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Construction
and Building

Construction and Building Materials 22 (2008) 1614–1623


MATERIALS
www.elsevier.com/locate/conbuildmat

Influence of sand grading on the characteristics of mortars


and soil–cement block masonry
a,* b
B.V. Venkatarama Reddy , Ajay Gupta
a
Department of Civil Engineering, Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore 560 012, India
b
Vintech Consultants, K 1/128, Chitranjan Park, New Delhi 110 019, India

Received 8 August 2006; received in revised form 20 June 2007; accepted 25 June 2007
Available online 13 August 2007

Abstract

Sand constitutes bulk of the mortar volume. Sand grading can influence the characteristics of mortar and masonry. Influence of sand
grading on the characteristics of two types of mortars and soil–cement block masonry are examined in this paper. Three different sand
gradings were used to examine the workability, strength, water retentivity, drying shrinkage and stress–strain characteristics of cement
mortar and cement–lime mortar. Bond strength, compressive strength and stress–strain characteristics of soil–cement block masonry
were also examined using these mortars. Major findings of the study are: (a) for a given consistency mortar with fine sand requires
25–30% more water, (b) as the sand becomes fine mortar compressive strength and modulus decreases while drying shrinkage increases,
(c) fine sand reduces the tensile bond strength of masonry, whereas masonry compressive strength is not sensitive to sand grading vari-
ations and (d) masonry modulus reduces as the sand used in the mortar becomes finer.
 2007 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

Keywords: Mortar; Sand grading; Soil–cement block; Masonry; Stress–strain relation; Masonry strength

1. Introduction tive of different types of sand and sand grading. With the
increase in void ratio (the percentage of voids in loose con-
Sand is the common ingredient for masonry mortars ditions) of sand, the water requirement for mortar increases
even though varieties of cementitious materials are used for standard consistency. As the fineness modulus of sand
for mortars. Sand constitutes bulk of the mortar volume. decreases the requirement of water for a particular mix pro-
Composition of sand and its grading can influence the portion increases. Specific surface of sand has no relation
characteristics of mortars in fresh as well as in hardened with the water requirement of mortar mix and it does not
state. Also, it could influence brick–mortar adhesion and influence the mortar strength. Balen and Gemert [2] exam-
other masonry characteristics. ined some properties of fresh mortar and observed that
There are limited studies on the influence of sand grading for a given consistency, mortars with very fine sand required
on the characteristics of mortars and masonry. Drew and up to 50% more water than similar mortars having normal
Braj [1] studied the effect of sand characteristics (fineness sand grading. They also observed that the fine sand mortars
modulus, void ratio, specific surface, etc.) and water content have better water retentivity as compared to normal sand
of the mix on the mortar strength. The tests were performed grading for a given mortar proportion. I.S. 2116 [3] gives
on Scottish sand samples collected from 30 different places. grading limits for sand for use in masonry mortars as shown
They observed that water–cement ratio is the largest single in Fig. 1. Similar sand grading limits can be found in ASTM
factor affecting the compressive strength of mortar irrespec- C 144 [4], BS: 4551 [5] and many other codes of practice.
Anderson and Held [6] investigated the influence of sand
*
Corresponding author. Tel.: +91 80 2293 3126; fax: +91 80 2360 0404. grading on the bond strength of cement–lime mortar with
E-mail address: venkat@civil.iisc.ernet.in (B.V. Venkatarama Reddy). three types of bricks. They found that the sand grading

0950-0618/$ - see front matter  2007 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
doi:10.1016/j.conbuildmat.2007.06.014
B.V. Venkatarama Reddy, A. Gupta / Construction and Building Materials 22 (2008) 1614–1623 1615

100 through an experimental programme. Grading curves of


natural river sand was varied by removing a portion of
80 the coarse fraction thus obtaining three different gradations
for the sand. Characteristics of two types of mortars
(cement mortar and cement–lime mortar) and soil–cement
% Finer

60
block masonry using these mortars were examined.
40 Natural sand
Cement–lime mortar is the most commonly used mortar
Medium sand for masonry throughout the world. In India, cement mor-
Fine sand
20 Upper limit
tar (1 cement:6 sand) is commonly used for load bearing
Lower limit masonry structures. Hence, in this investigation both
cement mortar and cement–lime mortar have been selected.
0
0.1 1 10 Table 1 gives details of the experimental programme.
Particle Size (mm)

