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Construction and Building Materials 40 (2013) 207216

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Construction and Building Materials


journal homepage: www.elsevier.com/locate/conbuildmat

Durability of similar self-compacting concrete batches produced in two different EU


laboratories
Ioannis P. Skas a,, Antonis Kanellopoulos b, Konstantinos G. Trezos a, Michael F. Petrou c
a

School of Civil Engineering, Laboratory of Reinforced Concrete, National Technical University of Athens, Iroon Polytechniou 5, 157 73 Zografou, Greece
Department of Civil Engineering, Materials Laboratory, Frederick University, 7 Y. Frederickou Str., 1036 Nicosia, Cyprus
c
Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, University of Cyprus, 75 Kallipoleos Str., P.O. Box 20537, 1678 Nicosia, Cyprus
b

h i g h l i g h t s
" Reproducibility of similar mixtures is possible between different laboratories.
" Open porosity and sorptivity appear to be slightly sensitive to local materials.
" Different local materials appear to have a low impact on chloride penetrability.
" Water-to-binder ratio correlates well with all mechanical and durability properties.
" Higher silica fume percentages improve all mechanical and durability properties.

a r t i c l e

i n f o

Article history:
Received 10 April 2012
Received in revised form 17 September 2012
Accepted 25 September 2012
Available online 5 December 2012
Keywords:
Self-compacting concrete
Reproducibility
Durability
Chloride penetrability
Porosity
Sorptivity

a b s t r a c t
The present study intends to evaluate the sensitivity of self-compacting concrete (SCC) mixtures, cast in
two different laboratories of the European Union, with a focus on rheological parameters, mechanical
characteristics and durability properties. Six SCC mixtures with different water-to-binder ratios and silica
fume levels of cement replacement and two normally vibrated concrete (NVC) mixtures have been compared. It has been found that the reproducibility of similar mixtures is possible, when using different constituent materials that conform to the European Standards. Comparable rheological, mechanical and
durability properties can be achieved. Open porosity and sorptivity appear to be more sensitive than
chloride penetrability.
2012 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

1. Introduction
Self-compacting concrete (SCC) robustness can be dened as
the ability of the material to maintain its fresh properties regardless of some small changes in the contents of its mixture ingredients [1].
Due to its complex mix design, the incorporation of supplementary cementitious materials and higher dosage of chemical admixtures, SCC may be more prone to variations of its behaviour than
ordinary normally vibrated concrete (NVC).

Corresponding author. Tel.: +30 210 772 1210, mobile: +30 6947 61 62 47.
E-mail addresses: gskas@teemail.gr (I.P. Skas), eng.ak@frederick.ac.cy (A.
Kanellopoulos), ctrezos@central.ntua.gr (K.G. Trezos), petrou@ucy.ac.cy (M.F.
Petrou).
0950-0618/$ - see front matter 2012 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.conbuildmat.2012.09.100

It should be noted that prior to the introduction of the new


European Concrete Standard EN 206-1 [2] back in December
2000, the main criteria for the production and acceptance of concrete mixtures included compressive strength and slump classes.
Today, more complex criteria concerning durability properties, like
water permeability and chloride penetrability, have been set. Especially for the case of SCC mixtures, additional criteria relating to
fresh concrete properties, like ow ability, passing ability and segregation, have been integrated in the mix design process, according
to the more recent complementary specication EN 206-9:2010
[3].
The sensitivity of the SCC material in terms of its constituent
materials has been the incentive of the present study. More specifically, the scope of the present study has been the comparison of
similar concrete mixtures in two different countries of the European Union (EU), which follow the same standards and codes for

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the production of concrete mixtures. The similarity of the target


mixtures can be dened by utilizing similar aggregates, in terms
of both their physical properties and proportions in the mixtures,
same cement content within the acceptable limits dened by EN
206-1:2000 [2] and comparable rheological parameters and hardened properties [48]. The purpose of the study was to investigate
the durability in general of similar SCC mixtures in two EU countries with different materials. There was no intention to investigate
specic correlations, but the general trends of the correlations.
Two EU laboratories participated in the present study, the
Building Materials Laboratory of the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering of the University of Cyprus (UCY) and the
Laboratory of Reinforced Concrete of the School of Civil Engineering of the National Technical University of Athens, Greece (NTUA).
In total, six different SCC mixtures and two NVC mixtures have
been produced in each laboratory. All SCC mixtures have been cast
using a control composition with various water and silica fume levels, whilst NVC mixtures were produced on the basis of typical
compositions used in each country with different levels of superplasticizer, in order to achieve different workability classes.
2. Materials and concrete mixtures
2.1. Materials
Standard Portland pozzolan cement (c) with a strength category of 42.5 N/mm2
with sulphate resistance properties and low heat of hydration, conforming to the
requirements of EN 197-1:2000 [9], was used for the production of all concrete mixtures in both laboratories.
Silica fume (sf) was used as a substitute to cement in various percentages (from
sf = 0% to 20%), as it will be described in the concrete mixtures section. The incorporated silica fume is a very active pozzolan in the form of powder. The physical
properties of silica fume used in each one of the two laboratories are presented
in Table 1.
For all types of concrete, self-compacting and normally vibrated concrete, locally available crushed calcareous limestone aggregates with various particle size
gradings were used in each laboratory. The nominal aggregate sizes were the following: ne sand (fs) 0/2 mm, sand (s) 0/4 mm, ne gravel (g1) 4/10 mm and medium gravel (g2) 8/20 mm were used in UCY, while sand (s) 0/4 mm, ne gravel (g1)
4/8 mm and medium gravel (g2) 8/20 mm were used in NTUA. The aggregate grading curves used in each laboratory are shown in Fig. 1, while the physical properties
of the used aggregates are presented in Table 2. Regardless of the fact that sand is
slightly ner in the case of UCY, it could be assumed that the aggregates are similar
and comparable except their water absorption. It should be mentioned that all suitable corrections have been made for the aggregates to reach the saturated-surfacedry (SSD) state, as described by EN 1097-6:2000 [10], in order to overcome the evident differences in water absorption.
The plastic viscosity characteristics and the required stability of the SCC mixtures, compared to NVC mixtures, have been achieved by increasing the level of ne
powder. More specically, limestone powder (lp) of similar calcium carbonate
(CaCO3) purity and particle neness (see Table 3) was introduced to SCC mixtures.
The required uidity of SCC was achieved by incorporating suitable dosages of
polycarboxylic ether superplasticizer (pce), conforming to Tables 11.1 and 11.2 of
EN 934-2:2009 [11]. For the production of NVC mixtures in UCY, a polynaphthalene
based superplasticiser (pn) was alternatively used.

