Modern Construction Materials

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INTODUCTION
India is witnessing construction of very interesting projects in all sectors of Infrastructure. High rise structures, under construction, include residential/commercial blocks up to a height of 320 m and RC chimneys for thermal power stations extending upwards up to 275m. Majority of the structures are in structural concrete. The functional demands of such high rise structures include the use of durable materials. High Strength Concrete, Self–compacting Concrete are gaining widespread acceptance. Apart from the basic structural materials, modern projects require a variety of secondary materials for a variety of purposes such as construction chemicals, waterproofing materials, durability aids etc. The paper highlights some of the recent developments.

Mumbai sea link

HIGH PERFORMANCE CONCRETE

In the United States, in response to widespread cracking of concrete bridge decks, the construction process moved towards the use of High Performance Concrete (HPC) mixes. Four types of HPC were developed: * Very High Early Strength Concrete – 17.5 mPa in 6 hours * High Early Strength Concrete – 42.5 mPa in 24 hours

* A Very High Strength – 86 mPa in 28 days
* High Early Strength with Fiber Reinforcement
* High Performance Concrete was introduced in India initially for the reconstruction of the pre-stressed concrete dome of the Kaiga Atomic Power Project, followed for parts of the Reactors at Tarapur and Rajasthan. Subsequently, a number of bridges and flyovers have introduced HPC up to M75 grade in different parts of India.

FLY ASH

Thermal power stations are left with an undesirable by-product, fly ash, in large quantities which is not able to effectively utilize or dispose of. Currently, (2009) more than 120 million tonne of fly ash are generated annually and the storage and disposal has been costing the power stations substantial unproductive expenditure. Unfortunately, all the fly ash available at the power stations is not fit for use as mineral admixture directly. Fly ash as a mineral admixture should conform to IS: 3812. Such a material is available in the finer streams of Electro Static Precipitators fitted to the power generation system.

The coarser materials are required to be processed (generally with the help of Cyclones) before being considered for use as mineral admixture for concrete. There are only a few processing units in India, including the one as Nashik Thermal Power Station. As per the Euro Code for Concrete, only processed fly ash can be permitted as mineral admixture in concrete. The code limits the use of fly ash. About 35% of cement may be replaced by fly ash; the actual percentage replacement depending on the outcome of trail mixes

SELF–COMPACTING CONCRETE (SCC)
SCC was developed by the Japanese initially as a Quality Assurance measure, but now is being widely used for concrete structures worldwide. In India, one of the earliest uses of SCC was for some components of structures at Kaiga Atomic Power Project. Many components of the structures were very heavily reinforced and the field engineers found it difficult to place and compact normal concrete without honeycombs and weaker concrete. SCC was successfully used.

SCC leaving the batching plant is in a semi-fluid state and is placed into the formwork without the use of vibrators. Due to its fluidity, SCC is able to find its way into the formwork and in between the reinforcement and gets self-compacted in the process. SCC is particularly useful for components of structures which are heavily reinforced. The fluidity is realized by modifying the normal mix components. In addition to cement, coarse and fine aggregates, water, special new generation polymer based admixtures are used to increase the fluidity of the concrete without increasing the water content.

Due to its high fluidity, the traditional method of measuring workability by slump does not work. The fluidity is such that any concrete fed to...
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