Influence of Lightweight Aggregates on Various Properties of Concrete

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Influence of Lightweight Aggregates on Various Properties of Concrete

Anju Lakshman

B. Tech Student Manav Rachna International

Institute of Research and Studies, Faridabad

H. Bosky Devi

  1. Tech Student Manav Rachna International

    Institute of Research and Studies, Faridabad

    Manju Dominic


    Manav Rachna International Institute of Research and Studies, Faridabad


    Lightweight concrete is a mix of cement, sand, water and lightweight aggregate with some admixtures. The significant characteristics of light weight concrete are reduced dead load, cost effective, less core ingredient consumption, improved thermal insulation, and environmental friendly. For making light weight concrete lighter weight material like pumice stone, geopolymer, fly ash, plastic waste, oil palm shell, waste glass, quarry wastes and nano silica are used. Studies show that the strength, workability and durability of light weight concrete have been significantly higher as compared to conventional concrete. Further, it provides better thermal, fire and earthquake resistance. Lightweight concrete also shows the application of different waste materials as a partial substitution of cement. The present paper reports an overall review of the effect of different light weight aggregates on the various properties of lightweight concrete.

    KeywordsLight weight concrete; Material; Strength; Durability; Workability


      In civil engineering construction, concrete is most important material. Generally it comprises of cement, water, fine and coarse aggregates. The constituents of concrete are mixed and poured into the moulds to make the structure of desired shape and sizes. The concrete structures are good appearance, strength and durability. It withstand against all external and internal forces for long time span. Each constituent present in concrete plays vital role for governing the strength of concrete. Based on the mix proportion of constituents and 28 days compressive strength (), Bureau of Indian Standards (IS 456-2000) categorized the concrete in various grades. The structural concretes are designated and categorized in three forms, ordinary concrete, standard concrete and high strength or high performance concrete. Benefits, strength, workability, durability and use of these concrete are different. For making high strength concrete generally some admixtures and other material like fly ash, silica fume, slag etc. are used. However due to presence of heavy weight material (cement and aggregates) usually the dead weight of concrete is higher and special facilities like cranes, platforms etc. are required for lifting and placement. In recent years several studies have been conducted on the concrete to reduce the dead weight of concrete, and making the light weight concrete with higher strength, workability and durability. By reducing the weight of aggregates or by introducing air entrained agents in the normal concrete, the making of light weight concrete can be possible. Light weight

      concrete can be treated as special form of concrete which is cost effective and more durable. It also improves the thermal and vibration insulation, earthquake resistance and life of concrete. For making light weight concrete, raw or waste materials like glass fiber, plastic waste, fly ash, pumice stone, geopolymer, and wood chips are used. Use of these materials can also be partially replaced the amount of cement. However, use of different materials in concrete affect its properties significantly. The present paper describes the materials used for making of light weight concrete and how the properties of concrete changes with the use of light materials.


      A smart structure refers to structure which is sensible and have self-supporting features. It senses stress, temperature, deformation etc. and up to certain levels it performs the self- treatment. It behaves in a systematic manner and user friendly. Increase in research and technology makes it to serve for better lifestyle of mankind. As compared to traditional or conventional structures, smart structures are more durable, healthy and workable. It provides better service and lifestyle to people. Also it has higher heat and vibration resistance, better temperature control and ventilation and safety standard. Also smart structures are environmental friendly, energy efficient and have self-cleaning properties.

      Pumice stone

      Pumice stone is found in volcanic sediments and have light weight as compared to normal aggregates. It improves the physical and engineering properties of the ordinary concrete and makes it more durable and workable.

      Geopolymer aggregate

      Fly ash and mine tailings are used for production of lightweight geopolymer aggregates. Geopolymer aggregates possess significantly good properties and a mechanical strength comparatively higher leading to a greater dynamic elastic modulus.

      Woodchip concrete

      The woodchip is pours and light weight material. It can be applied as sound-absorbing and insulator material.

      Quarry wastes

      Quarry dust, is a byproduct of stone quarry and treated as waste material. It available in larger quantity and creates many on-site and off-site environmental troubles. It can be utilized in production of lightweight foamed concrete as it increases the strength and thermal conductivity.

      Plastic wastes

      Plastic waste can be easily obtained from the cable manufacturing industries and from households. It contains polystyrene and ethylene vinyl acetate (EVA) and hence can be used in light weight concrete. It increases the heat- insulation capacity of the concrete.

