The Constructor

Quality of Water for Concrete Construction and its Specification

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Generally, quality of water for construction works are same as drinking water. This is to ensure that the water is reasonably free from such impurities as suspended solids, organic matter and dissolved salts, which may adversely affect the properties of the concrete, especially the setting, hardening, strength, durability, pit value, etc. The water shall be clean and shall not contain sugar, molasses or gur or their derivatives, or sewage, oils, organic substances. If the quality of water to be used for mixing is in doubt, cubes of 75 mm in cement mortar 1:3 mix with distilled water and with the water in question shall be made separately. The latter type of cubes should attain 90% of the 7 days’ strength obtained in cubes with same quantity of distilled water. Alternatively, the water shall be tested in an approved Laboratory for its use in preparing concrete / mortar. The water quality for construction shall be tested or monitored regularly, as it affects the overall strength of concrete. For plain and reinforced cement concrete permissible limits for solids shall be as follows:
Type of Solid in water Permissible Limits for Construction
Organic matter 200 mg/l
Inorganic matter 3000 mg/l
Sulphates (SO4) 500 mg/l
Chlorides (Cl) a) 1000 mg/l for RCC work and, b) 2000 mg/l for PCC work
Suspended matter 2000 mg/l

Limits of Alkalinity:

To neutralize 200 ml of sample should not require more than 10 ml of 0.1 normal HCI using methyl orange as an indicator.

Limits of Acidity:

To neutralize 200 ml sample of water should not require more than 2 m of 0.1 normal NaOH (Caustic soda). The pH value of water shall generally be not less than 6.
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