Fig. 1. Aggregates grading curves for UCY and NTUA.

mixtures have been designed using three different water-to-binder (w/b) ratios,
i.e. 0.45, 0.50 and 0.60, while the rest three mixtures had a common w/b ratio of
0.50, but they were designed with varying silica fume level of cement replacement,
i.e. 7%, 15% and 20% substitution of cement by volume. The two NVC mixtures of
each laboratory were designed according to typical conditions in each country
and they represent two different slump categories (S1, S4/S5). Tables 4 and 5 summarize the mixture proportions for all concrete mixtures for the two laboratories.
The aim of the mixture design between the two laboratories included same strength
class mixtures with similar rheological characteristics, in order to further compare
their durability properties.
The cement content has been uniformly selected as 350 kg/m3 for all SCC mixtures in both laboratories. Hereby, it should be pointed out that the scope of the research has been the comparison of the SCC mixtures, while the NVC mixtures have
been mainly cast in order to have a typical measure, separately for each country.
Thus, the NVC mixtures were designed on the basis of typical compositions that
are being used in the two different countries and are not directly comparable to
each other. Specically, the cement content was 400 kg/m3 for UCY and 360 kg/
m3 for NTUA mixtures, while water-to-binder ratios reached 0.50 and 0.56,
respectively.
The aggregate distribution for the control compositions has been designed, in
order to reach comparable mixture grading curves. It should be noted that the total
aggregate content of all SCC mixtures has been kept constant (15501570 kg/m3),
while the corresponding aggregate content of NVC mixtures has been designed
according to the local typical compositions of each country (1625 kg/m3 and
1800 kg/m3 for UCY and NTUA NVC mixtures, respectively). The nal grading curves
are presented in Fig. 2 for both SCC and NVC mixtures of each laboratory. It should
be noted that UCY mixtures present a ner grading for particle sizes below 2 mm
and a coarser grading for particle sizes above 2 mm. The difference between the
two laboratories in the 0.1251.0 mm area is considered to be small and it is not
expected to signicantly affect the porosity and the pore size distribution. The major difference in the aggregate properties of the two laboratories is the absorption
(see Table 2). Specically, the absorption values of UCY aggregates (up to 4.5%)
are considerably higher than the corresponding values of NTUA aggregates. This
may affect the porosity and the pore size distribution, and it is depicted in the
experimental durability results.
Limestone powder has been incorporated to all SCC mixtures in both laboratories. The powder content has been uniformly set to 175 kg/m3 for all SCC mixtures
and it is not included in the mixture grading curves.

3. Experimental procedures

2.2. Concrete mixtures


In total, eight different concrete mixtures have been cast in each laboratory: six
SCC mixtures and two NVC mixtures. All six SCC mixtures were based on a control
composition, characterized by common cement, limestone powder and total aggregate content. The following variations have been investigated: three of the SCC
Table 1
Physical properties of silica fume.
Property

UCY

NTUA

SiO2 (%)
Density (tn/m3)
Specic surface (BET)
Grading
<200 lm
<90 lm
<63 lm

95
2.20
2030

96
2.20
24.2

66%
19%
6%

90%
75%
65%

3.1. Concrete production


For the production of the mixtures in both laboratories a 100 L
capacity xed-pan planetary type cylindrical mixer with rotating
blades has been used. The volume of concrete mixture has been
35 L in each case and the same mixing procedure has been carefully followed. At rst, the aggregates have been dry-mixed and
then the limestone powder has been added. Subsequently, the cement has been introduced to the homogeneous dry mixture. Then,
80% of the water has been added, followed by the rest of the water
content in addition with the superplasticizer.
The production of the mixtures took place in different seasons
and under different temperature and relative humidity conditions
for the two laboratories. More specically, NTUA batches were cast

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Table 2
Physical properties of aggregates (calculated according to [10]).
Type

Symbol

Fine sand
Sand
Fine gravel
Medium Gravel

fs
s
g1
g2

Apparent density on an oven dried basis (tn/m3)

Water absorption (%)

UCY

NTUA

UCY

NTUA

2.76
2.80
2.70
2.70

2.66
2.66
2.65

2.0
0.6
4.5
4.0

0.9
1.1
1.0

at a mean temperature of 10 C and a mean relative humidity of


60%, while UCY mixtures were produced at a mean temperature
of 33 C and a mean relative humidity of 45%. The temperatures
and relative humidities reported concern the average environmental conditions of each country at the time of concrete production
and they were measured in meteorological stations in the region
of each laboratory. The laboratory conditions were common for
both laboratories (about 1820 C). It is considered that the test results examined in the present study can be qualied as conservative, as it can be expected that balanced or ideal conditions
would improve the resulting values.

different tests (Slump-ow, V-funnel and L-box) were carried out


to evaluate the rheological behaviour of the SCC mixtures. The
workability (unconned owability) of all SCC mixtures was assessed by the Slump-ow test (6 L) that was conducted in accordance with EN 12350-8:2010 [6]. For the evaluation of the
segregation tendency of the mixtures, the method of the Fresh Visual Stability Index (FVSI) proposed by ASTM C1611-07 [12] has
been used. The passing ability has been tested by the V-Funnel test
(12 L) and the L-Box test (14 L), as described by EN 12350-9:2010
[7] and EN 12350-10:2010 [8], respectively. For the NVC mixtures,
the concrete workability was assessed by the Slump test that was
conducted as described in EN 12350-2:2009 [5].
Given the results of the above mentioned tests, the mixtures
were classied in accordance with the provisions of the European
Guidelines for SCC [4] and EN 206-1:2000 [2] for SCC and NVC,
respectively. It is also worth mentioning that all mixtures were stable and there were no signs of obvious segregation in accordance
with ASTM C1611-07 [12].
The material used for the conduction of the above mentioned
tests has been returned to the mixer after the completion of the
test, with special care against any mortar loss.

