Effect Of Mix Ratio And Curing Water On The Compressive Strength Of Oil Palm Shell (OPS) Aggregate Concrete

Project and Seminar Materials for Civil Engineering CE

Effect Of Mix Ratio And Curing Water On The Compressive Strength Of Oil Palm Shell (OPS) Aggregate Concrete


In this study, the compressive strengths and Modulus of elasticity of lightweight Concrete with oil palm shells as partial replacement of coarse aggregate was presented. The different types of mixing water were used, namely, clean water from Ahmadu Bello University Water Works, Salt water, obtained from Lagos Shore and Pond water obtained from Nagoye, Zaria.

Also three mix ratios were adopted which include 1:2:4, 1:1.5:3 and 1:1:2 mix ratios. Five mixes were investigated; control, which contain granite coarse aggregate only; then four other mixes with 20%, 40%, 60% and 80% granite coarse aggregate replacement by oil palm Shell (OPS) aggregate. Fifteen samples where produced for each mix ratio, given a total of 135 concrete cube specimen for compressive strength tests and another 135 cylinder specimen for cylinder compressive strength tests and another 135 cylinder specimens for indirect tensile test for the determination of modulus of elasticity. In conclusion, after undertaking the laboratory practical‟s on the

OPS using 3 types of water for curing and varying the mix ratios to conform with class M15, M20 and M25, the effect of mix ratio and curing showed a tremendous difference but the use of OPS as a lightweight aggregate material was found to be adequate when compared with other materials being used as lightweight aggregate.

Chapter One


1.1 Preamble

Natural resources of the world are drastically dwindling due to the increasing demand of natural aggregate for the construction industry. The frequent use of natural aggregate in some areas led to environmental degradation, and has given impetus to studies and researches for sustainable development by using different waste products in the construction industry. Lightweight aggregates from industrial waste such as fly ash, ground granulated blast furnace slag, bed ash has led to sustainable materials but due to the lack of production techniques, many of the developed and under-developed countries have not been able to use them to their advantage. If the weight of the structure is decreased by using lightweight aggregate in concrete, it will in turn reduce the foundation cost due to reduction in self-weight, which has been convincingly proved in developed countries (Alengaram, 2013). Reddy et al., (2014) stated that the consumption of the primary aggregate was 110 million tonnes in the U.K. during 1960 and reached nearly 275 million tonnes in the year 2006. Similarly 2 billion tones of aggregate are produced each year in the United states and it is expected to increase to more than 2.5 billion tonnes by the year 2020 (Reddy et al., 2014). It has been predicted that the demand for concrete is expected to grow to approximately 18 billion tons a year by 2050. Such heavy demands draw attention and preservation of natural aggregates, which are a matter of grave concern. Since aggregates contribute about 60–80% of the volume of the concrete, effective and efficient use of agricultural waste contributes to energy saving, conservation of natural resources and reduction of the cost of construction materials. Agricultural wastes in the form of aggregate for concrete production can be considered as one of the environmental benefits and has shown better thermal property with the proven recognition by most of the sustainability rating systems (Shafigh et al., 2014).

Concrete is the most versatile heterogeneous construction material and the impetus of infrastructural development of any nation (Olafusi and Olutoge, 2012). Concrete is a composite inert material comprising of a binder course (e.g. cement), mineral filler (body) or aggregates and water (Oyenuga, 2001). Concrete is one of the oldest manufactured construction materials used in construction of various structures around the world. The cost of concrete and other construction materials in Nigeria is currently so high that the majority of individuals find it difficult to afford, with the exception of Government, Industrial and Business Corporations. There had been calls from several government quarters on means to reduce the cost of Civil Engineering construction works by adopting cheap locally available engineering materials. The Nigerian Building and Road Research Institute (NBRRI) was established in order to fulfill this mandate.

The high demand for concrete in construction industry has resulted to a rapid decrease in natural stone deposit such as the limestone and granite. As a result of escalating environments problem which comes as a result of excessive usage of natural stone deposit, thereby causing ecological imbalance, the need to find and explore an alternative material that could be used as a replacement to the conventional aggregate has become necessary.

Structural lightweight aggregate concrete is an important and versatile material in modern construction. It has many and varied applications including multistory building frames and floors, bridges, offshore oil platforms, and prestressed or precast elements of all types. Many architects, engineers, and contractors recognize the inherent economies and advantages offered by this material, as evidenced by the many impressive lightweight concrete structures found today throughout the world (ACI 213R-7, 1987). Structural lightweight aggregate concrete solves weight and durability problems in buildings and exposed structures. Lightweight concrete has strengths comparable to normal weight concrete, yet is typically 25% to 35% lighter. Structural lightweight concrete offers design flexibility and substantial cost savings by providing: less dead load, improved seismic structural response, longer spans, better fire ratings, and thinner sections, decreased storey height, smaller size structural members, less reinforcing steel, and lower foundation costs (Oyenuga, 2001).

