Analysis of alternative water sources for use in the manufacture of concrete

McCarthy, Leigh M. (2010) Analysis of alternative water sources for use in the manufacture of concrete. Masters by Research thesis, Queensland University of Technology.


In Australia and many other countries worldwide, water used in the manufacture of concrete must be potable. At present, it is currently thought that concrete properties are highly influenced by the water type used and its proportion in the concrete mix, but actually there is little knowledge of the effects of different, alternative water sources used in concrete mix design. Therefore, the identification of the level and nature of contamination in available water sources and their subsequent influence on concrete properties is becoming increasingly important. Of most interest, is the recycled washout water currently used by batch plants as mixing water for concrete. Recycled washout water is the water used onsite for a variety of purposes, including washing of truck agitator bowls, wetting down of aggregate and run off. This report presents current information on the quality of concrete mixing water in terms of mandatory limits and guidelines on impurities as well as investigating the impact of recycled washout water on concrete performance. It also explores new sources of recycled water in terms of their quality and suitability for use in concrete production. The complete recycling of washout water has been considered for use in concrete mixing plants because of the great benefit in terms of reducing the cost of waste disposal cost and environmental conservation. The objective of this study was to investigate the effects of using washout water on the properties of fresh and hardened concrete. This was carried out by utilizing a 10 week sampling program from three representative sites across South East Queensland. The sample sites chosen represented a cross-section of plant recycling methods, from most effective to least effective. The washout water samples collected from each site were then analysed in accordance with Standards Association of Australia AS/NZS 5667.1 :1998. These tests revealed that, compared with tap water, the washout water was higher in alkalinity, pH, and total dissolved solids content. However, washout water with a total dissolved solids content of less than 6% could be used in the production of concrete with acceptable strength and durability. These results were then interpreted using chemometric techniques of Principal Component Analysis, SIMCA and the Multi-Criteria Decision Making methods PROMETHEE and GAIA were used to rank the samples from cleanest to unclean. It was found that even the simplest purifying processes provided water suitable for the manufacture of concrete form wash out water. These results were compared to a series of alternative water sources. The water sources included treated effluent, sea water and dam water and were subject to the same testing parameters as the reference set. Analysis of these results also found that despite having higher levels of both organic and inorganic properties, the waters complied with the parameter thresholds given in the American Standard Test Method (ASTM) C913-08. All of the alternative sources were found to be suitable sources of water for the manufacture of plain concrete.

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ID Code: 37648
Item Type: QUT Thesis (Masters by Research)
Supervisor: Frost, Raymond & Kokot, Serge
Keywords: water sources, concrete, manufacturing
Divisions: Past > QUT Faculties & Divisions > Faculty of Science and Technology
Institution: Queensland University of Technology
Deposited On: 30 Sep 2010 04:33
Last Modified: 21 Jun 2017 14:44

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