3.2. Fresh concrete testing

3.3. Specimen preparation

The various tests, for measuring fresh concrete properties, have


been conducted in the same order in both laboratories. Three

Mould lling was conducted according to the requirements


specied in European Standards EN 12390-2:2009 [13] and EN

Table 3
Physical properties of ne limestone powder.
Property

UCY

NTUA

CaCO3 purity
Fineness
<18 lm
<2 lm
Specic gravity

96%

97.6%

96%
7%
2.8 g/cm3

97%
15%
2.7 g/cm3

Table 4
Mixture proportions in kg/m3 (UCY).
Description
Cement
Water
Limestone powder
Silica fume
Medium gravel 8/20
Small gravel 4/10
Sand 0/4
Fine sand 0/2
pce Superplasticizer
pn Superplasticizer

c
w
lp
sf
g2
g1
s
fs
pce
pn

Water/binder ratio
Total mass

w/b
W

SCC1

SCC2

SCC3

SCC4

SCC5

SCC6

NVC1

NVC2

350
210
175

350
175
175

350
157
175
491
280
500
300
13.0

301
175
175
49
491
280
500
300
9.3

400
200

491
280
500
300
7.2

313
175
175
37
491
280
500
300
8.0

400
200

491
280
500
300
6.1

333
175
175
17
491
280
500
300
8.0

110
560
275
680

110
560
275
680

0.60
2312

0.50
2278

0.45
2266

0.50
2279

0.50
2279

0.50
2280

0.50
2225

6.4
0.50
2231

Table 5
Mixture proportions in kg/m3 (NTUA).
Description
Cement
Water
Limestone powder
Silica fume
Medium gravel 8/20
Small gravel 4/8
Sand 0/4
Fine sand 0/2
pce Superplasticizer
pn Superplasticizer

c
w
lp
sf
g2
g1
s
fs
pce
pn

Water/binder ratio
Total mass

w/b
W

SCC1

SCC2

SCC3

SCC4

SCC5

SCC6

NVC1

NVC2

350
210
175

350
175
175

350
157
175
350
150
1050

301
175
175
49
350
150
1050

360
200

350
150
1050

313
175
175
37
350
150
1050

360
200

350
150
1050

333
175
175
17
350
150
1050

495
225
1080

495
225
1080

3.4

6.1

10.8

4.5

6.8

7.3

0.60
2288

0.50
2256

0.45
2243

0.50
2255

0.50
2257

0.50
2257

2.2
0.56
2360

0.56
2362

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I.P. Skas et al. / Construction and Building Materials 40 (2013) 207216

three-point bend on a 100 kN exural frame, while in NTUA the


exural strength was determined by four-point bend testing on a
100 kN exural frame.
3.4.2. Durability properties
3.4.2.1. Open porosity. The open porosity of each mixture has been
tested on one standard cube specimen (100  100  100 mm) in
accordance with ASTM C642-97 [18]. After the treatment period,
the cube has been weighted both below water and in air before
being oven dried at a temperature of 105 C until constant mass,
which usually lasted a period between 7 and 10 days. By combining the three measured masses, the open porosity has been
evaluated.
Fig. 2. Grading curves for SCC and NVC control compositions.

13670:2009 [14], as well as in the European Guidelines for SelfCompacting Concrete [4] for NVC and SCC mixtures, respectively.
More specically, SCC moulds were not mechanically consolidated
during casting and were lled with sequential pours of SCC using a
scoop. NVC moulds were lled on an electric motor vibrating table
in two layers, each being followed by adequate mechanical vibration (about 12 s each). In total, ve standard cube moulds
(100  100  100 mm), one standard prism (cross section
100  100 mm, length L = 500 mm) and one standard cylindrical
mould (diameter D = 100, height H = 200 mm) have been cast and
treated for each different mixture produced in each laboratory
for the purpose of the present study. Specically, for each mixture
and each laboratory, four out of the ve cube specimens were used
for the determination of the compressive strength, while the other
cube specimen was used for the successive estimation of the open
porosity and the sorptivity. Considering that both the open porosity and the sorptivity testing procedures require the desiccation of
the specimen and that the rst method concerns only weight measurements, which not further afict the specimen, the same cube
has been used in order to limit any possible uncertainties due to
material intrinsic deviations. Thus, the results comparison and correlation is more applicable. Standard segments (diameter D = 100,
height H = 50 mm) extracted by the middle zone of each cylindrical
specimen were used for the determination of the chloride
penetrability.
The test specimens in each laboratory were left to set for 20 h
after casting and then they were demoulded and received the same
treatment. All concrete specimens were cured in a water tank (tap
water), with a water temperature of 20 C 2 C, as described by
EN 12390-2:2009 [13], until the age of testing (28 days).
3.4. Hardened concrete testing
At the end of the curing period, the specimens were removed
from the water tank and were tested for the evaluation of their
mechanical and durability properties. For the comparison of the
hardened concrete, between the two laboratories, the following
tests have been carried out.
3.4.1. Mechanical properties
From each concrete mixture, four out of the ve standard cubes
(100  100  100 mm) were used to determine conventional compressive strength, fcc (N/mm2), according to EN 12390-3:2009 [15].
All cubic specimens were tested on a servo hydraulic compression
frame that conforms to EN 12390-4:2009 [16]. In addition, the
prismatic
mould
(cross
section
100  100 mm,
length
L = 500 mm) was used for the determination of exural strength,
f (N/mm2), as described by EN 12390-5:2009 [17]. It is also worth
mentioning that in UCY the prismatic specimens were tested in

