay bricks or other clay products until after these
periods. This expansion which is regarded as irreversible is distinct from the very
slight moisture movement which can occur at any time.

Clay products and their manufacturing process

1. Bricks: Many natural types of clay are suitable for bricks making without
the addition of other materials, but some require blending to achieve a
suitable composition.

Clay bricks are molded into shape while they are in raw, plastic condition, they
are then fired. During firing, certain physical and chemical changes occur which
cause the brick to solidify to its final shape. Substantial shrinkage of bricks be
allowed for when molding in order to achieve the desired finishing size.

ii) Clay digging (usually by mechanical methods)
iii) Weathering (to break down the clay)
iv) Washing and screening
v) Grinding

vi) Blending (addition of chalk, lime, sand etc)
vii) Tempering (addition of water and kneed to required consistency)
viii) Molding (shaping)
ix) Drying
x) Burning

Shown below in Figure 3.4 are burnt brick laid

Fig. 3.4 Burnt Bricks (Clay Pot)

2. Clay floor tiles: floor quarries and clay floor tiles are both made from the
same raw materials but have different characteristics and uses. The tile is
finer textured and smoother finished than the Quarry, resulting mainly
from difference in method of Manufacture.

The clay floor tile is made by first mixing the clay with water to form
slurry, draining of the water, then drying the residue sufficiently to allow it
to be grounded to powder. The powder containing sufficient moisture
allows it to be pressed to shape in a steel die after which it is dried and
fired. The uniform fines of the powder, and its moisture content, which

gives a comparatively low shrinkage in drying and firing results in
reasonably, consistent finished dimension and smooth regular surfaces.

Clay tiles should provide wear-resistant floor which is easily washed

down, but they can be very slippery when wet and because of this they are
usually used indoors only.
Other clay products are;
3. Glazed ceramic wall tiles
4. Sanitary ware
5. Vitreous China
6. Vitrified clay pipes

Describe the manufacturing processes of the above mentioned clay products (item
3 – 6)


Cement, or some form of cementing material is an essential ingredient in most
forms of building construction. Cement is the vital binding agent in concretes,
mortars and renders, and is used for the production of walling blocks and roofing

Since its invention in the first half of the 19th century, Portland cement has
become the most widely available cementitious material. Its dominance over
alternative cements has been in part, due to successful, aggressive marketing. This
is despite its clear technical disadvantages for certain applications. In addition
Portland cement is relatively expensive to produce and is often in short supply in
many developing countries. Typically, a rural African laborer may need to work
for up to two weeks to earn enough money to buy one bag of cement. In
comparison alternative cements can be produced locally, on a small scale and at
much lower cost.

Alternative cements are not capable of replacing Portland cement totally, but they
can be used in the many construction applications where they have advantages.
These are as mortars, renders and non-structural concretes. Alternative cements
are not normally considered suitable for structural applications such as reinforced
concrete beams and columns.

The most common of these so-called ‘alternative’ binders is lime, to which other
materials, known as pozzolanas, can be added to enhance strength and water
resistance. Other binders such as gypsum, sulphur, bitumen, mud and animal dung
have also been used.


The simplest, and possibly the earliest, binding material used was wet mud, and
there are records of its use in ancient Egypt and NOK Culture in Nigeria. Another
example of a binder from the distant past is the use of naturally occurring bitumen
by the Babylonians in present day Iraq and Assyrians in their brick and alabaster
(gypsum plaster) constructions.

Lime was known to the Greeks and was widely used by the Romans. The Romans
also knew how to make a lime-pozzolana cement by adding materials such as
volcanic ash or powdered bricks, tiles and pottery to lime. That lime is an
appropriate and durable binding material, especially when mixed with pozzolana,
is well proven.


Major advantages of alternatives to Portland cement are that they are usually
cheaper to produce, needing much lower or even negligible capital inputs to get
started, and requiring far less imported technology and equipment. They can also
be produced on a small scale to supply a local market resulting in greatly reduced
transportation costs and a much greater degree of local accountability in the supply
of building materials.

From an environmental angle lime-pozzolana cements can be produced with lower
energy input than either lime by itself or Portland cement – giving a half to one
third consumption in use compared with Portland cement and about one fifth
compared with lime by itself. Low energy consumption is particularly prevalent
with naturally occurring pozzolanas, or those from waste materials, which might
need little additional processing other than drying. The use of clay as a binder, of
course, results in negligible energy consumption in production.

Lower production costs mean lower prices for the consumer, enabling those who
could not afford Portland cement to purchase and use a quality binding material.
Pozzolanic cements additionally have numerous other technical advantages to the
• Improved workability
• Improved water retention/reduced bleeding
• Improved sulphate resistance
• Improved resistance to alkali – aggregate reaction
• Lower heat of hydration


There are two forms of lime: quicklime and hydrated lime. Quicklime is produced
by heating rock or stone containing calcium carbonate (limestone, marble, chalk,
shells, etc.) to a temperature of around 1000°C for several hours in a process
known as ‘calcining’ or sometimes simply ‘burning’. It is an unstable and slightly
hazardous product and therefore is normally ‘hydrated’ or ‘slaked’, by adding
water, becoming not only more stable but also easier and safer to handle.

To produce dry powdered hydrated lime just sufficient water is added for the
quicklime lumps to break down to a fine powder. This material would have a
‘shelf life’ of only a number of weeks, depending on storage conditions. ‘Old’
hydrated lime would have partially carbonated and become a less effective binder.

However, if quicklime is hydrated with a large excess of water and well agitated,
it forms a milky suspension known as milk of lime. Allowing the solids to settle,
and drawing off the excess water, forms a paste-like residue, termed lime putty,
which is the form of lime which can be used in building applications to best
effect. This will keep almost indefinitely and, in fact, improves with age. In most
countries, though, lime is most widely available as a powder, due to its
widespread utilization in process and treatment industries rather than in
construction. Lime putty, which needs a stiff bag or container for transportation,
is more rarely produced.

Limes with high calcium content, often called ‘fat’ or ‘white’ limes are desirable
for most industries, although the construction industry can use limes containing
impurities. For instance, limestone containing a proportion of clay is often seen as
an advantage in building as they produce hydraulic limes which will set under
water and will produce stronger mortars.

In the construction industry, lime, in its hydrated or putty form, is mixed with
aggregate and water to produce concrete or mortar in the usual manner. Lime
putties generally produce mortars and renders of excellent quality and

Plain lime-sand mortars are quite weak; any early adhesive strength results from
drying out, and longer term hardening occurs through the action of the air’s
carbon dioxide on the lime.

Traditionally lime renders and plasters were often mixed with animal hair to
improve cohesion. Today the addition of gypsum or Portland cement and/or
pozzolanas to increase durability and give faster setting times is usual.

Gypsum is a not an uncommon mineral, and needs only a low temperature, of
around 150°C, to convert it into a very useful binding material, known as hemi-
hydrate or plaster of Paris.

On its own, plaster of Paris sets very rapidly when mixed with water. To give
time for it to be applied, around 5% of lime and 0.8% of a retarding material (such
as the keratin glue-like extracts from boiling fish bones or animal hoof and horn)
are added to the plaster.

Retarded plaster of Paris can be used on its own or mixed with up to three parts of
clean, sharp sand. Hydrated lime can be added to increase its strength and water
resistance. Gypsum plasters can be reinforced with various fibrous materials from
reeds to chopped glass fibers.

Gypsum plaster is not wholly resistant to moist conditions and so is normally used
internally, except in the drier Mediterranean and Middle Eastern countries where
it has traditionally been used as an external render.


A mixture of 15–25% molten sulphur, heated to around 130°C with 5% of organic
additive, and 75–85% sand or other mineral aggregates which have previously
been heated to 160–170°C, can be cast and de-moulded in only about five
minutes. The additive is mainly used to impart durability. Sulphur concrete has
applications which either exploit its quick curing and corrosion resistance or in
situations where Portland cement concrete is expensive, unavailable or, for
example in freezing conditions, impracticable.

Earth mixed with water to form mud has been, and continues to be, used over
much of the world as a binding material. It develops quite a strong adhesion to
fired clay brick and sun dried mud brick masonry and is satisfactory provided the

mud mortar is protected from rainwater. A useful practice is to use mud mortar in
the internal parts of the wall and do the external pointing in a cement or lime-
based mortar. The best soils for building purposes contain both sands and clays
and therefore it may be necessary to mix two different soils to obtain good results.
Mud mortars have, traditionally, been improved by the addition of organic matter
such as straw and cow dung.