Fig. 1. Particle size distribution of sand. 3. Materials used in the investigation

significantly affects the tensile bond strength of mortar to 3.1. Cement and lime
brick. Mortars using fine sand results in lower bond
strength. Groot [7] examined the tensile brick–mortar bond Ordinary Portland cement conforming to I.S. 8112 [9]
strength by means of cross couplet tests following ASTM C was used for the manufacture of soil–cement blocks as well
952 [8] guidelines. Tests were performed on extruded clay as for the mortars. Locally available commercial grade cal-
bricks (dry), machine moulded bricks (prewetted  15% cium hydroxide (lime) was used for cement–lime mortar.
by mass) and calcium silicate bricks (prewetted  7% by This is a non-hydraulic type lime.
mass). Portland cement mortar, lime–cement mortar and
masonry cement mortar with different sand grading rang- 3.2. Sand
ing from finer to coarser were used to cast the specimens.
He observed that the mortars with coarser sand give better Natural river sand was used in the experiments. Influ-
bond strength than with finer sand and the type of the ence of sand grading and its fineness modulus on various
masonry unit influences the bond strength more signifi- properties was examined by reconstituting the natural sand
cantly rather than the grading of the sand. having particles finer than 4.75, 1.18 and 0.5 mm. The grain
There are limited numbers of focused studies pertaining size distribution curves of natural sand and reconstituted
to influence of sand grading on mortar and masonry char- sands are shown in Fig. 1. Upper and lower bound limiting
acteristics. Hardly any literature exists on the effect of sand gradations for sand as specified in I.S. 2116 [3] code are
grading on the characteristics of mortar related to soil– also shown in the figure. The natural sand gradation curve
cement block masonry. Hence, the present investigation is falls outside the limiting gradation curves. Details of fine-
focused on the influence of sand grading on the characteris- ness modulus (FM) and designations of three types of
tics of mortars in the fresh and hardened state, and its influ- sands used in the experiments are given in Table 1. FM
ence on the characteristics of soil–cement block masonry. of natural sand, medium sand and fine sand is 3.21, 2.45
and 1.72, respectively.
2. Scope of the work and the experimental programme
3.3. Soil–cement blocks
Influence of sand grading on characteristics of mortars
in the fresh as well as in the hardened state and the charac- Soil–cement blocks are manufactured by compacting a
teristics of soil–cement block masonry were examined mixture of soil, sand and cement at optimum moisture into

Table 1
Test programme for mortar and masonry characteristics
Mortar Sand Properties investigated
Proportion (by volume) Designation Finer than (mm) Designation FM Mortar Soil–cement block masonry
C L S A B CS D E T CS E
p p p p p p p p
1 – 6 CMN 4.75 Natural 3.21
p p p p p p p p
1 – 6 CMM 1.18 Medium 2.45
p p p p p p p p
1 – 6 CMF 0.50 Fine 1.72
p p p p p p p p
1 1 6 CLMN 4.75 Natural 3.21
p p p p p p p p
1 1 6 CLMM 1.18 Medium 2.45
p p p p p p p p
1 1 6 CLMF 0.50 Fine 1.72
C: cement; L: lime; S: sand; A: flow characteristics; B: water retentivity; CS: compressive strength; D: drying shrinkage; E: stress–strain characteristics; T:
tensile bond strength; FM: fineness modulus.
1616 B.V. Venkatarama Reddy, A. Gupta / Construction and Building Materials 22 (2008) 1614–1623

a dense block using a machine. Such blocks are used for 3.5
load bearing masonry of 2–3 stories height buildings in

Compressive stress (MPa)