3.4.2.2. Sorptivity. Placing one of cube specimens surface in a marginal contact with water, sorptivity has been estimated as described by RILEM TC 116-PCD [19], which constitutes specimen
weight change due to water uptake (capillary absorption). In total,
16 recordings have been made for each specimen in predened
intervals. The test duration has been set to 4 h.
3.4.2.3. Chloride penetrability. The chloride penetrability of concrete
mixtures has been determined using two different methods, ASTM
C1202-09 [20] and NordTest Build 492 [21], for UCY and NTUA,
respectively.
ASTM C1202-09 [20], also known as Rapid Chloride Permeability Test (RCPT), is a qualitative method which includes the laboratory evaluation of the electrical conductance of concrete specimens
in order to provide a rapid indication of their resistance to the penetration of chloride ions. As it has been found, the total electric
charge, Q (C: Coulomb), passing through a conventionally sized
concrete specimen under a 60 V dc potential difference across its
ends for a 6-h period, is related to the chloride ion resistivity of
the material, according to Table 6. It should be pointed out that
the cathode solution is set to 3% sodium chloride (NaCl) by mass,
while the anode solution is set to 0.3 N sodium hydroxide (NaOH).
One segment (diameter D = 100, height H = 50 mm) extracted by
the middle zone of a standard cylindrical specimen (diameter
D = 100, height H = 200 mm) has been tested for each SCC and
NVC mixture produced in UCY.
On the other hand, NordTest Build 492 [21] is a quantitative
method which determines the chloride migration coefcient of
concrete specimens, using a non-steady-state migration experiment. One segment (diameter D = 100, height H = 50 mm) extracted by the middle zone of a conventional 100 mm  200 mm
cylindrical specimen is maintained under a potential difference
varying from 10 to 60 V dc (usually in between 10 and 30 V dc)
for a period ranging from 6 to 96 h (usually 24 h). In this case
the cathode solution is set to 10% sodium chloride (NaCl) by mass,
while the anode solution is set similarly to the rst method to 0.3 N
sodium hydroxide (NaOH). The obtained chloride migration coefcient, Dnssm (10 12 m/s2), is a measure of the resistance of the
tested material to chloride penetration. One concrete segment
has been tested for each SCC and NVC mixture produced in NTUA.
For the determination of the chloride penetration depth a colorimetric method is being used, the chemical mechanism of which
can be found in literature [2224]. The tested specimen is axially
split into two pieces and one of the two fractured surfaces is
sprayed with a 0.1 M silver nitrate (AgNO3) solution. The depth
of chloride penetration is determined from the colour change in
the area where the presence of chlorides chemically leads to the
formation of silver chloride. As it is stated in Gjrv [25], Nilsson
et al. [26] has additionally proposed a ranking of concrete resistance to chloride penetration in proportion to the chloride diffusivity, as shown in Table 7.

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Table 6
Chloride ion penetrability based on charge passed (according to [20]).
Charge passed Q (C)

Chloride ion penetrability

>4000
20004000
10002000
1001000
<100

High
Moderate
Low
Very low
Negligible

Table 7
Resistance to chloride penetration based on the 28-day chloride diffusivity
(according to [26]).
Chloride diffusivity Dnssm
(10 12 m2/s)

Resistance to chloride
penetration

>15
1015
510
2.55
<2.5

Low
Moderate
High
Very high
Extremely high

4. Results and discussion


4.1. Fresh properties
The results of the rheological tests of all fresh mixtures are presented in Tables 8 and 9 for UCY and NTUA, respectively.
The slump class is similar for NVC1, while the NVC2 slump is a
class higher for the case of NTUA. This high workability could be
explained by the better effectiveness of the used pce superplasticizer in contrast to the use of the pn superplasticizer, used in
UCY. It should be hereby mentioned that the dosage of the used
superplasticizer (about 0.6% by weight of cement) is within the

limits suggested by the producer technical specications (between


0.4% and 2.0% by weight of cement). For this mixture, the slumpow class has also been estimated using the standard method used
for SCC mixtures, EN 12350-8:2010 [6].
The slump-ow classes for all SCC mixtures are similar between
same mixtures of the two laboratories, with the exception of SCC3
(w/b = 0.45, sf = 0%) which leads to a slump-ow, SF (mm), of
735 mm for the case of UCY versus 595 mm for NTUA. It is considered that the high value for UCY is caused by the excessive dosage
of pce superplasticizer (3.71% by weight of cement). On the other
hand, the low value for NTUA is due to the delayed activation of
the superplasticizer: the use of an excessive dosage of the pce
superplasticizer used in NTUA (3.09%) should increase the time
of mixing, so as the superplasticizer to be fully activated. Thus, in
the case of SCC3 it is thought that the resulting slump-ow values
are extreme values caused by different reasons, and the expected
values would be in between (about 650680 mm).
The viscosity classes of SCC mixtures that do not contain silica fume (sf = 0%), but have a varying water-to-binder ratio (w/
b = 0.45, 0.50 and 0.60), are comparable between the two laboratories. The lower slump-ow time, t500 (s), is developed for the
case of SCC1 (w/b = 0.60), which could be explained by the
excessive water content of the mixture. On the other hand, there
seems to be a signicant difference between the SCC mixtures
containing silica fume. For all cases (sf = 7%, 15% and 20%) the
UCY mixtures lead to slump-ow times close to the limit of
2.0 s (viscosity class VS1VS2 change limit), while the NTUA
mixtures have constantly lower slump-ow times (0.81.4 s). In
addition, for the latter case, the increase of silica fume level of
cement replacement leads to a subsequent increase in slumpow time, which could not be observed for the UCY mixtures.
This disparity could be possibly explained by the different effectiveness caused by the ner grading of the used silica fume in
NTUA (see Table 1).

