Effect of Scoria on Various Specific Aspects of Lightweight Concrete
International Journal of Concrete Structures and Materials
Effect of Scoria on Various Specific Aspects of Lightweight Concrete
Eddie Franck Rajaonarison
Velomanantsoa Gabriely Ranaivoniarivo
Bam Haja Nirina Razafindrabe
Experimental research on the technical characteristics of lightweight concretes incorporating scoria was conducted. The objective of this research is to investigate the feasibility and effectiveness of the use of scoria, in lightweight concretes. Coarse scoria of 5/10 and 10/20 mm were used. A portion of the aggregate mixtures had an average particle size B100 lm. Scorias are often used as the constituents of structural concrete and insulating materials. The usability of the concretes tested in this study broadens as the porosity of the mixtures decreased and the cement dosage increased. According to the cement dosage and frequency types, the absorption coefficients of concretes ranged from 0.14 to 0.47. A compressive strength of 19 MPa corresponded to a density of 1800 kg/m3; compressive strengths from 10 to 18 MPa mapped to densities ranging from 1300 to 1700 kg/ m3. The thermal conductivity of mixed concretes without scoria reached a maximum value of 0.268 W/m K. The thermal conductivity values of the concretes mixed without sand were below 0.403 W/m K. As sand content increased, the conductivity evolved from 0.565 to 0.657 W/m K. Freeze-thaw stability tests were conducted for 400 cycles or until specimens deteriorated. The experimental results helped in determining the optimum mixing conditions for the inclusion of scoria in cement to produce lightweight concretes.
scoria; lightweight concrete; thermal and acoustic properties
Structural lightweight aggregate concrete is made with
lightweight aggregates, as defined in ASTM C330. This
variety of concrete has a minimum 28-day compressive
strength of 17 MPa, an equilibrium density between 1120
and 1920 kg/m3, and a composition entirely of lightweight
and normal-density aggregate materials
Relatively low-density aggregates can be obtained by
substituting classical aggregates of sand and pea gravel with
artificially lighter aggregates, such as expanded polystyrene
(Chen and Liu 2004; Khedari et al. 2003)
Experimental works have shown that the characteristics of the
aggregates are highly active in lightweight concretes,
dictating the good mechanical, thermal, and acoustical
performance of the final concrete
(Lotfy et al. 2015; de
Sensale and Goncalves 2014; Chi et al. 2003)
Some modified types of concrete under thermomechanical
loadings have been developed
(De Sa et al. 2006; Burlion et al.
. The selection of materials is essential from the acoustical
point of view. Materials can be classified into three main
categories: transmission, reflection, and absorption. Good
knowledge of these factors will help specialists to develop and
implement sound-absorbing walls, which offer the best value for
money with high acoustical performance levels. A micro
perforated panel (MPP) was proposed (Maa 2007) as a next-generation
alternative for porous sound-absorbing material, which has
various issues related to health, hygienic, and environmental aspects.
Many studies on MPPs have since been conducted
Brocklesby 2005; Asdrubali and Pispola 2007)
. Some studies on
plate absorption were conducted. Others were more focused on
radiation (Ruzzene 2004), and in particular, the vibration and
radiation of sound from sandwich beams utilizing an MPP.
Moreover, salt scaling is defined as the ‘‘superficial
damage caused by freezing a saline solution on the surface of a
(Valenza II and Scherer 2007)
scaling is caused by the formation of an ice lens, which
induces constraints on the material periphery. The damage
from the frost, and from scaling in particular
(Valenza II and
, most frequently occurs in the wet regions of
concrete in which the material surface is water-saturated
under rigorous wintry conditions of severe frost.
Several researchers have investigated the effects of scorias
as replacements for cement, namely with respect to the mortar
toughness, cement fraction
(Al-Swaidani and Aliyan 2015;
Bondar 2015; Lotfy et al. 2015; Ghrici et al. 2007; Rabehi et al.
, the fabrication of granulate forms for lightweight
concretes (Mouli and Khelafi 2008), and thermal activation
(Ezziane et al. 2007)
. Most studies have shown that scorias are
economically sound and ecologically friendly building
Vlcˇek et al. 2014
). Scoria, as lightweight aggregate,
has been used in concrete to produce structural lightweight
concrete, especially in Turkey
(Yas¸ar et al. 2004)
most of these works have not included the simultaneous
research on the mechanical, thermal, and acoustic
characteristics of the building materials incorporating scorias.