3
India and elsewhere [10–15]. Fig. 2 shows a load bearing
soil–cement block masonry residential building in India. 2.5
More information on the technology of soil–cement blocks
can be found in the investigations of Lunt [16], Olivier and 2
Mesbah [17], Heathcote [18], Venkatarama Reddy and 1.5
Jagadish [19], Walker and Stace [20], Walker [21], Venkat-
arama Reddy and Walker [22], Venkatarama Reddy and 1
Gupta [23,24] and many other publications.
0.5
Soil–cement blocks of size: 305 · 143 · 100 mm were
used in this investigation. The blocks were prepared using 0
12% cement by weight. Commonly used range of cement 0 0.001 0.002 0.003 0.004 0.005
contents for the manufacture of soil–cement blocks lie in Longitudinal strain
between 5% and 12% depending upon the block strength
desired, the type of structure, etc. Hence, in the present Fig. 3. Stress–strain curve for the soil–cement block.
study 12% cement has been used for the soil–cement block
manufacture, which generally yields blocks of strength suf- 4. Testing procedure
ficient for three storey load bearing residential buildings.
Locally available red loamy soil, sand and ordinary Port- 4.1. Determination of workability of mortars through flow
land cement were used for the block manufacture. After table tests
28 days of curing the blocks were dried inside the labora-
tory for 30 days and then used for the experiments. The It is essential to have sufficient workability for the mor-
blocks were soaked in water for 48 h prior to testing. I.S. tar in order to facilitate spreading of the mortar on the hor-
3495 [25] code guidelines were followed for determining izontal bed joints and filling the vertical joints. Apart from
the wet compressive strength. Water absorption (saturated the composition of the mix, generally water–cement ratio
water content) for the blocks was determined using 24-h controls the workability of the mortar. Workability of
immersion cold water test as per the guidelines of I.S. the mortar is generally characterized by conducting tests
3495 [25] code. Wet compressive strength and water like dropping ball test, cone impression test and slump test.
absorption values for the block are 7.19 MPa (mean of A few trial tests on the consistency of cement mortar using
20 specimens) and 11.4% (mean of 6 specimens), respec- cone impression test revealed that the depth of cone pene-
tively. The stress–strain relationship for the soil–cement tration is not sensitive when water–cement ratio of the
block (after soaking in water for 48 h prior to test) was cement mortar (1:6 proportion) is higher than 1.1. Thus,
obtained by measuring the longitudinal strains using a this test did not provide actual cone penetration depth at
200 mm demec gauge. Fig. 3 shows the stress–strain rela- higher water–cement ratio due to segregation in fresh mor-
tionship for the soil–cement block representing the mean tar samples. Similar problems were anticipated for drop-
of six specimens. Initial tangent modulus and strain at peak ping ball test. Hence in the present study consistency/
stress for the block are 6000 and 0.0033, respectively. workability characteristics of mortar were measured using

Fig. 2. Load bearing soil–cement block residential building.


B.V. Venkatarama Reddy, A. Gupta / Construction and Building Materials 22 (2008) 1614–1623 1617

a flow table test. BS: 4551 [5] code guidelines were followed were cast using soil–cement blocks and the two types of
to carry out experiments to determine the flow of mortars. mortars. The initial moisture content of the block during
casting of the prism specimens can affect the bond strength.
4.2. Compressive strength of mortar Partially saturated blocks (75% saturation) lead to maxi-
mum bond strength [29,24]. Thus, to avoid the interference
Compressive strength of the mortar was obtained by of the moisture content of the block on bond strength the
testing 70 mm size cube specimens. Thoroughly mixed initial moisture content of the blocks at the time of casting
mortar sample is filled into a metal mould in three layers, of couplets was kept constant by soaking them in water for
each layer is tamped 25 times using a standard tamping a period of 4 min prior to casting (experiments conducted
rod (specified in I.S. 2250 [26]). After 24 h of casting the on these blocks showed that the blocks attain about 75%
cubes were removed from the metal moulds and then saturation when soaked in water for 4 min). The mortar
soaked in water for curing. After 28 days curing the cubes bed joint thickness of 12 mm was maintained in all the
were tested for compressive strength in saturated condition. cases. Fig. 4 shows the soil–cement block cross couplet
The mean of six cubes tested is reported as compressive specimen. Mortar flow was kept constant at 100% for cast-
strength of the mortar. ing the specimens. After 28 days of curing under wet burlap
the couplets were soaked in water for 48 h prior to test.
4.3. Water retentivity

Water retentivity is defined as the ability of the fresh


mortar to hold/retain water when placed in contact with
absorbent masonry units. Water retentivity of the mortar
depends on various factors like mix proportion, water–
cement ratio, type of cemenititous binders, etc. Standard
codes of practice like I.S. 2250 [26], ASTM C 91 [27] and
BS: 4551 [5] give procedures to determine water retentivity
of the mortar. In the present investigation, water retentivity
was examined for various mortar mixes by adopting the
BS: 4551 [5] code guidelines.