A number of other alternative binders have been used in a number of applications,

which generally relate to soil stabilizations, waterproofing, or the application of a
waterproofing or wear resistant coating to vulnerable earth based constructions.
Such binders include tars and bitumen (as by-products from petrol-chemical
industries), sodium silicate (produced from the heat activated reaction between
silica and sodium hydroxide), casein (milk whey), oils and fats, molasses, and
certain locally specific plant-based materials such as gum Arabic, other specific
resins and the sap, latexes and juices from specific trees and other plants.

Thermoplastics: These belong to the linear and branched chair polymers which
are obtained by addition or condensation polymerization of bi-functional
monomer. They can be softened and re-softened repeatedly by application of heat.

Thermosetting Materials: - These belongs to the three dimensional cross-linked

or polymers. They are the products of condensation polymerization of monomers
of functionality ≥ 3. They will undergo setting and hardening on heating. They
cannot be re-softened once they have set and hardened.
Thermoplastics Thermosetting
Polyethylene Phenol-formal dehyde (PE)
Polypropylene Urea-formal dehyde (UE)
Polyvinyl chloride (PVC) Melamine-formal dehyde
Polystyrene Polyesters (unsaturated)
Nylon Epoxies
Polythene (saturated)

Application of Plastics in Building/Civil Works
S/N Applications Materials
1 Gutters, down-pipes and fittings Rigid (PVC) Polyvinyl chloride
2 Soil and waste pipes and fitting Rigid PVC (Low density) polythene,
HD (High density) polythene, ABS (acrylinite
butadiene styrene).
3 Water and gas pressure pipes and fittings Rigid PVC, LD & HD Polythene, Abs
4 Hot and cold water pipes Chlorinated PVC; Polypropylene; rigid PVC;
5 Bathroom suites GRP(glass-reinforced plastics);acrylics
6 Lavatory seats Phenotic ; aminos
7 Kitchen & bathroom GRP ; acrylics
8 Cisterns-cold water Rigid PVC, polystyrene, polythene
9 Roof lights and roof sheets Rigid PVC (wire reinforced and un-
reinforced), GRP ; acrylics
10 Vapour barriers, DPC and membranes LD polythene film; PVC films
11 Electrical conduit and fittings Plasticized PVC; rigid PVC phenolics
12 Heating system ducts Rigid PVC; polypropylene

Glass is one of the oldest and most versatile materials known to man. It occurs
naturally as a volcanic glass known as obsidian. Artificial glass was made about
4000 years.

The term glass in its wildest sense is used to describe a particular state of matter,
known as the glassy or vitreous state, which is obtained when a liquid cools
without crystallization taking place. The product has the apparent physical
properties of a solid which is characterized by its brittleness, hardness,
transparency and chemical inertness.

Glass may be regarded as complex form of silicate. For convenience, it can be
classified according to chemical composition, into the following types:
1) Soda-Lime-Silica Glasses: The presence of soda (Na2)), which acts as a
fluxing agent, reduces the melting and working temperature, while the
presence of lime (CaO), which acts as a stabilizing oxide, reduces the
solubility of sodium silicates. This type of glass has under application in
the manufacture of glass containers produce by blowing, molding and
pressing, in flat form produce by sheet-drawing, float and rolling process,
as tubing produced by automatic and hard drawing and in special shapes
e.g. electric light bulb

2) Silica Glass (Fused Silica): This belongs to one of the most important
single-oxide glasses. It is characterized by its highly cross-linked, three-
dimensional bonding, and consequently it has high melting and working
temperature, low coefficient of thermal expansion and high chemical
resistance. This type of glass is suitable for use as lab ware. A less
expensive type contains 96% silica, known as 96% silica glass.

3) Borosilicate Glasses: The presence of boric oxide (B203), which acts as a

flux as well as a glass former, gives borosilicate glasses a low coefficient
of thermal expansion and therefore a better thermal shock resistance. In
addition the presence of alumina (Al203) improves chemical durability and
resistance to devitrification (crystallization). Pyrex glass belongs to this
type, which is greatly used in laboratory and medical ware.

4) Lead Glasses: The presence of lead oxide (PbO) acts as a flux and a
modifier, hence lead glasses have usually low melting and working temps.
But high refractive indices and densities. They are used for certain optical
components, for radiation, shielding, for decorative application and for a
range of technical glasses.

5) Aluminosilicate Glasses: The hardening effect of this type of glasses due
to the presence of Al203 which also improve chemical durability and
resistance to devitrification. One such type, know as E-glass (lime
aluminoborosilicate) is used in the manufacture of glass fibers.


a) Windows and doors in buildings use various forms of glass.
i. Transparent glasses (clear plate and sheet glass)
ii. Translucent glasses (including wired, ribbed and patterned glass).
iii. Toughed glasses (Armor-plated, armor-glass)
iv. Decorative glass (such as glass mosaic, fused glass, slab glass used in
concrete, stained glass window, e.g., in churches and cathedrals).
b) Glass blocks (for use in walls, staircase lights and panel)
c) Double glazing of windows etc BS 952
i. Prevent heat loss, hence saving of fuel cost.
ii. Prevents condensation and misting
iii. Stops draughts.
d) Glass Cladding in Building: Improves appearance durability, fire
resistance and insulation.
e) Foam Glass used for thermal insulation in refrigerators, building walls and
f) Glass Fiber (BS 3396, 3496).
i. Thermal and electrical insulations and sound absorption.
ii. Reinforcing material for plastics (Glass-reinforced plastics), cement
(glass-reinforced cement).
iii. Gypsum plaster (Glass-reinforced gypsum plaster)
g) One-Way Mirrors: include Venetian mirrors and transparent mirrors.
h) Electrical use (BS 4145), light bulbs, fluorescent tubes, street lighting, in
ultrasonic and electronic.
i) Domestic and scientific glass wares (BS 1751, 1797) including Pyrex

j) Glass ceramics: Missile nose cones, domestic oven.


1) Appearance: Ordinary glass is transparent and almost colorless.
2) Density: Density is about 2,560kg/m3
3) Melting point: This is 15000c – (tentative)
4) Solar light transmission: It is relatively transparent but solar rejecting
glasses are available.
5) Ultra-Violet Transmission: Ordinary glass transmits a very small
proportion of ultra-violet rays.
6) Durability: Glass is extremely durable in normal condition and B.S. 952
states that all window glass should be of such quality that surface
deterioration will not develop under normal conditions of use provided the
glass is cleaned at reasonable interval. It is however attacked by
hydrofluoric and phosphoric acid and strong alkalis e.g. caustic soda.
Running water into glass from new concrete can be disastrous.
7) Strength: Glass is elastic up to its breaking point but it is completely
brittle. It is weak in tension and glass of uniform manufacture can vary
widely in strength.
8) Thermal Movement: Because the coefficient of thermal expansion for
glass (78 – 80 x 10-7/oC) is low than that of the material in which it is
normally fixed, allowance should be made for movement. Thermal
stresses arising where one part of a glass panel is at different temperature
from the other part can lead to breakage.
9) Thermal Insulation: Although glass is dense and is a good conductor of
heat, its surface resistance are high and typical double glazing provided
thermal insulation approximately that of a 105mm thick brick wall.
Double glazing almost halves the heat loss through a single pane. It also
provides better thermal insulation from conducted heat than single glazing.
Condensation is less likely to form on the room side glass surface of the
assembly. However, if the inner and outer panes are not thermo-metrically

sealed at their edges, water Vapour can condense on the inside of outer
pane as it does on single glassing.
This tendency is reduced if the cavity is ventilated to the outside and the
inner pane is sealed from the room atmosphere.
10) Sound Insulation: The thicker glasses are more effective particularly at
low frequency characteristics of traffic noise.

This is used as a bonding and water proofing material and it occurs as a natural
deposits. It is obtained mostly from artificial sources such as petroleum refinery

Bitumen is a viscous liquid, or solid consisting essentially of hydrocarbon and

their derivatives, which is soluble in carbon disulphide. It is substantially non-
volatile and softens gradually when heated. It is black or brown in color and
possesses water proofing and adhesive properties. It is obtained from petroleum
and also found as a natural deposit or as component of naturally occurring asphalt
in which it is associated with mineral matter.

