No Fine Concrete:Possibilities of Use in Indian Conditions

No Fine Concrete

Maria Rasheeda and S.K. Rizvi, New Building Materials and Construction World, New Delhi

No fine concrete, (NFC) an innovative/modified form of cement concrete (also known as pervious concrete) is a environment–friendly and lower cost material which can be used for the construction of several types of structures with great advantages. Low loading intensity parking pavements, footpaths and walkways have been built on a large scale in many developed countries and their performance has been found excellent. Recognized as the best management practice by US Environment Protection agency (EPA), it is capable of controlling first flush pollution and storm/rain water overflow by allowing the received water to percolate down to earth and then seeping down to the ground water table. In parking lots where spillage of oil/coolants/antifreeze etc is a regular affair and the NFC collect and arrest these things during rains/flooding/washing etc. Preventing their washing off into streams, rivers and water ponds/tanks and polluting these valuable water sources. The arrested polluted water percolate into the ground and soil chemistry and biological elements in soil take care of these naturally. It also reduces the runoff from the pavement areas hence reduce load on drainage systems.

India is facing a typical problem of ground water table falling at a fast rate due to reduced recharge of rainwater into subsoil and unplanned water withdrawal for agriculture and industry by pumping. NFC if adopted for construction of pavements, platform/walkways, parking lots designed for lighter load, can help in improving recharging of rainwater. It can be– come a component of rainwater harvesting schemes being propaged by Government of India on a Priority basis.

No Fine Concrete
The color of this concrete, is light grey having far less absorption of solar heat when compared to the black bituminous pavement concrete. NFC has large open pore structure hence less heat storage and faster cooling thus lower heat island effects and much favorable environmental conditions for trees and plants planted adjoining in parking areas and city side walkways. Though no heavy traffic is allowed on such pavements but these pavements are still safe during rainy season and at night as their surface do not reflect light and is perfectly non skidding during wet weather conditions.

What is NFC?

Cement concrete is a composites material made of
  1. Cement
  2. Fine Aggregate (also known as sand)
  3. Coarse aggregate (also known as Gitti)
  4. Water and selected admixtures-containing Mineral admixtures (like supplementary cementitious materials like Flyash, Silica Fume, Rice Husk, Slag, Metakaolin)–Chemical admixture (like plasticizers accelerations, retarders, water proofers, bond improvers, shrinkage compensating and so on).
The mix for NFC will have all other components except the Fine Aggregate or the sand will have only a very low percentage. The water quantity is also minimal but controlled hence there is very low slump Figure 1.

The process of mixing, placing and vibrating generally remains same but it needs very high degree of controls in mix proportioning, water–cement ratio and during transportation. From aggregate to aggregate bonding is vital and the cement slurry mixed with chemicals is the key to this effect. In case the water added is more than the desired slurry will have a running down effect leaving aggregate particles unbonded resulting poor quality, and poor abrasion resistant concrete which will not set in place. Hence design mixed NFC can best be produced in RMC plants and then transported to site. Efforts to produce site mixed NFC have not been very successful in most of the cases.

NFC is a performing engineered concrete produced using controlled amounts of aggregate, water cementitious materials, and chemical admixture to create a mass of aggregate, particles covered with a thin coating of paste and bonded to each other firmly.

Durability and Strength of NFC

No Fine Concrete
Field experience in many countries have confirmed that it is a highly durable and strong structural material. Properly constructed NFC Pavements for parking areas and pathways will serve for a period of at least 25 to 40 years. Proper compaction and curing is essential and makes it better.

There is very small amount of drying shrinkage in its placement when compared to dense concrete. The drying shrinkage development is much sooner in NFC. There are far less cracking hence crack-preventing control joints can be very few and concrete appearance is much better. Depending upon the mix design and placement technique, NFC can develop strength even above (3000lbs/" Squ.Inch) 210 Kg/cm2 which can support moderate loads. It will require properly designed and executed subgrades. We should always remember NFC with high porosity will have lower strength compared to conventional cement concrete.

How Much Voids

NFS creates a highly permeable mass with inter connected voids that can drain the water very fast. Hardened mass has a void percentage of 15 to 25% which can provide a water flow rate around 0.34 cm/second.


