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Title: Optimizing the usage of fly ash in concrete mixes
Authors: Zulu, Sabelo N. F. 
Keywords: Concrete;Cement;Durability;Environment;Fly ash;HVFA;Permeability;Pozzolon;Strength and workability
Issue Date: 2017
Improving on our construction practices to promote sustainable development in engineering and to promote eco-friendly living is vital in the fight against global warming and associated problems. This study looked at one of the ways in which engineering can contribute to this fight through promoting the recycling of waste by-products such as fly ash (FA), on a larger scale in the cement and concrete industry, by utilizing the FA to the optimum.

In this study concrete mixes of 25 MPa, 35 MPa and 50 MPa with FA partially substituting the cement at 30%, 40%, 50% and 60% were produced and numerous tests were performed to determine the optimum amount of FA that can be used and still obtain better or comparable concrete to ordinary concrete. Testing for concrete properties was conducted under laboratory conditions over a period of one year. In addition, a cost comparison between ordinary concrete and FA concrete was undertaken.

The results obtained show that the increase in FA content influenced the rheological properties of fresh concrete favorable. The recorded slump increased with the increase of FA content. Increasing the FA content prolonged the setting of concrete, with the ordinary concrete taking 1 hour 45 min to set, compared to more than 2 hours for FA mixes. The FA increase had negligible effects on the air content of the concrete mixes. The drying shrinkage of concrete increased with the increase of FA content, with the strain ranging from 0,045% to 0,56%.

The compressive strength results show that the control mixes with 30% FA content attained the highest compressive strength over a year. In some cases, the 40% FA strength was compatible to the 30% FA strength. The durability index results showed the control mix of 30% FA attaining better results for Oxygen Permeability Index and Sorptivity Index, with the 40% FA mix following closely. The higher FA content mixes (50% and 60%) attained better Chloride Conductivity results than the lower FA content mixes.

Increasing the FA content does affect the performance of the concrete at early stages, however concrete with acceptable strength and good durability qualities can be produced even with 50% FA volume. Increasing the FA content can also significantly reduce the cost of producing and working with concrete. The practice of utilizing higher FA content in concrete can be beneficial for the South African cement and concrete industry without compromising the quality of the cement products concrete structures.
Rights: Submitted in fulfilment for the Degree of Master's in Civil Engineering, Durban University of Technology, Durban, South Africa, 2017.
Appears in Collections:Theses and dissertations (Engineering and Built Environment)

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