Properties of Fresh Concrete

Fresh Concrete

Fresh concrete is that stage of concrete in which concrete can be moulded and it is in plastic state. This is also called “Green Concrete”. Another term used to describe the state of fresh concrete is consistence, which is the ease with which concrete will flow.

Properties of Fresh Concrete

1. Setting of Concrete

The hardening of concrete before its hydration is known as setting of concrete. OR The hardening of concrete before it gains strength. OR The transition process of changing of concrete from plastic state to hardened state. Setting of concrete is based or related to the setting of cement paste. Thus cement properties greatly affect the setting time.

Factors affecting setting:

Following are the factors that affect the setting of concrete.

1. Water Cement ratio
2. Suitable Temperature
3. Cement content
4. Type of Cement
5. Fineness of Cement
6. Relative Humidity
7. Admixtures
8. Type and amount of Aggregate

2. Workability of Concrete

Workability is often referred to as the ease with which a concrete can be transported, placed and consolidated without excessive bleeding or segregation.

It is obvious that no single test can evaluate all these factors. In fact, most of these cannot be easily assessed even though some standard tests have been established to evaluate them under specific conditions.

In the case of concrete, consistence is sometimes taken to mean the degree of wetness; within limits, wet concretes are more workable than dry concrete, but concrete of same consistence may vary in workability.

Because the strength of concrete is adversely and significantly affected by the presence of voids in the compacted mass, it is vital to achieve a maximum possible density. This requires sufficient workability for virtually full compaction to be possible using a reasonable amount of work under the given conditions. Presence of voids in concrete reduces the density and greatly reduces the strength: 5% of voids can lower the strength by as much as 30%.

Factors affecting concrete workability:

  • Water-Cement ratio
  • Amount and type of Aggregate
  • Amount and type of Cement
  • Weather conditions
    1. Temperature
    2. Wind
  • Chemical Admixtures
  • Sand to Aggregate ratio

3. Concrete Bleeding

Bleeding in concrete is sometimes referred as water gain. It is a particular form of segregation, in which some of the water from the concrete comes out to the surface of the concrete, being of the lowest specific gravity among all the ingredients of concrete. Bleeding is predominantly observed in a highly wet mix, badly proportioned and insufficiently mixed concrete. In thin members like roof slab or road slabs and when concrete is placed in sunny weather show excessive bleeding.

4. Segregation in concrete

Segregation can be defined as the separation of the constituent materials of concrete. A good concrete is one in which all the ingredients are properly distributed to make a homogeneous mixture. There are considerable differences in the sizes and specific gravities of the constituent ingredients of concrete. Therefore, it is natural that the materials show a tendency to fall apart.

5. Hydration in concrete

Concrete derives its strength by the hydration of cement particles. The hydration of cement is not a momentary action but a process continuing for long time. Of course, the rate of hydration is fast to start with, but continues over a very long time at a decreasing rate In the field and in actual work, even a higher water/cement ratio is used, since the concrete is open to atmosphere, the water used in the concrete evaporates and the water available in the concrete will not be sufficient for effective hydration to take place particularly in the top layer.

If the hydration is to continue, extra water must be added to refill the loss of water on account of absorption and evaporation. Therefore, the curing can be considered as creation of a favorable environment during the early period for uninterrupted hydration. The desirable conditions are, a suitable temperature and ample moisture.

Concrete, while hydrating, releases high heat of hydration. This heat is harmful from the point of view of volume stability. Jeat of hydration of concrete may also shrinkage in concrete, thus producing cracks. If the heat generated is removed by some means, the adverse effect due to the generation of heat can be reduced. This can be done by a thorough water curing.

6. Air Entrainment

Air entrainment reduces the density of concrete and consequently reduces the strength. Air entrainment is used to produce a number of effects in both the plastic and the hardened concrete. These include:

  1. Resistance to freeze–thaw action in the hardened concrete.
  2. Increased cohesion, reducing the tendency to bleed and segregation in the plastic concrete.
  3. Compaction of low workability mixes including semi-dry concrete.
  4. Stability of extruded concrete.
  5. Cohesion and handling properties in bedding mortars.

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