Roadwork: Vincent Chu Answers

Why is the slump specified in concrete carriageway comparatively low (30mm) when compared with normal concrete (75mm)?

The slump of concrete carriageway is purposely specified to be a relatively low value, i.e. 30mm.

For concrete carriageway, traffic loads directly act on concrete pavement surface and therefore the low surface strength is detrimental to its future performance.

In freshly placed concrete, segregation (may be in the form of bleeding) occurs within the mixture of cement paste and aggregates. The degree of resistance to segregation is related to workability of concrete.

If substantial segregation is allowed to take place, then the relatively porous and weak laitance layer will be formed on the carriageway surface and the aggregates will concentrate in the bottom.

Hence, concrete which has insignificant bleed possesses a stronger surface layer and is more abrasion resistant.

Consequently, a small slump value is specified to increase the wearing resistance of concrete and to achieve a suitable surface texture of concrete pavements.

Moreover, a low-slump concrete facilitates the use of slipforms when constructing the concrete pavement.

With concrete of a low slump value, it still remains its compacted shape and is not liable to deform when the paving machines go away. However, if a high slump concrete is used instead, the pavement surface would drop and the edges may deform readily.