what is fly ash used for in concrete

what is fly ash used for in concrete

Fly Ash Info for Freeway Engineers

Chapter 3 – Fly Ash in Portland Cement Concrete

  • Introduction
  • Combine Design and Specification Necessities
  • Fly Ash Properties
  • Different Constituents
  • Building Practices


The usage of fly ash in portland cement concrete (PCC) has many advantages and improves concrete efficiency in each the contemporary and hardened state. Fly ash use in concrete improves the workability of plastic concrete, and the energy and sturdiness of hardened concrete. Fly ash use can also be value efficient. When fly ash is added to concrete, the quantity of portland cement could also be decreased.

Advantages to Contemporary Concrete. Typically, fly ash advantages contemporary concrete by lowering the blending water requirement and bettering the paste circulation habits. The ensuing advantages are as follows:

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  • Improved workability. The spherical formed particles of fly ash act as miniature ball bearings inside the concrete combine, thus offering a lubricant impact. This identical impact additionally improves concrete pumpability by lowering frictional losses in the course of the pumping course of and flat work finishability.

    Determine 3-1: Fly ash improves workability for pavement concrete.

    Photo of concrete paving operation

  • Decreased water demand. The substitute of cement by fly ash reduces the water demand for a given stoop. When fly ash is used at about 20 p.c of the full cementitious, water demand is decreased by roughly 10 p.c. Greater fly ash contents will yield increased water reductions. The decreased water demand has little or no impact on drying shrinkage/cracking. Some fly ash is thought to cut back drying shrinkage in sure conditions.

  • Lowered warmth of hydration. Changing cement with the identical quantity of fly ash can cut back the warmth of hydration of concrete. This discount within the warmth of hydration doesn’t sacrifice long-term energy acquire or sturdiness. The decreased warmth of hydration lessens warmth rise issues in mass concrete placements.

Advantages to Hardened Concrete. One of many major advantages of fly ash is its response with obtainable lime and alkali in concrete, producing extra cementitious compounds. The next equations illustrate the pozzolanic response of fly ash with lime to supply extra calcium silicate hydrate (C-S-H) binder:

(hydration) Cement Response:C3S + H → C-S-H + CaOH Pozzolanic Response:CaOH + S → C-S-H silica from ash constituents

  • Elevated final energy. The extra binder produced by the fly ash response with obtainable lime permits fly ash concrete to proceed to realize energy over time. Mixtures designed to supply equal energy at early ages (lower than 90 days) will finally exceed the energy of straight cement concrete mixes (see Determine 3-2).

Determine 3-2: Typical energy acquire of fly ash concrete.

Figure 3-2: Typical strength gain of fly ash concrete. Graph of strength gain of concrete with only cement and concrete containing fly ash. The fly ash gains strength slower at first and then has higher strength.

  • Lowered permeability. The lower in water content material mixed with the manufacturing of extra cementitious compounds reduces the pore interconnectivity of concrete, thus reducing permeability. The decreased permeability leads to improved long-term sturdiness and resistance to numerous types of deterioration (see Determine 3-3)

Determine 3-3: Permeability of fly ash concrete.

Figure 3-3: Permeability of fly ash concrete. Graph of permeability versus cementitious content. The graph indicates that concrete with fly ash has lower permeability than concrete without fly ash.

  • Improved sturdiness. The lower in free lime and the ensuing enhance in cementitious compounds, mixed with the discount in permeability improve concrete sturdiness. This affords a number of advantages:
    • Improved resistance to ASR. Fly ash reacts with obtainable alkali within the concrete, which makes them much less obtainable to react with sure silica minerals contained within the aggregates.
    • Improved resistance to sulfate assault. Fly ash induces three phenomena that enhance sulfate resistance:
      • Fly ash consumes the free lime making it unavailable to react with sulfate
      • The decreased permeability prevents sulfate penetration into the concrete
      • Alternative of cement reduces the quantity of reactive aluminates obtainable
    • Improved resistance to corrosion. The discount in permeability will increase the resistance to corrosion.

    Determine 3-4: Fly ash concrete is utilized in extreme publicity applicationssuch because the decks and piers of Tampa Bay’s Sunshine Skyway Bridge.

