Although underwater concreting has been in use for a long time, development of the technique has mainly proceeded in the areas of concrete placing method and improvements to the construction machinery. The prepacked concrete method, tremie method, concrete pump method, and others are now the representative underwater concreting methods. With all these concreting methods, the essential aim of technological development has been to improve how the concrete is placed and to minimize contact between the water and mortar so as to prevent the concrete from segregating under water.
On the other hand, antiwashout underwater concrete is quite different in concept from the methods mentioned above; the development aim in this case was improved performance of the fresh concrete. That is, the viscosity of the concrete was increased and its resistance to segregation under the washing action of water was enhanced by mixing an antiwashout admixture with the concrete. The effect of this is not only to greatly improve the reliability of Concrete placed underwater, but it also has remarkable effects on environmental preservation in the construction area. In addition, the earlier tremie and concrete pump placing methods can be adopted for construction.
The specific advantages of antiwashout underwater concrete include the following:
- Compared with ordinary concrete, antiwashout underwater concrete is highly resistant to the washing action of water, and rarely separates even when dropped under water
- Its yield value is small and viscosity high, so the concrete components never segregate and it displays high fluidity.
- As a result of the high fluidity, filling property and self-leveling ability are improved.
- Almost no bleeding occurs.
These qualities are taken full advantage of in work which would be difficult to handle using conventional underwater concrete. This includes work where high reliability is required, work in flowing water, work where water turbidity is restricted due to environmental considerations, and work where construction stretches over a considerable area and good flatness is necessary. On the other hand, however, handling is more difficult than with ordinary concrete, and in order to produce concrete of the required quality and a structure of the required performance, careful consideration of mix proportion, mixing, transport, and placing, etc. is necessary when antiwashout underwater concrete is used.
In particular, when producing the underwater antiwash concrete it is necessary to mix it for longer than ordinary concrete in a mixer large enough to uniformly disperse the antiwashout admixture. Also, when using concrete pumps for placement, it is necessary to design a pumping plan with care as regards pumping equipment, pumping distance, etc., because the pumping resistance is increased by the higher viscosity.