Concrete Materials

Module aims

  • To provide a good understanding of a range of topics within the field of concrete technology, including constituent materials and mixture proportioning, properties of concrete in the fresh and hardened state, microstructure, strength, volume changes, sustainability and durability.
  • To understand the key physical and chemical processes influencing the behaviour and performance of concrete in service.

Learning outcomes

On successfully completing this course unit, students will be able to: 

  • Understand how the constituents and mix proportion of concrete influence its early age properties, mechanical properties, volume changes and durability, via an assessment of their influence on concrete microstructure. 
  • Specify, design and calculate concrete mix proportions to the required performance. 
  • Classify, explain and evaluate common problems affecting concrete in construction and recommend their mitigating strategies.  
  • Explain issues concerning sustainability of cements and concretes. 

Module syllabus

  • Constituent materials used in concrete (cement, supplementary cementitious materials, aggregate, water and admixtures) with emphasis on their influence on the microstructure of concrete.   
  • Properties and behaviour of concrete including early age properties, mechanical properties, volume changes and durability.  
  • Typical problems affecting concrete and their prevention strategies. 
  • Design and selection of mix proportions to produce concrete with specified performance.   
  • Sustainability of cements and concretes 

No.  

Topic 

Staff 

01 

Reasons for selecting concrete; Portland cement;  

HW 

02 

Hydration of cement; Microstructure development; Power’s law; Tutorial 

HW 

03 

Admixtures; Aggregates 

HW 

04 

Properties of fresh concrete; Early age properties 

HW 

05 

Strength and elasticity; Tutorial 

HW 

06 

Swelling, shrinkage and creep; Temperature effects 

HW 

07 

Chloride-induced corrosion; Carbonation-induced corrosion; Tutorial 

HW 

08 

Freeze-thaw damage; Sulphate attack; Alkali-aggregate reaction 

HW 

09 

Design and proportioning of concrete mixtures; Lab session 

HW 

10 

Tutorial; Coursework presentations 

HW 

Pre-requisites


Teaching methods

The module is taught as a series of lectures, group discussions and embedded informal tutorials. Throughout the module, students work in teams on a project closely linked with the taught material. The module ends with a laboratory session to demonstrate the process of concrete production and tests methods for fresh and hardened concrete.

Assessments

The module will be assessed by a written examination and coursework. The split of the marks will be 80% for the exam and 20% for the coursework. The exam consists of essay and multiple-choice questions. The coursework requires students to work in small groups to produce a technical report and a lecture on a selected topic related to concrete technology. Detailed written and oral feedback will be given to students. 

Reading list

Module leaders

Dr Hong Wong