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The requirement of power has increased manifold mainly due to increased population and rapid industrial growth. Nearly 73% of India's total installed capacity is thermal, of which coal-based generation is about 90%. At present about 90 million tones of fly ash is being generated in India annually. It is envisaged that by the end of 11th five year plan, the fly ash generation in the country is estimated to reach 110 - 120 million TPA. India's dependence on coal as a source of energy remains unchanged. Thus, it is but natural that fly ash management in the country would be important and of national concern. Such huge quantities of generation would pose challenging problems, in the form of land usage, health hazards and environmental disturbances. The utilization of fly ash in the country has registered a significant increase from 3 5% in the late eighties and early nineties to the present level of about 15%. However, this growth trend is too minimal considering the total quantity generated. Various options of furthering the increased usage of fly ash are being continuously reviewed in the country by various government and semi government bodies, which is resulting in a gradual increase in awareness and acceptance levels of the fly ash based products and hence gradual increase in fly ash utilization levels. The use of fly ash as supplementary cementitious material was originally motivated by its consistent pozzolanic activity and for sustainable development in the cement industry. However, there is now a growing acceptance that fly ash based cements provide several distinct advantages because of which they can be recommended on their on merit. The improved understanding of the beneficial properties imparted by fly ash for both the plastic and hardened stage of blended cement concrete has led to several builders specifying the use of fly ash based cements for their projects. It is now beyond doubt that the blended cement concrete either with blending component as a part in the cement or alternatively as site blended at the ready - Mix locations is the option for a durable civil structure. However, the properties of fly ash based cement and its distinct advantages over OPC cements are basically governed by the physico-chemical properties of fly ash. This paper briefly describes the effect of fineness and combustibles of fly ash on the properties of cement and concrete. Fly ash used for the manufacture of Portland Pozzolana Cement and as an admixture in cement mortar and concrete should satisfy the Indian Standard Specification IS: 3812 - 1981. The physical and chemical requirements of fly ash as per this specification are given in the following tables.

REQUIREMENTS OF FLY ASH AS PER IS: 3812 - 1981 (SPECIFICATION FOR FLY ASH FOR USE AS POZZOLANA AND ADMIXTURE) CHEMICAL REQUIREMENTS Characteristic SiO2 + Al2O3 + Fe2O3, percent by mass, Min. Silicon Dioxide (SiO2), percent by mass, Min. Magnesium Oxide (MgO), percent by mass, Max. Total sulphur as sulphur trioxide (SO3), percent by mass, Max. Available alkalis as sodium oxide (Na2O), percent by mass, Max (Note 1) Loss on ignition (LOI), percent by mass, Max.

Sr. No. 1 2 3 4 5 6

Requirement 70.0 35.0 5.0 2.75 1.5 12.0

Note 1 - Applicable only when reactive aggregates are used in concrete and are specially requested by the purchaser. PHYSICAL REQUIREMENTS Characteristic Fineness - Specific surface in m2/kg by Blaine's permeability method, Min. Lime Reactivity - Average compressive strength in N/mm2 (M Pa), Min. Compressive strength at 28 days (cement replacement test) in N/mm2 (M Pa), Min.

Sr. No. 1 2 3

Requirement Grade of Fly Ash I II 320 250 4.0 3.0

4 5

Drying Shrinkage, percent, Max. Soundness by autoclave test expansion of specimens, percent, Max. Note: Fly ash of grade II may be used for manufacture of Portland Pozzolana Cement subject to the requirements of IS: 1489-1991

Not less than 80% of the strength of corresponding plain cement mortar cubes. 0.15 0.10 0.8 0.8

IS 1489 (Part 1) : 1991 4.1.2 Fineness and average compressive strength in lime reactivity of fly ash that is to be blended with finished Portland cement to produce Portland Pozzolana Cement, when tested in accordance with the procedure specified in IS 1727: 1967, shall not be less than 320 m2/kg and 4.0 M Pa respectively. Average compressive strength in lime reactivity test of such fly ash shall be carried out at the fineness at which pozzolana has been received for blending. 4.1.3 Average compressive strength in lime reactivity of fly ash that is to be interground with Portland cement clinker for manufacture of Portland Pozzolana Cement shall not be less than 4.0 M Pa when tested at the fineness of Portland Pozzolana Cement manufactured out of it or at the fineness in "as received" condition, whichever is greater, tested in accordance with the procedure specified in IS 1727: 1967.

