Advances in Civil Engineering

Volume 2016 (2016), Article ID 1035946, 11 pages

http://dx.doi.org/10.1155/2016/1035946

## Design of Normal Concrete Mixtures Using Workability-Dispersion-Cohesion Method

Civil Engineering Department, The Hashemite University, Zarqa 13133, Jordan

Received 4 November 2015; Accepted 4 May 2016

Academic Editor: Luigi Di Sarno

Copyright © 2016 Hisham Qasrawi. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

#### Abstract

The workability-dispersion-cohesion method is a new proposed method for the design of normal concrete mixes. The method uses special coefficients called workability-dispersion and workability-cohesion factors. These coefficients relate workability to mobility and stability of the concrete mix. The coefficients are obtained from special charts depending on mix requirements and aggregate properties. The method is practical because it covers various types of aggregates that may not be within standard specifications, different water to cement ratios, and various degrees of workability. Simple linear relationships were developed for variables encountered in the mix design and were presented in graphical forms. The method can be used in countries where the grading or fineness of the available materials is different from the common international specifications (such as ASTM or BS). Results were compared to the ACI and British methods of mix design. The method can be extended to cover all types of concrete.

#### 1. Introduction

Concrete mix design is the procedure by which the proportions of constituent materials are suitably selected so as to produce concrete satisfying all the required properties for the minimum cost. Many attempts have been made to develop a reliable method for normal concrete mix design in various parts of the world ever since usage of concrete began as a structural material [1–12]. Among all available methods, the ACI 211.1 [13], the British Road Note Number 4, and the British DoE [14, 15] methods of mix design are the most widely used ones in the Middle East. Many of the Middle East countries adapted one or more of these methods as the basis for their concrete mix proportioning (examples are Kuwaiti, Saudi, and Jordanian specifications [16–18]). Because of the variations of the available materials (in many countries) from the American or the British specifications, the use of the American or the British methods of mix design requires special care, individual experience, and special judgments in order to arrive at the optimum design. Therefore, adjustment of mix proportions may become slow and tedious. The most common variations of the available materials are aggregate grading, shape, fineness, and texture. These variations directly affect both the workability and the final properties of concrete [11]. According to Murdock and Brook [19], Neville [14], and El-Rayyes [10], two of the most necessary and vital conditions to attain economy in the mix design process are the use of locally available materials and the adoption of less restrictive specification requirements. Several researches have been published emphasizing the modification of available mix design methods (such as the ACI 211.1) in order to suit local materials [20–25]. In order to arrive at a better relationship between ratio and the strength, some researchers used obtained special plots for EN and BS cements [26, 27]. Therefore, the use of the ACI or BS methods would not necessarily end up with the optimum mix design. Hence, the need for a new method, which takes into account the variations in materials, becomes necessary.

In addition to the foregoing problems, another difficulty, usually experienced in site and encountered in the mix design, is the assessment of workability. Workability has been used qualitatively to describe the ease with which the concrete can be mixed, transported, placed, compacted, and finished. Thus, workability is rather difficult to define precisely, because it is intimately related, among others, to the following: (a) mobility: that property which determines how easily the concrete can flow into the moulds and around the reinforcement, (b) stability: that property which determines the ability of the concrete to remain as a stable and coherent mass during concrete production, (c) compactability: that property of concrete which determines how easily concrete can be compacted to remove air voids, and (d) finishability: that property which describes the easiness to produce the specified surface [28, 29].

In sites, usually special experience and slump test results are used together to assess workability. Although the slump test is not sufficient to measure and describe the workability of concrete, it is the test used extensively in site work all over the world. However, its relation with other workability measures and thus its relation to the degree of workability are well established and published in the literature. Some of the references cited here describing such relations are [8, 9, 13–15, 29, 30]. Because of the problems encountered in workability measurements and assessment, the author referred (in the research) to the degree of workability rather than describing it in an absolute value. Therefore it is necessary to obtain factors which directly relate to the degree of workability and can be used in the estimation of the mix proportions. This, of course, is better than relating the mix design to some test values, which might not represent the actual degree of workability or might not be practical or cannot be used at sites.

Another problem that arises in the concrete mix design is the choice of water/cement ratio to satisfy the required properties. Since Abrams formulated the water/cement ratio law in 1918 [1], it became well known that, under ordinary conditions of exposure and using Portland cement, the water/cement ratio is mainly governed by the strength requirement [13–15]. Thus, the relationship shown in Figure 1 can be used to estimate the water/cement ratio required for certain strength. Figure 1 is a replot of the figure that appeared in the DoE mix design method [15] but cement/water ratio is plotted against compressive strength instead of the conventional water/cement ratio. The use of ratio instead of ratio would result in linearization of the curves, which in turn would result in better estimates of the results. The values given in the ACI 211.1 are also plotted. Again, the use of ratio results in straight line relationships. It is worth noting that the use of the DoE plots requires the determination of the compressive strength of concrete mixes made with a free cement/water ratio of 2 when local materials are used. This value can be easily obtained in any country or region using its own local materials.