Concrete Materials

What are the Properties of Fresh Concrete?

Properties of Fresh Concrete:

Fresh Concrete can be easily molded into any designed shape in construction.  It can be prepared on the spot and may give a wide range of properties from easily available raw materials.

We will discuss in details below the different properties of Fresh concrete.

  • Workability.
  • Setting.
  • Segregation.
  • Plastic Shrinkage.
  • Thermal Shrinkage.
  • Thermal Expansion.
  • Water Cement Ratio.

properties of fresh concreteWorkability:

Workability, in the simplest language, is the ease with which freshly prepared concrete can be transported and placed for the job and compacted to a dense mass.

The fresh concrete which may be expected to give the best results must possess the property of workability. This is the most important property of concrete.

Fresh concrete should be capable of spreading and uniformly without inducing any segregation of the aggregates.

A workable concrete should have a right balance between the plasticity and mobility for a particular job in particular place.  To develop such a balance, you must select the right type of aggregates, proper proportioning of cement, sand, coarse aggregates, and water, and a thorough mixing of the constituents.

Besides plasticity or consistency and mobility, the third most important aspect considered to define workability is the ease with which the freshly placed concrete can be compacted without developing any defects.

Workability Tests:

Since workability depends on a number of factors, no single test is thought to be sufficient to express this property of fresh concrete. For quality construction, the following three tests are required to be carried out.

  • Slump test.
  • Compacting factor test.
  • V-B Consistometer test.

Slump Test:

This test is already described here in details. Please, visit it for more details. Slump Test gives us an idea of about the consistency of the mix.

Compaction Factor Test:

This test is developed in the UK by Glanville. In this test samples of concrete are weighed first when concrete is partially compacted, and then after full compaction.

Then, the samples are compacted using specified techniques and apparatus.

The ratio between partially compacted weight to the fully compacted weight gives a measure of compaction factor. It is always less than 1.

The reliability of this test has been questioned by many peoples. But still, for very stiff and dry concrete, this test is often considered to be a good indicator of workability.

V-B Consistometer Test:

This test is developed by Bahrner in Sweden. In this test samples of fresh concrete is taken in a metallic cone and compacted by a specified vibrator to an ultimate shape of a flat cylindrical mass.

Total time taken for this process, in seconds, is recorded. This is called V-B time and gives a measure of compatibility of the concrete.

This test is useful in determining the workability of concrete mixes with aggregates size up to 20 mm. It is expensive as compared to Slump Test and Compaction Factor Test and is used mostly in precast concrete works.


When concrete changes its state from fresh to hardened then this process is called setting. And the time required to complete this process is known as Setting Time.

Setting time depends on the type of cement, aggregates etc used in concrete-mix. For increasing or decreasing the setting time Admixtures is used.

The setting time for Portland cement is about 30 – 45 minutes.


The separation of concrete ingredients from each other is known as segregation. This can be caused due to excessive vibration in concrete mixer machine or falling concrete from more than 1-meter height.

Plastic Shrinkage:

This is the shrinkage that the fresh concrete undergoes till it sets completely. It may be also called initial shrinkage. This can be due to excessive loss of water from the concrete due to evaporation, bleeding, and soaking by formwork.

Excessive shrinkage at initial stages may develop cracks. Therefore, all precautions should be taken to avoid excessive loss of water.

Thermal Shrinkage:

This may be due to falling in temperature of concrete-mix from the time it laid to the the time it sets completely. Due to change in temperature, some shrinkage may be expected. Sometimes, It may be negligible on its own account.

Thermal Expansion:

In massive concrete works, when the upper layers are laid before the lower layers have completely set, there may arise a phenomenon of thermal expansions – in the lower layers. This is because the heat of hydration gets accumulated in those layers and may attain magnitudes beyond acceptable limits.

Water Cement Ratio:

The compressive strength decreases, in general, with increasing water cement ratio and vice versa. Hence, when minimum water is used just to ensure complete hydration of the cement, the resulting concrete will give maximum compressive strength on proper compaction.

I have written a detailed guide on Water Cement Ratio, don’t forget to read it for better understanding.

Final Words:

So, above are some properties of fresh concrete. While working on the site you must take care of everything discussed above to ensure the best quality.

I hope that you might like this article.’

Don’t Forget to share it with your friends.

About the author

Inamullah Khan

I am a Civil Engineer, Web Developer and Designer. And the Owner of this Blog. I just love to share my knowledge with others. And I am also a big fan of a Great Hollywood Actor "Heath Ledger".

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