Before going to the different properties of fly ash, it will be interesting to see how Indian fly ashes vary in their properties.


Parameter No. of values Min. Max. Mean SD c.v.

SiO2 Al2O3 Fe2O3 CaO MgO LOI SO3 IR Na2O K2O TiO2 ClSp Sur. m2/kg LR- M Pa CR - %

47 47 47 47 47 47 45 37 42 43 21 11 37 40 37

50.0 15.1 3.5 0.2 0.1 0.3 0.1 78.0 0.01 0.06 0.6 0.01 286 2.0 70

68.9 33.7 10.2 6.4 3.3 12.2 1.0 96.1 0.40 1.99 1.8 0.01 642 8.9 93

59.3 26.6 5.5 1.5 1.0 3.4 0.2 88.4 0.10 1.07 1.4 0.01 388 5.4 84

3.79 4.06 1.52 1.17 0.78 3.23 0.17 4.59 0.07 0.30 0.26 0.001 89.92 1.58 5.56

6.4 15.3 27.5 79.7 81.9 94.8 80.3 5.2 76.8 27.6 19.1 13.5 23.2 2.92 6.6

COMBUSTIBLES IN FLY ASH Colour of fly ash The colour of the fly ash depends on the Fe 2O3 content and carbon content. The most significant factor is the unburned coal content corresponding to loss of ignition. The carbon content is responsible for the black or gray appearance of the concrete. The presence of large amount of Fe2O3 (brown) in fly ash contributes to the dark colour of concrete. Normal concrete without fly ash admixture is light gray in colour and this is influenced by colour of the fine aggregate in concrete. However, in case of high carbon content fly ashes, it was observed that even with 10% addition the colour of the concrete changes to blackish. In case of other fly ashes with around 6-7% carbon content colour of the concrete changes at the level of 25% addition and with low carbon content fly ashes (LOI 0-2%), the colour of the concrete changes at around 35-40% addition level. Water requirement The amount of water necessary to obtain normal consistency in fly ash concrete/ mortar varies considerably in accordance with the carbon content. In order to assess the water requirement with respect to carbon content, flowability studies were conducted at ACC's research station, RCD Thane, on cement mortar using flow table test. Cement mortar was prepared with 25% replacement of fly ash at fixed water cement ratio of 0.5%. In another experiment, the carbon content in a low carbon content fly ash was increased by addition of carbon black and the carbon content in the sample was increased to 2, 4, 6 & 8% as confirmed by loss on ignition of corresponding fly ash samples. It was observed from the both above experiments that up to 4% carbon content flow characteristics of fly ash samples are comparable or even better than OPC control but at the level of 6% and above levels of carbon contents flow properties of fly ash reduces substantially. Therefore threshold value for carbon content in fly ash may be considered as 6%. The details of the experiments and observations are given under:


Experiment - 1 Experimental Conditions A) Control - OPC 53 Grade B) Fly ash replacement - 25% C) Water Cement Ratio - 0.5 D) Mixing Procedure - ASTM C-109 E) Number of drops on flow table - 25 in 18 seconds Sr. No. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 Sample Details OPC Grade (control) OPC + Fly ash No.1 OPC + Fly ash No.2 OPC + Fly ash No.3 OPC + Fly ash No.4 OPC + Fly ash No.5 OPC + Fly ash No.6 OPC + Fly ash No.7 OPC + Fly ash No.8 OPC + Fly ash No.9 OPC + Fly ash No.10 Loss on Ignition of Average fly ash Reading 408 0.6 402 0.4 298 0.7 429 2.9 400 4.0 421 6.2 486 6.9 503 8.8 549 15.7 562 13.6 562 % Flow 49.7 51.1 76.6 44.4 51.6 46.7 30.5 26.2 14.9 2.0 2.0

