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Introduction of water reducer

Sulphonated salts of naphthalene formaldehyde condensates possess all the necessary characteristics to make them suitable for hot weather concreting. Mainly, these possess good slump retention characteristics, enabling their use in ready mixed concrete where long hauls are common. Slump retention characteristics are also improved by blending SNF with lignosulphonates, which is not possible in the case of SMF. The cost of SNF is also low, making it the most used superplasticizer in India and around the world. However, the maximum incompatibility issues arise with SNF, and these will be discussed at length later in this report.

Polycarboxylates and acrylic copolymers are the most effective of all the chemicals. These can cause a reduction in water content of as much as 40%. Thus, they are highly preferred to make high and ultra high strength concrete, where the w/c may be as low as 0.20. Generally, these chemicals exhibit excellent slump retention characteristics and do not cause any delay in the gain of strength of the concrete. The downside of these admixtures is their high cost. However, as stated earlier, for the same category of concrete (workability) PCEs can work at lower dosages than SNFs and lignosulphonates.

Thus, the overall cost of concrete is not affected. Only in the case of special concretes such as self compacting concrete (SCC), the use of PCEs can substantially increase the concrete cost. It must be stated, though, that making good quality SCC without these latest generation superplasticizers is almost impossible. Limited experience with these chemicals indicates that they work well at low water to cement ratios, and exhibit fewer compatibility problems compared to SNF.