Care should be taken to wet adjacent porous material, or the wooden form into which concrete is being placed; otherwise the water may be extracted from the concrete, to its detriment.

It has been found on removing boxing that the portion adjacent to the wood was frequently friable and of poor quality, owing to the fact just stated. It is usual to face or plaster concrete work after removing the boxing. On breakwater work, where the writer was engaged, the wall was faced with cement and flint grit, and this was found to form a particularly hard and lasting protection to the face of the work.

Batches of concrete should be placed in position as if they were stones in block masonry, as the union of one day's work with a previous is not by any means so perfect as where one batch is placed in contact with another which has not yet set. A slope cannot be added to with the same degree of perfection that one horizontal layer can be placed on another; consequently, where work must necessarily be interrupted, it should be stepped, and not sloped off.

Experience in concrete work has shown that its true place is in heavy foundations, retaining walls, and such like, and then perfectly independent of other material. Arches, thin walls, and such like are very questionable structures in continuous concrete, and are on record rather as failures than otherwise. This may to a certain degree be due to the high coefficient of expansion Portland cement concrete has by heat. This was found by Cunningham to be 0.000005 of its bulk for one degree Fahrenheit. It is a matter which any intelligent observer may remark, the invariable breakage of continuous concrete sidewalks, while those made in small sections remain good. This may be traced to expansion and contraction by heat, together with friction on the lower side.

In foundations, according to the same authority above quoted, properly made Portland cement concrete may be trusted with a safe load of 25 tons per square foot.

In large masses concrete should be worked continuously, while in small masses it should be moulded in small sections, which should be independent of each other and simply form artificial stones.

The facility with which concrete can be used in founding under water renders it particularly suitable for subaqueous structures. The method of dropping it from hopper barges in masses of 100 tons at a time, inclosed in a bag of coarse stuff, has been successfully employed by Dyce Cay and others. This can be carried on till the concrete appears above water, when the ordinary method of boxing can be employed to complete the work. This method was employed in the north pier breakwater at Aberdeen, the breakwater being founded on the sand, with a very broad base. The advantage of bags is apparent in the leveling off of an uneven foundation. In breakwater works on the Tay, in Scotland, where the writer was engaged, large blocks perforated vertically were employed. These were constructed below high water mark, and an air tight cover placed over them. They were lifted by pontoons as the tide rose, and conveyed to and deposited in place, the hollows being filled with air, serving to give buoyancy to the mass.

After placing in position the vertical hollows were filled with concrete, so binding the whole together - they being placed vertically over each other.

As mentioned before, continuous stretches of concrete in small sections should be guarded against, owing to expansion by heat; but the fact of a few cracks appearing in heavy masses of concrete should not cause apprehension. These occur from unequal settlement and other causes. They should continue to be carefully grouted and faced until settlement is complete.

The use of concrete is becoming more and more general for foundation works. The desideratum hitherto has been a perfect and at the same time an economical mixer. Concrete can be mixed by hand and the materials well incorporated, but this is an expensive and man-killing method, as the handling of the wet mass by the shovel is extremely hard work, besides which the slowness of the method allows part of a large batch to set before the other is mixed, so that small batches, with attendant extra handling, are necessary to make a good job. Mixers with a multiplicity of knives to toss the material have been used, but with little economical success. Of simple conveyers, such as a worm screw, little need be said; they are not mixers, and it seems a positive waste of time to pass material through a machine when it comes out in little better shape than it is put in. A box of the shape of a barrel has been used, it being trunnioned at the sides. The objection to this is that the material is thrown from side to side as a mass, there being a waste of energy in throwing about the material in mass without accomplishing an equivalent amount of mixing.

Then a rectangular box has been used, trunnioned at opposite corners; but here the grave objection is that the concrete collects in the corners, and after a few turns it requires cleaning out, the material so sticking in the corners that it gets clogged up and ceases to mix.

The writer has just protected by letters patent a machine, in devising which the following objects were borne in mind:

1st. That every motion of the machine should do some useful work. Hitherto box or barrel mixers have gone on the principle of throwing the material about indiscriminately, expecting that somehow or other it would get mixed.

2d. That the sticking of the material anywhere within the mixer should be obviated.

3d. That an easy discharge should be obtained.

4th. That the water should be introduced while the mixer revolves.

With these desiderata in view, a box was designed which in half a turn gathers the material, then spreads it, and throws it from one side to the other at the same time that water is being introduced through a hollow trunnion.

It is also so constructed that all the sides slope steeply toward the discharge, and there is not a rectangular or acute angle within the box. A machine has now been worked steadily for several weeks, putting in the concrete in the foundations of the new Jackson Street bridge in this city, by General Fitz-Simons. The result exceeds expectations. The concrete is perfectly mixed, the discharge is simple, complete and effective, and at the same time the cost of labor in mixing and placing in position is lessened by 50 per cent. as compared with any known to have been put in under similar circumstances. - Jour. Association of Engineering Societies.


Read July 5, 1887, before the Western Society of Engineers.