In this study, the ability of scoria to replace all aggregates
is emphasized. The objective of this research is to investigate
the feasibility and effectiveness of using scorias in
In the present work, the mechanical, thermal, and
acoustical behaviors of these scorias used as a base in concrete
were studied. These materials were simultaneously
considered according to two characteristic relations: mechanical/
thermal and mechanical/acoustical. The second motivation
arises from a desire to better understand the thermo-acoustic
mechanisms at stake. The aptitude of scoria concretes to
resist damage by freeze–thaw cycles was particularly of
focus. In short, in the framework of this experimental
research, the continuity of the works carried out by
predecessors in this field is a synonym of process diversity
because a common base or reference material uniting this
work with those in the past is scoria and its different
2. Materials and Methods
The following materials were used to produce different
concretes. The cement used during our experiments is type I
(ASTM C150 2009)
. The physical properties and chemical
composition of this cement are listed in Table 1.
Potable water meeting the requirements of ASTM C
1602-06 (2009) was used to mix the concretes, and saturated
(Bediako et al. 2015)
was used to cure the
specimens. The scoria extraction site, is located in Antsirabe,
167 km away in the southern part of Antananarivo, capital of
Madagascar. The scoria in this geographical structure is
better preserved compared with that of the volcanic cones in
. Its main mass, which has not
been estimated, is formed by projection products, among
which scorias widely dominate.
The scoria samples were processed by identification and
characterization tests. Chemical analyses of samples of the
powdered scoria were performed. The method of powder
X-ray diffraction was used on the samples and required a
monochromatic X-ray beam. The powder was examined by a
Siemens D500 diffractometer using monochromatic CuKa
radiation with a wavelength k = 1.7903 A˚ at a voltage of
40 kV and a current of 30 mA. The obtained results are
shown in Fig. 1.
Table 2 summarizes the main characteristics of the scoria
samples used for this study while Table 3 shows the results
of the chemical and mineralogical analyses for these
samples. The dominant minerals are nepheline, orthose and
magnetite. Furthermore, the secondary minerals are diopside
The sand used in this study comes from Antananarivo,
Madagascar. It is siliceous. Its rolled grains, round form, and
smooth surface are characterized by their quality. The
average specific mass is cs = 2.66 kg/l for the tested
samples. The tested apparent density (average value) is
cs = 1.52 kg/l. As for the sand used in this study, its
porosity is PS = 42, 86% and the sand equivalent is
ES = 72%.
The ASTM C618
(ASTM C 618 2001)
standard was used
when setting the characteristics of the scoria. The average
values of silica, alumina, and ferric oxide in the scoria are
within 43–55, 12–24, and 8–20%, respectively. These ranges
serve to ensure cohesion between the chemical elements,
specifically indicating that substance cohesion plays an
essential role in this material property.
Scoria samples were composed of alumina, silica, and
ferric oxide in compliance with the characteristic limits set
by NFP 18 308. The alkali values are presented in equivalent
values of Na2O, a metric commonly used by cement workers
(UCGCT 2009; Beyciog˘lu et al. 2010)
A careful testing of the apparent and absolute densities of
the aggregate as well as on water content in natural state of
the scoria was conducted. The average tested apparent
density of the S1 aggregates is 1.47 T/m3. Its average real
density and water content are respectively 2.89 and 6%. The
fine phases used in some of the mixtures were 100-lm
constituents taken from Antsirabe milled scorias. The
material finer than 75 lm, which represents the dust in the
scoria, was tested according to ASTM C-117
. The particle size distribution of the aggregates is
shown in Fig. 2. The amount of dust was found to increase
near the ground surface and decrease with the depth. The
material with an average density of 1.15, taken from the
main pit of the quarry showed an average proportion of
material finer than 75 lm, ranging between 0.4 and 0.6%.
The investigation indicated that a voluminous deposit of
scoria located at a greater depth satisfied the ASTM C-33
requirements for both the range and average proportion of
material finer than 75 lm. Photographs of the scoria samples
are shown in Fig. 3.
An experimental study is imperative for a better
understanding of the interaction between fine constituents and
coarse aggregates. Some authors
(Rossignolo et al. 2003;
Beaucour et al. 2003)
have studied the behavior of granular
mixtures to obtain an optimal concrete formulation. For
ternary mixtures, the interactions among the sand, fines, and
gravels need to be analyzed. Binary mixtures of fines and
gravels can confirm the behavior of these interactions.
