Table of Contents
What Is Water Cement Ratio?
It is the ratio of cement and water utilized in the preparation of concrete. The quantity of water used at mixing concrete is very important.
If the percentage of water used is less, then there will not be a sufficient quantity of water to hydrate cement. It will result in weak and porous concrete.
Therefore, the usual tendency is to use too much water which gives a more workable mix, but it doesn’t give sound concrete. Too much water results in the segregation of aggregates and give porous concrete of low strength and low density.
A certain minimum proportion of water is necessary to hydrate the cement completely. To create the concrete sufficiently workable to be placed in position, some more water is needed.
So long as the concrete is sufficiently workable, for the way of placing used, its strength depends on the proportion of water to the cement in the mix.
The water-cement ratio shouldn’t be allowed to exceed the specified limits for various types of concrete and should usually be kept as low as the methods of placing will allow.
Abrahms, as a result of a large number of experiments, states that“with given materials and conditions of the test, the ratio of the quantity of mixing water into the quantity of cement alone determines the potency of concrete as long as the mix is of workable plasticity.“
This is known as water-cement ratio law. According to this law, the strength of concrete won’t increase by simply increasing the quantity of cement unless the water-cement ratio is reduced.
Required Water-Cement Ratio (British Standard Specifications)
Water-Cement Ratio Table
|Plain Cement Ratio
|Reinforced Cement Concrete
|Minimum Cement Content
|Minimum Cement Content
Different Water Cement Ratios
Different Water-cement ratios are utilized for different concrete applications. For high-quality concrete construction, a lower water-cement ratio of 0.4 could be employed.
For concrete construction like sidewalks and drives, a w/c ratio ranging from 0.6 to 0.7 is normally used.
The practical range of water-cement ratio ranges from 0.3 to 0.8, which gives weak and stiff concrete, respectively. Weak concrete means a fairly wet concrete.
Compressive strength of about 5600 psi can be obtained in the concrete of the water-cement ratio 0.4. This value will go down to 2000 psi when a water-cement ratio of 0.8 is used.
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Water-Cement Ratio and Concrete Strength
The general concrete strength is reduced with the increase in the water-cement ratio. The addition of more water gives dilute paste, which has more pores at the micro-level.
These make the concrete weak and results in shrinkage and cracks and issues. The Cement and aggregates particles take the excess water that’s present in concrete.
This consumption is uncontrollable if a large excess of water is present in the concrete. Therefore, separate water channels are created, resulting in bleeding on the surface.
This creates weak zones in concrete that are susceptible to cracking under service loads.
A lower water-cement ratio may contribute to high strength and high-quality concrete. But the water-cement ratio alone cannot give good concrete.
A good mix proportion and quality aggregates and binding materials contribute to a good mix design. A low water-cement ratio is thus one of the factors influencing good mix design.
Water-Cement Ratio and Permeability
A mix design using a lower water-cement ratio or higher cement content will give low permeability concrete. A high strength concrete tends to give less pervious concrete.
This will increase the durability of the concrete structure. The above figure shows the relationship between the concrete water-cement ratio and the coefficient of permeability.
Role of Water in Concrete
It contains micro-ingredients like cement, sand, fine aggregate & Coarse aggregate. To acquire high-strength concrete, that withstands up to our desired compressive strength, We need a correct proportion of admixture to combine those materials.
Here comes the Water, which will initiate this chemical process by incorporating 23% to 25% of the cement volume.
This initiates the chemical process and makes 15% of water-cement paste, also known as a gel, to fill the voids in the concrete.
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How to Calculate Water Cement Ratio? – W/C Ratio Calculation
We do not calculate the W/C Ratio. It is selected from various workability tests based on the structural members, transportation, concrete strength, selection of aggregation, etc.
At Site Level, we can make use of the below calculation for the nominal mix.
It is a guide to make your judgment.
Water Cement Ratio as per IS 10262-2009 Table-5
Calculation of Water Cement Quantity for Concrete
- As you can see from the Chart, the W/C ratio varies from 0.4 to 0.7 depending on exposure conditions.
- If we need to calculate Water quantity for concrete, first find the cement content for the volume.
- If we Assume the required cement volume as 50kg,
- The required amount of water = W/C Ratio x Cement Volume
- Therefore, Required amount of water = 0.45 x 50 kg = 22.50 litres / 50 kg cement bag.
- For the Design mix, the W/C ratio will depend upon the workability, strength requirements.
- In IS 10262-2009 Annex-A, they have explained the process for the design mix.