Bitumen is a black substance which is opaque watt or glossy in appearance. It is

described as having a “dead” smell on heating as opposed to the aromatic smell of
- It is insoluble in water but soluble in carbon disulphide.
- It has good bonding and water proofing properties.
- It softens with the rise in temperature and its liquid viscosity falls as the
temperature is raised.
- Chemically it is considered to be mixtures of hydro carbons which are
predominantly aliphatic in nature.
Figure 3.7.1 and 3.7.2 showing processed bitumen and raw bitumen

Fig. 3.7.1 Industrial Bitumen Fig. 3.7.2 Raw Bitumen

It is a composite material consisting of mineral aggregates bonded together by
bitumen. It is usually plastic in character, strongly adhesive and water proof. Its
plasticity is affected by heat and over heating may cause oxidation and loss of
volatile components resulting in hardness, brittleness and some loss in adhesive

At an ordinary temp, asphalt is very resistance to water alkalis, lime or sulphate. It

is however, attacked by weak acids, hot alkalis mineral oil, grease, vegetable fats,
hot sugar solution, milk and dairy products.

This is known as viscous liquid produced by the destructive distillation or
carbonization of coal, wood shale etc. it possesses adhesive properties and is
obtained as the condensable distillates whereas pitch is the residue obtained from
the distillation of tar. Pitch, which is liquid when hot and solid when cold, can be
classified into three types; hard, medium soft and soft.

Cut-back bitumen
This is defined as bitumen whose viscosity has been reduced by the addition of a
suitable volatile dilutent.
Its manufacture involves dissolving bitumen in a suitable solvent (e.g. petroleum
oil) by using the batch process or the continuous process. The batch requires a
rigid system of manufacture, supervision, testing and storage-making it rather
Cut-back bitumen is widely used in:
i) Road building and maintenance.
ii) Preparation of seating, sound insulating and water proofing materials.
iii) Preparation of paints.
iv) Preparation of plastics and mastics.

Mastic Asphalt
This is the type of asphalt that composed of suitably graded mineral matter and
asphalted cement in such proportions as to form a coherent, void less,
impermeable mass, solid or semi solid under normal temperature conditions, but
sufficiently fluid when brought to a suitable temperature to be spread by means of
a flood.
Mastic asphalt is extremely durable and water proof, very resistant to deformation
and to softening by oil droppings 9hence suitable for use at bust stops).

Bituminous Emulsion
An emulsion is a relatively stable suspension of liquid which is minutely
subdivided the dispersed phase and evenly dispersed in another liquid in which it
is not soluble (the continuous phase).
A bitumen emulsion is obtained by emulsifying the bitumen in an aqueous

Uses of bituminous materials

(a) Bitumen
(i) Road building and maintenance
(ii) Use in damp proof and dpc in building
(iii) It is used in water proofing and insulating of roofs.

(b) Asphalt
(i) It is used as finish for flat roof construction.
(ii) It is used for building (limestone aggregate)
(iii) It is used for building (natural rock asphalt aggregate).
(iv) Mastic asphalt for CP 144-part 2- roof covering.

(c) Tar
(i) It is used for road construction e.g. road tar
(ii) It is used for surface dressing and base (type A)

(iii) Used in tar macadam (Type B)
(iv) Used as wearing courses and carpets (Type B).

(d) Cut Back Bitumen

(i) It is used for road building and maintenance
(ii) Preparation of seating, sound insulating and water proofing materials.
(iii) Preparation of paints.
(iv) Preparation of plastic and mastics.

(e) Mastic Asphalt

(i) It is used in road work and construction.
(ii) Used in a wearing course materials in the construction
(iii) For damp proof courses (DPC)
(iv) For roofing
(v) Flooring
(vi) For tanking.

(f) Bituminous Felt

(i) Types- fiber base, with various finishes
(ii) Used for asbestos.

(g) Bitumen emulsion

(i) Road building and maintenance
(ii) Soil stabilization (to prevent soil or clay from taking up sufficient water to
lose stability).
(iii) Waterproofing masonry and concrete foundations.
(iv) Waterproofing and insulating roofs
(v) Protecting to wood and metals surfaces from atmospheric deterioration
and corrosion.

Asbestos is a natural fibrous mineral, a silicate of magnesium or iron, which is
light in weight yet, has good longitudinal strength. It is a good insulator, is in-
corrodible and highly fire resistant. These qualities make it suitable for use as
reinforcing material in conjunction with Portland cement. The moist mixture is
initially pressed into flat sheets but these may subsequently be molded before
hardening occurs to form curved or corrugated sheets if required. Standard mixes
contain 15-20% of asbestos, the remainder being cement, and produce three
grades of flat sheet, (a) Semi-compressed, for ceiling and wall linings where
condensation is not a risk, (b) Fully compressed with greater strength and
smoother surfaces, for wearing surfaces (e.g. bench tops), bath paneling and
cladding, (c) flexible compressed (3-4 mm thick), which can be curved to small
Others sheets are made containing more asbestos fiber BS 690 deals with
corrugated and semi-compressed flat sheets. Fully compressed flat sheets are dealt
with BS 4036.
Showing below in Figures 3.8.1 and 3.8.2 are asbestos fibers and corrugated

Fig. 3.8.1 Asbestos fibers Fig. 3.8.2 Roofing with asbestos corrugated sheets

Asbestos wallboard
Asbestos wall board is a sheet highly suitable for wall and ceiling lining.
Showing below in Figures 3.8.3 and 3.8.4 are pictures of wall containing asbestos
and asbestos siding.

Fig.3.8.3 Wall Containing Asbestos Fig. 3.8.4 Asbestos siding.

Asbestos insulating board

Asbestos insulating board is a low density for thermal insulating purposes. It is
also used to resist high humidity, as it is less prone to condensation than normal
density types, and high temperatures (unlike types (a) (b) and (c) above, which
can shatter at extremes of temperature).
Below are pipe insulation with asbestos and chrysotile in Figures 3.8.5 and 3.8.6.

Fig. 3.8.5 Pipe insulation with Asbestos. Fig. 3.8.6 Chrysotile

Asbestos partition board
Asbestos partition board differs from other sheets in that it contains some organic
fiber in addition to asbestos, and is classified as combustible.

Danger with asbestos cement

The reinforcement value of asbestos alone is quite inadequate to allow the
application of heavy loads to asbestos cement sheets, and the brittleness of this
material makes it high dangerous for persons to walk, stand or lie on the sheets.

Definition of corrosion
Corrosion is the destruction of a material by chemical attack resulting from its
environment for metals. It involves a gradual reversion to the more stable state
such as the oxide, sulphide or carbonate.

Corrosion mechanism
(1) Direct Chemical Combination: Metal combine directly with gases such as
oxygen, chlorine, sulphuric gases, carbon-dioxide etc to form a surface film to
form chlorine sulphides, carbonates etc.
This type of corrosion is most serious in highly polluted atmosphere, although in a
few cases the corrosion can be self suppressed by the formation of a thin
protective layer of surface film (e.g. in aluminum and chromium)

(2) Electrochemical Corrosion: This is the corrosion in aqueous environments, the

result of electrochemical reaction in which water acts as a conducting liquid
The diagram in Figure 8.1 below shows Corrosion Mechanism in Soil

Fig 3.9 Corrosion mechanism

Factors influencing corrosion
Oxygen and moisture (water are essential for corrosion to occur, but under certain
circumstances corrosion can take place in the absence of oxygen (anaerobic

Rusting is just the oxidation of iron at the surface. This process is activated by the
presence of moisture and carbon-dioxide. On oxidation, initially iron change to
ferrous, bicarbonate, then to ferric-bicarbonate and finally to hydrated ferric

Atmospheric pollution too accelerates rust formation. Corrosion is slow but

steady eating away the metal and is a consequence of rusting.

Protection of metals against corrosion

1) Tarring: Iron is dipped in hot coal tar so that a film of it sticks to be
surface which protects the surface from rusting and corrosion.
Pipes or ends of poles to be embedded in earth are usually given this
protective treatment.

2) Painting: Paints, usually the lead paints are applied on the surface to be
protected. Exposed metal surface as in the case of roof trusses and bridge
structure are given this treatment which has to be invariable repeated after
regular interval of time.

3) Enameling: Enamel provides better and long lasting protection as

compared to painting.
This treatment is given only to smaller surface (enamel consist of high
grade bases like zinc oxide or lead oxides ground in oil or vanish, they dry
slowly leaving a hard tough and elastic film which is smooth and durable.

Enamel painted surface and washable and are not affected by acids,
alkalis, gases or steams.

4) Galvanizing: Depositing a fine film of zinc on the iron/steel surface is

termed as galvanizing. The surface to be galvanized is first cleared of all
foreign matter by giving it an acid wash to be followed by a wash of clean
water. The surface is then dried and dipped in molten zinc. The fine film
of zinc that gets deposited protects the surface from contact with
atmosphere and consequent oxidation. Removal of the zinc film caused by
wear or scratches lane exposes the surface to rust and corrode.

