- Open Access
Strength and Durability Properties of Concrete with Starch Admixture
© The Author(s) 2015
- Received: 2 April 2014
- Accepted: 2 June 2015
- Published: 14 July 2015
This paper examines some properties of concrete, such as strength, oxygen permeability and sorptivity using starch [cassava (CA) and maize (MS)] as admixtures. Concrete cubes containing different percentages of the CA and MS by weight of cement (0, 0.5, 1.0, 1.5 and 2.0 %) were cast. Compressive strength tests were carried out after 3, 7, 14, 21, 28, 56, 90, 180, 270 and 365 days of curing. Oxygen permeability and sorptivity tests were carried out on another set of concrete specimens with the same percentages of starch at 7, 28, 90, 180, 270 and 365 days. Oxygen permeability and sorptivity tests data obtained were subjected to Kruskal–Wallis one-way analysis of variance by ranks. The strength increase after 1 year over the control for CA 0.5 and CA 1.0 are 2.7 and 3.8 % respectively, while MS 0.5 and MS 1.0 gave 1.5 % increase over control. These results showed a decrease in oxygen permeability and rates of sorptivity, with concretes containing starch as admixtures giving better performance than the control concretes.
- oxygen permeability
- statistical analysis
Concrete structures according to Baroghel-Bouny et al. (2009) should be able to serve the purposes for which they were built throughout their service life. Baroghel-Bouny et al. (2009) noted that safety, economy and environmental factors are major issues in the long-term durability of structures. Achieving durability in concrete therefore should be a very significant factor in the design and construction of new structures and in the evaluation of the condition of existing structures (Merretz et al. 2009). According to Folić and Zenunović (2010), the mode of interaction of concrete with its environment will influence the likely mechanisms of deterioration. The ability of concrete to resist chemical attack, abrasion, weathering action and other deterioration effects is very important during the service life of the structure. Materials used in construction play a major role in the durability of concrete. However, Gjørv (2011) pointed out that design, materials used and workmanship are very important factors in achieving good quality construction which will enhance durability of concrete. Deterioration mechanisms in concrete structures are influenced by interaction with the environment. The system design of concrete and civil engineering structures that involve materials selection, structural shape, construction work and maintenance should be carried out in a manner that is environmentally friendly because this will contribute to environmental sustainability (Folić 2009). The durability of concrete may be affected by physical, chemical and biological factors. These factors may be due to weathering conditions (temperature, and moisture changes), abrasion, attack by natural or industrial effluents and gases, or biological agents (Nagesh 2012). Increased knowledge of materials properties is vital in durability considerations for concrete structures. According to Chidiac (2009) durability of concrete depends on the qualities of the materials, construction, design and exposure conditions. The importance of materials quality cannot be over-emphasized in concrete durability. Elahi et al. (2010) examined the mechanical and durability properties of high performance concretes containing supplementary cementitious materials and concluded that the combination of different cementitious materials and the precise choice combinations should be on the basis of the physical properties relevant to the durability and performance expected from the concrete, as well as the exposure conditions.
Chemical admixtures are used in the production of concrete in order to achieve various durability properties. Khayat (1998) reviewed the use of viscosity-enhancing admixtures such as water soluble synthetic and natural organic polymers. Polymers used as admixtures are said to enhance the joining of the mixing constituents as a result of intertwining polymer film which, according to Chung (2004), produces concrete of better mechanical and durability characteristics. Chemical admixtures are used as high range water reducer admixtures (HRWRA) and have impacted on the rheological and mechanical behaviour of cement-based systems. This allows for a latent time that permits casting of concrete in excellent condition. These chemical admixtures are oil based, non-renewable products such as polynaphthalene sulphonate (PNS), polycarboxylate (PC) and polyacrylate (PA). They contain formaldehyde which when accidentally or intentionally released into the environment may result in undesirable environmental toxic effects (Crépy et al. 2011; Akindahunsi et al. 2013). Recently, interest has been developing in the use of organic admixtures to modify various properties in concrete because they are available in abundance; their preparation is not so sophisticated. They are renewable materials, therefore contributing to sustainable green construction. The use of organic admixtures including starch and its derivatives to modify different properties of cement and concrete has been reported by various authors such as: Luke and Luke (2000); Peschard et al. (2004); Crépy et al. (2011); Akindahunsi et al. (2011), (2012); Lasheras-Zubiate et al. (2012) among others.
