Concrete Pumps

Poad, Melvin E.
Organization: Society for Mining, Metallurgy & Exploration
Pages: 6
Publication Date: Jan 1, 1982
INTRODUCTION The placement of concrete by means of pumping is one of the fastest growing practices in the construction industry and is widely used in mining applications. In¬troduced in the United States in 1933, this method has been adapted to many aspects of the industry, especially where space for equipment is either limited or inaccessi¬ble. Concrete pumping offers many advantages over other methods of placement. Using pumping equipment, the concrete mixture can be transported in a single operation from a central mixing site to numerous forms in many remote locations, eliminating the need for rehandling the mixture and reducing the labor costs to a minimum. Pressurized pumping provides an extra mix¬ing and blending step, resulting in concrete of improved uniformity and greater density. In turn, this produces high compressive strength and increased durability. Various placement defects can be reduced or pre¬vented by pumping. The steady and even flow of the concrete minimizes the form distortion and delays caused by vibration problems that are common to fast dumping of the concrete mixes. Segregation, planes of weakness, bleeding, and surface faults are diminished considerably. Perhaps the greatest advantages of concrete pump¬ing are the distances and volumes that can be handled. Depending upon the equipment used, pumping rates of from 8 to 115 m'j/h (10 to 150 cu yd per hr) can be achieved, with a horizontal range of up to 460 m (1500 ft) and a vertical range of up to 140 m (450 ft). Theoretically, almost any concrete mixture could be pumped. However, consistency is an important consid¬eration for efficient operation. Mixes that are too wet, too dry, too hard, or poorly graded can cause difficulties that increase the costs. Similarly, mixes containing aggregate material that is over the maximum size or that is porous and highly absorptive can also result in diffi¬culties and increased costs. For the best efficiency, the mix formulation must have a well-graded sand and aggregate combination, with enough fines to provide flowability. If additional water is required for pumping, additional cement must be used to meet the design criteria of the structure. Each pump manufacturer can provide recommended mix formulations for the specific equipment furnished. Since the 1950s, many improvements have been made in pumping technology. Originally, only rigid steel pipe of 168 to 245 mm (6.625 to 9.625 in.) diam was used; today, both rigid steel pipe and flexible conduit are available in diameters of from 76 to 203 mm (3.0 to 8.0 in.). Improved pumps have been developed, and the introduction of power-coordinated booms has in¬creased the versatility of concrete pumping. The older and more conventional placement methods can no longer compete with the flexibility, efficiency, and econ¬omy of the pumping method, and continued research and development can only improve the system and expand its use throughout the mining industry. PUMPING EQUIPMENT The three major types of concrete pumping units currently available are the piston pumps, the pneumatic pumps, and the squeeze-type pumps. Table I provides a comparison of capacities, horizontal ranges, and vertical ranges for pumps of all three types. Piston Pumps The simplest of all concrete pumps are the piston¬type pumps; they are available from many manufac¬turers. As shown in Fig. 1, each unit consists of a
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