      Oil palm shell

      Oil palm shell is a byproduct of the palm oil industry. It is an agricultural solid waste. It possesses about 50% lesser weight compare to normal weight aggregates and can be used in light weight concrete.

      Waste glass

      The finely grind waste glass can be used in making light weight concrete as a partial substitution of the sand. The fineness of the glass can improve the properties of light weight concrete.

      Fly ash

      Fly ash is a waste or by-product material get in large amount from the thermal power plants. Its pozzolanic property makes it highly reactive. It can be used for making high performance light weight concrete.


      Effect on compressive strength

      Amel [1] has conducted the experiment by adding a suitable amount of natural aggregates pumice stone to concrete to study the behaviour. The addition of 50% pumice increases the properties of concrete significantly. Minapu,

      [2] performed an experimental studies to analyze the mechanical properties of a lightweight concrete (M30) by addition of lightweight aggregate pumice stone and mineral admixtures. They noticed that by utilizing of 20% of lightweight aggregate (as the limited replacement to coarse aggregate), the compressive strength is promising. It is found that with an increase in pumice percentage the 28 days compressive strength of concrete is decreased. With the incorporation of mineral admixtures, the strength increases. Yliniemi, [3] have conducted the studies using geopolymer aggregates. They concluded that with mortars prepared with geopolymer aggregates. They also observed that the strongest concrete was produced by the FA geopolymer aggregates and the weakest by LECAs. Lim [4] has conducted studies to investigate the application of quarr dust as a partial replacement of river sand in the manufacture of lightweight foamed concrete (LFC). The results obtained that the compressive strength performance index has been strengthened by the use of an excessive volume (100% replacement of sand) of quarry dust in lightweight foamed

      concrete. They further concluded that increasing the water- cement ratio, there was no notable depletion in compressive strength. Lim and Min [5] have performed a study to investigate the engineering properties of aerated light weight concrete with the possible addition of the waste glass as a partial replacement of cement/ sand. It was observed that with waste glass loading, the advance compressive strength of LWC was increased. Farahani [6] made a structural sustainable light weight concrete by using oil palm shell, (as a replacement of coarse aggregate, fly ash and rice husk). It has been described that use of an excessive volume fly ash lead to depletion in compressive strength of the ordinary concrete. They concluded that grade 20 concrete can be formed by combining the blended RHA-FA as an exchange of cement up to 70% in oil palm shell concrete. Wang [7] have conducted an exploratory study with nano-SiO2 to check the compressive strength, shrinkage and early cracking of lightweight aggregate concrete (LWAC). As per the results, by increasing the nano-SiO2 % from 1 to 3% by mass of binders, the compressive strength was enhanced. Sharmin

      [8] has conducted an investigation to evaluate the effects of geopolymer concrete with oil palm shell and palm oil clinker (POC). It is noted that due to change in chemical composition, 95% of 28 days compressive strength of concrete is achieved early ( only after 3 days). The outcomes showed that with 20% OPS and 80% granite a grade 35 OPS lightweight geopolymer concrete has 14% lighter than normal weight concrete. Alqahtani et. al. [9] have conducted an analysis with constructed plastic aggregate as a replacemnt of volcanic lightweight aggregate and Lytag aggregate. It was observed that with an increase in replacement level, the compressive strength of the concrete mixes diminished. Zaleska [10] have conducted experimental studies on three dissimilar types of plastic waste as a replacement of 50% natural aggregates utilized in concrete. They observed that the compressive strength slowly reduced with the increase quantity of plastic aggregates while the foremost results are attained with regranulated polypropylene random copolymer. Wongsaa

      [11] conducted a study on geopolymer concrete having fly ash as geopolymer binder and bottom ash as aggregates. The outcomes show that by the utilization of bottom ash, a lightweight y ash geopolymer concrete with 14.318.1MPa compressive strengths can be produced.