2.2 Binary and Ternary Mixtures
From theoretical and experimental points of view, some
(Al-Chaar et al. 2011; Parhizkar et al. 2010)
carried out works on the scoria behavior. In this study, an
experimental protocol was set up to determine the
composition of scoria concretes.
Regarding ordinary concretes, the main objective is to
make and obtain concretes with minimum porosity. In fact,
these concretes have the best mechanical resistances. For
lightweight aggregate concretes that differ slightly from
ordinary concretes, the objective is to obtain mixture rules
compatible with the composition of ordinary concretes, a
low density, and good physical and mechanical
However, there is an incompatibility between these
characteristics, which does not enable the optimization of the
mixture. If the thermal and acoustic resistances increase, the
mechanical resistance decreases. The linear variation rule of
the theoretical void ratio is governed by the mixture rule of
two aggregates, expressed as follows
where e is the void ratio; a and b are the coefficients of the
void ratio and the form of the grains, respectively, and Vabs is
the absolute volume of aggregates in 1 m3 of concrete.
Grain forms appeared to have an influence on the void
ratio, corroborated with the effects of the plates and the
interference of the aggregates. Thus, an experimental study
is imperative to achieve greater understanding of the
interaction between fine and coarser aggregates. This behavior
can be observed for a scoriaceous form such as coarse
scorias. For ternary mixtures (sand river ? scoria ?
cement), the interactions between the sands, fillers, and gravels
have to be analyzed. Typically, fillers and gravels behave as
binary mixtures (scoria ? cement).
Ternary mixtures require experimental study to understand
the influence of the variations in the void ratio. In the tested
binary mixtures, the actual volume of the coarse scoria (Vr)
was constant for the compositions categorized by specimens
bc1–bc6. A progressive reduction in the cement dosage was
conducted with respect to the void ratio results. The
quantities of fines used were calculated to account for the total
value of the absolute volume of the mixture in cement
substitution, which implies that fine scoria can be surely
used as an additive or substitute for cement in concrete
(Al-Chaar et al. 2011)
Vc volume of cement, Vf volume of fines, Vab absolute volume of the scoria, Vr real volume of the scoria, W water in kg/m3.
It is noted that Vr was reduced in order to increase the
significance of the void ratio for specimens bc7 and bc8.
Table 4 presents the mixture compositions used this study.
For ternary mixtures, the experimental volumetric method
was conducted according to ASTM C33
(ASTM C 33-03
. For this, concerning the solid constituent dosages,
coarse aggregates were categorized on the basis of the real
volume of the solid after presoaking. The aggregates
included coarse scoria pea gravels to the 5/10 series. Ordinary
sand was used. The various concrete compositions are listed
in Table 5. For series A, B, and C, more sand was added
For series A, fines were not used, and the quantity of pea
gravel was the same for specimen number 1, 2, and 3. During
the experiments, the sand quantity and cement dosage were
increased. For specimen no. 4, the amount of pea gravel was
reduced while the sand quantity was increased. The cement
dosages are listed in Table 7. The choice of these compositions
is based on previous works, as reported by
Dura´n-Herrera et al.
for an experimental reason.
For series B, the fine phase in specimen no. 4 and 5 was
not used. In this series, the amount of sand was increased,
and the quantities of pea gravel and cement were
progressively decreased. Similar results can be obtained for a binary
concrete belonging to the semicavernous series, where the
fine aggregates have been removed.
For series C, the cement dosage was fixed at 450 kg/m3
for specimens 1–4 while progressively increasing the
amount of sand. For batch no. 5, the cement dosage was
reduced to 350 kg/m3 with a sequence of reductions in the
amount of fines in order to know the influence of the cement
Calculations of the amount of aggregate used allowed us
to define the mixtures according to the desired concrete as
either voluminous or not. In this study, the apparent density
was determined by finding the mass of a hardened
4 cm 9 4 cm 9 16 cm parallelepiped sample with a KERN
Pit 720-3A precision weighting balance (the analysis
balances KERN, with this measurement principle, are branded
‘‘Single-Cell Technology’’: SC TECH).
The choice of parametric formulations was made
according to the influence of the aggregate nature and volumetric
concentration on the mechanical, thermal, and acoustical
behavior of lightweight scoria concrete.
Scoria affects the workability of fresh scoria concretes.