Table 8
Fresh properties and classication (UCY).
Description

Symbol

Slump
Slump class
Slump-ow
Slump-ow class
Slump-ow time
Viscosity class
V-funnel ow time
V-funnel ow time 5 min
V-funnel viscosity class
L-box ratio
L-box
Fresh visual stability index

S (mm)
SF (mm)
t500 (s)
tv (s)
tv 5 min (s)
PA ()
FVSI

SCC1

SCC2

SCC3

SCC4

SCC5

SCC6

770
SF3
1.0
VS1
2.6
5.0
VF1
1.00
PL2
0

782
SF3
2.2
VS2
8.0
9.5
VF1
0.97
PL2
0

735
SF2
1.8
VS1
23.0
38.0
VF2
0.98
PL2
0

783
SF3
1.8
VS1
7.8
9.9
VF1
0.96
PL2
0

725
SF2
2.0
VS2
7.7
10.6
VF1
0.94
PL2
0

788
SF3
2.0
VS2
8.1
11.0
VF2
0.97
PL2
0

SCC1

SCC2

SCC3

SCC4

SCC5

SCC6

NVC1

NVC2

49
S2

200
S4

NVC1

NVC2

55
S2

270
>S5
680
SF2

Table 9
Fresh properties and classication (NTUA).

Description

Symbol

Slump
Slump class
Slump-ow
Slump-ow class
Slump-ow time
Viscosity class
V-funnel ow time
V-funnel ow time 5 min
V-funnel viscosity class
L-box ratio
L-box
Fresh visual stability index

S (mm)

n/a: Not available (not measured).

SF (mm)
t500 (s)
tv (s)
tv 5 min (s)
PA ()
FVSI

810
SF3
1.0
VS1
1.5
1.8
VF1
1.00
PL2
0

770
SF3
2.0
VS2
7.3
7.5
VF1
1.00
PL2
0

595
SF1
2.1
VS2
25.0
37.7
VF2
n/aa
n/aa
0

740
SF2
0.8
VS1
3.6
4.4
VF1
0.95
PL2
0

750
SF2
1.0
VS1
4.1
5.0
VF1
0.94
PL2
0

830
SF3
1.4
VS1
2.5
2.9
VF1
1.00
PL2
1

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The viscosity of the various mixtures has also been evaluated in


accordance with the European Guidelines for SCC [4], using the Vfunnel ow time (rst test), tv (s). It can be inferred that all similar
SCC mixtures lead to the same viscosity classes for both UCY and
NTUA. This could be attributed to the high value of class change
limit (8 s limit between viscosity classes VF1 and VF2). The decrease of water-to-binder ratio (w/b = 0.60, 0.50 and 0.45 for
SCC1, SCC2 and SCC3, respectively) for mixtures without silica
fume content (sf = 0%), leads to a great increase in ow times. For
the case of SCC3 (w/b = 0.45) the V-funnel ow times, tv (s), were
considerably high and for the repetition test (after 5 min) the time
values, tv 5 min (s), were even higher than the upper limit of acceptance (25 s). The quick loss of mixture workability with time could
be explained by its low w/b ratio. As it was reported previously, the
difference in effectiveness of silica fume between the two laboratories leads to signicantly lower ow time values for the case of
NTUA SCC mixtures. It should be mentioned that this dissimilarity
of effectiveness does not affect the mechanical properties, as it will
be shown in the related Section 4.2.
The L-box ratios, PA, are similar for all mixtures of both laboratories and far above the limit value of 0.80 (for material passing
through three smooth reinforcement bars). An overall comment
that could be reported is that most NTUA mixtures present a
slightly lower blocking issue than UCY mixtures, resulting in higher blocking ratios close to 1.00. This could be explained by comparing the particle size distributions of the same nominal size coarse
aggregates between the two laboratories (see Fig. 1): for both the
ne and medium gravel, UCY distributions contain larger particles
(lower passing percentages for larger sieve openings compared to
NTUA grading curves). It should be noted that the L-box ratio for
NTUA SCC3 mixture (w/b = 0.45, sf = 0%) could not be measured.
For this mixture, only a small fraction of the total concrete volume
was able to ow through the spaces between the vertical reinforcement bars to the horizontal section, due to the stiffness of the
material. Concrete has not reached the end of the horizontal section, thus the height could not be measures and the mixture could
not be classied. It is thought that the different SCC3 behaviour between the two laboratories is caused by different reasons. More
specically, UCY SCC3 mixture presented a limited segregation
tendency, which resulted in the obstruction of the ow in the narrow gate of the V-funnel but not in the larger gaps between the
vertical reinforcement bars of the L-box. On the other hand, NTUA
SCC3 mixture presented no segregation, but the stiffness of the
material lead to an overall deterioration of the rheological characteristics (combination of low slump-ow, high V-funnel times and
inability of passing through the L-box). Consequently to the above
evaluation, it should be mentioned that although mixture SCC3 is
classied as self-compacting concrete, it could also be practically
classied as a highly owable normal concrete.