      Effect on density of concrete

      Chaabane [1] conducted studies by substituting pumice stone with lightweight ones to give a better thermal insulating power. They observed that increase in percentage substitution of the natural aggregate by pumice aggregate, the density of concrete is found to be reduced. Lakshmi [2] has also conducted a study by utilizing lightweight aggregate pumice stone as a substitution to normal coarse aggregate and mineral admixture. They also observed that the density reduces with the increase in percentage substitution of pumice stone. Lim and Phang [5] have performed a study by using the waste glass in making aerated lightweight concrete as a limited substitution of sand or cement. It is noticed that the waste glass with particle size range of less than 75 micro meter gives finer pozzolanic properties and lower density. Javad [6] has reported a study to create sustainable

      lightweight concrete by using oil palm shell as coarse aggregate and fly ash and rice husk as additional cementitious material. They observed that the result of the concrete density reduced by 7% if 70% blended RHA-FA ( rice husk ash fly ash) was used. Patcharapol [12] investigated pressed lightweight flyash-OPC geopolymer having recycled lightweight concrete aggregate to study their density and strength. They confirmed that comparatively high density concrete was produced by good casting and pressing characteristics.

      Effect of lightweight materials on flexural strength and splitting tensile strength

      Minapu [2] has performed an experimental study on a structural lightweight concrete (M30) using the lightweight aggregate pumice stone as a partial replacement of coarse aggregate and mineral admixture materials (fly ash and silica fume). Pumice stone and mineral admixtures are used with different percentage. The flexural strength of concrete is found to be increased with and increase in percentage replacement of natural aggregate by pumice aggregate. Splitting tensile strength also enhanced due to replacement. Sharmin [8] has conducted an investigation with palm oil clinker (POC), rice husk (RHA), metakaolin (MK), and ground granulated blast furnace slag (GGBS) as binding materials to develop geopolymer concrete in an alkaline environment. Palm oil clinker and manufactured sand were used as fine aggregates in two different proportions. The rate of increase in flexural strength was higher than the rate of increase of splitting tensile strength with replacement of oil palm shell. Alqahtani [9] and Zaleska [10] has conducted an investigation with manufactured plastic aggregate. Flexural strength of the concrete mixes decreased by 27 to 44%, with the increase in the replacement level of plastic waste from 25 to 100%.

      Effect of lightweight materials on shrinkage

      Wang [7] has conducted an experimental investigation with nano-SiO2 to check the shrinkage and early cracking sensitivity of light weight aggregate concrete (LWAC). When 1 to 3% nano-SiO2 by mass was incorporated, significant impact on shrinkage of LWAC is observed. Aslam [13] has conducted a study to reduce drying shrinkage of oil palm shell light weight concrete. Partial replacement of oil palm shell significantly reduce drying shrinkage of concrete and when water content decreases, the shrinkage of the concrete reduces respectively.

      Effect of lightweight materials on modulus of elasticity

      Ahmmad [14] conducted a study to check the feasibility of palm oil clinker waste in light weight concrete. Waste palm oil clinker (POC) powder was utilized. Increment of POC powder content improved the modulus up to 60%. Based on the experimental study, Záleská [10] shows that by increasing the content of plastic aggregates the modulus of elasticity decreased gradually. Alqahtani [9] conducted a study on novel light weight concrete containing manufactured plastic aggregate. 50% of natural aggregates were replaced by plastic waste of different categories. The modulus of elasticity of the concrete mixes reduced by 11-54% respectively, with the replacement level increment from 25100%.

      Effect of lightweight materials on slump value

      Ahmmad [14], conducted a study on palm oil clinker and reported that there was an increment in the slump value of POC light weight concrete with the addition of POC. The compactness of concrete increases with the addition of POC. Javed [6] has reported a study on oil palm shell with flyash and rice husk. They observed that the slump value decreases from 11cm to 8.5cm when 70% OPC was replaced by rice husk ash.


The paper reviewed the performance of Light weight Concrete by replacement of coarse aggregates. The light weight materials show a relatively higher value for compressive strength and reduced density as compared to conventional concrete. As flexural strength and splitting tensile strength is a critical criteria when high pressure is exerted on the material for stress bearing restorations, it was found that with materials like oil palm shell, pumice stone, silica fume and fly ash, there was an increment in the properties. When materials like geopolymer, plastic aggregate andwaste plastics are used the properties diminishes. As modulus of elasticity is related to the stiffness, therefore a material should be able to withstand deformation and when the materials like plastic was used, the property decrease on adding oil palm clinker. In cases of properties slump value, shrinkage and workability, the effect increases and there is no significant influence.


The authors thank to Accendere Knowledge Management Services for giving valuable suggestion and inputs for writing the paper.


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