Starch is used for different purposes such as a thickener/stabilizer and gelling agent. Starch pastes and gels are used to control the consistency of some manufactured products. It is also used as starting material in the production of sweeteners and polygons (BeMiller and Hubber 2011). Starch is equally used in the plastics industry to produce biodegradable plastics which require starches that have small granules (Wang et al. 1998). Furthermore, it is used in the construction industry as concrete block binder, asbestos, clay and limestone binder, fire-resistant wallboard, plywood/chipboard adhesive, gypsum board binder and paint filler (Satin 1998). One of the fears exhibited in the use of organic admixtures is that it is biodegradable and its long term effect on concrete might be negative. This paper therefore examines the use of CA and MS starches as admixtures in concrete and this long term durability characteristics.
2.2.1 Determination of Particle Sizes of Cement and Starches Used
The particle size distributions of the cement and the starches (CA and MS) used for this investigation were determined by means of a Malvern (2005) particle size analyzer. It is an automated light scattering instrument, the laser particle size analyser measures the size of particles, powders and suspensions or emulsions using diffraction and diffusion of a laser beam. The sample particles to be measured are passed through concentrated laser beam and the particles scatter light at an angle that is inversely proportional to their size (Malvern 2005). The laser diffraction result generated for the particle size distribution of the CA and MS starches used are volume based. The laser diffraction computed median (D50) is used for the point specification (Malvern 2005). The two most common points used to describe the dispersal of the particles are the finest (D10) and the coarsest (D90) distribution. D50, therefore, is the average particle size. The D10 is the particle size that has ten percent smaller and ninety percent larger. The D90 refers to ninety percent of the particle size distribution having smaller particle size and ten percent having the larger particle size.
2.2.2 Starch Activation
The MS starch powder is factory pre-treated and the starch properties can be activated in water at ambient room temperature and the required dosage (in powder form) added directly to the mix. CA starch however, has to be activated with hot water at a temperature between 70 to 90 °C. Therefore, the required dosage has to be prepared separately and allowed to cool down in order not to contribute to temperature rise in the mix in which it is going to be used. The quantity of water used in the starch activation was deducted from that required in a mix.
2.2.3 Starch Morphology
Field emission Scanning Electron Microscope (JSM-7600F model) was used to examine the morphology of the starch (MS and CA) materials used in this study. The JSM-7600F operates with the use of a T-FE electron gun and sem-in-lens objective lens in its electron optics system and a robust structure is able to operate in a broad range of installation environments. This enables the achievement of high resolution and high quality images. The scanning electron microscope incorporates an energy filter (r-filter) for the secondary and backscattered electrons, and this increases image resolution on nonconductive specimens and semiconductor devices.
2.2.4 Setting Times Tests
Setting times (initial and final) for the different percentages of CA and MS starch additions in cement were determined under controlled humidity and temperature. The percentages of starch added to the cement are 0, 0.5, 1.0, 1.5, 2.0 respectively. The tests complied with the South African standard SANS 50196-3:2006 and EN 196-3:2005. Standard mortar mixer set to EN mixing standard was used to carry out the mixing of the different cement pastes with various concentrations of starches. The setting times were determined using automatic Vicat needle apparatus ToniSet Expert model 7320 manufactured by Toni Tecknik, Germany.
2.2.5 Concrete Mixes
Mix proportions (kg/m3) of the various concrete used.
Cement (CEM1 52.5 N)
The compressive strengths of the concrete cubes were determined in accordance with South African codes SANS 5860 (2006), 5861-2 (2006) and 5861-3 (2006) which are used as benchmark for concrete quality and as an index of the strength of concrete. The cubes were crushed in saturated moist condition in compliance with the standard as stated in Fulton’s concrete technology (2009). An Amsler compression machine with a capacity of 2000 kN was used to carry out the compression tests.