4.4. Drying shrinkage value of mortar

ASTM C 1148 [28] code procedure was followed to


determine drying shrinkage of the mortar. The drying Fig. 4. Soil–cement block couplet specimen.
shrinkage of the mortar, as determined by this method, is
the measure of decrease in length of test specimen in unre-
strained condition, under drying condition, after an initial
period of curing. The average of five mortar specimens is
reported as drying shrinkage value of mortar as specified
by the code.

4.5. Stress–strain characteristics of mortars

Stress–strain relationships for the mortars were obtained


by testing mortar prisms of size 150 · 150 · 300 mm. After
28 days of moist burlap curing the prisms were soaked in
water for a period of 48 h prior to testing. Prisms were
tested in a compression testing machine having a constant
piston displacement rate of 1.25 mm/min. The longitudinal
strains were measured using 200 mm demec gauge. Three
specimens were tested for each mortar proportion and
the mean values are reported.

4.6. Tensile bond strength

The tensile bond strength of soil–cement block and mor-


tar interface was determined by adopting the guidelines
outlined in ASTM C 952 [8] code. Cross couplet specimen Fig. 5. Soil–cement block masonry prism.
1618 B.V. Venkatarama Reddy, A. Gupta / Construction and Building Materials 22 (2008) 1614–1623

4.7. Compressive strength and stress–strain relationships for (1) The flow value increases with the increase in water–
soil–cement block masonry prisms cement ratio of the mortar for both cement mortar
and cement–lime mortar irrespective of sand grading.
Compressive strength of soil–cement block masonry was The relationship between flow value and water–
determined by testing the masonry prisms. Four blocks cement ratio is linear for both the mortar types and
high stack bonded masonry prisms (size: 305 · 143 · for all three grades of sand, except in case of cement
436 mm) were used. A mortar joint thickness of 12 mm mortar with fine sand, which has bilinear variation.
was maintained for all the prisms. The blocks were par- (2) The mortar flow is very sensitive to water–cement
tially saturated by soaking them in water for a period of ratio of the mix. For example in case of cement mor-
4 min prior to casting of the masonry prisms. The prisms tar, there is a three-fold increase in flow for about 25–
were capped with 12 mm thick 1:3 cement mortar and then 30% increase in water–cement ratio of the mix for all
cured for 28 days under a wet burlap. The prisms were the three grades of sand.
tested (after soaking them in water for 48 h prior to testing) (3) Mortar with fine sand requires more water to attain
in a universal testing machine and the longitudinal com- similar flow values when compared to mortars with
pressive strains were measured by using a 200 mm demec natural and medium sand for both cement mortar
gauge. Fig. 5 shows the details of soil–cement block and cement–lime mortar. For example in case of
masonry prism. cement mortar to achieve a flow of 90%, mortar with
natural sand and medium sand requires water–
5. Results and discussion cement ratio of 1.60, whereas mortar with fine sand
needs water–cement ratio of 2.00. Similarly for
5.1. Flow characteristics of mortars cement–lime mortar to attain a flow of 90%, a
water–cement ratio of 1.75 is required for mortars
The flow value versus water–cement ratio for cement with natural and medium sand, whereas mortar with
mortar and cement–lime mortar are shown in Figs. 6 and fine sand needs water–cement ratio of 2.35. This may
7, respectively. The following observations can be made be attributed to the fact that mortar having fine sand
from the results shown in these figures: has large surface area. The results are comparable
with the study conducted by Balen and Gemert [2].
(4) Cement–lime mortars require higher water–cement
ratio when compared to cement mortars, to achieve
similar flow values irrespective of type of sand used.
140 The cement–lime mortars with natural and medium
Natural sand (CMN)
120 Medium sand (CMM) sand require 8% more water when compared to
100
Fine sand (CMF) cement mortar to achieve flow values beyond 80%,
whereas in case of fine sand it is about 17% more
Flow (%)