Observation: 1. Upto 4% of carbon content flow characteristics are comparable with OPC 2. Drop in flow was observed for 6% land above levels of carbon content Experiment - 2 a) Blend - 1 = Fly ash sample + 1% carbon black b) Blend - 2 = Fly ash sample + 3% carbon black c) Blend - 3 = Fly ash sample + 5% carbon black d) Blend - 4 = Fly ash sample + 7% carbon black Test Results Sr. No. Sample Details Loss on Ignition 1 OPC + 25% of Blend 1 2.1 2 OPC + 25% of Blend 2 4.0 3 OPC + 25% of Blend 3 6.0 4 OPC + 25% of Blend 4 8.0

Average reading 487 501 536 550

% Flow 30.2 26.7 18.2 14.6

Observation: Drop in flow was observed beyond 4% increase in loss on ignition.


The strength characteristics of fly ash are influenced by its both chemical and physical properties. In order to have an understanding between fineness of fly ashes (residue on 45- sieve) and water demand, a term called fineness factor has been introduced and which is calculated by the following formula. Fineness Factor (FF) = 10,000/(a X b) Where, a = water requirement for 110 +/- 5% flow of mortar in percent and b = residue of fly ash on 45 sieve in percent. Normally the fly ash samples with higher fineness factor are considered to be having increased reactivity.

Effect of +45 micron & -45 micron fractions of fly ash on quality of cement.
In order to understand behaviour of coarseness of fly ashes, studies were conducted by separating out +45 & -45 fractions from three sources of fly ashes. The -45 micron fraction separated from the three fly ashes were blended with OPC cement in the proportion of 70:30. The +45 coarse fraction separated by sieving from respective fly ash samples was ground in the lab ball mill and pass through 45- sieve. These ground fractions were blended with the same OPC cement and in the same ratio 70:30. The PP cement thus prepared by blending +45 (ground) & -45 as such separated fractions were evaluated for their physical properties. The reactive silica content in both the fractions (+45 7 -45 ) was evaluated and test results are tabulated below. Sample Details OPC Control PPC with 30% Fly ash - Sample -1 OPC + 30% (+45 - Fly ash Sample - 1) OPC + 30% (-45 - Fly ash Sample - 1) PPC with 30% Fly ash - Sample -2 OPC + 30% (+45 - Fly ash Sample - 2) OPC + 30% (-45 - Fly ash Sample - 2) PPC with 30% Fly ash - Sample -3 OPC + 30% (+45 - Fly ash Sample - 3) OPC + 30% (-45 - Fly ash Sample - 3) Compressive Strength ( M Pa) 1 Day 3 days 7 days 28 days 23.0 34.5 52.0 63.5 9.0 20.0 27.0 48.5 9.5 20.0 25.0 37.5 15.5 250 33.5 50.0 13.0 18.0 27.0 45.0 10.5 19.0 24.5 41.5 12.0 23.5 31.0 48.0 10.0 18.0 29.5 46.0 10.0 20.0 27.5 41.5 15.5 25.5 33.5 51.0

REACTIVE SILICA CONTENT - EN METHOD Sample Details Sample No.1, +45 fraction Sample No.1, -45 fraction Sample No.2 +45 fraction Sample No.2, -45 fraction Sample No.3 +45 fraction Sample No.3, -45 fraction Reactive Silica 8.1 11.2 12.4 15.0 11.2 14.0

It can be seen from the above tables that the +45 fraction of fly ashes contributes less to the strength development of PP Cement.

The fly ash usage in cement and in other building materials is governed by its physical and chemical properties. The quality of fly ashes widely varies from source to source due to different type of processes in operation at different power stations. The fineness and the combustibles are the key parameters, which have high influence on fly ash quality. Higher fineness and low combustibles leads to higher usage of fly ash. The recently amended IS specification (IS: 1489) for PPC has allowed usage of fly ash in cement up to 35%. Presently the average usage of fly ash in cement is about 18 - 20%. The improvement measures being taken by the power plants will help in bringing up this level to the maximum possible which will be beneficial for the efficiencies Power Plant, cement factories and the nation as a whole.