2.2.6 Oxygen Permeability Test
2.2.7 Water Sorptivity Test
3.1 Materials Characterization
Chemical composition of cement.
Compounds calculated from Bogue’s equation
3.2 Particle Sizes
3.3 Setting Times Tests
3.4 Morphology of Starches
Chemical composition of CA starch.
Chemical composition of MS starch.
3.5 Compressive Strength Tests
The compressive strength results of concrete mixes containing different percentages of CA by weight of cement (0, 0.5, 1.0, 1.5 and 2.0) after 28 days of curing are: 58.53, 60.5, 61.43, 57.83 and 58.63 N/mm2 respectively. This represents 3.4, 4.9, 0.5 and 0.2 % increase in compressive strength of CA concretes over the control. For MS starch additions (0.5, 1.0, 1.5 and 2.0) the percentage increase in strength are 59.85, 61.6, 59.77 and 57.1 N/mm2 respectively. This represents 2.3, 5.2, 2.1 and −2.4 % increase over the control. After 1 year of curing, percentage strength increase over the control for CA 0.5 and CA 1.0 are 2.7 and 3.8 % respectively while MS 0.5 and MS 1.0 gave same value of 1.5 %. Drop in strength experienced in CA 1.5, CA 2.0 MS 1.5 and MS 2.0 are 2.7, 0.6, 2.9 and 3.1 % respectively. From Figs. 12 and 13, CA 0.5, CA 1.0 MS 0.5 and MS 1.0 attained strength of more than 70 N/mm2, however, CA 0.5 and CA 1.0 attained it at 90 days while MS 0.5 and MS 1.0 attained at 180 days. The obtained compressive strength of more than 70 MPa is reasonable with the use of high strength cement of 52.5 N at water-cement ratio of 0.54. The long-term strength of the concretes is seen to slow down after 180 days because much of the strength has been gained in the early days (of strength development) as observed from the high percentage of C3S in the constituents of cement used (Table 1). The gain in compressive strength after 100 days as observed from Figs. 12 and 13 is limited by the availability of hydration sites which is reduced as the cement matures.
A comparison of CA concretes (Fig. 12) and MS concretes (Fig. 13) with the control shows that CA concretes attained high strength earlier than MS concretes and the control. This may be because CA starch is known to have higher degree of polymerisation than MS starch (Swinkels 1985), resulting in greater binding force. This explains why CA starch concretes have lower slump when compared to the control concretes or MS starch concretes. Swinkels (1985) showed that the extent of polymerisation of starch molecule is influenced by the source of starch.
3.6 Oxygen Permeability Test Results
Starches used in this investigation generally delay the setting time of cement which may be an advantage for use where a longer period of time is required for casting the concrete.
The morphology, particle size and specific surface areas of the starches gave an indication of the form of adhesion the starches would have on the cement grains. CA starch with a smaller average particle size thus adheres more strongly onto cement grains. Hence, it will lead to a higher viscosity and less slump in concretes when compared to MS starch.
The compressive strength tests result at 28 days showed that CA 0.5, CA MS 0.5 and MS 0.5 have 1.0 3.4, 4.9, 2.3 and 5.2 % strength gain over the control respectively. After a year the strength increase for CA 0.5 and CA 1.0 are 2.7 and 3.8 % respectively over the control, while MS 0.5 and MS 1.0 gained 1.5 % strength over control.
Incorporation of CA and MS starches into concrete improves the durability properties of the concrete.
The statistical analyses of concrete mixed with different starches when compared with control indicated that generally concrete with starches performed better than control. However, overall the concretes with addition of different concentrations of MS starch performed better than concretes with different concentrations of CA starch.
Further investigations may be required to determine the suitability of the use of starch under different environmental conditions in order to assess the full impact of durability properties of the material in concrete.
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