Date of Last Revision

2023-05-03 12:52:46


Civil Engineering - Cooperative Education

Degree Name

Bachelor of Science

Date of Expected Graduation

Spring 2019


Concrete is one of the most common materials used in construction. It is mass produced throughout the country, with numerous different designs for concrete mixes. A common practice among concrete manufacturers is to use a standardized concrete mix design. These standardized mix designs are pre-tested and are not usually altered frequently. The hypothesis of this research project is that manufacturers do not constantly investigate new ways to save on their mixes, and simply use the same standardized mix designs.

In this research, investigations into what alterations may reduce the cost of standardized mixes began with a baseline mix design provided from a specific project, focusing on two main classes of concrete. Only one alteration to the baseline mix was made at a time. The most expensive ingredients going into a concrete mix are the cements and the admixtures. As these are the most expensive, the alterations focused on these two main factors. Multiple reductions in the Portland cement were made, while adding slag cement to maintain the cementitious material. Also, a simple Portland cement reduction was made. With admixtures, the midrange water reducer was cut in half and eliminated entirely. The high range water reducer was only reduced by half.

Due to the inconsistencies throughout the laboratory testing and lack of time to gather extensive data, the results are inconclusive. However, based on the results that were gathered, the most likely ways to reduce costs for a mix while maintaining the required compressive strengths would be to reduce the amount or Portland cement until the maximum water-cement ratio was reached, or to eliminate the use of a midrange water reducer.

Research Sponsor

Dr. David Roke

First Reader

Stephen Duirk

Second Reader

Anil Patnaik



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