5) Sheradising: Surface to be treated is cleaned of all foreign deposits by

washing it with acid solution and then the clean water. It is then dried
covered with in dust and enclosed in steel box to be heated in furnace
under controlled temperature.
Molten zinc spread over the whole surface and on cooling from thin
protective layers. Sheradising gives better protection than galvanizing.

6) Tin Planting: After cleaning the surface with acid wash followed by
washing with plain water and drying. It is dipped into both of molten tin.
A protective covering of tin layer is left on the surface.

7) Electroplating: By the process of electrolysis a thin film of nickel

chromium, cadmium, copper zinc is deposited on the surface to be
protected. The surface to be protected is made the cathode and the metal to
be deposited is made the anode.

For constructional purposes, cement is a term restricted to the bonding materials
used with stones, bricks and sand etc. The principal constituents of this type of
cement are compounds of lime. On adding water to cement a chemical reaction
known as hydration of cement takes place and a large quantity of heat-liberates.
On hydration of cement, gel is formed which binds the aggregates particles
together and provides strength and water tightness to concrete on hardening.

(i) Ordinary Portland Cement: This is the most common cement used in
general concrete construction work. Its properties are covered by BS
12:1991. This type of cement is affected by sulphate such as those present
in ground water in some clay soils. The sulphate has disintegrating effect
on ordinary Portland cement (OPS) and therefore should not be used
where there is presence of sulphate.

(ii) Rapid-Hardening Portland Cement: This has almost similar

composition to that of OPC, except that the cement powder is more finely
ground. The effect of the finer grinding is that the constituent of the
cement powder react more quickly with water and the cement develops
strength more rapidly. This fineness is the distinguishing factor between
the OPC and the rapid-hardening Portland cement.
The principal reason for the use of this type of cement is when formwork
is to be removed early for re-use or where sufficient strength for further
construction is required quickly. RHPC should not be used in mass
concrete construction or large structural sections because of its higher rate
of heat development. It is also good in cold weather.

(iii) Low-Heat Portland Cement: This cement has a low heat of hydration.
BS 1370:1979 limits the heat of hydration to 350j/g at the age of 7 days
and 290j/g at 28 days. The lower contents of tricalcuium silicate and
tricalcium aluminates (3cao Sio2 and 3cao Al203) causes the slower
development of strength than with OPC, but the ultimate strength is

(iv) Sulphate-Resisting Cement: This cement has a low tricalcium aluminates

content so as to avoid sulphate attach from outside the concrete. To
achieve sulphate resistance, the tricalcium aluminates content in sulphate-
resisting cement is limited to 3.5 percent (BS 4027:1991) with a limit of
gypsum content of 2.5 percent.
The heat developed by this cement is not much higher than that of low-
heat cement, which is an advantage, but the cost of composition of raw
materials is higher in sulphate resisting cement.

(v) Portland Blast-Furnace Cement: This type of cement is made by

integrating or blending Portland cement clinker with granulated blast
furnace stage, which is a waste product in the manufacture of pig iron,
slag contains lime, silica and alumina but not in the same proportion as in
Portland cement and its composition can vary. This type of cement may be
referred to as slag cement.
The cement of slag should be between 25 and 70 percent of the mass of
the mixture (ASTM C 595-93) and less than 65 percent (BS 146:1991)
Portland blast-furnace cement is similar. An OPC as regards fineness,
setting times and soundness but early strengths are generally lower heat of
hydration and in sea-water construction because of a better sulphate
resistance (Lower Tricalcium aluminates).

(vi) White and Colored Portland Cement: For architectural purposes, white
concrete or a pastel color paint finish is sometimes required. For this
reason white cement is used. White cement is made from china clay,
which contains little iron oxide and manganese oxide together with chalk
or limestone free from specified impurities.
Pastel colors can be obtained by painting or by adding pigments to the
mixer provided this is no adverse effect on strength.

(vii) Portland-Pozzolan Cements: These cements are produced by

intergrading or blending Pozzolans with OPC. Pozzolan is described as a
siliceous aluminous material which is itself possesses little or no
cementious value but within finely divided form and in presence of
moisture, chemically react with lime.
The chief advantage lies in slow hydration and low rate of heat
development. This is often used in mass concrete construction.

(viii) High Alumina Cement: This chemically differs in composition from

OPC and it is very reactive, produces very high early strength, needed
strength may be reached in one day. But it has slower initial setting
compare to all varieties of Portland cements. More resistance to acids,
sulphate but attacked by alkali.
At 7000c it forms ceramic bond with aggregate, under 400c to 1000c it
loses strength and less resistance to chemical attacks.
When mixed with Portland cement it gives “flash” setting where instance
setting is wanted, but quality is intensive compare to Portland cement
concrete or high alumina concrete. However high alumina is not permitted
for use in structural concrete in BS 8110 but permitted as floor toppings.

High alumina cements has the following advantages over ordinary cement:
1) It is resistance to acid, sulphate and hence used in maintainer structure.

2) Grind need not be very fine as setting and hardening is due to mono
calcium aluminates.
3) Does not expand while setting.
4) It is not affected by frost.
5) Can be used with refractory bricks as it is stable up to 13000c.
6) Hardening rapidly, develops much strength in one day which OPC
develops in three days.

-It produces excessive heat during it setting.

(ix) Hydrophobic Cement: During the manufacture of a small amount of

water repellant is sprayed into the null during the final grinding. This
additives form a protective coating around each particle of cement which
does not break down until the mixing water is added to the concrete. This
property allows the cement to be stored for quite a long period under
humid condition. Setting and hardening properties are the same with OPC.
Hydrophobic cement increase workability of concrete which can greatly
assist compaction and help in high density and strength of concrete. The
cement is used in pumped concrete as it gives excellent surface finish to
the concrete.


1) Fineness
2) Setting of cement
3) Specific surface
4) Soundness
5) Compressive strength
6) Tensile strength

Test for fineness of cement
Finer cements react quicker with water and develop early strength though the
ultimate is not affected. However, finer cement increases shrinkage and cracking
of concrete. The fineness is tested by any of the following two methods.
1) By Sieve analysis
2) Specific surface

1) By sieve analysis: Break with hands any lumps present in 100g of cement
place in sieve BS 170/90 microns and sieve it by gentle motion of the
wrist for 15mins continuous. The residue when weighed should not
exceed10% by weight of the cement sample.

2) By specific surface: Fineness is measured in terms of specific surface,

which is the total surface area of all particles per unit mass of cement
The specific surface shall not be less than 2250cm2/g as determined by air
permeability method and 1600cm2/g as found by wagvers turbid meter

Determination of setting time of cement

Object: To determine the standard consistency and to determine the initial and
final setting of cement.
Apparatus: Vicat apparatus
The Vicat apparatus complete with a mould and two needles (for initial and final),
plunger, gauging trowel, mixing facilities, balance, measuring cylinder, stop clock
and Portland cement (spacemen). Figures 9.1 and 9.2 showing Vicat apparatus
and Automatic Vicat apparatus respectively.

Fig. 4.1 Vicat apparatus and accessories Fig. 4.2 Automatic vicat apparatus

(a) Determination of Standard Consistency
This test is performed to find out the correct amount of water to be added
to a given quantity of cement so as to get the paste of normal consistency.
This test proceeds the test of cement for soundness, setting time, tensile
strength or for compressive strength. The standard consistency and setting
time is done with the vicat apparatus.

This involves the process of trial and error until the paste is achieved
which point 5mmto 7mm from the bottom of the vicat mould.
1) Weight out 400g of cement power and place it on the mixing board.
2) Measure out (water) exactly 30% of the mass of dry cement
3) Start the stop clock and mix water with the cement to produce a fairly stiff
paste, mix for 4 minutes.
4) Apply oil or lubricant to the internal part of the mould and fill the paste into
the mould, stricken its level with the top edge and smoothen the surface
with a trowel.
5) Locate the mould beneath the plunger, lower the plunger to contact the
surface of the paste, and then release it.
6) Observe the depth of penetration of the plunger (the indicator gives the
distance in mm of the lower end of the plunger from the bottom of the
Vicat mould.