Oil Palm Shells (OPS) are the crushed outer part of palm kernel nut derived after the extraction of palm oil. Oil Palm Shell (OPS) is the hard endocarp of palm kernel fruit that surround the palm seed. It is obtain as crushed pieces after threshing or crushing to remove the seed which is used in the production of palm kernel oil (Olutoge, 1995). Palm kernel shell are available in large quantities in palm oil producing areas such as Okiti-pupa, Ode-aye farm settlement, Araromi obu rubber and oil plantations, Irele oil plantations all in Ondo State, National Institute for Oil Palm research (NIFOR) and Okomu farms in Edo State and in reasonable quantities in other towns and villages especially in the southern part of Nigeria (Alagbon, 1994). Many varieties of palm exist, which include Dura, Pisifere and Tenera and they are recognized mainly by the thickness of their shell (endocarp) and fibrous oily part (mesocarp) and the fruits. Dura variety has very thick shell and thin fibrous part only. In the Pisifera variety, the shell is almost absent or very tiny, the bulk of the fruit being fibrous mainly produce little or no kernel. The Tenera variety is the hybrid of dura and pisifera. The thickness of the shell and the fibrous part are of medium size (Nwokolo, 1994).

OPS are used for the followings:

  1. As a good source of fuel for domestic cooking in most area where they occur, such as Edo State, Cross River State and Anambra State.
  2. They are often dumped as waste products of the palm oil industry.
  3. OPS may be used for making terrazzo.
  4. They are used as fill materials for filling pot holes in muddy areas in some localities.

1.2 Statement of the Problem

In areas where the palm oil is produced in commercial quantities, the OPS can be found in large quantities though it may not completely compete with conventional aggregate but can reduce cost and disposal problems. The high demand for concrete in construction using normal weight aggregates (NWAs), such as gravel and granite, has drastically reduced natural stone deposits and this resulted to degradation of our environment. As a result, the emphasis on sustainable materials has been much recently. The growing need for sustainable development has motivated researchers to focus their investigation on the use of waste or recycled materials into potential construction material. Lightweight aggregates (LWAs) from industrial waste materials such as fly ash, expanded slag cinder, and bed ash has led for sustainable materials. However, the lack of production techniques in developing and underdeveloped countries has not brought much advantage to them. A substantial amount of cost can be reduced if the weight of the structure is decreased. LWA had been in use for a long period of time in developed countries and it proved cost effective. It served the purpose of both the structural stability and economic viability. The lower the weight, the more versatile are the structures. For a very long time, different types of LWA such as clinker, foamed slag, and expanded clay has been used as construction material (Chandra and Berntsson, 2003). Recently, because of growing environmental concerns, waste materials are being used as aggregates for construction (Teo et al., 2007). During the last 27 years, oil palm shell (OPS), has been used by researchers as LWA to replace conventional NWA in structural elements and road construction (Okpala, 1990; Teo et al., 2006; Mannan, 2006; Ndoke, 2006). Numerous articles on the physical, mechanical, structural and functional properties using OPS as LWA have been published. Eurocode 2 is based on concrete cylinder strength, BS 8110 is based on cube strength. This study compared the cylinder and cube strength of the OPS concrete, considering various mix ratios, and different types of curing water.

1.3 Justification of the Study

OPS are usually found stockpiled at open spaces in Nigeria which have negative impact on the environment such as breeding spots for mosquitoes. During major rainstorms, some of the palm kernel shells are also carried away by surface water thereby clogging local drains. Currently, there is inadequate supply of fresh high quality aggregates from quarries near metropolitan areas in Nigeria compared to the cost of OPS, which is a waste, the cost of production of crushed aggregates is high due to importation of dynamites with hard currencies. Moreover, the quarrying operations adversely affect the environment in various ways such as:

  1. Pollution of water bodies with sediments and industrial oils.
  2. Excessive dusts causing air pollution which trigger respiratory system diseases in the community around.
  3. Noise pollution from blasting and crushing
  4. Increased erosion at the quarry site.

Vibration damage (cracks) to nearby buildings. The high cost of production of aggregates and the environmental concerns have motivate the investigation into the possible use of OPS as partial replacement of coarse aggregate, that is expected to produce lightweight concrete, because OPS is lightweight compared to the conventional aggregate. Lightweight concrete has numerous advantages such as savings on reinforcement, formwork, scaffolding, foundation work, better fire resistance, heat insulation, and sound absorption. Moreover, the use of concrete with a lower density permits construction on grounds with a low load bearing capacity.

1.4 Aim and Objectives

1.4.1 Aim

The aim of this study was to evaluate the cylinder and cube strength of oil palm shell concretes, considering various mix ratios, and different types of curing water.