The Fresh Visual Stability Indices, FVSI, for all SCC mixtures ranged from 0 to 1, ensuring high stability and no evidence of considerable segregation or bleeding.
4.2. Mechanical properties
4.2.1. Individual property analysis
The compressive and exural strengths for all concrete mixtures of the two laboratories are presented in Tables 10 and 11.
The coefcient of determination values, based on a linear correlation of the different mechanical and durability properties, are presented in Table 12. The coefcient of determination values above
the diagonal correspond to the UCY properties and below the diagonal to NTUA properties. The diagonal values correspond to correlations between properties of the two laboratories. Coefcient of
determination values determined after excluding some property
values are listed below the ones determined based on all property
values.
The compressive strengths, fcc (N/mm2), presented in Tables 10
and 11 are average values of four specimens. Based on the standard
deviation reported in the same tables, the average coefcient of
variation (standard deviation/mean value) is very low, and it is
2.6% for UCY mixtures and 3.1% for NTUA mixtures.
Mixtures SCC1, SCC2 and SCC3 have a varying water-to-binder
ratio (w/b = 0.60, 0.50 and 0.45) and have no silica fume content.
Results from both laboratories, UCY and NTUA, show (see Tables
10 and 11) a resembling decrease of the compressive strength with
the increase of w/b. In the case of UCY the lower coefcient of
determination compared to NTUA (0.77 vs. 0.93, see Table 12) is
caused by mixture SCC3 (w/b = 0.45), which developed a lowerthan-expected compressive strength compared with the strength
values developed by mixtures with w/b = 0.50. On the other hand,
the exural strength, f (N/mm2), is decreasing more steeply for
NTUA mixtures, but this could be explained by the especially high
exural strength value of UCY SCC1 (w/b = 0.60), which is about
12.5% of the corresponding compressive strength.
Mixtures SCC2, SCC4, SCC5 and SCC6 have a common waterto-binder ratio (w/b = 0.50), while their silica fume level varies
from 0 to 20%, respectively. As it can be seen in Tables 10 and 12
the increase of compressive strength is very similar for both UCY
and NTUA mixtures, presenting only a minor difference in the rate
of increase, which is due to the greater deviation of values at the
edge points (0% and 20% silica fume by binder volume). The absence of silica fume (sf = 0%) leads to a compressive strength of
63.4 and 66.0 N/mm2 for UCY and NTUA, respectively, whereas
the mixtures including the highest silica fume level of replacement
(sf = 20%) develop a compressive strength of 78.2 and 75.3 N/mm2
for UCY and NTUA, respectively. The coefcients of determination
are excellent for both cases (R2 = 0.980.99). For the case of exural

Table 10
Mechanical properties (UCY).

Description

Symbol

SCC1

SCC2

SCC3

SCC4

SCC5

SCC6

NVC1

NVC2

Compressive strength
Flexural strength

fcc (N/mm2)
f (N/mm2)

44.3 (2.1a)
5.5

63.4 (2.0)
6.1

60.2 (1.6)
7.4

70.1 (1.8)
6.0

75.4 (1.2)
6.9

78.2 (1.7)
6.7

56.1 (1.2)
6.0

64.4 (1.1)
6.5

SCC1

SCC2

SCC3

SCC4

SCC5

SCC6

NVC1

NVC2

66.0 (1.2)
6.7

76.5 (2.3)
8.4

70.3 (2.0)
6.8

74.1 (1.6)
4.8

75.3 (2.6)
6.0

54.1 (1.4)
5.7

62.6 (1.3)
6.7

Standard deviation of four cubic specimens.

Table 11
Mechanical properties (NTUA).
Description
Compressive strength
Flexural strength
a

Symbol
2

fcc (N/mm )
f (N/mm2)

Standard deviation of four cubic specimens.

49.5 (3.4 )
3.5

I.P. Skas et al. / Construction and Building Materials 40 (2013) 207216

213

Table 12
Coefcients of determination (R2) for the correlations between measured properties.

Excluding UCY SCC3; bExcluding NTUA SCC5; cExcluding NTUA SSC2.

strength, it is evident (see Tables 1012) that it is not affected


much by the silica fume level of cement replacement.

4.2.2. Comparative analysis


The various correlations between the resulting values of same
tested mechanical and durability properties are presented in
Figs. 36. A linear relation of the resulting values of each tested
property coincident to the diagonal of 45 would imply an excellent relation among these values and a high reproducibility between the two laboratories.
In Fig. 3, the compressive strength of the various mixtures for
the two labs is being evaluated and compared. The compressive
strengths, fcc (N/mm2), at the conventional age of 28 days varied
from 44.3 to 78.2 N/mm2 for SCC and from 54.1 to 64.4 N/mm2
for NVC mixtures. It can be seen that SCC mixtures develop very
similar compressive strength values in the two laboratories. As it
has been explained previously, SCC3 mixture (w/b = 0.45) develops
a lower-than-expected compressive strength in the case of UCY. By
correlating all pairs of values, excluding only the one corresponding to w/b = 0.45 (SCC3), the coefcient of determination reaches
a value of R2 = 0.99. By including this point in the predicting linear
curve the coefcient of determination is decreased to R2 = 0.68. The
values of NVC mixtures do also develop similar compressive
strengths between the two laboratories. The high workable NVC2
mixture, containing superplasticizer (pce and pn for UCY and
NTUA, respectively), develops a pair of values close to the corresponding SCC2 mixture that has a similar water-to-binder ratio
and has null silica fume content (sf = 0%). The lower slump class

Fig. 4. Correlation between normalized exural strengths.

Fig. 5. Correlation between open porosities.

Fig. 3. Correlation between compressive strengths.