7) Check the amount of water used.
8) Repeat the procedure (1-7) adding more or less water as necessary to give
a cement paste of standard consistency i.e. to give a result for section six
(6) of between 5-7mm.
Result: Calculate in this form
STD consistency % = wt of water x 100
Wt of cement

(b) Initial Setting Time

Prepare a certain sample of standard consistency and placed in the Vicat
mould as before. Determine the initial set using the filled mould and
needle with cross-sectional area 1mm2
Lower the needle of the Vicat apparatus gently onto the surface of the
paste, and release quickly and allow it to sink to the bottom of the mould.
Repeat each 10mins in different position of the mould until the paste has
stiffened sufficiently for the needle to penetrate met deeper than 5-7mm
from the bottom of the mould (read this on the scale of the Vicat).
The initial setting time is the time elapsed between the time when the
water is added to the cement and the time at which the needle ceased to
penetrate the block as described above. The initial setting time of Portland
cements are prescribed-not less than 45mins.

(c) Final Setting Time

Replace the needle used in the initial setting time test (i.e. 1mm square
needle) fitting with annular attachment and allow this to come gently into
contact with the surface of the cement paste each 15 minutes. Final set is
said to have taken place when the needle makes an impression on surface
but annular cutting edge fails to do so. This time is the final setting time,
and should not exceed 10 hours.
Results: W/C ratio, initial and final setting time.



Rotary kilns were introduced in 1890s and became widespread in the early part of
the 20th century. They were a great improvement on the earlier shaft kilns, giving
continuous production and a more uniform product in larger quantities.

A rotary kiln is basically a long cylinder rotating about its axis. Cement kilns
rotate once every minute or two. The kiln is inclined at a slight angle, the end with
the burner being lower. The rotation of the kiln causes the raw meal to gradually
pass along from where it enters at the cool end, to the hot end where it eventually
drops out and cools. Figure 10.1 showing Principles of a basic wet- process kiln.

Fig 4.2.1 Principle of a basic wet-process kiln.

Wet process kilns
The original rotary cement kilns were called 'wet process' kilns. In their basic
form they were relatively simple compared with modern kilns. The raw meal was
fed into the kiln at ambient temperature in the form of slurry. A wet process kiln
may be up to 200m long and 6m in diameter. It has to be long because a lot of
water has to be evaporated and the process of heat transfer in a wet process kiln is
not very efficient.

The slurry may contain about 40% water. This takes a lot of energy to evaporate
and various developments of the wet process were aimed at reducing the water
content of the raw meal. An example of this is the 'filter press' (imagine a musical
accordion 10-20 meters long and several meters across) - such adaptations were
described as 'semi-wet' processes.

The wet process has survived for over a century because many raw materials are
suited to blending as slurry. Also, for many years, it was technically difficult to
get dry powders to blend adequately.
Quite a few wet process kilns are still in operation, usually now with higher-tech
bits bolted on. However, new cement kilns are of the 'dry process' type.

Dry process kilns

In a modern works, the blended raw material enters the kiln via the pre-heater
tower. Here, hot gases from the kiln, and probably the cooled clinker at the far
end of the kiln, are used to heat the raw meal. As a result, the raw meal is already
hot before it enters the kiln. A dry process kiln is much more thermally efficient
than a wet process kiln.

Firstly, and most obviously, this is because the meal is a dry powder and there is
little or no water that has to be evaporated. Secondly, and less obviously, the
process of transferring heat is much more efficient in a dry process kiln.

An integral part of the process is a heat exchanger called a ‘suspension pre-
heater.’ This is a tower with a series of cyclones in which fast-moving hot gases
keep the meal powder suspended in air. All the time, the meal gets hotter and the
gas gets cooler until the meal is at almost the same temperature as the gas.

The basic dry process system consists of the kiln and a suspension pre-heater. The
raw materials, limestone and shale for example, are ground finely and blended to
produce the raw meal. The raw meal is fed in at the top of the pre-heater tower
and passes through the series of cyclones in the tower. Hot gas from the kiln and,
often, hot air from the clinker cooler are blown through the cyclones. Heat is
transferred efficiently from the hot gases to the raw meal.

The heating process is efficient because the meal particles have a very high
surface area in relation to their size and because of the large difference in
temperature between the hot gas and the cooler meal. Typically, 30%-40% of the
meal is de-carbonated before entering the kiln.

A development of this process is the ‘pre-calciner’ kiln. Most new cement plant is
of this type. The principle is similar to that of the dry process pre-heater kiln but
with the major addition of another burner, or pre-calciner. With the additional
heat, about 85%-95% of the meal is de-carbonated before it enters the kiln. Figure
10.2 showing a dry- process kiln.

Fig 4.2.2 Basic principle of pre-calciner kiln.

Since meal enters the kiln at about 900 C, rather than 20 C in a wet process kiln,
the kiln can be shorter and of smaller diameter for the same output. This reduces
the capital costs of anew cement plant. A dry process kiln might be only 70m long
and 6m wide but produce a similar quantity of clinker (usually measured in tonnes
per day) as a wet process kiln of the same diameter but 200m in length. For the
same output, a dry process kiln without a pre-calciner would be shorter than a wet
process kiln but longer than a dry process kiln with a pre-calciner.

Fig 4.2.3 kiln and Pre- heater tower.

Kiln and pre-heater tower: raw meal passes down the tower while hot gases rise
up, heating the raw meal. At 'A,' the raw meal largely de-carbonates; at 'B,' the
temperature is 1000 C - 1200 C and intermediate compounds are forming and at
'C,' the burning zone, clinker nodules and the final clinker minerals form. See the
'Clinker' pages for more information on reactions in the kiln.

The kiln is made of a steel casing lined with refractory bricks. There are many
different types of refractory brick and they have to withstand not only the high
temperatures in the kiln but reactions with the meal and gases in the kiln, abrasion
and mechanical stresses induced by deformation of the kiln shell as it rotates.

Bricks in the burning zone are in a more aggressive environment compared with
those at the cooler end of the kiln (the 'back end'), so different parts of the kiln are
lined with different types of brick.

Periodically, the brick lining, or part of it, has to be replaced. Refractory life is
reduced by severe changes in temperature, such as occur if the kiln has to be

stopped. As the cost of refractoriness is a major expense in operating a cement
plant, kiln stoppages are avoided as far as possible.

As the meal passes through the burning zone, it reaches clinkering temperatures
of about 1400 C - 1500 C. Nodules form as the burning zone is approached. When
the clinker has passed the burning zone, it starts to cool, slowly at first, then much
more quickly as it passes over the 'nose ring' at the end of the kiln and drops out
into the cooler.

The clinker cooler

There are various types of cooler - we will consider only one, the 'grate cooler'.
Figure 4.2.4 showing the Clinker cooler.

Fig 4.2.4 Clinker cooler.

Cooler - red-hot clinker falls onto the grate, cooled by air blown from beneath.
The clinker is moving towards the front of the picture. The purpose of a cooler is,
obviously, to cool the clinker. This is important for a several reasons:
• From an engineering viewpoint, cooling is necessary to prevent damage to clinker
handling equipment such as conveyors.
• From both a process and chemical viewpoint, it is beneficial to minimize clinker
temperature as it enters the clinker mill. The clinker gets hot in the mill and
excessive mill temperatures are undesirable. It is clearly helpful, therefore, if the
clinker is cool as it enters the mill.
• From an environmental and a cost viewpoint, the cooler reduces energy
consumption by extracting heat from the clinker, enabling it to be used to heat the
raw materials.
• From a cement performance viewpoint, faster cooling of the clinker enhances
silicate reactivity.
The cooled clinker is then conveyed either to the clinker store or directly to the
clinker mill. The clinker store is usually capable of holding several weeks' supply
of clinker, so that deliveries to customers can be maintained when the kiln is not

Because of cement constituents, it readily absorbs moisture from the atmosphere.
It is therefore necessary to protect it from dampness during storage. Lack of
proper care may cause setting of cement or reduction in its strength due to partial
setting. The precautions required for proper storage are given below:
a) Walls, roof and floor of the building in which cement as to be stored
should be completely water proof.
b) Doors and windows should be properly fitted and kept always shut.
c) Bags should be packed close together.
d) If the cement store is newly constructed, then its interior should be
thoroughly dried before storing cement.
e) Except in the case of dried concrete floor, the cement bags should be
stacked on planks.
f) Cement bags should be stacked away from walls, a space of 250mm all
round should be left between the walls and the bags.
g) Bags should be piled in head out stretcher fashion and not more than 15
bags pile.
h) For temporary storage at site work, bags should not be stacked on the
ground, should be stacked on raised platform and covered with tarpaulins.


