Friday, December 9, 2011

Types of Mixes

Types of Mixes

1. Nominal Mixes

In the past the specifications for concrete prescribed the proportions of cement, fine and coarse aggregates. These mixes of fixed cement-aggregate ratio which ensures adequate strength are termed nominal mixes. These offer simplicity and under normal circumstances, have a margin of strength above that specified. However, due to the variability of mix ingredients the nominal concrete for a given workability varies widely in strength.

2. Standard mixes

The nominal mixes of fixed cement-aggregate ratio (by volume) vary widely in strength and may result in under- or over-rich mixes. For this reason, the minimum compressive strength has been included in many specifications. These mixes are termed standard mixes.

IS 456-2000 has designated the concrete mixes into a number of grades as M10, M15, M20, M25, M30, M35 and M40. In this designation the letter M refers to the mix and the number to the specified 28 day cube strength of mix in N/mm2. The mixes of grades M10, M15, M20 and M25 correspond approximately to the mix proportions (1:3:6), (1:2:4), (1:1.5:3) and (1:1:2) respectively.

3. Designed Mixes

In these mixes the performance of the concrete is specified by the designer but the mix proportions are determined by the producer of concrete, except that the minimum cement content can be laid down. This is most rational approach to the selection of mix proportions with specific materials in mind possessing more or less unique characteristics. The approach results in the production of concrete with the appropriate properties most economically. However, the designed mix does not serve as a guide since this does not guarantee the correct mix proportions for the prescribed performance.

For the concrete with undemanding performance nominal or standard mixes (prescribed in the codes by quantities of dry ingredients per cubic meter and by slump) may be used only for very small jobs, when the 28-day strength of concrete does not exceed 30 N/mm2. No control testing is necessary reliance being placed on the masses of the ingredients.

Factors affecting the choice of mix proportions

The various factors affecting the mix design are:

1. Compressive strength

It is one of the most important properties of concrete and influences many other describable properties of the hardened concrete. The mean compressive strength required at a specific age, usually 28 days, determines the nominal water-cement ratio of the mix. The other factor affecting the strength of concrete at a given age and cured at a prescribed temperature is the degree of compaction. According to Abraham’s law the strength of fully compacted concrete is inversely proportional to the water-cement ratio.

2. Workability

The degree of workability required depends on three factors. These are the size of the section to be concreted, the amount of reinforcement, and the method of compaction to be used. For the narrow and complicated section with numerous corners or inaccessible parts, the concrete must have a high workability so that full compaction can be achieved with a reasonable amount of effort. This also applies to the embedded steel sections. The desired workability depends on the compacting equipment available at the site.

3. Durability

The durability of concrete is its resistance to the aggressive environmental conditions. High strength concrete is generally more durable than low strength concrete. In the situations when the high strength is not necessary but the conditions of exposure are such that high durability is vital, the durability requirement will determine the water-cement ratio to be used.

4. Maximum nominal size of aggregate

In general, larger the maximum size of aggregate, smaller is the cement requirement for a particular water-cement ratio, because the workability of concrete increases with increase in maximum size of the aggregate. However, the compressive strength tends to increase with the decrease in size of aggregate.

IS 456:2000 and IS 1343:1980 recommend that the nominal size of the aggregate should be as large as possible.

5. Grading and type of aggregate

The grading of aggregate influences the mix proportions for a specified workability and water-cement ratio. Coarser the grading leaner will be mix which can be used. Very lean mix is not desirable since it does not contain enough finer material to make the concrete cohesive.

The type of aggregate influences strongly the aggregate-cement ratio for the desired workability and stipulated water cement ratio. An important feature of a satisfactory aggregate is the uniformity of the grading which can be achieved by mixing different size fractions.

6. Quality Control

The degree of control can be estimated statistically by the variations in test results. The variation in strength results from the variations in the properties of the mix ingredients and lack of control of accuracy in batching, mixing, placing, curing and testing. The lower the difference between the mean and minimum strengths of the mix lower will be the cement-content required. The factor controlling this difference is termed as quality control.


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