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Raul Jimenez
Senior Project Manager
Asked a question last year

What are the purpose and usage of Plasticizers?

What are the purpose and usage of Plasticizers?

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Terry Collins
Sustainability consultant

Plasticizers or high range water reducers, or simply water reducers, as the name suggests, serve the basic purpose of reducing the water requirement of concrete. Thus, the purpose is to improve workability without compensation or even an increase of strength. The concrete strength is inversely proportional to the w/c (water-cement ratio). But a certain amount of water has to be provided to ensure the complete hydration of cement and proper workability of concrete. What plasticizers do, us that they reduce this certain required amount. Hence, strength increases. On the contrary, if you don’t reduce water, with the addition of plasticizers, you get bonus workability!

The uses are :

  • Concreting in weather conditions when maintaining workability for a while is tough.
  • High strength concreting.
  • Reduction in cement content.
  • Mass concreting (workability needs to be maintained for quite a while).
  • Pumping concrete.
  • Pozzolan concrete (substitution of cement with pozzolans calls for lower w/c to compensate the reduction in strength)
  • Reduction of shrinkage in concrete (shrinkage directly depends on the water content).
  • Pre-stressed concrete (shrinkage is significantly undesirable)
  • Corrosion resistance.
  • Permeability reduction.
  • Durability enhancement.
  • Pile foundation construction (concrete needs to be workable and strong to be poured into the bore)
  • Underwater concreting (low w/c is desired underwater. Also, concrete is generally poured into the sea and not cast on the land and then installed)
Dennis Holt
Entry level engineer

1. To accomplish a higher quality by diminishing the water/concrete proportion at a similar functionality as that of an admixture free blend.

2. To accomplish a similar workability by diminishing the concrete and to lessen the warmth of hydration in the mass cement.

3. To build the workability to give ease in putting concrete in difficult to reach areas.

The utilization of plasticizer is found to improve the attractive characteristics of the plastic or green cement. For making reinforced concrete or mass cement of higher workability these days, it has become a standard practice to utilize plasticizer or superplasticizer. These days the utilization of superplasticizer has become a widespread practice to lessen the water/concrete proportion for the given workability. The decrease in water/concrete proportion builds the quality and improves the sturdiness of the concrete. Now and again, plasticizers are utilized to diminish the concrete substance and warmth of hydration in mass cement.

Flenn Hale
Construction Manager

Thank you . It is really helpful

Thank you Kuldeep singh. It is really helpful

Wilma Caldwell
Architectural technologist

Plasticizer is used to increase workability in concrete. Due to plasticizer, we can reduce the water-cement ratio up to a certain limit.

Basically, water-cement ratio is used for workability and hydration of cement.

If the water-cement ratio is higher, the chances of shrinkage crack increases and also the chance of porous concrete formation due to free water in concrete.

If the water-cement ratio is less than 0.4, then water is insufficient to complete the hydration process of cement, so we required a minimum water-cement ratio is 0.4

The third point is workability; if the water-cement ratio is minimum or Less, then we get less workability, and if we have a higher water-cement ratio, then we get good workability.

The best water-cement ratio is 0.4, but for workability, we add some plasticizer to the concrete. due to plasticizer, we get higher workability

Usage of plasticizer is

  • We can reduce water cement ratio
  • We can get higher workability
  • We can get higher strength because of of lesser water cement ratio and higher workability
  • Reduction in cement content
  • Due to plasticizer we can make pumpable concrete
  • Plasticizer is mostly used in underwater construction and pile foundation
Seth Morgan
Construction Superintendent

Plasticizers are the admixtures used to mix in cement to improve their qualities and make them suitable for construction.

It’s effects on concrete:

1)Reduce the water/cement ratio without any effect on workability.

2)It increase setting time. It allows transit mixers to transport concrete too long distances.

3)To avoid cracks and shrinkage in concrete, plasticizer and superplasticizer are used.

It depends upon the type of cement and aggregate quality.

Hope, you got your answer.

Manuel Mason
Purchasing Coordinator

Plasticisers are used for following purposes :

  1. Increasing the workability of the mix.
  2. Decreasing the water content.
  3. Certain types can be used as retarding agents.
  4. As Air entraining agents
  5. Superplasticisers are used when high workability is in demand.

Various manufacturers are in the business and they offer technical support as well.

Timmothy Ferguson
Assistant Project Manager

Plasticizers are generally colorless liquids which are relatively nonvolatile. In other words, plasticizer is a substance that is added to the material to make it softer and more flexible. Plasticizers are commonly added to polymers such as plastics and rubbers, to facilitate the handling of the raw materials during fabrication.

The purpose and usage of plasticizer are as follows ;

  • Used to convert a rigid plastic into a soft, flexible and elastic material.
  • Increases the plasticity nature of the mix to decrease its viscosity.
  • It imparts flexibility to resin and minimizes film cracking
  • It is also used as an air entraining agent.
  • It decreases the water/cement ratio and gives high strength.
  • It helps in improvement of workability of the mix.