NVC1 mixture, which was produced without superplasticizer


(pce, pn = 0) develops a 13% lower compressive strength for both
laboratories.
The exural strengths, f (N/mm2), of SCC mixtures varied from
3.5 to 8.4 N/mm2 or 6.5% to 12.4% of the corresponding compressive strength, fcc (N/mm2). For NVC mixtures the values varied from
5.7 to 6.7 N/mm2 or 10.1% to 10.7%, when normalized to the corresponding compressive strength. Fig. 4 presents the exural
strength normalized to the corresponding compressive strength,

214

I.P. Skas et al. / Construction and Building Materials 40 (2013) 207216

Fig. 6. Non-steady state migration coefcient vs. electric charge.

f/fcc. As it can be extracted from this gure, the pairs for both cases
of SCC1 (w/b = 0.60 for sf = 0%) and SCC5 (sf = 15%, w/b = 0.50) are
far remote than it was expected. For the rst case of SCC1 this
could be explained by a combination of opposite radical values between the two laboratories. For UCY the normalized exural
strength reaches 12.4%, while for NTUA the corresponding percentage is 7.1%. As far as SCC5 is concerned, this mixture seems to develop a reasonable normalized exural strength value for the case
of UCY, which is close to the similar mixtures containing silica
fume. This was expected due to the fact that the silica fume level
does not seem to be affecting the exural strength, as it was explained previously. On the other hand, for the case of NTUA, the
normalized exural strength of SCC5 seems to develop an unexpectedly low value (6.5%). Conclusively, by excluding the peak values 6.5% for SCC5 [NTUA] and 12.4% for SCC1 [UCY], the correlation
of all other SCC mixtures lead to a linear regression with a coefcient of determination resulted that equals R2 = 0.62. It should be
noted that the exural strength in the case of NTUA was measured
in a four-point bending test instead of the three-point bending test
utilized in UCY.
4.3. Durability properties
4.3.1. Individual property analysis
Three durability properties (open porosity, sorptivity and electric charge) of the concrete mixtures produced in both laboratories
are presented and evaluated in Tables 1214. The non-steady state
migration coefcient, Dnssm (10 12 m/s2), will be commented on
for NTUA mixtures and the electric charge, Q (C), will be discussed
for the case of UCY.
The open porosity, p (%), is compared for SCC mixtures between
the two laboratories. A clear increase of the porosity is observed as
the water-to-binder ratio is increased. The rate of the increase is
higher for NTUA mixtures and values seem to converge for higher

w/b ratios. The coefcient of determination between p (%) and w/b


ratio for UCY and NTUA mixtures is 0.97 and 1.00, respectively. On
the other hand, the open porosity decreases with the increase of
silica fume level, sf (%). NTUA SCC5 mixture (sf = 15%, w/b = 0.50)
develops a very high open porosity, which is thought to be overestimated. By excluding this point, the coefcient of determination
for NTUA mixtures is 0.78 compared to the 0.99 exhibited by the
UCY mixtures.
As far as the sorptivity, i (mm/min1/2), of the mixtures is concerned, SCC mixtures of UCY laboratory seem to decrease slightly
with the increase of water-to-binder ratio (see Table 12), compared
to the corresponding NTUA mixtures. The coefcient of determination is 0.95 and 1.00 for NTUA and UCY mixtures, respectively. For
the case of the increasing content of silica fume, UCY mixtures
present a descending linear relation (R2 = 0.97). The corresponding
NTUA mixtures would lead to a similar result, with the exception
of the value of the mixture SCC2 (sf = 0%, w/b = 0.50) which seems
considerably low compared with the rest of the values. By excluding this value the coefcient of determination is 0.72.
The electric charge, Q (C), of all mixtures is examined for the
cases of varying water-to-binder ratio (w/b = 0.45, 0.50 and 0.60
for a zero silica fume content) and varying silica fume level of cement replacement (sf = 0 to 20% for common w/b = 0.50) respectively. Q (C) is signicantly reduced (more than 33%) when the
w/b is reduced from 0.6 to 0.45. A greater reduction (more than
80%) of Q (C) is achieved by increasing the sf from 0 to 20%. The
coefcient of determination for the linear correlation of Q (C) with
w/b and sf level is 0.90 and 0.88, respectively. The non-steady state
migration coefcient, Dnssm (10 12 m2/s), is increasing with the
increase of water-to-binder ratio (w/b). The addition of silica fume
and increase of its level leads to a clear decrease of the migration
coefcient. The coefcient of determination is 0.93 and 0.97 for
the linear correlation of the migration coefcient with w/b ratio
and sf, respectively.
4.3.2. Comparative analysis
In Fig. 5, it is evident that open porosities between the two laboratories are different with the corresponding coefcient of determination to be low (R2 = 0.28). Mixture SCC5 (w/b = 0.50, sf = 15%)
developed an open porosity percentage value, which was higher
than expected in contrast with the other mixtures. More specically, it would be expected that the porosity would reach a value
between the corresponding values to SCC4 (w/b = 0.50, sf = 7%)
and SCC6 (w/b = 0.50, sf = 20%). Thus, by excluding SCC5, the coefcient of determination does increase up to R2 = 0.62. Finally, it is
obvious that lower w/b ratios develop lower open porosity values
for the case of NTUA SCC mixtures. Still, there is a very good correlation (R2 = 0.99) between SCC mixtures without silica fume
(sf = 0%) and the varying water-to-binder ratio (w/b = 0.45, 0.50
and 0.60).

Table 13
Durability properties (UCY).
Description

Symbol

SCC1

SCC2

SCC3

SCC4

SCC5

SCC6

NVC1

NVC2

Open porosity
Sorptivity
Electric charge

p (%)
i (mm/min1/2)
Q (C)

19.0
0.088
6373

18.0
0.079
4235

17.0
0.075
4195

16.0
0.072
1862

14.5
0.069
897

13.5
0.064
710

20.5
0.147
4932

20.0
0.131
5181

Table 14
Durability properties (NTUA).
Description

Symbol

SCC1

SCC2

SCC3

SCC4

SCC5

SCC6

NVC1

NVC2

Open porosity
Sorptivity
Non-steady state migration coefcient

p (%)
i (mm/min1/2)
Dnssm (10 12 m2/s)

