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Post-tensioning grouts and

grouting equipment
Good grouts flow readily, make intimate contact and have little or no bleeding

BY SIDNEY FREEDMA
DIRECTOR ARCHITECTURAL PRECAST DIVISION
PRESTRESSED

CONCRETE INSTITUTE

he requirements for post-tensioning grouts vary with the job.


Standards should be set for each job
and tests performed to be sure the
grout meets the standards.

Testing of grout
The pumpability of grout should
be measured on the site as a method
of control. The recommended test
procedure is to measure the amount
of time (efflux time) that is required
for a sample of grout to run out of a
flow cone after the plug is pulled.
This time of efflux of the grout, in
seconds, is also called the flow factor. The flow cone, Figure 1, and

Figure 1. Cast aluminum


cone of standard
dimensions holds 1725
millimeters (about 1.8
quarts) of grout for
discharge in flow test.

test procedure should conform to


U.S. Corps of Engineers Test
Method CRD-C79.
The flow cone should be moistened, prior to use by flushing it out
with water and allowing it to drain
for about one minute before the
grout for test is to be poured into the
flow cone. During filling of the cone
with grout the discharge tube is
sealed by placing a finger over the
end. Immediately after filling of the
cone the grout is allowed to discharge by quickly removing the finger, and a stop watch is started simultaneously. The watch is stopped
at the first break in continuous flow
of grout from the tube.
The efflux time at the pump discharge should not be less than 11
seconds at zero quiescent time and
should increase at least three seconds but not more than eight sec-

onds at 20 minutes of quiescent


time. Quiescent time is the number
of minutes that a sample of grout remains undisturbed (quiescent) in
the flow cone. Neat cement grouts
have a consistency suitable for
grouting of prestress cables if their
efflux time is about 20 to 24 seconds.
For sand-cement grouts the time
should be about 24 to 28 seconds.
High grout temperatures increase
efflux time; therefore, when the
t e m p e ra t u re of the grout exceeds
about 90 degrees F. consideration
should be given to cooling the mixing water.
Tests have shown that bleeding or
sedimentation during grouting is
not usually a problem. The amount
that does occur is practically negligible except possibly for special cases. Tests for bleeding and sedimentation have been devised that
generally use very short cylinders
with rather large diameters. For a
good assessment of the amount of
sedimentation that occurs a oneliter graduate is a convenient device,
but for field work a transparent plastic tube about two to four inches in
diameter and about 60 inches high
gives a more representative reading.
For convenience the grout should
be placed to the 50-inch mark in the
pipe, using the flow cone as a funnel, so that the percentage of the expansion and sedimentation can be
read directly. It is important that the
top of the cylinder be sealed to prevent evaporation. The bleeding of
the grout at 65 degrees F should not
exceed two percent of the volume
three hours after mixing or a maximum of four percent when bleeding
stops. In addition, by the end of 24
hours the separated water must

The mixer of this grouting


equipment operates at high
speed to providee shearing
action.

have been reabsorbed. The expansion of the sample is periodically


observed until expansion has practically ceased, which may be three
to eight hours after the time of initial set, depending upon the type of
grout. The grout expansion is reported as percent expansion based
on original grout volume. Total expansion should not exceed 10 percent nor should there be any subsequent shrinkage of the grout.
When compressive strengths of
grouts are determined the specimens must be restrained from free
expansion during both their setting
and early hardening period. Comp re s s i ve strengths of unre s t ra i n e d
specimens are meaningless and always considerably lower in magnitude than those of restrained specimens.
The grout should have a minimum compressive strength at seven days of 2500 psi and at 28 days of
4000 psi when tested in four-inch
cubes. Specimens should be cured
in the molds approximately 24
hours, then stored and tested in accordance with ASTM C 109. Molds
should be initially covered with a
weighted steel plate to prevent any

expansion. This will nearly duplicate the condition in a closed duct.

Mixing of grout
The mixer for mixing grout
should be a high-speed mechanical
mixer (see photo). The use of conventional concrete or mortar mixers
or hand mixing should not be permitted. Uniform grout, free of
lumps and undispersed cement,
can be obtained only by mixers
which produce shearing action.
This may be accomplished by paddles, discs, or drums running at high
speed in either a vertical or horizontal position. Ho ri zontal shaft mixers,
similar to large-scale plaster mixers,
may also be used although mixing
is somewhat less effective. The pan
or turbine conventional concrete
mixers are well suited for mixing
grout, although maintenance of a
sufficiently tight seal of the discharge gate can present problems.
Water should be added to the
mixer first, followed by portland cement and admixture. Sand, if required, is added after other ingredients are thoroughly mixed. A
considerable amount of heat is generated from the shearing action.

This may cause early set before in


jection is completed. Therefore mixing time at high speed must usually
be limited to about two minutes although with some mixers as much
as four minutes may be used.
A grout agitator tank should be
provided to permit optimum effectiveness of the mixing equipment
and also to provide storage capacity
in the event of line blockage or other breakdown. Grout should be continuously agitated after mixing until
it is pumped. If use of grout has
been delayed so that flowability has
decreased no water should be
added to increase the flowability.
Such grout must be discarded and a
new batch mixed. A screen should
be located between the mixer discharge and agitator or else ahead of
the pump to remove lumps, oversize
material and foreign matter which
cause difficulty in pumping or line
blockage. The screen should have
clear openings of 0.07-inch maximum (a 14-mesh fly screen is satisfactory) and be easily accessible for
inspection and cleaning.

Grouting equipment
All equipment, especially mixer,
pump, va l ve s, fittings and piping,
must always be thoroughly washed
through with clean water after every
series of operations and more frequently if necessary to ensure
against caking. The intervals between washing should not exceed
three hours.
The pump must be a positive displacement type, such as the piston
pump or a progressive cavity type.
Injection of grout by compressed air
(as from a pressure pot) is not recommended. The pump should be
able to produce an outlet pressure
of at least 150 psi gage and should
have seals adequate to:
prevent introduction of oil, air, or
other foreign substance into the
grout
prevent loss of grout or water.
The grouting equipment should
contain a mechanical device which
can be set to limit the pumping
pressure to any desired value up to

150 psi gage or adjusted to allow the


grout to be bypassed at the pressure
desired. Because pumping pressures higher than 150 psi gage tend
to cause leaks or to accentuate existing leaks in the seals, connections,
tubing and end anchorages, such
pressures should be avoided.
The pump bypass line should
connect the discharge and inlet, or
provide circulation into the agitator
so that continuous operation of the
pump can be maintained if line
blockage or temporary shutdown of
grouting operations occurs. Although a we l l - p ro p o rtioned grout
mixture will retain solids in suspension within the piping system,
pumps shut down for prolonged periods will cause grout to settle within the pump and grout lines and
create equipment maintenance ope ra t o r, not only by the gage readings, but also by the sound of the
pumping unit.
The location at which concrete
samples are taken is extremely important. ASTM C 94 requires that
samples be taken from the discharge chute of the truck mixer for
the acceptability of ready mixed
concrete. Concrete samples taken at
both the truck discharge and point
of final discharge from the pipeline
can be used to determine changes,
if any, in slump, air content,
strength, or other mix chara c t e ri stics that occur during pumping. The
quality of the concrete being placed
in the structure can only be measured by samples taken at the placement end of the pipeline. Howe ve r,
it should be noted that even these
tests at the hose discharge are not a
final gage of the quality of the hardened concrete in place since factors
such as consolidation, finishing and
curing can greatly affect the quality
of the hardened concrete.

PUBLICATION #C730277
Copyright 1973, The Aberdeen Group
All rights reserved