The process of proportioning the constituents (cement, aggregates, water and
additives whenever specified) prior to mixing is called batching. Batching of
concrete materials can be carried out either by volume (nominal mix) or by
When embarking on small project, batching by volume may be used, while
batching by weight will be preferred for large project where property of concrete

is of importance. A typical concrete mix in the form 1: 2: 4 (meaning one part of
cement to two parts of fine aggregates and four parts of coarse aggregate).
If the weight per unit volume of the material is known it is quite a simple matter
to convert the volume to their equivalent mix.

A concrete batch nominal mix (i.e. using 1 bag of cement) of proportion 1:2:4 is
to have a water cement ratio of 0.5. Assuming dry aggregates: find the batch
quantities and water content when batching
(a) By volume
(b) By weight
Take bulk densities 1.60kg/dm3 for sand and 1.43kg/dm3 for coarse aggregate.

A 50 kg bag of cement (taken as 35dm3 based on a bulk density of 1.43kg/dm3)
a) Volume batching
For proportion 1:2:4 by volume (cement: fine: coarse)
Batch quantities = 1 bag: 2 x 35dm3: 4 x 35dm3
= 1 bag: 70dm3: 140dm3
Water content = 0.5 x 50kg
= 25kg (25 liters)

Fine aggregate = 70dm3

Coarse aggregate = 140dm3
Water content = 25 liters

(b) Weight batching:

For proportion 1:2:4 by vol. (concrete: fine: coarse)
Batch quantities = 1 bag: 70dm3: 140dm3 as in (a)
= 1 bag: 70 x 1.6kg: 140 x 1.43kg
= 1 bag: 112kg: 200kg

Water content = 25 liters as determined in (a)
Fine aggregate = 112kg
Coarse aggregate = 200kg
Water content = 25 liters

In practice, aggregate used will often be damp. These necessitate adjustment to

the batch quantities. For volume batching, allowance must be made for sand
bulking. Often, and an average of 20% bulking is assumed, and this additional
amount is added to the mix. Alternatively test may be made to determine the
actual % building of the sand. No bulking allowance is needed for coarse

For “all-in” aggregate, an allowance of 5-10% may be made (base on 20% for
sand alone, but taking pro data to the actual sand content) or alternatively a
bulking test is used.

Example (2)
Find the batch quantities for a 1 bag (50 kg) normal mix of proportion 1:2:4
allowing for 20% bulking for fine aggregate.

Batch quantities (dry) = 1bag : 2 x 35dm3 : 4 x 35dm3
= 1 bag: 70 dm3: 140dm3
Batch quantities (damp) = 1 bag: 70 x 120/100 dm3: 140 dm3
= 1 bag: 84dm3: 140dm3

Note: for weight batching: to allow for damp aggregates, a greater weight of the
aggregate must be measured and a corresponding reduction must be made in the
water measured.
Example (3)

The dry batch quantities for a concrete mix are specified as follows: sand 112kg,
gravel 200kg and water 25 liters. Calculate the batch quantities to be measured at
the mixer for damp aggregate with moisture content of sand 5% and gravel 2%.
Moisture in sand = 5/100 x 100 = 5.6kg
Moisture in gravel = 2/100 x 200 = 4.0kg
Total moisture in aggregates = 9.6kg

Amount of sand to be measured = 112 + 5.6 = 117.6kg

Amount of gravel to be measured = 200 + 4.0 = 204.0kg
Amount in water to be measured = 25 – 9.6 = 15.4 liters

Batch quantities damp sand = 118 kg

Gravel = 204 kg
Water = 15.4 liters

Mixing of concrete
The mixing operation consists essentially of rotation or stirring, the objective
being to coat the surface of all the aggregate particles with cement paste, and to
blend the ingredients of concrete into a uniform mass. It is very important that this
objective must be maintained even during the process of discharging from the

Methods of mixing are as follows:

A) Hand mixing: mixing of concrete by hand is less efficient than mixing by
machines, but on small or unimportant works hand mixing is still practiced
in Nigeria. For this method, water tight platform is usually preferable to
carry out the mixing. This prevents dirt, earth dry grass, and leaves etc
from mixing with it. Mixing should always be done on clean, and hard
surface, such as concrete floor made by 1:3:6 or 1:4:8 mix or on a wooden
platform 3.5m x 2.0m wide.

B) Mixing by Machines: Concrete mixing by machines is more efficient and
produces concrete of better quality at a faster rate and less cost type of
mixers available are:
(i) Batch mixer
(ii) Continuous mixers
In batch mixer, after mixing one batch of materials, the mixed concrete
has to be taken out and then again a second batch is put in. The three main
functions to be performed are;
(i) Filling material into the loading skip
(ii) Discharging skip into mixing drum
(iii) Discharging of concrete from the drum. The completion of all these forms
one cycle.
The batch mixer can further be subdivided as follows:
(i) Tilting type mixers
(ii) Non tilting mixers
(iii) Open pan mixers

Continuous Mixer: The mixers do not require separate batching plant. They are
designed to feed materials into the drum at rates related to the mixing proportion
required. The drum, which is mounted horizontally, consists of a long cylinder
open at both ends and with internal blades of spiral shape so that they more the
materials forward as the drum rotates.
Below are few examples of concrete mixers and explanatory notes

Mobile Concrete Mixing / Batching Plant

Most versatile efficient plant used globally. It is used in construction of Bridges,
Highways, Airports, Canals, Multi-storey & Industrial Buildings and Ready Mix
Concrete Plant. It not only produces concrete more quickly but also result in
superb quality with no segregation during discharge. It has compact design for
easy transportation and has user friendly panel with integral computerized batch
controller. It is also cost effective and easy to calibrate. Its salient features

include: Capacity: 15m3 & 20m3/hr Compact Design for easy transportation &
shifting Loading. Figure 5.1.1 showing a Mobile Concrete Mixer / Batching

Fig 5.1.1 Mobile Concrete Mixer/ Batching Plant.

Mobile Concrete Mixing Plant

Mixing Plant is a strong well-engineered piece of construction equipment meant
for mixing various mortars. It has a wide range of applications specially used in
Construction of Canals, Bridges, Highways, Dams, Multi storied & industrial
Buildings, Factories and for Ready Mixed Concrete Works. Salient Features are:
Zero Foundation Cost/Time Mobile. Compact Design For Easy Transportation &
Shifting. Loading of aggregate/sand hoppers by tractor mounted loaders.
Complete Plant Can Be Transported in one 40 Foot Trailer. Fully Automatic
Plant. Mobile Concrete Mixer in Figure 5.1.2

Fig 5.1.2 Mobile Concrete Mixer

Tran site Mixer

Tran site Mixer is a strong well-engineered piece of construction equipment
meant for transporting or carrying concrete / mortar from batch plant directly to
the place where it is to be poured. It has a wide range of applications specially
used in Construction of Canals, Bridges, Highways, Dams, Multi storied &
industrial Buildings, Factories and for Ready Mixed Concrete Works. Its features

are as follows: Concrete Carrying Capacity: 6 Cu. M. Drum is fabricate from
6mm M.S. Sheet. Prime mover of the Drum is diesel Engine of Kirloskar/
Simpson. Tran Site Mixer in Figure 5.1.3.

Fig. 5.1.3 Tran Site Mixer

Reversible Concrete Mixer

Reversible Concrete Mixer is a strong well-engineered piece of construction
equipment which is meant for carrying mixing mortar from batch plant directly
to the place where it is to be poured. It has a wide range of applications
specially used in Construction of Canals, Bridges, Highways, Dams, Multi
storied & industrial Buildings, Factories and for Ready Mixed Concrete Works.
Technical Specification Features Reversible Mixer drum is rotating on well
align heavy duty gear ring guided by three roller for smooth rotation Compact
design for easy transportation. Reversible Concrete Mixer in Figure 5.1.4

Fig. 5.1.4 Reversible Concrete Mixer

Methods of Transporting Concrete

After mixing, concrete should be transported and placed at site as quickly as
possible without segregation, drying etc. To avoid segregation, when concrete is

to be transferred from one conveyance to another, use of hoppers, baffles and
short vertical drops should be used through a pipe to the centre of the receiving

The following methods of moving concrete from mixer to the form may be
1. Pan method
2. Wheel barrows
3. Dumpers
4. Lorries
5. Hoists (by belt conveyor)
6. Crane
7. Skips and buckets
8. Pneumatic pressure equipment
9. Pumps

Pan Method: This method is employed for small jobs where quantities of
concrete are small and labor is available at cheap rates. The main disadvantage of
this method is that the progress of work is slow.

Dumpers: These are special types of trucks. They have been found suitable to
transport concrete up to 350 meters without segregation and setting. The capacity
of a dumper is 2 to 3m3.