    Figure 3-4: Fly ash concrete is used in severe exposure applications such as the decks and piers of Tampa Bay

Combine Design and Specification Necessities

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Procedures for proportioning fly ash concrete (FAC) mixes essentially differ barely from these for standard PCC. Fundamental tips for choosing concrete proportions are contained within the American Concrete Institute (ACI) Handbook of Concrete Observe, Part 211.1. Freeway companies typically use variations to this process, however the fundamental ideas beneficial by ACI are broadly acknowledged and accepted. There’s little or no on proportioning in ACI 232.2.

Fly ash is used to decrease the price and to enhance the efficiency of PCC. Usually, 15 p.c to 30 p.c of the portland cement is changed with fly ash, with even increased percentages used for mass concrete placements. An equal or larger weight of fly ash is substituted for the cement eliminated. The substitution ratio for fly ash to portland cement is often 1:1 to 1.5:1.

A combination design must be evaluated with various percentages of fly ash. Time versus energy curves will be plotted for every situation. To fulfill specification necessities, curves are developed for varied substitute ratios and the optimum substitute share ratio is chosen. A combination design must be carried out utilizing the proposed building supplies. It’s endorsed that the fly ash concrete being examined incorporates native supplies in efficiency analysis.

Cement Elements. As a result of fly ash addition contributes to the full cementitious materials obtainable in a combination, the minimal cement issue (portland cement) used within the PCC will be successfully decreased for FAC. The ACI acknowledges this contribution and recommends {that a} water/ (cement plus pozzolan) ratio be used for FAC in lieu of the traditional water/cement ratio utilized in PCC.

Fly ash particles react with free lime within the cement matrix to supply extra cementitious materials, and thus, to extend long-term energy.

Fly Ash Properties

Fineness. The fineness of fly ash is vital as a result of it impacts the speed of pozzolanic exercise and the workability of the concrete. Specs require a minimal of 66 p.c passing the 0.044 mm (No. 325) sieve.

Particular gravity. Though particular gravity doesn’t instantly have an effect on concrete high quality, it has worth in figuring out adjustments in different fly ash traits. It must be checked repeatedly as a top quality management measure, and correlated to different traits of fly ash that could be fluctuating.

Chemical composition. The reactive aluminosilicate and calcium aluminosilicate parts of fly ash are routinely represented of their oxide nomenclatures corresponding to silicon dioxide, aluminum oxide and calcium oxide. The variability of the chemical composition is checked repeatedly as a top quality management measure. The aluminosilicate parts react with calcium hydroxide to supply extra cementitious supplies. Fly ashes are likely to contribute to concrete energy at a sooner charge when these parts are current in finer fractions of the fly ash.

Sulfur trioxide content material is proscribed to 5 p.c, as larger quantities have been proven to extend mortar bar growth.

Accessible alkalis in most ashes are lower than the specification restrict of 1.5 p.c. Contents larger than this may increasingly contribute to alkali-aggregate growth issues.

Carbon content material. LOI is a measurement of unburned carbon remaining within the ash. It could vary as much as 5 p.c per AASHTO and 6 p.c per ASTM. The unburned carbon can take in air entraining admixtures (AEAs) and enhance water necessities. Additionally, among the carbon in fly ash could also be encapsulated in glass or in any other case be much less energetic and, subsequently, not have an effect on the combination. Conversely, some fly ash with low LOI values might have a sort of carbon with a really excessive floor space, which is able to enhance the AEA dosages. Variations in LOI can contribute to fluctuations in air content material and name for extra cautious area monitoring of entrained air within the concrete. Additional, if the fly ash has a really excessive carbon content material, the carbon particles might float to the highest in the course of the concrete ending course of and should produce dark-colored floor streaks.

Different Constituents

Aggregates. As with every concrete combine, acceptable sampling and testing are wanted to make sure that the aggregates used within the combine design are of fine high quality and are consultant of the supplies that might be used on the venture. Aggregates containing reactive silica could also be used within the FAC.