Different mixes were studied by conducting slump tests, as
per ASTM C 143
(ASTM C 143 2014)
. The study
demonstrates that there is no significant variation in the slump loss
of scoria concrete and the control mix. The initial slump of
all mixes was within the range of 105 ± 15 mm.
In this study, various molds were used according to the
tests being conducted. For mechanical testing, cylindrical
paperboard molds were used (with a height of 320 mm and a
diameter of 160 mm). For thermal testing, slabs measuring
27 cm on a side and 5 cm in thickness were made. For
acoustical testing, prisms with heights of 10, 20, or 30 cm
with a constant side length of 8.5 cm were used. The sample
size for each test type was determined by the fixed
dimensions of the measurement devices. The following section
describes the mechanical characterization of the scoria
2.3 Mechanical Characterization
The mechanical characteristics of concretes are commonly
analyzed and better known compared to other characteristics
because of the very important structural role of the materials
in civil engineering works. The mechanical properties of
concretes are frequently given at a curing age of 28 days.
The measurements carried out in this study were performed
following the ASTM C39 Standard Test Method for the
compressive strength of cylinder concrete specimens.
2.4 Thermophysical Characterization
Measurement of the thermal conductivity of concretes is
necessary in order to define the capacity for thermal
insulation by the materials.
To measure the thermophysical characteristics, our
samples were dried in an oven at a temperature of 50 C. A
unidirectional thermal flow traveled through the samples (E),
which were placed between cold isothermal and constant
heat flux sources. Therefore, the thermal gradient that
evolved between these two faces was measured. Once the
steady state was established, the apparent thermal
(Bessenouci et al. 2011)
could be expressed as
ka ¼ SDT ðq þ CDT 0Þ
where ka is the apparent thermal conductivity, C is the heat
loss coefficient (W/C), e is the sample thickness (m), q is the
heat flux (W), S is the sample surface area (m2), DT is the
thermal gradient between the hot and cold faces of the
samples ( C), and DT0 is the thermal gradient between the
atmospheres outside and inside the oven ( C).
The thermal conditions of the temperature and temperature
gradients and the thermal properties of the conductivity,
density, and composition of the concrete directly influence
the insulating capacity of the concrete. The following test
allowed the measurement of the influence of the physical
parameters such as the porosity and permeability on the
ability of concrete to withstand to freeze–thaw cycles.
2.5 Freeze–Thaw Cycles
Several studies on the frost behavior of concretes have
been undertaken. Works on this subject have been published
(Hamoushet al., Hamoush et al. 2011; Valenza II and Scherer
. The mechanisms linked with crystal formation
(Coussy and Fen-Chong 2005; Coussy and Monteiro 2007)
or directly applied to materials frozen on a cement basis
(particularly in the presence of salts) (Penttala 2006) are the
most frequently investigated.
In this study, the influence of ice on the mechanisms of
transfer and the microstructural characteristics of lightweight
scoria concretes were analyzed. NFP 18-424 was used
, from which the North American ASTM
(ASTM standard C666/C666M-03
ASTM Standard 2008)
experimental works and tests follow,
as well as NF EN 206-1 (Norme NF EN 206-1 2004). For
each concrete formulation, three 100 mm 9 100 mm 9
400 mm prisms were made. Freeze–thaw cycle was
increased, and the time for a rise and drop in temperature
was reduced to 3 h. A freeze–thaw cycle was performed
under water saturation conditions; with thermal cycling, a
freeze level of approximately -15 C was reached in over
2 h, the thaw level to approximately ?6 C occurred over
1 h, and the total cycle duration was 3 h, allowing us to
carry out eight cycles per day.
2.6 Frost Plus Deicing Agents
Most salt scaling experiments follow the guidelines in
(ASTM Standard C672 1992)
. This method
consists of confining a pool of a 3-wt% NaCl solution with a
depth of 6 mm on the surface of a concrete slab with a
thickness of C75 mm. Specimens were then placed in a
freezer for 16–18 h at a temperature of -17.8 ± 2.8 C.
The samples were then removed and allowed to thaw at
23 ± 3 C for 6–8 h. At the end of five freeze–thaw cycles,
the solution was rinsed off, and the slabs were visually
examined. The test ended after 50 freeze–thaw cycles.