1.4.2 Objectives

The specific objectives include the following:

  1. Perform the preliminary tests on the constituent materials like sieve analysis on the aggregates as well as washing and drying of the oil palm shells (Ordinary Portland Cement, Fine Aggregate, Conventional Coarse Aggregate and the Oil Pail Shells).
  2. Establish the workability of the mixes considered in this study (1:2:4, 1:1.5:3 and 1:1:2).
  3. Perform compressive strength tests, on cylinder and cube samples.
  4. To observe the outer surface of the cylinder and cube test sample on removal of the formworks after 24hours of casting for bondage of the OPS and other aggregates present in the concrete produced.
  5. To illustrate on graph the compressive strength trend using various percentage replacement of granite with OPS 20%, 40% 60%, and 80%.
  6. To observed the impact of curing water retained within the pores that exist within the sample being cured.

1.5 Scope of the Research

The study is limited to the investigation of concrete made with Oil Palm Shells as partial replacement for coarse aggregate in lightweight concrete production using clean water, salt water and pound water. It involved tests on the constituent’s materials, tests on the fresh and the hardened concrete.


Chapter Five

Conclusions and Recommendations


5.1 Conclusion

  1. Preliminary tests were conducted on the ordinary Portland cement, and the OPS and the results obtained can be found on Tables 4.4 – 4.7, and 4.8 respectively.
  2. To establish the workability, the slump test was conducted as follows:
    • Collapse slump: In the slump, the concrete collapsed completely
    • Shear slump: In the shear slump, the top portion of the concrete shears off and slips sideways.
    • True slump: In a true slump, the concrete simply subsides, keeping more or less to shape the workability results can be seen on table 4.10.
  3. In conclusion, after undertaking the laboratory practical‟s on the OPS using 3 types of water for curing and varying the mix ratios to conform with class M15, M20 and M25, the effect of mix ratio and curing were as follows:
    • The density of OPSC (weight-batched) (kgm-3) for 80% OPS lightweight aggregate at 28 days was found to be 1519kgm-3 which is greater than 1292kgm-3. This means the OPS can therefore be used as lightweight aggregate.
    • The effect of mix ratio is clear considering the crushing strength obtained. The crushing strength obtained from the control mix ratio 1;2:4, 1:1:5:3 and 1:1:2 at 28days was found to be far greater than the OPS partially replaced granite mix ratio 1:2:4, 1:1:5:3 and 1:1:2, at 28days. But considering the value 13.49N/mm2 obtained from mix ratio 1:1:2 at 40% replacement and cured for 28days, OPS can be used to partially replace granite and be taken as a lightweight aggregate to produce lightweight concrete.
    • The effect of curing water was also evaluated after curing the samples in clean water, salt water and pond water. It was observed out the sample cured in salt water have higher crushing strength than the sample cured in clean water. The sample cured in clean water were found to have higher crushing strength than the samples cured in pond water.
  4. The modulus of elasticity test was performed and the stiffness of the concrete made with OPS was determined see table 4.1 to 4.9.
  5. On the removal of the cube and cylinder form works after 7 days, disintegration (wearing) of the surface in contact with FW was observed on the 60% and 80% OPS replacement test samples. The disintegration (wearing) of the surface was higher on the 80% OPS replacement test samples. This shows that the higher the percentage of the OPS the lower the bonding as well as the crushing strength.
  6. The illustrations of the compressive strength on graphs shows that the higher the OPS percentage the lower the strength. And the 40% OPS, and mix ratio of 1:1:2, cube samples cured in salt water attain the highest compressive strength at 28 days of 15.37Nmm-2, while 14.36Nmm-2 was obtained from 40% OPS cylinder samples cured in salt water.
  7. Simple cost analysis.

Table 4.12: simple cost analysis

S/NoType of Conc.VolumeCost
1Pure granite concrete1M3N25000.00
240% OPS concrete1 M3N18000.00

5.2 Recommendations

From the results obtained in this thesis work, the contribution to knowledge highlights the following recommendations:

  1. 40% of OPS can replace the conventional granite adequately using the mix ratio of 1:1:2 cured in clean water for 28days.
  2. Due to its shape and texture, when used from 60% upward to replace granite, disintegration of the set samples during the removal of the formwork, therefore it is recommended that OPS percentage should not be more than 40%.
  3. Though the results indicated the possible use of oil palm shell as a structural material, it is recommended that its long term behavior should be investigated to evaluate this possibility.
  4. Plasticizers should be used in works involving palm kernel shell concrete due to its shape and texture.
  5. Higher performance concrete is design to limit permeability and reduce chloride ingress, but these properties also limit the ability of externally applied curing water typically placed on top of the concrete to reach the interior. But in the case of OPS when used as LWA, due to its shape, it will create internal curing which provides additional water throughout the concrete, more of the pores remain water filled, minimizing stress and strain development. This reduces or eliminates early age cracking of the LWC and promotes maximum hydration, which can contribute to increase strength.
  6. Further research should be conducted to qualify to use of OPS as lightweight aggregate to produce lightweight concrete as a structural material.

Effect Of Mix Ratio And Curing Water On The Compressive Strength Of Oil Palm Shell (OPS) Aggregate Concrete

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Effect Of Mix Ratio And Curing Water On The Compressive Strength Of Oil Palm Shell (OPS) Aggregate Concrete


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