Cement. Fly ash can be utilized successfully together with all sorts of cements: portland cement, efficiency cement, and blended cements. Nonetheless, particular care must be taken when utilizing fly ash with excessive early energy or pozzolanic cements. Acceptable combine design and testing must be performed to judge the affect of fly ash addition on the efficiency of excessive early energy concrete. Blended or pozzolanic cements already include fly ash or different pozzolan. Further cement substitute would have an effect on early energy growth. Traits of cement fluctuate, as do fly ashes, and never all mixtures produce concrete. The chosen portland cement must be examined and accredited by itself advantage, in addition to evaluated together with the particular fly ash for use.

Air Entraining Admixtures (AEAs). The upper the carbon content material within the fly ash, the harder it’s to regulate the air content material. Additional, if the carbon content material varies, air content material have to be carefully monitored and admixture dosage charges modified to insure correct ranges of air entrainment.

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Retarders. Including fly ash shouldn’t appreciably alter the effectiveness of a chemical retarder. Some fly ashes might delay the time of set and should cut back the necessity for a retarder.

Water reducers. Fly ash concrete usually requires much less water, however it may be additional improved with using a water-reducing admixture. The effectiveness of those admixtures can fluctuate with the addition of fly ash.

Building Practices

Fly ash concrete mixes will be developed to carry out basically the identical as PCC mixes with minor variations. When mixing and putting any FAC, some minor adjustments in area operation could also be fascinating. The next normal rules-of-thumb might be helpful:

Plant Operations. Fly ash requires a separate watertight, sealed silo or holding bin for storage. Take care and clearly mark the loading pipe for fly ash to protect in opposition to cross-contamination when deliveries are made. If a separate holding bin can’t be supplied, it might be potential to divide the cement silo. If obtainable, use a double-walled divider to forestall cross-contamination. Because of its particle spherical form, dry fly ash is extra flowable than dry portland cement. The angle of repose of fly ash is often lower than that of cement.

As with every concrete combine, mixing time and circumstances are crucial to producing high quality concrete. The rise in paste quantity and concrete workability (ball bearings impact) related to using fly ash sometimes enhance mixing effectivity.

Area Practices. Starting with the primary concrete supply to the job web site, each load must be checked for entrained air till the venture personnel are assured a constant air content material is being obtained. After that, periodic testing ought to proceed to make sure consistency. Concrete must be positioned as rapidly as potential to attenuate entrained air loss by prolonged agitation. Regular practices for consolidation must be adopted. Extreme vibration must be averted to attenuate the lack of in-place air content material.

FAC combine workability traits permit it to be positioned simply. Many contractors report improved smoothness of FAC pavements over these constructed with standard PCC. FAC accommodates extra paste than standard PCC, which is useful to the ending. The slower early energy growth of FAC may additionally lead to longer moisture retention.

Determine 3-5: Fly ash concrete ending

Figure 3-5: Fly ash concrete finishing

Troubleshooting. First-time customers of fly ash in concrete ought to consider the efficiency of proposed mixes previous to building. All concrete substances have to be examined and evaluated to develop the specified combine design.

Air content material. The fineness of fly ash and the improved workability of FAC make it naturally harder to develop and maintain entrained air. Additionally, residual unburned carbon in ash adsorbs among the air entraining agent and make it tougher to develop the specified air content material. Greater carbon content material ashes naturally require increased AEA contents. High quality assurance and high quality management testing of ash on the supply should make sure that the fly ash used maintains a uniform carbon content material (LOI) to forestall unacceptable fluctuations in entrained air. New applied sciences and procedures to handle unburned carbon in fly ash are described in Chapter 10.

Decrease early energy. Fly ash concrete mixes sometimes lead to decrease strengths at early ages. The slower energy acquire might require types to be strengthened to mitigate hydraulic masses. It must be famous that type removing and opening to site visitors could also be delayed as a result of slower energy features. Decrease early strengths will be overcome through the use of accelerators.

Seasonal limitations. Building scheduling ought to permit time for FAC to realize sufficient density and energy to withstand de-icing functions and freeze-thaw biking previous to the winter months. Power acquire of FAC is minimal in the course of the colder months. Though pozzolanic reactions are considerably diminished under 4.4 levels C (40 levels F), energy acquire might proceed at a slower charge ensuing from continued cement hydration. Chemical admixtures will be utilized to off-set seasonal limitations.

Design and Building References

See Appendix C.

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