During visual examination, the specimens were rated on a
scale of 0–5, with 0 indicating no scaling and 5 denoting
In addition to ASTM C672, XPP18-420 (French Standard)
(XPP 18 420 1995)
was also used. This scaling test consisted
of submerging test tubes of concrete in the NaCl solution for
24 h of 56 consecutive freeze–thaw cycles between ?20 and
-20 C. For each measurement (after each of the first seven
cycles as well as after the end of all 56 cycles), the test tubes
were brushed, and the loosened particles were collected and
washed. They were dried in a stove at a temperature of
105 ± 5 C overnight and then weighed in order to
determine the dried mass. The NaCl solution was then renewed,
and the test tube was placed back inside. The cumulated
mass of the particles detached from the test tube surface,
called the scaling cumulated mass, was thus calculated
according to the cycle number.
The hardness of the concrete materials submitted to
freeze–thaw cycles is strongly influenced by the nature of the
materials. This was characterized by the porosity of the
concrete in accordance with conditions to the limits
previously described. Materials with a high porosity allow us to
measure the sound absorption coefficient and acoustical
properties of scoria concretes.
2.7 Acoustical Characterization
Measurements of the reverberation time were recorded,
and calculations of the absorption coefficient were obtained
by using the Sabine formula; the calculations were based on
the measured reverberation times. The measurement were
performed using a reverberation room, a 2260 Bruel and
Kjaer sound level meter with a 4189 Bruel and Kjaer 1/200
microphone, and an omnidirectional sound source (4296
Bruel and Kjaer). Spatial averaging was accomplished using
nine ranks of microphone positions located at least 1.6 m
away from each other. The measurements were performed
following ISO 354
(ISO 354 2003)
Shock tests were performed according to the following
operating procedure: a rectangular concrete plate having a
length of 20 cm, a width of 10 cm, and a thickness of 8.5 cm
was restrained at one area and excited by an impulse-force
hammer to produce a transversal vibration. The perceived
sound was analyzed using ‘‘sound forge’’ software (for sound
For standardized tests of the impact insulation in a
laboratory setting (ASTM 492), a machine with five steel-plated
hammers was used as a source of noise shocks
. The resulting value corresponded to the Impact
Insulation Class (IIC), an integer-number indicating how
well a building floor attenuates impact sounds such as
3. Results and Discussion
3.1 Compressive and Tensile Strengths
The density of the tested binary ranged from 1375 to
1560 kg/m3; the strength appears to decrease as the density
increases. The drop in the compressive strength is more
important than that of the tensile strength. This phenomenon
is caused by the presence of the fines, which affect the
microcracking behavior of the materials. A decrease in the
amount of mixing water would partly mitigate this drop in
strength and consequently improve the mechanical
properties of the material because the water dosage is
directly linked to the porosity of the concrete. When the
density is about 1550 kg/m3, scoria concrete plays an
opposite role in the resistance compared with that of
In series A ternary concretes, there was a broad dispersion
in the average compressive strength values for densities from
1408 to 1425 kg/m3. The dispersion compared with the
average value is 23% for the compressive strength and 1.5%
for the tensile strength. These results were unexpected; the
two plots of compressive and tensile strengths should have
similar aspects, as the tested samples had nearly equal
porosity values. It is thus concluded that the strengths are
modified by a different size of aggregates based on the
parameters considered in this study.
For series B ternary concretes, the porosity is more
significant with coarse aggregates, which explains the drop in
strength. The compressive strength thus decreases by 5%
when the density of the concrete exceeds 1620 kg/m3. This
can be explained by the fact that the density of the scoria
concrete must be less than 1600 kg/m3 in order to obtain a
structural and light insulating concrete
(Shink and Alaiwa
Figure 4 shows the variation in the strength for series C
ternary concretes according to density. There was an increase
in the compressive strength as the density increases, with a
maximum compressive strength of 22 MPa for a density of
1720 kg/m3; after this point, the compressive strength
decreases. The tensile strengths of the concretes are five
times weaker than the compressive strengths. The variation
depends on the cement dosage in the concrete (concrete
density of 250–450 kg/m3) from 4.39 to 21.92 MPa at
Figure 5 shows the variation in the strengths of the binary
concretes caused by the fraction of fines. An increase in fine
fraction from 0.53 to 0.68 triggers reductions in both the
compressive and tensile strengths. The smallest packing
density of the granular arrangement results from the partial
Fig. 4 Variation of strength of series C according to densities.