80
water.
60
40 Gupta [30] conducted a field study to asses the consis-
20 tency of mortars by conducting flow table tests on fresh
0 mortars used in the filed. He concludes that a flow value
1.1 1.3 1.5 1.7 1.9 2.1 2.3 of 100% is commonly used in the field for the construction
Water-cement ratio of load bearing masonry in India. The water–cement ratio
required for both these mortars using different grades of
Fig. 6. Flow versus water–cement ratio for cement mortar.
sand, to achieve 100% flow can be obtained from the rela-
tionships shown in Figs. 6 and 7 and the values are given in
Table 2 for both the mortars. These results clearly show
160 that to achieve 100% flow water–cement ratio demand
Natural sand (CLMN)
140 Medium sand (CLMM) increases with increase in fineness of sand for both the
120 Fine sand (CLMF) mortars.
Flow (%)

100
80 5.2. Compressive strength and water retentivity of mortars
60
40 Compressive strength of the mortar was determined by
20 testing 70 mm cubes, whereas water retentivity of the mor-
0 tar was examined by following the guidelines of BS: 4551 [5]
1.3 1.5 1.7 1.9 2.1 2.3 2.5 2.7
code. The compressive strength and water retentivity values
Water-cement ratio
for both the mortars are given in Table 2. Three types of
Fig. 7. Flow versus water–cement ratio for cement–lime mortar. sand grading have been attempted in each category of mor-
B.V. Venkatarama Reddy, A. Gupta / Construction and Building Materials 22 (2008) 1614–1623 1619

Table 2
Compressive strength, water retentivity and elastic properties of mortars (mortar flow = 100%)
Mortar Water–cement Dry density Compressive strength Water retentivity Initial tangent modulus Strain at peak
type ratio (g/cm3) (MPa) (%) (MPa) stress
CMN 1.65 1.90 5.40 74 4534 0.0040
CMM 1.69 1.88 5.22 82 7764 0.0012
CMF 2.04 1.79 3.30 85 4245 0.0017
CLMN 1.79 1.90 5.94 82 4820 0.0026
CLMM 1.83 1.87 4.45 85 7737 0.0016
CLMF 2.40 1.63 2.04 83 2704 0.0017

tar to understand the influence of sand fineness on compres- 4

Compressive stress (MPa)


sive strength and water retentivity of mortars. The follow- 3.5
ing points emerge from the results given in Table 2: 3
2.5
1. Water–cement ratio increases as the fineness of sand
2
increases in order to maintain 100% flow, for both the
1.5
mortars. Increase in water–cement ratio leads to Natural sand (CMN)
decrease in dry density of the mortar and hence reduc- 1 Medium sand (CMM)
tion in mortar strength with the increase in fineness of 0.5 Fine sand (CMF)
sand. The compressive strength of cement mortar and 0
cement–lime mortar using natural sand at 100% flow is 0 0.001 0.002 0.003 0.004 0.005

in the range of 5–6 MPa. For a given flow value of Longitudinal strain
100% the compressive strength of cement–lime mortar Fig. 8. Stress–strain characteristics for cement mortar at a flow value of
is more sensitive to fineness of sand as compared to 100%.
cement mortar. The study conducted by Drew and Braj
[1] on cement mortars also shows that as the water con- 3.5
tent of the mix is increased the dry density reduces and
Compressive stress (MPa)

3
results in lower compressive strength of mortar.
2. Water retentivity increases with increase in fineness of 2.5
sand for cement mortars. There is a 15% increase in water 2
retentivity when the natural sand is replaced by fine sand.
1.5
Whereas in case of cement–lime mortar, there is only a
marginal variation in water retentivity values as the sand 1
Natural sand (CLMN)
grading changes. Generally, cement–lime mortars possess 0.5 Medium sand (CLMM)
better water retentivity than cement mortars due to the Fine sand (CLMF)
0
presence of fine lime particles in cement–lime mortar. 0 0.0005 0.001 0.0015 0.002 0.0025 0.003 0.0035 0.004
Longitudinal strain
5.3. Stress–strain characteristics of mortars
Fig. 9. Stress–strain characteristics for cement–lime mortar at a flow value
of 100%.
The stress–strain characteristics like initial tangent mod-
ulus and the stain at peak stress values for both the mortars
are given in Table 2. Figs. 8 and 9 show the stress–strain (2) The strain at peak stress for cement mortar with nat-
relationships for cement mortar and cement–lime mortar ural sand is significantly high of the order of 0.004,
using three different grades of sand. The stress–strain when compared to mortar with medium and fine
curves have been generated by keeping the mortar flow at sand. The strain value decreases as the sand becomes
100% for all the cases. The following observations can be finer. In case of cement–lime mortar with natural
made from these results: sand strain at peak stress is 0.0026. This strain
reduces to about 0.0016 for mortar with medium
(1) Mortars using medium sand (fineness modulus of and fine sand.
2.45) give highest modulus for both the mortars. In
case of cement mortar with medium sand the modu- 5.4. Drying shrinkage
lus is 50% more as compared to other two types of
sands. Cement–lime mortar with fine sand and natu- Shrinkage that takes place during hardening of the mor-
ral sand have modulus values of 60% and 35% of that tar can be called as drying shrinkage and most of it takes
for the medium sand, respectively. Mortars with fine place in the first few months. A part of drying shrinkage
sand give lowest modules. is recovered on immersion of mortar in water. The drying
1620 B.V. Venkatarama Reddy, A. Gupta / Construction and Building Materials 22 (2008) 1614–1623