It is the best option for construction of pavements for low intensity/load driving side roads, parking pathways, walking tracks or as a water retention basin for storing/arresting the rain water/storm water flows and allowing its recharge into ground. Residential Roads, allys, driveways, sidewalks, parking areas, low water crossings, sub base for conventional concrete, Patios, artificial reefs, slope stabilization, well lining, tree guards, Z00/green house structures, noise barriers, etc, Figures 2, 3, 4, 5, 6,7,8,and 9 show various stages of construction and application.

Use of Recycled Aggregate in Producing NFC

No Fine Concrete
R&D experiments have shown that recycled aggregate produced using CC/RCC debris can successfully be used for producing NFC During research project taken up at structural Engineering Research Centre Ghaziabad in 1990-95, period on recycled aggregate concrete, various grades of concrete was produced using concrete debris collected from various demolition sites in NCR. NFC was also one of the types of concrete produced and tested. A test strip was also constructed behind the Material science Lab at SERC (G). During this experimental study short columns (pedestals) cast using NFC were jacketed using ferrocement lining and tested. The results confirmed usefulness of NFC for temporary pedestal construction for supporting lighter loads in many projects, when these pedestals are needed to be removed the aggregate once again can be recovered and reused. In fact, most of the RMC contains many recycled materials in the form of supplementary cementitious materials like flyash, silica fume etc.

The construction agencies handling NFC need specialization which can be gained only through hands on experience. The material is generally finished with a steel pipe roller which compacts it without sealing pores. A leading RMC manufacturing in NCR is already producing and marketing NFC (Previous Concrete), and demonstrated it in an exhibition at India Expo in Greater Noida organized by Indian concrete Institute during an International symposium between 14th to 10th December 2008.

Fresh Concrete

No Fine Concrete
Plastic NFC mix is stiff when compared to traditional concrete (slump generally less than 25 mm)-weight generally 70% of traditional concrete, its working time is reduced but can be improved in upto 1.5 Hrs by adding Retarders.

Compressive Strength – 3.5 MPa to 28 MPa – Typical value 17 MPaDensity – 1600 kg / m3 to 2000 kg / m3.


This is not a new technology (as was first used in 1852). NFC is receiving attention by the construction industry because of its several advantages, specially high flow rate of water through its body-allowing rain fall to be captured and to percolate into ground and recharge the falling down ground water table, providing a solution to environment–friendly sensitive construction. This is vital for Indian conditions where Govt. is putting lot of efforts to implement ground water recharging techniques. NFC can extremely be a useful material.

Though it has been a dominate application for pavement construction in USA, it has also been used in Europe as a structural construction material for several years, for walls in two story house, load bearing walls for highrise buildings, infill panels for highrise buildings, roads, parking lots, and so on.

No Fine Concrete
Expected Increase in M&A and Refinancing Activity for HAM Projects in India: ICRA
According to the ratings agency ICRA, there is expected to be an increase in mergers and acquisitions (M&A) and refinancing activity in highway asset management (HAM) projects in the upcoming quarters. Approximately 105 HAM projects, with a total bid project

Read more ...

Prestressed Precast Concrete Pavement (PPCP)TM
PPCP Technology can help build roads of good quality, which are highly durable, can be built quickly, and do not require extensive maintenance. The construction industry is primarily concerned with two issues: construction quality control and the speed

Read more ...

More Efficient Road with iROADS Asset Management
iROADS Asset Management System enables significant optimization of road maintenance costs while ensuring a well-maintained road network and road assets. India has the second largest road network in the world comprising national

Read more ...

Upgradation of PMGSY Road Using Full Depth Reclamation Process in the State of Nagaland
Rapid growth in industrial development and economy in last two decades has demanded upgradation of the existing road network in the country. Though there is a huge road network in the country, it is still inadequate to meet accessibility and mobility requirements

Read more ...

Erosion Control for Green Highway Construction
Namrata Bichewar, Regional Manager - Maharashtra, Gabion Technologies India Pvt Ltd, discusses the company’s contribution in constructing green highways using Bio-Engineering Erosion Control methods and solutions. The government plans to construct 26 green expressways

Read more ...

Stone Matrix Asphalt is enabling durable and maintenance-free roads in India
A Stone Matrix Asphalt (SMA) pavement laid at Parimal Underpass in Ahmedabad Municipal Corporation has completed 7 years. The underpass, which used to get submerged under almost 2m depth of water due to waterlogging in the monsoons every year

Read more ...