Fig. 5 Perturbation caused by the fines on the strength of
s þ f
r ¼ s þ f þ g
where r is the dispersion ratio, and s, f, and g represent sand,
fine aggregates, and coarse aggregates, respectively.
The fine presence among these aggregates can influence
the relation between the densities and the mechanical
properties of the concretes.
Figure 7 allows the definition of all possible different
assignments based on the mass and strength of the concretes.
Only the density values of concretes C3 and C4 are greater
than 1800 kg/m3. The density increases with the
introduction of fines in the binary concretes and with the introduction
of sand and fines in the ternary concretes. The water/cement
(W/C) ratio has a significant impact on the hydrated cement
paste because it influences the initial amount of space
between the cement and the grains suspended in the mixing
(Chen and Brouwers 2007)
. Higher values of water/
cement ratio correlate with more significant degrees of
(Baaroghel-Bouny et al. 2006)
. This triggers a
decrease in the strength.
This type of construction material production is applied in
almost all types of lightweight concretes and is used in many
fields at a mechanical level. According to the classification
by the American Concrete Institute
, there are
highly resistant concretes (Rc [20 MPa) that can be used as
structural materials, moderate-strength concrete with
compressive strengths between 10 and 20 MPa that can be used
as load-bearing elements, and low-strength concretes that
can be used as beam filling for masonry. The impact of the
thermal variation on the behavior of concretes is discussed
3.2 Thermal Analysis
Concretes bc1, bc2, and bc7 were able to resist the 400th
freeze–thaw cycle. Paradoxically, the compressive strengths
of concretes bc3, bc4, and bc8 peak between the 100th and
350th cycles. A weak permeability, arising from the absence
of macroporosity and the highly efficient air bubble system,
which is linked to the tortuosity network of the pores,
disrupts the water movement
(Cwirzen and Penttala 2005)
reduction in the fraction of coarse aggregates, which
increases the porosity of the concrete.
The different size of the aggregates also affects the
compressive strength of lightweight concretes in a linear pattern.
The fragmentation of large aggregates occurs through the
largest pores, which are thus eliminated. The positive
influence of reducing the maximum sizes of the aggregate
particles on the strength of concrete has been reported
and Babu 2003)
. This phenomenon was also confirmed by
Miled et al. (2007)
, who focused on polystyrene concrete
and especially on concrete with low percentages of
Figure 6 shows the variation in the strength of ternary
concretes according to the sand and fine content levels.
Initially, with increasing amounts of sand, the compressive
and tensile strengths increase. Then, a progressive dispersion
decrease occurs (Eq. 3) between the tensile and compressive
strengths, with the ratio defined as follows
Fig. 8 Compressive strength at 28 days for series A during
freeze thaw cycles.
fact remains that the tensile strength causes the destruction
of concrete bc6 before the 50th freeze–thaw cycle.
In the absence of fines, the strengths of series A concretes
drop to approximately 55% of the original strength in Fig. 8.
This can be explained by the larger W/C ratio and sand
percentage, which does not fill the voids in the large
granules. From the 100th freeze–thaw cycle onward, all series B
concretes decrease in strength. For concrete B5, the loss of
compressive strength is approximately 62% before the 200th
freeze–thaw cycle. Concretes B1 and B3, on the other hand,
retain strength values equal to those measured while dry
until the 400th cycle. This trend in strength can be explained
by the pore structure, which governs the durability of the
concrete, especially regarding the resistance of the concrete
to freeze–thaw cycles
(Sobolev and Batrakov 2007)
The analysis results of concretes C1 and C2 showed that
the strength decreases more precipitously with freeze–thaw
cycles when the fine percentage is equal to or greater than
that of the cement. The fines create sites of weakness, which
preferentially and more easily form cracks, so that
microfissures are created by drying and not by frost.
Concretes C3, C4, and C5, having high sand proportions,
have recorded decreases in strengths explained by their
water content being high and quickly frozen. In addition to
this effect, the moderate strength of these concretes does not
allow the support of an increased volume, which was not
constrained during the freeze–thaw cycles.
As summarized in Tables 6 and 7, the first 40 freeze–thaw
cycles were conducted in order to obtain accurate results of
the influence of the maximum size of the granules on the
strength of the concretes. The evolution of the strength
relating to the average granule size was reported to show a
lack of air void on the concrete
(Gao et al. 2006)
The scaling cumulated mass after the conclusion of 56
cycles, as reported in Table 8, was measured by the second
method of freeze–thaw cycling. Of the six formulated
concretes, the obtained scaling cumulated masses over 56 cycles
only conform to the specifications for four formulations. The
obtained values of concretes bc1 and bc2 are only slightly
over the threshold.