shrinkage of mortar could depend on various factors like 0.16


water–cement ratio, cement content, sand grading, curing Cement mortar
0.14 Cement lime mortar
period, etc. In masonry construction, drying shrinkage of

Drying shrinkage (%)


mortar causes shrinkage cracks observed at the masonry 0.12
unit–mortar interface and it can also result in impaired
0.1
bond [31,32].
The drying shrinkage of mortar was tested in the labora- 0.08
tory through a mortar prism of size 250 · 25 · 25 mm in 0.06
unrestrained condition. It differs from that experienced in
a masonry wall where the drying shrinkage of the mortar 0.04
is influenced by restraint offered by masonry units, 0.02
masonry unit absorption characteristics, thickness of mor-
tar bed joint, etc. Thus drying shrinkage value of the mor- 0
Natural Medium Fine
tar examined in the laboratory is more useful for
Sandtype
comparative purposes.
The drying shrinkage of cement mortar and cement– Fig. 12. Variation in ultimate drying shrinkage with sand grading for
lime mortar was examined. All the tests were performed cement mortar and cement–lime mortar.
at a mortar flow of 100%. The drying shrinkage of mortars
at 25 days of drying duration is taken as the ultimate dry-
ing shrinkage. The results given in the following sections ultimate drying shrinkage of cement mortars and cement–
represent the mean of five specimens. The variation in dry- lime mortars with the type of sand used is shown in
ing shrinkage of the cement mortar and cement–lime mor- Fig. 12. The following points emerge from the results on
tar specimens with the duration of drying is shown in Figs. drying shrinkage:
10 and 11, respectively. A comparison in the variation of
(a) The ultimate drying shrinkage values lie in the range
of 0.057–0.151% for cement mortar and cement–lime
0.12 mortars for various grades of sand. The drying
shrinkage of these mortars reaches the ultimate dry-
Drying shrinkage (%)

0.1
ing shrinkage in initial 3–4 days of drying as illus-
0.08 trated in Figs. 10 and 11. The ultimate drying
0.06
shrinkage is generally more in case of cement mortar
Natural sand (CMN)
as compared to cement–lime mortar, except for mor-
0.04 tars using fine sand.
Medium sand
0.02
(b) The fineness of sand in mortars greatly affects the
ultimate drying shrinkage values as shown in
0 Fig. 12. There is an increase in drying shrinkage value
0 5 10 15 20 25 30
Drying duration (days)
when the sand becomes finer. For example, in case of
cement mortar, there is more than one third increase
Fig. 10. Variation in drying shrinkage with drying duration for cement in the ultimate drying shrinkage when the sand grad-
mortar. ing is changed from coarser to finer (fineness modulus
changing from 3.21 to 1.72). On the other hand, 2.7
times increase in the ultimate drying shrinkage is
0.16
observed in the case of cement–lime mortar for simi-
0.14 lar change in sand grading.
Drying shrinakge (%)

012.

