Influence of the viscosity of self-compacting concrete and the presence of rebars on the formwork pressure while filling bottom-up

Serge Tichko, Geert De Schutter, Peter A Troch, Jan Vierendeels, Ronny Verhoeven, Karel Lesage, Niki Cauberg

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

11 Scopus citations


Self-compacting concrete (SCC) enables new casting techniques, filling formworks by pumping bottom-up. However, fundamental questions remain concerning the formwork pressure when following this advanced filling procedure. A new series of formwork filling tests, with SCC being pumped from the base of the formwork, have been performed in 2012 at the Magnel Laboratory for Concrete Research of the Ghent University (MLCR). Numerical simulations of these formwork filling tests have also been carried out for validation with the experiments. For the filling process of eight casts in total, the influence of several filling parameters on the resulting formwork pressures were tested, like the casting speed, the presence of steel rebars (leading to a reduction of the flow section inside a formwork) and the rheology of the SCC. The formwork pressures were measured at three different positions on the formwork wall with accurate electronic pressure sensors. These measured formwork pressures were finally compared with the computed formwork pressures. Both the experiments and the simulations performed in this study showed a very good agreement and they revealed that the formwork pressures during the filling tests were higher than the hydrostatic pressure for SCC pumped from the base of the formworks. This was due to the additional occurring hydraulic losses. In our experiments, these additional flow losses represented 7% up to 16% of the total wall pressure for the performed filling tests with steel rebars, depending on the viscosity of the SCC and the casting speed. An analytical calculation model for the formwork pressure has been derived and validated, using the experimental measurements and the numerical simulations of the filling tests performed at the MLCR. Finally, the quality of the cast concrete, investigated through a visual inspection of a series of drilled concrete samples taken at several relevant locations of the casts, revealed to be excellent considering the high casting speeds.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)698-714
Number of pages17
JournalEngineering Structures
StatePublished - Oct 5 2015
Externally publishedYes


  • Base filling
  • CFD
  • Formwork pressure
  • Numerical modelling
  • Self-compacting concrete

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Civil and Structural Engineering

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