Effect of Climate Change on Flexible Pavements
Dr. Abhishek Mittal, Principal Scientist, CSIR-CRRI New Delhi, discusses the effects of changes in temperature due to climate change on pavements with respect to their material, design, construction, and maintenance. A long-term shift in temperature and weather

Read more ...

Latest Technologies and Mechanization for Sustainable Road Construction & Maintenance of Pavements
Massive road development work for huge road network of the country’s national assets is essential for overall development of the country. However, major road development projects consume a huge quantity of soil and crushed aggregates. The consumption of these materials

Read more ...

AEW’s Dr. Road: Doing Away with Potholes Instantly
Following the launch of AEW’s road repair machine ‘Dr. Road’ by Shri Nitin Gadkari, Minister for Road Transport & Highways, Shatish Panchal, Director, AEW Group, informs that the company is geared up to promote the machine to State PWDs and CPWDs

Read more ...

Paving-Grade Asphalt Binders
Evaluating the Quality of Asphalt Binders and Plant Produced Asphalt Mixes through Recovered Asphalt Testing and other Mix Properties, Amma Wakefield, MASc, PEng Canadian Regional Engineer Asphalt Institute, Paving-grade asphalt binders are specified based

Read more ...

India’s Road Construction Sector Needs an Ecosystem of Safety
The Global Road Construction & Safety Conference 2022 will be held on 30th November 2022, at Hotel Taj Palace, New Delhi, in collaboration with CSIR- CRRI, Bitumen India Forum (BIF), National Highways Builders Federation (NHBF)

Read more ...

Colored Asphalt: The Changing Face of Road Construction in India
The road construction industry in India is undergoing a paradigm shift: strong demand, higher investments, and the emergence of newer and more innovative technologies is giving a renewed focus on sustainable developments. These technologies include

Read more ...

Economization of Road Subgrade Material by Mechanical Stabilization
Subgrade makes the formation level of the road crust. The material specifications of subgrade material are therefore more demanding than the soil used in general fill or embankment. In some construction projects, it becomes difficult to get the required subgrade

Read more ...

Perpetual Pavement: Way Forward from Design to Quality Construction
Atasi Das, Assistant Vice President, G R Infraprojects, explains the concept of the Perpetual Pavement in India’s expressway constructions and its practical implementation with due consideration of layers, materials, and thicknesses

Read more ...

Performance of Curing Compounds in Development of Strengths in Concrete Mix to be Used in the Construction of Rigid Pavements
Dr. Rakesh Kumar, Senior Principal Scientist & Pankaj Goel, Senior Technical Officer, Rigid Pavements Division,CSIR-Central Road Research Institute (CRRI), New Delhi, give information on the Performance of Curing Compounds in Strengthening

Read more ...

The construction and maintenance of roads with flexible pavements in very cold regions where annual temperatures range between +30oC to -35oC has got its own challenges. The bitumen in the asphalt layer becomes hard at such low temperatures

Read more ...

Ashoka Buildcon Sets Another Milestone at Bundelkhand Expressway
The Bundelkhand site team achieved yet another feat on 15 Jan 2022 by completing 13 deck slabs of varying types in just 46 days. Therefore, it is a demonstration of exemplary display of overall project executing capabilities

Read more ...

Constructing Bowstring Girder ROBs on Purvanchal Expressway
Er. Devjyoti Paul, Project Manager & Er. Harpreet Singh, Chief Project Manager, B&SEC, share the technical and construction features of three bowstring girder ROBs, recently constructed under Package I & III of Purvanchal Expressway in the state of Uttar Pradesh

Read more ...

Extruded Polystyrene Sheets for Road Construction
Use of Extruded Polystyrene Sheets (XPS) in the construction of the Zojila Approach Road has been especially effective as XPS is the most suitable, convenient, and cheaper solution for mitigating frost action on pavements, increasing the life of pavements

Read more ...

Roads & Highways - Pandemic shocks notwithstanding, government’s thrust on infrastructure to ensure execution momentum continues in FY22
The Indian road network is the second largest globally, with a length of around 63.86 lakh km. The outbreak of the virus towards end-FY20 had created panic globally, leading to the temporary suspension of economic activity

Read more ...

Sign-up for Free Subscription
'India Construction Week'
Weekly e-Newsletter on Construction Industry
Get the latest news, product launches, projects announced / awarded, government policies, investments, and expert views.
Click here to subscribe.