The specifications were formed on the basis of concretes
that were said to be resistant to scaling if the cumulated mass
at the end of 56 cycles was less than or equal to 600 g per
square meter of exposed surface area. Concrete bc6 was
fully transformed into scales owing to the low cement
proportion included in its composition.
3.2.2 Thermal Conductivity
The thermal conductivity measurement results are
presented in Tables 9 and 10. According to these results, the
thermal conductivity increases according to the amounts of
sand and added binder material. In fact, the sand addition
fills the pores created by large particles. Air, which is an
excellent natural insulator, is replaced by thermally
conductive binder materials. It is noted that the thermal
conductivity increased when the amount of sand added to the
cement is higher than that of water content.
The pore structure of a material plays a dominant role in
controlling its thermal conductivity
(Hilal et al. 2015)
concrete, manufactured by a projection process, as shown by
Elfordy et al. (2008), has a conductivity that can reach
0.49 W/m K for a volumetric mass of 550 kg/m3. By
comparison, hemp concrete is an excellent insulating material
compared to pozzolan concrete, with a thermal conductivity
value varying from 0.206 to 0.616 W/m K.
It is important to note the fundamental role of the porosity
in the behavior of materials. In terms of the mechanical
properties, the presence of air bubbles tends to make the
material more fragile and limits the performance level. In
terms of the thermal properties, the presence of air decreases
the volumetric proportion of the material conducting the
3.3 Acoustic Analysis
Generally, the absorption coefficient increases with the
frequency up to 1 kHz. Concretes with low cement dosage
rates absorb more sound at low frequencies, displaying the
most interesting practical behavior. On the contrary,
concretes with high dosage rates absorb more sound at higher
frequencies. By comparing the absorption coefficients
obtained from binary mixtures to those obtained from
ternary series A concretes, it is concluded that the absorption
coefficients are the lowest with the addition of fines at equal
degrees of concrete porosity. Indeed, for low absolute void
ratios (corresponding series A ternary concrete, with
apparent densities of approximately 1400 kg/m3), there was an
increase in the absorption coefficient by approximately 50%
at an intermediate frequency with a 350-kg/m3 cement
dosage in comparison with the coefficients obtained at a
cement dosage of 300 kg/m3.
For samples bc1, bc3, and bc7, the absorption levels are
steady in all frequency ranges. Concretes at high dosages
rates absorb intermediate and high sound frequencies, i.e.,
concretes bc4, bc5, bc6, A1, and A4, which may be used for
acoustical corrections. The good sound absorption
characteristics of these concretes at average and high frequencies
are suitable for a reduction in the dominant frequencies of
The obtained absorption coefficient amax is
approximately 0.27 for concrete C1. In other words, about 27% of
the sound is absorbed by the samples. A porous network
consists of microbubbles. Therefore, auditory waves are
reflected by the surface of the sample, which is not
permeable, and cannot penetrate the material to be deadened.
Concretes bc1, bc2, and B1 in Fig. 9 have absorption
coefficients amax ranging from 0.14 to 0.18. This may result
from the more significant quantity of fines in the mixtures,
which would make concretes bc1, bc2, and B1 even more
impermeable than concrete C1.
Among lightweight concretes, only concrete using
woodmade cement is currently used for its acoustical qualities. It
absorbs more than 75% of the incident sonic wave energy at
intermediate frequencies. Some materials such as bricks and
shuttered concrete are not very permeable and do not let
sound waves penetrate. Aerated concrete absorbs no more
than 35% of the sound waves that intercept it. For scoria
concretes with dosages equal to 350 kg/m3, the absorption
coefficients range from 0.32 to 0.44. These values are high
compared to those of other building materials such as bricks
(from 0.03 to 0.05), shuttered concrete (from 0.01 to 0.02),
and aerated concrete (from 0.23 to 0.32).
Housing insulation is seldom addressed despite its
comfort-related properties. It is difficult to create two close plates
without a rigid binder phase. Well-adapted plate systems of
walls and floors are built and used as acoustical
environments.Many complex systems have been proposed in the
literature to improve the absorption of walls; for example,
Zhang et al. (2000)
proposed the use of MPPs with holes of
different diameters to widen the absorption band of the MPP
also studied acoustical transmission
through a rigid perforated screen backed with granular
materials. A Kundt’s tube was used to study the absorption
coefficient of concrete A1. Between concrete A1 and the
tube bottom, an air space of varying thickness exists. The
results are shown in Fig. 10.