18.5
0.147
29.86

15.5
0.063
19.22

13.5
0.050
18.23

16.0
0.081
11.92

17.0
0.065
7.33

12.5
0.068
5.18

17.0
0.150
15.76

17.5
0.122
16.52

I.P. Skas et al. / Construction and Building Materials 40 (2013) 207216

Fig. 6 describes the correlation between the non-steady state


migration coefcient, Dnssm (10 12 m2/s), and the electric charge,
Q (C), for NTUA and UCY, respectively. It can be inferred that the
two methods lead to similar results for the mixtures tested, developing a very high coefcient of determination (R2 = 0.98). As far as
the rankings are concerned, it can be seen that all mixtures without
silica fume content do receive similar rankings (low resistance to
chloride penetration versus high chloride ion penetrability). For
the increasing level of silica fume both rankings are being expectedly gradually improved. It could also be discussed that NVC mixtures develop high electric charge values, thus being ranked to high
chloride ion penetration, compared to the corresponding non-steady state migration coefcient values, which lead to a ranking close
to moderate resistance to chloride penetration. In opposite, mixtures with w/b = 0.45 and 0.50 and no silica fume content do develop higher non-steady state migration coefcient values compared
to their corresponding electric charge, which could rank them to
moderate chloride ion penetration.
4.3.3. Various correlations
The coefcient of determination values for a linear correlation
of the different mechanical and durability properties are presented
in Table 12, as mentioned also previously. The general conclusion
from this table is that there is a very good correlation among the
different properties that are investigated. There are some exceptions of course due to experimental data that they do not t in
the linear correlation for several reasons that are explained. It
should be noted that some properties are not expected to be linearly correlated. The average coefcient of determination for all UCY
and NTUA properties, without any exclusion, are 0.78 and 0.65
respectively.
As it can be seen in Tables 13 and 14 the sorptivity, i (in mm/
min1/2), of the SCC specimens is increasing with the increasing percentage value of the open porosity, p (%). The variation of the values is lower for the case of UCY mixtures (R2 = 0.94, see Table 12),
whilst NTUA mixtures develop a higher and more unstable increase (R2 = 0.51). By excluding the value corresponding to NTUA
SCC5 (w/b = 0.50, sf = 15%), which develops very high porosity
compared to the average of the adjacent mixtures, the rate of the
linear regression is greatly improved (R2 = 0.71).
The correlation between the open porosity, p (%), and the electric charge, Q (C), is excellent (R2 = 0.92) for the UCY SCC mixtures
as presented in Table 12. The same R2 = 0.92 is exhibited for a correlation between sorptivity, i (mm/min1/2), and electric charge Q
(C). The electric charge, Q (C), correlates well also with the corresponding compressive strength, fcc (N/mm2) for UCY mixtures.
The correlation between compressive strength, fcc (N/mm2), and
sorptivity i (mm/min1/2), is shown in Table 12. For both cases the
coefcient of determination is high (R2 = 0.93 and 0.86 for UCY
and NTUA mixtures, respectively). In Tables 1014, it is evident
that the open porosity, p (%), is decreasing with the increase of
the compressive strength, fcc (N/mm2), for both UCY and NTUA
mixtures. In the case of NTUA SCC mixtures the higher scatter of
the open porosity values that correspond to higher compressive
strength, leads to a lower coefcient of determination (R2 = 0.56)
in contrast to UCY mixtures (R2 = 0.85). By excluding NTUA SCC5
(w/b = 0.50, sf = 15%), which develops very high porosity compared
to the average of the adjacent mixtures, the coefcient of determination becomes similar to UCY mixtures (R2 = 0.85).
5. Conclusions
Self-compacting concrete (SCC) is considered to be more prone
to variations of its behaviour compared to ordinary normally vibrated concrete (NVC). Considering the signicant variations in

215

aggregate physical properties, like size, specic density and water


absorption between different countries of the European Union
(EU), the sensitivity of six self-compacting concrete mixtures has
been the incentive of the present study. The rheological parameters
of the fresh material, as well as the mechanical and durability
properties of the hardened concrete have been estimated and compared between two EU laboratories.
The six SCC mixtures were based on a control composition, with
the following variations: three of them have been designed using
three different water-to-binder ratios, i.e. w/b = 0.45, 0.50 and
0.60, while the rest three mixtures had a common w/b ratio of
0.50, but they were designed with varying silica fume level of cement replacement, i.e. sf = 7%, 15%, 20% substitution of cement
by volume. The scope of this study has been the investigation of
the reproducibility trends between the two laboratories, thus individual values are not separately evaluated. It has been found that:
 By making minor changes in the constituent materials in order
to achieve a similar nal mixture grading, the reproduction of
the mixtures is possible between the two laboratories. Most of
the mixtures lead to comparable rheological parameters and
mechanical properties. Any minor exceptions can be reasonably
explained on the basis of the different properties of constituent
materials incorporated in the various mixtures. The compressive strength values in the two laboratories are strongly correlated (R2 = 0.99), while exural strength values are correlated
well (R2 = 0.65).
 The durability properties of the mixtures produced in the two
laboratories are comparable. Even though two different methods were used to measure chloride penetrability in the two laboratories, the electric charge, Q (C), in one laboratory is
correlated strongly (R2 = 0.98) with the non-steady state migration coefcient Dnssm (10 12 m2/s) of the other laboratory.
Open porosities from the two laboratories are correlated well
(R2 = 0.62), while sorptivity values have a weak correlation
(R2 = 0.49). The last two durability properties appear to be more
sensitive to local materials than chloride penetrability.
 The water-to-binder ratio exhibits a strong correlation (average
R2 = 0.93) with all mechanical and durability properties in both
laboratories. Silica fume percentage is also strongly correlated
to all properties (average R2 = 0.88) in both laboratories and it
improves them as it increases from 0% to 20%.

Acknowledgements
The work conducted at UCY was supported by the University of
Cyprus Internal Grant for Large Scale Multi-Disciplinary projects.
The raw materials for the production of the concrete mixtures at
NTUA have been provided by BASF Hellas, Dionyssomarble Group
and Interbeton Building Materials S.A.
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