The various admixtures used in concrete can be categorized into two major groups
as follows; 1. Chemical Admixtures
2. Mineral Admixtures

Chemical admixtures:
Modern development in chemistry and high understanding of the mechanism of
hydration and strength of cement enforce in the use of different chemicals in
concrete for altering the properties of concrete to fulfill specific
requirements. These chemicals are called chemical admixtures. Some admixtures
with the combined property (such as set retarding and air-entraining and water
reducers and air entraining etc) are also available in the market.

Chemical admixtures can be classified as;

a) Set accelerators; two types

  • Accelerates setting time e.g. sodium carbonate for flash set (Na2Co3)
  • Accelerates to early gain in strength e.g. calcium chloride (CaCl2)

b) Set retarder

  • Use of hot weather concreting to prevent the rapid setting.
  • Used to keep equipments like mixtures free from malfunctioning. E.g. most
    commonly available is sugar but not in use nowadays.

c) Water reducers and super-plasticizers
Water reducers and super-plasticizers are used to reduce water cement (w/c)
ratio for the same workability. About (10-25%) water is reduced with these
water-reducing admixtures.

d) Air entraining agents: to entrain in concrete.

Mineral admixtures:

  1. These are added in concrete mix for partial replacement to the ordinary
    cement.
  2. These admixtures have cementitious or pozzolanic effect.

Some mineral admixtures are;

  • Fly ash; generally used to increase workability.
  • Ground blast furnace slag
  • Condensed silica fume (vapor)
  • Coal ash
  • Rice husk ash
  1. These are used in many countries to produce high strength concrete.
  2. Reduces heat of hydration.