By Belt Conveyor: These allow movement of concrete to be easy and also to

different parts of the site. This method is used when continuous transportation of
concrete is required and suitable for concreting in hot-climate at a distance of
250m to 500m from the mixing site.
Write short notes on other methods of moving concrete mentioned above.

Pumped concrete is free from segregation. Pumping delivers the concrete direct
from the mixer to the form and thus avoids the double handling; placing can
proceed at the rate of the out of the mixer and is not hard back by the limitation of
transporting and placing equipment.

The types of concrete pumps available are the direct-acting, horizontal piston type
with semi-rotary valves set or squeeze type concrete pump.

In the direct-acting, concrete is fed into the pump by gravity and partly, by suction
due to the movement of the piston, whilst the valves open and close intermittently
so that the concrete moves in a series impulses by the pipe always remain full.

Placement of concrete: The process of depositing the concrete in its required

position is termed as placement of concrete. The main objective is to deposit the
concrete as close as possible to its final position so that segregation is avoided.

To achieve this objective the follow rules should be borne in mind.

a) Hand shoveling and moving concrete by immersion or poker vibrators
should be avoided.
b) The concrete should be placed in uniform layers, not in large heaps or
sloping layers.
c) Concrete should not be thrown form a height of more than 1m to prevent
d) No person should be allowed to walk on freshly laid concrete.
e) The rates of placing and of compaction should be equal.
f) During heavy downpour, placement of concrete should be discontinued.

g) In order to produce better bond between concrete and reinforcement,
grease, oil, dry cement etc. should be removed from the reinforcement

The following types of vibrators are used for concrete compactions:
1) Internal Vibrators: These vibrators are inserted into the concrete and
withdrawn after the compaction has been completed.
It consists of a pocker, housing an eccentric shaft driven through a flexible
drive from a motor. It is usually called pocker or immersion vibrator. The
frequency of vibration varies between 70 and 200 Hz with acceleration
greater than 4g. The pocker should be easily moved from place to place in
a vertical position so that concrete is vibrated every 0.5 to 1m for 5 sec to
2 min depending on the consistence of the mix.
The figure 5.2.1 shows an internal vibrator (eccentric head)

Fig. 5.2.1 shows Internal Vibrator (eccentric head)

2) External or Form Vibrators: These vibrators are clamped rigidly to the

formwork which rest on an elastic support, so that both the form and the
concrete are vibrated. The principle of the external vibrator is the same as
that of an internal one, but frequency is between 50 and 150Hz.
Figure 5.2.2 shows External Vibrator.

Fig. 5.2.2 External Vibrator

- Vibrating Tables: These provide a reliable means of compaction of pre-cast

concrete units and has the advantage of ensuring uniform vibration. Generally, a
rapidly rotating eccentric weight makes the table vibrate with a circular motion.
Range of frequency varies between 25 and 120Hz.
- Other types or form of vibrators are Kango hammer: used in difficult area of
shuttering e.g. where the vibrator is required to move continuously. Surface
vibrators, used in horizontal surface such as dam, roads and floors. Vibrating
screeds: for concrete floors not more 20cm thick.
Figure 5.2.3 showing a Kango hammer being put to use.

Fig. 5.2.3 Kango Hammer

Curing can be define as the process of maintaining a satisfactory moisture content
and a favorable temperature in concrete during the period immediately after the
placement of concrete, so that hydration of cement may continue till the desired
properties are developed sufficiently to meet the requirements of service. The
desirable conditions for hydration are suitable temperature and sufficient

The method of curing depends upon the nature of work and atmospheric
conditions. Usually the following methods may be adopted.
a) Shading of concrete works for large surface as roads.
b) Covering concrete surface with damp or wet covering (e.g. Hessian) to
provide continuously a uniform film of moisture over the concrete.
c) Sprinkling water on the concrete surface
d) Ponding of concrete surface suitable only for flat concrete surface such as
floor and roofs.
e) Membrane curing: employed at places where water is scarce. Chemical
compounds or polythene sheets are used for curing.
f) Steam curing usually employed in map production of pre-cast concrete
units in order to speed up the hydration and hardening process. This
method is not suitable for high alumina cement.


The operations adopted for obtaining a true, and uniform concrete surface are
called finishing operations. A tamper usually leaves a slightly ridged surface.
Thus it needs finishing; the choice of concrete finish depends upon the use of the
completed work.

For floors and slabs the following operations are adopted.

(a) Screeding (b) Floating (c) Troweling

- Screeding: The leveling operation which removes bumps and hollows and
gives a true and uniform concrete surface is known as screeding. For this
purpose a straight edge is used.
- Floating: The operation of removing the irregularities from the surface of
the concrete left after screeding is known as floating. It helps in leveling
the surface and compacting the concrete. Floating is done with the help of
1.5m long and 20cm wide wooden floats.
- Troweling: The final operation of finishing is known as troweling. It is
done know as troweling. It is done where smooth surface is desired.
Troweling should be done after the evaporation of water from the concrete
surface speeding of dry cement on wet surface to absorb excess water
should not allowed as it is not a good practice, and will develop cracks and

The Corrosion is the result of a chemical or electrochemical reaction between a
metal and its environment, which produces a deterioration of the metal and its
properties. The identity of a metal is determined by its corrosion potential and is
measured in millivolts. This measurement may vary from one zone to another
depending on the surrounding medium.

The zone where the corrosion process may be initiated is known as the anodic
zone. An anodic zone is defined by the most negative potential. The corrosion of a
metal is an oxidization process called an anodic reaction. A cathodic zone creates
a secondary process known as the cathodic reaction. This is a reduction process
by which the electrons created by the anodic reaction are consumed, resulting in
the two processes balancing their charges:

Fe Fe2+ + 2e-
In order for the corrosion process to occur, there must be an anodic zone and a
cathodic zone. Depending on the circumstances, these two zones can be
positioned close together on a metal's surface, or far apart. The two zones co-exist
creating an electrochemical process in which the surrounding medium acts as a
transport system for ions. This pathway is defined as the electrolyte.

One of the key elements for the corrosion process is the soil surrounding the metal
surface. In addition to the soil being an electrolyte, the properties of the soil may
inhibit or enhance the corrosion. Such processes including soil resistivity
(velocity of the current traveling through the ground), directly effect the
formation, rate and placement of corrosion on the metal surface. A less resistive
soil, results in an accelerated corrosion reaction.

Furthermore, soils with the following parameters may also influence the location
and formation of the anodic zones:

• Low oxygenated soil

• Ground of low resistivity
• Presence of sulphate-reducing bacteria
• Soil saturated with water
• Organic contamination (compost, refuse, ...)
• Contact with highly conductive materials (ashes,coal,salts, ...)
• Dissimilar materials.

On a metal structure placed in a soil environment, localized corrosion attacks are

a particular concern. The metal structure may go through numerous layers of soil.
With every layer there is a transition in soil composition, shifting aggressiveness
with varying layers of resistivity. These resistive regions (both anodic and
cathodic) typically decrease with incremental depth; however the corrosion
process will be amplified on the metal structure where the various layers of soil

In understanding the corrosion process and the various elements involved that
directly effect this electrochemical reaction, it is evident that the lifespan of a
metal structure may be strongly influenced by one or several factors. The
placement and rate of corrosion on a metal structure affects not only the metal
internally but the lifespan structurally.

Techno Protection offers two corrosion protection applications, based on the
cathodic protection principle. With the introduction of an external anodic area, the
natural corrosion process can be manipulated to secure it efficiently against the
degradation related to corrosion.

This is a form of reinforcement concrete but it differs from the conventional types
in that the reinforcement consists of closely spaced, multiple layers of mesh or
fine rods completely surrounded by cement mortar. Ferrocement is much thinner
than reinforced concrete, and the mesh can be formed to any shape without a
conventional form, and then plastered or mortared by hand.

Generally the mortar consists of Portland cement and well-graded sand and,
possibly some small-sized gravel depending upon the type and size of mesh. A
sand/cement ratio of 1.5 to 2.5 by mass and a water/cement ratio of 0.35 to 0.55
by mass will produce a satisfactory matrix which occupies about 95% of the total
volume of ferrocement.


Sandcrete: This is a building material, composed of Portland cement and sharp
sand in ratio of 1:8, so it is similar but weaker than mortar for which the ratio is

Sandcrete is usually used as hollow rectangular blocks often 45cm wide, 15cm
thick and 30cm high and with hollow that run from top to bottom. Sandcrete
blocks are joined together with mortar. The compressive strength of sandcrete
may be as high as 4.6/mm2 which is much less than concrete’s 40N/mm2 so
sandcrete is not suitable for load-bearing columns, and is mainly used walls of
non load-bearing. Usually compressive strength of 3.5N/mm2 is adequate for
sandcrete blocks.

