Gunite or Shotcrete
Gunite can be defined as mortar conveyed through a hose and pneumatically projected at a high velocity on to a surface. Recently the method has been further developed by the introduction of small sized coarse aggregate into the mix deposited to obtain considerably greater thickness in one operation and also to make the process economical by reducing the cement content.
Normally fresh material with zero slump can support itself without sagging or peeling off.
The force of the jet impacting on the surface compact the material. Sometimes use of set accelerators to assist overhead placing is practiced. The newly developed 'Redi-set cement' can
also be used for shotcreting process.
There is not much difference guniting and shotcreting. Gunite was first used in the early 1900 and this process is mostly used of pneumatically application of mortar of less thickness, whereas shotcrete is a recent development on the similar principal of guniting for achieving greater thickness with small coarse aggregates.
There are two different processes in use, namely the 'Wet-mix' process and the 'dry-mix' process. They dry mix process is more successful and generally used.
The dry mix process consists of a number of stages and calls for some specialized plant. A typical plant set-up is shown in Fig
The stages involved in the dry mix process is given below :
(a) Cement and sand are thoroughly mixed.
(b) The cement/sand mixture is fed into a special air-pressurized mechanical feeder termed as
(c) The mixture is metered into the delivery hose by a feed wheel or distributor within the gun.
(d) This material is carried by compressed air through the delivery hose to a special nozzle. The nozzle is fitted inside with a perforated manifold through which water is sprayed under pressure and intimately mixed with the sand/cement jet.
(e) The wet mortar is jetted from the nozzle at high velocity onto the surface to be gunited.
The Wet-mix Process
In the Wet-mix process the concrete is mixed with water as for ordinary concrete before conveying through the delivery pipe line to the nozzle, at which point it is jetted by compressed air, onto the work in the same way, as that of dry mix process.
The wet-mix process has been generally discarded in favors of the dry-mix-process, owing to the greater success of the latter.
The dry-mix methods make use of high velocity or low velocity system. The high velocity gunite is produced by using a small nozzle and a high air pressure to produce a high nozzle velocity of about 90 to 120 metres per second.
This results in exceptional good compaction. The lower velocity gunite is produced using large diameter hose for large for large output. The compunction will not be very high.
Advantages of Wet and Dry process
Some of the advantages and disadvantages of the wet and dry processes is discussed below. Although it is possible to obtain more accurate control of the water/cement ratio with the wet process the fact that this ratio can be kept very low with the dry process largely overcomes the objection of the lack of accurate control.
The difficulty of pumping light-weight aggregate concrete makes dry process more suitable when this type of aggregate is used. The dry process on the other hand, is vey sensitive to the water content of the sand, too wet a sand causes difficulties through blockade of the delivery pipeline, a difficulty which does not arise with the wet process.
The lower water/cement ratio obtained with the dry process probably accounts for the lesser creep and greater durability of concrete produced in this way compared with concrete deposited by the wet process, but air-entraining agents can be use to improve the durability of concrete deposited by the latter means. Admixtures generally can be used more easily with the wet process except for accelerators.
Pockets of lean mix and of rebound can occur with the dry process. It is necessary for the nozzelman to have an area where he can dump unsatisfactory shotcrete obtained when he is adjusting the water supply or when he is having trouble with the equipment.
These troubles and the dust hazard are less with the wet process, but wet process does not normally give such a dense concrete as the dry process. Work can be continued in more windly weather with the wet process than with the dry process. Owing to the high capacities obtainable with concrete pumps, a higher rate of laying of concrete can probably be achieved in the wet process than with the dry process.