Since concrete contains particles of varying sizes, the most satisfactory compaction would perhaps be obtained by using vibrators with different speeds of vibration. Polyfrequency vibrators used for compacting concrete of stiff consistency are being developed. The vibrators for compacting concrete are manufactured with frequencies of vibration from 2800 to 15000 rpm. The various types of vibrators used are described below:

(i) Immersion or Needle Vibrators:

Immersion or needle concrete vibrators

This is perhaps the most commonly used vibrator. It essentially consists of a steel tube (with one end closed and rounded) having an eccentric vibrating element inside it. This steel tube called poker is connected to an electric motor or a diesel engine through a flexible tube. They are available in size varying from 40 to 100 mm diameter. The diameter of the poker is decided from the consideration of the spacing between the reinforcing bars in the form-work.

The frequency of vibration varies upto 15000 rpm. However a range between 3000 to 6000 rpm is suggested as a desirable minimum with an acceleration of 4g to 10g.

The normal radius of action of an immersion vibrator is 0.50 to 1.0m. However, it would be preferable to immerse the vibrator into concrete at intervals of not more than 600mm or 8 to 10 times the diameter of the poker.

The period of vibration required may be of the order of 30 seconds to 2 minute. The concrete should be placed in layers not more than 600mm high.

(ii) External or Shutter Vibrators

External or Shutter Concrete Vibrator

These vibrators are clamped rigidly to the form work at the pre-determined points so that the form and concrete are vibrated. They consume more power for a given compaction effect than internal vibrators.

These vibrators can compact upto 450mm from the face but have to be moved from one place to another as concrete progresses. These vibrators operate at a frequency of 3000 to 9000 rpm at an acceleration of 4g.

The external vibrators are more often used for pre-casting of thin in-situ sections of such shape and thickness as can not be compacted by internal vibrators.

(iii) Surface Vibrators

Surface concrete vibrator

These are placed directly on the concrete mass. These best suited for compaction of shallow elements and should not be used when the depth of concrete to be vibrated is more than 250 mm.

Very dry mixes can be most effectively compacted with surface vibrators. The surface vibrators commonly used are pan vibrators and vibrating screeds. The main application of this type of vibrator is in the compaction of small slabs, not exceeding 150 mm in thickness, and patching and repair work of pavement slabs. The operating frequency is about 4000 rpm at an acceleration of 4g to 9g.

(iv) Vibrating Table

Vibrating table for concrete compaction

The vibrating table consists of a rigidly built steel platform mounted on flexible springs and is driven by an electric motor. The normal frequency of vibration is 4000 rpm at an acceleration of 4g to 7g. The vibrating tables are very efficient in compacting stiff and harsh concrete mixes required for manufacture of precast elements in the factories and test specimens in laboratories.