0.1
5.5. Influence of sand grading on tensile bond strength
0.08

0.06 The influence of sand grading on tensile bond strength


0.04
of soil–cement block couplets was examined using both
Natural sand (CLMN)
Medium sand (CLMM)
the mortars. These results are tabulated in Table 3. The
0.02
Fine sand (CLMF) variation in tensile bond strength with the grading of sand
0 is shown in Fig. 13. The tensile bond strength values lie in
0 5 10 15 20 25 30
the range of 0.08–0.252 MPa for the couplets using both
Drying duration (days)
the types of mortars with three different grades of sand.
Fig. 11. Variation in drying shrinkage with drying duration for cement– In case of cement mortar, the tensile bond strength steadily
lime mortar. decreases as the sand grading changes from coarser to fine
B.V. Venkatarama Reddy, A. Gupta / Construction and Building Materials 22 (2008) 1614–1623 1621

Table 3 6
Bond strength, compressive strength and elastic properties of soil–cement

Compressive stress (MPa)


block masonry 5
Mortar Tensile bond Masonry Masonry
type strength (MPa) prism 4
Initial Strain at
strength
tangent peak 3
(MPa) modulus stress
(MPa) 2
Natural sand(CMN)
CMN 0.181 (0.15–0.21) 4.55 4163 0.0044
1 Medium snad(CMM)
CMM 0.100 (0.041–0.213) 4.84 4087 0.0046
Fine sand (CMF)
CMF 0.080 (0.05–0.111) 4.55 3084 0.0060
CLMN 0.233 (0.198–0.259) 5.27 4500 0.0052 0
0 0.001 0.002 0.003 0.004 0.005 0.006 0.007
CLMM 0.252 (0.201–0.297) 4.67 4770 0.0040 Longitudinal strain
CLMF 0.093 (0.076–0.119) 4.57 2864 0.0073
Values in parenthesis indicate the range of values. Fig. 14. Influence of sand grading on stress–strain relationships for soil–
cement block masonry with cement mortar.

0.3 6

Compressive stress (MPa)


Cement mortar
Tensile bond strength (MPa)

Cement-lime mortar
0.25 5

4
0.2
3
0.15
2 Natural sand (CLMN)
0.1 Medium sand (CLMM)
1 Fine sand (CLMF)
0.05
0
0 0.001 0.002 0.003 0.004 0.005 0.006 0.007 0.008 0.009
0
Natural Medium Fine Longitudinal strain
Type of sand
Fig. 15. Influence of sand grading on stress–strain relationship for soil–
Fig. 13. Influence of sand grading on tensile bond strength of soil–cement cement block masonry using cement–lime mortar.
block couplets.

(1) In case of cement mortar the masonry compressive


(fineness modulus changing from 3.21 to 1.72). There is strength shows a minor variation, when the sand
56% reduction in the tensile bond strength as the sand grading is changed from coarser to fine (fineness
grading is changed from coarser to fine. On the other hand, modulus changing from 3.21 to 1.72). The masonry
in case of cement–lime mortar there is hardly any variation strength lies in the range of 4.55–4.84 MPa for the
in bond strength between coarse and medium sand. But three grades of sand. The masonry strength using
tensile bond strength decreases by 60% when sand grading cement–lime mortar is in the range of 4.57–
is changed from medium to fine for cement–lime mortar. 5.27 MPa. The masonry prisms made of cement–lime
Thus, for both the mortars use of very fine sand reduces mortar show a decrease in masonry compressive
the tensile bond strength significantly. strength, as the sand used in the mortar becomes fine.
There is a 13% decrease in compressive strength when
5.6. Compressive strength and stress–strain characteristics of the sand grading is changed from coarser to fine.
masonry (2) Initial tangent modulus for masonry with cement
mortar lies in the range of 3000–4100 MPa, whereas
Compressive strength and stress–strain relationships for for cement–lime mortar it is in between 2800 and
the soil–cement block masonry were obtained by using 4800 MPa. There is a significant reduction in
both the types of mortars with three types of sand gradings. masonry modulus when the grading of sand is chan-
Stress–strain relationships for the masonry using cement ged from coarse to fine. For example in case of
mortar and cement–lime mortar are shown in Figs. 14 masonry using cement mortar there is about 25%
and 15, respectively. Details of compressive strength, initial reduction in initial tangent modulus when the sand
tangent modulus and strain at peak stress of soil–cement grading is changed from coarse to fine, whereas for
block masonry using both the mortars are given in Table cement–lime mortar a decrease of about 40% is
3. The following observations can be made from the results observed. The masonry prisms with fine sand for
given in the table and figures: both cement mortar and cement–lime mortar have
1622 B.V. Venkatarama Reddy, A. Gupta / Construction and Building Materials 22 (2008) 1614–1623

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