The absorption increases according to the air space
thickness. However, at larger thicknesses, the degrees of
increase are smaller. With these results, the tests were
continued with the two concretes that exhibited the most
absorption, ternary concrete A1 and binary concrete bc6,
divided by an air space measuring approximately 5 cm.
There was an increase in the absorption coefficient as the
frequency increased, with a maximum absorption coefficient
of 0.92 at a frequency of 500 Hz; after this point, absorption
coefficient decreased until 0.37 at a frequency of 2000 Hz.
Notably, ternary concrete A1 placed behind binary
concrete bc6 shows an improved absorption coefficient at both
low and high frequencies. This multi-material method seems
to provide significant sound absorption and improve the
acoustical performance of the concretes.
In all frequency ranges, the scoria concrete shows a slight
decrease in the absorption coefficient compared with the
wood-made concrete. At low frequencies, the difference
ranges from 3 to 5%; at intermediate frequencies, the
absorption coefficients are nearly the same; and at high
frequencies, the wood-made concrete is greater by 4–7%.
The physical impacts within the lightweight scoria concretes
According to the amount of scoria used to make the testing
plate, the acoustical drag is somewhat significant. The
horizontal parts in Fig. 11 indicate that the coarse scorias form a
network in which low-wavelength sounds are absorbed.
Every time a sound wave meets an obstacle, part of the
energy that it carries is absorbed by the obstacle. This
systematic impact based energy loss explains the decrease in the
transmitted sound. The maximum variation in a at a low
frequency is 37%, and is about 47% for a frequency of
500 Hz. Higher void ratios correspond to an easier
transmission of sound through the concretes.
At each frequency, for an intergranular void ratio equal to
0.5, a is between 0.14 and 0.36 with an average value of
approximately 0.25 ± 0.11. Acoustically, the intergranular
voids have a real impact on the behavior of the concrete.
The physical characteristics of the size and density also
affect the vibrational modes of the plate, which is reflected in
the measured absorption coefficient. Coarse scoria
constituents can be revised to reach the optimal compositions for
Concrete slab bc4 with a thickness of 150 mm covered
with a 40-mm-thick layer of concrete bc2 exhibits an IIC
value of * 40; the same concrete slab with a 20-mm-thick
layer of concrete A1 and a 20-mm-thick layer of concrete
bc6 has an IIC value of more than 70. Harder concrete
surfaces decrease the IIC value. Only a small gap exists
between the IIC values measured with the concrete
composed of the original scoria and that composed of the scoria
mixed in water for 30 min. The IIC value reached 51
compared to the value of 50 for the reference. This small gap
between the two indices can be explained by the weak
acoustical escape induced by the grain structure.
In the light of this series of tests, it is possible to produce
an optimal composition of scoria concrete for construction
purposes based on the classifications given in Table 11.
Based on the average compressive strength after 28-day
aging, thermal conductivity, acoustical absorption
coefficient, expansion (stretch) after 300 freeze–thaw cycles
without salts, and the scaling cumulated mass after 56
freeze–thaw cycles with salts, the following conclusions can
be drawn for the studied materials and proportions:
- Low-resistance scoria concretes can be used in the
domain of thermo–acoustical insulation;
- Ternary concretes placed behind binary concretes
provide improvements in sound absorption on the order
of 75% at low and intermediate frequencies. Thus, they
can be used to weaken noise from a room to another or on
both sides of a wall;
- By changing the average size of the large aggregate from
5 cm to 10 cm, the scoria concrete strength increases to
8% after 40 freeze–thaw cycles;
- The susceptibility to salt scaling of scoria concrete is not
correlated with the susceptibility to internal frost action.
- Coarse scoria were used in two concrete samples of the
same density of 450 kg/m3. The average strength at
28 days was 14 MPa for the sample containing natural
aggregates and 16.9 MPa for the soaked aggregates that
had previously been mixed with water for 30 min. This
represents a relative increase of approximately 20% over
the strength of the reference concrete.
- The mixture of scoria in their original state and scorias
mixed in water for 30 min led to an increase in the
thermal conductivity by 5%. Simultaneously, the
acoustical absorption coefficient was enhanced by a factor of
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