Reinforced concrete is used as structural members, such as columns, beams, slabs

etc. It consists of concrete din ratio 1:2:4 (i.e. one part of cement: two parts of

sand and four parts of 19mm aggregate) and high tensile bars or rounded steel
bars of various diameter. Reinforced concrete is also referred to as composite
material. The ratio of reinforced concrete may vary depending on it intended uses.

Ferrocement is a composite material which is used in building or sculpture with

cement sand, water and wire or mesh, often called a thin shell. Ferrocement
primarily differs from conventional reinforcement concrete by the manner in
which the reinforcing elements are dispersed and arranged. Figure 6.1 showing a
typical Structure of Ferrocement

Fig 6.1 Typical Structure of Ferrocement

Reinforcing mesh
One of the essential components of ferrocement is wire mesh. Different types of
wire meshes are available almost everywhere. These generally consists of thin
wires, either woven or welded into a mesh, but the main requirement is that it
must be easily handled and, if necessary, flexible enough to be bent around sharp
corners. The function of the wire mesh and reinforcing rod in the first instance is
to act as a lath providing the form and to support the mortar in its green state. In
the hardened state its function is to absorb the tensile stresses on the structure
which the mortar, on its own, would not able to withstand. The diagram below
shows the types of wire mesh reinforcement used in ferrocement. Figure 6.2
showing wire mesh Reinforcement used in Ferrocement.

Fig 6.2 Types of wire mesh reinforcement used in ferrocement
A structure is subjected to great deal of pounding, twisting and bending during its
life time resulting in cracks and fractures unless sufficient steel reinforcement is
introduced to absorb these stresses. The degree to which this fracturing of the
structure is reduced depends on the concentration and dimensions of the
embedded reinforcement. The mechanical behavior of ferrocement is highly
dependent upon the type, quantity, orientation and strength properties of the mesh
and reinforcing rod.

Skeletal Steel

Skeletal steel as the name implied is generally used for making the framework of
the structure upon which layers of mesh are laid. Both the longitudinal and
transverse rods are evenly distributed and shaped to form. The rods are spaced as
widely as possible upto 305 mm (12 in.) apart where they are not treated as a
structural reinforcement and are often considered to serve as spacer rods to the
mesh reinforcements. In some cases skeletal steel is spaced as near as 75 mm (3
in.) center-to-center thus acting as a main reinforcing component wire mesh in
highly stressed structures, e.g. boat, barges, tubular sections, etc. The figure 6.3
below shows three – dimensional mesh

Fig. 6.3 Three-dimensional mesh

Steel rods of different kinds are used in ferrocement construction. Their

strength, surface finish, protective coating and size affect their
performance as reinforcing members of the composite. In general, mild

steel rods are used for both longitudinal and transverse directions. In
some cases high tensile rods and prestressed wires and strands are used.

Advantages of Ferrocement
Ferrocement is a suitable technology for developing countries for the following
(a) Its basic raw materials are readily available in most countries.
(b) It can be fabricated into any desired shape.
(c) The skills for ferrocement construction can be acquired easily.
(d) Heavy plants and machinery are not involved in ferrocement construction.
(e) In case of damage, it can be repaired easily. (f) Being labor intensive, it is
relatively inexpensive in developing countries.

- Building Construction: Building floors, roof for residences, office
factories, sheds are constructed using ferrocement columns, beams and
panels. Ferrocement membrane protective layer is a superior technique for
repair to damaged or deteriorated structure as compared to guiniting. The
cement matrix of this is in proportion of about 1:2 and has admixtures
which reduce shrinkage and develop early high strength. It is also used as
anticorrosive membrane treatment. Water proofing membrane technique
which helps in structural treatment to prevent crack formation by layers of
ware mesh in the membrane.
- Underground Construction Works: Ferrocement are used for
underground structure such as in floor, water tank or reservoirs, water
control devices, canal lining, retaining walls, tunnel and sub-ways.
- Airport Facilities: Ferrocement may be used in rigid pavement for
aircrafts, cargo etc. other uses are in drainage system for safety operation
and durability of the rigid pavement. Construction of control tower.
- Road Works: In areas where the road bed is packed sand and gravel, the
ferrocement is used as mere cap to keep the prepared road bed smooth and
undamaged by use. If the steel mesh is carefully arranged (3 to 5cm) is
sufficient as thickness since good sand and gravel road bed is what
actually carries the weight of vehicles. There is no traffic weight limit for
the ferrocement itself.
Ferrocement is also used for rigid pavement, drainage for pavement and
pile foundation for bridges in road construction.
- Water Projects: Ferrocement can be effectively used for various supply
structures like well casings for shallow wells, water tanks, sedimentation
tanks, slow sand filters and for sanitation facilities like septic tanks, and
sanitary bowls.

The use of ferrocement is also applicable to construction of canals gates
over dams, cross drainage works, aqueducts; check dams etc. Ferrocement
lining is used as water proofing and abrasion resistant treatment as


a. Tensile Strength: The upper and lower bounds for ultimate load of
ferrocement specimens in direct tension are obtained using the chain-of-
bundles concept.

b. Flexural Strength: Bending tests were conducted on ferrocement

specimens with steel meshes and fibers, if everything else remain equal,
the addition of brass coated steel fibers on the matrix of ferrocement can
effectively increase its flexural strength, energy absorption to failure and
significantly reduce the average crack spacing and width and prevent
spalling of the mortar and width and prevents spalling of the mortar cover
at ultimate load.

c. Impact and Fatigue Strength: The test conducted on ferrocement

specimen with woven and welded wire mesh in 3, 4 and 5 layers subjected
to three point flexure are presented for fatigue test, the peak load was kept
at 75%, 80% and 85% of the ultimate static load respectively. The fatigue
characteristics of the system were found to improve considerably with the
increase in number of mesh layers.

d. Water Retaining Capacity: Ferrocement are stronger and more

economical compared to reinforced concretes. They are water proof, fire
proof and they are used in the construction of storage tanks which may be
part of a building or be constructed as a separate unit some distance away.

a. Walls: Ferrocement are used extensively on construction of wall to make
them more rigid, firm and to prevent dampness on such walls. They are
more resistant to fire than the conventional concrete walls.
b. Floor Slabs: Ferrocement are used in the construction of floor slab to
produce maximum resistance to impose loads of the building. Ferrocement
meshes are applied on the formation of floor slabs to make them serve as
damp proof membrane. It can also serve as a means of thermal insulator.
c. Joints below floor slabs and walls: From experiment, it has been proven
that the joints below floor slab and walls are constructed with ferrocement
due to their various advantages to reinforced concrete formation.
- Ferrocement are highly rigid and able to carry the exerted load with shear
failure in any of its portion.
- They are safer and economical.
- They are water and fire proof and can safely resist the loads of joints
below slabs and walls.


Bamboo stalks are very strong and tough this is an approach that determined the
suitability of the use of bamboo as reinforcement in concrete. From studies
carried out, bamboo posses certain strength and stiffness which makes them
suitable for uses as a reinforcement material in construction industry.

Bamboo is especially notably for its hardness and rate of growth. It has greater
compressive strength than concrete and about the same strength to weight ratio
with steel in tension. Bamboo is noticed to grow faster than trees with some
species of it growing up to (46m) in just six weeks (6 weeks).

Tensile strength of certain species of bamboo according to Cox and Gegmayer
shows that it ranges from 47-172KN/mm2 and modulus of elasticity ranges form
8.69-27.6KN/mm2. For the test carried out by green average compressive strength
is 55KN/mm2. It should be noted that the fiber of bamboo is merely glued
together by pectin and therefore weaker in shear.


a. Split-Bamboo Piles (Foundation): This has been developed to improve
the bearing capacity of soft compressible soils and reduce settlement for
various types of construction works such as buildings, roads.

The hollow bamboo culms are filled up with loosely wound coconut coir and jute
thread wrapped in jute fabric; holes in the culms permit the water in the soil to
seep in, thus drying out the soil and improving its load-bearing capacity.

Split-bamboo filled up with loosely wound coconut coir strains of about 6mm
diameter each tied up with spirally wound jute thread along its length and
wrapped with a layer of thickly knit jute burlap have been successfully used.
Treated split-bamboo steps were holed at random points and tied up together at
regular intervals with galvanized iron wire after putting the coconut coir wicks
inside along its entire length.