Air Entrained Concrete Admixture | Air Entrained Concrete Problems | What Is Air Entrainment in Concrete?

Air Entrained Concrete Admixture | Air Entrained Concrete Problems | What Is Air Entrainment in Concrete?

Air Entrained Concrete Admixture | Air Entrained Concrete Problems | What Is Air Entrainment in Concrete?

Air Entrained Concrete

Air-entrained concrete is typical concrete that contains controlled amounts of air in the form of microscopic bubbles. In general, each cubic foot of air-entrained concrete includes billions of small air cells. These air pockets ease internal strain on the concrete by creating tiny chambers for frozen water to expand into.

Under careful engineering supervision, air-entrained concrete is made using air-entraining Portland cement or by introducing air-entraining agents as the concrete is mixed on the site.

The amount of entrained air is typically between four and seven percent of the volume of the concrete, but this might vary depending on the circumstances.

What Is Air Entrainment in Concrete?

The intentional formation of microscopic air bubbles in concrete is referred as air entrainment. A concrete producer puts bubbles into the mix by including an air entraining agent, often known as a surfactant (surface-active substance, a type of chemical that includes detergents).

The air bubbles are created during mixing of the plastic (easy flowing, not hardened) concrete, and most of them survive to be part of the hardened concrete.

The primary purpose of air entrainment is to increase the durability of the hardened concrete, especially in climates subject to freeze-thaw; the secondary purpose is to increase workability of the concrete while in a plastic state in concrete.

Air Entrained Concrete Uses

Although formed concrete looks to be solid, it is actually very porous, with microscopic capillaries caused by water evaporation beyond that required for the hydration reaction. For all cement particles to hydrate, a water-to-cement ratio (w/c) of roughly 0.38 (38 lbs. of water for every 100 lbs. of cement) is required.

Water above that is considered surplus and is used to make the plastic concrete more workable, flowable, and viscous. Most concrete has a w/c of 0.45 to 0.60, indicating that there is a significant amount of water that will not react with cement.

The surplus water eventually evaporates, leaving tiny pores in its wake. Later, environmental water can fill these holes.

During freeze-thaw cycles, the water in those pores swells, causing tensions that result in microscopic cracks. These cracks allow more water into the concrete and cause it to swell. The concrete eventually spalls and chunks break off.

This cycle, which is exacerbated by moisture accessing the reinforcing steel, is the most common cause of reinforced concrete failure. Steel expands when it rusts, and these pressures cause even more cracks, allowing more water to enter.

The air bubbles are typically 10 to 500 micrometres (0.0004 to 0.02 in) in diameter and are tightly spaced. Because the air bubble can be compressed somewhat, the bubbles act to decrease or absorb stresses caused by freezing.

Air entraining was established in the 1930s, and most modern concrete is air-entrained, especially if subjected to cold conditions.

The bubbles help to the workability of a concrete mix by acting as a lubricant for all of the aggregates and big particles.

Hardened concrete contains entrapped air in addition to entrained air. These are larger bubbles that are usually not as evenly distributed as entrained air. Entrapped air is thought to contribute negatively to durability and is undesirable, albeit not fully avoidable.

What Is The Purpose Of Air Entrainment In Concrete?

The prime purpose for air-entraining concrete is freeze-thaw resistance. During a freeze event, the air gaps provide pressure relief sites, allowing the water inside the concrete to freeze without causing severe internal strains.

Air Entrained Concrete Admixture : How To Make Air Entrained Concrete?

Air-entrained concrete, which is used in a variety of applications, uses a chemical admixture (or, in some cases, air-entraining cement) to create a network of small voids during the mixing process.

The air-entraining additive stabilizes these spaces, which remain in the hardened concrete paste.

The principal application for air-entraining concrete is freeze-thaw resistance. During a freeze event, the air gaps provide pressure relief sites, allowing the water inside the concrete to freeze without causing severe internal strains.

Another application is for deicer-scaling resistance. The air gaps, once again, provide relief sites for the accumulation of salt concentrations and the pressures caused by concentration gradients.

Sulfate resistance, resistance to alkali-silica reactivity, and enhanced workability are some of the other benefits of air-entrained concrete.

Hard Troweling

Hard troweling is the procedure by which a finisher densifies the surface of the concrete with a steel trowel. This optional polish creates a firm, smooth surface. Repeated strokes with a steel trowel will produce a burnished finish with a mirror-like appearance. The smooth texture of hard-troweled surfaces makes them slippery when wet, making them unsuitable for outdoor concrete slabs.

For numerous reasons, hard troweling is also not suggested for air-entrained concrete. Densification is the key reason.

Densification pushes air away from the surface, resulting in a decrease in air content. This increases the likelihood of freeze-thaw and deicer-scaling damage.

Furthermore, densification can push the air down and burst the voids, resulting in a massive void immediately beneath the surface mortar.

This will result in delaminations and may cover a large section of the location. The densified surface obtained through hard troweling is lost once the surface has been opened due to scaling or delamination.

Air Entrained Concrete Problems

Some specifications require concrete contractors to hard-trowel air-entrained concrete. The risks associated with this requirement include:

  • increased probability of delamination or blistering;
  • reduction in surface air content; and
  • change in hardened air void parameters.

Because most interior slabs do not have a significant moisture content or a chance of freezing, air-entrained concrete is not required to assure a long-lasting floor surface.

It is impossible to protect non-air-entrained concrete slabs from external moisture unless the structure is enclosed and the roof is constructed. As a result, specifiers frequently specify air-entrained inner concrete if the slabs will be exposed to a cold, wet environment during construction.

Aside from requiring entrained air, designers may also request a lower water-cement ratio and a higher compressive strength, which can raise the cost of the concrete.

Does Air Entrainment Affect Concrete Strength?

Intentionally entrained air spaces improve the resistance of concrete to freezing and thawing cycles. Any air gaps lower the strength of concrete, with a 5% drop in strength for every 1% increase in air void volume.

What Is the Function of Air Entraining Admixture?

It is an additive that stimulates the formation of a network of small air bubbles in cement paste during mixing, usually to improve its resistance to freezing and thawing and workability. Air entrainment in the concrete increases resistance to freezing and thawing and workability.

What Is the Advantages of Air Entraining Admixture?

Higher resistance to freeze-thaw degradation, increased cohesiveness (leading in less bleed and segregation), and improved compaction in low-workability mixes are all advantages of entraining air in concrete. The amount of air entrained is determined by the application and mix design.


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