CSA Aircrete Lightweight Concrete Garden Boxes – PART 3.7

CSA Aircrete Formula – 3rd Test Batch

In the third mix I upped the cement ratio. It’s now 20 lbs of Cement All, 4 lbs of water, about the same amount of foam, 2 teaspoons of plasticizer, and a bit of fiber.

aircrete formula and ingredient blend for this test batch
Increase the density in last CSA Aircrete formula

And I’ll add charcoal liquid colour to the water this time.

adding concrete colour dye tint to the wet concrete
Black liquid cement dye used this time

Once well blended I add the foam and mix that in well.

pouring CSA aircrete into a mold
And last test aircrete into the plywood form

And then pour it into the form. Shaking it to settle the CSA aircrete. After it begins to thicken I added the wire grid. I pressed this in and smooth with a trowel.

laying in wire grid for reinforcement
Grid layed in and gently pushed into center of casting

When the CSA aircrete began to warm, and the surface dried with a white haze, I sprinkled water over it. I repeated this for an hour. Keeping the surface wet as it cured. I covered them with plastic and left them overnight.

CSA cement hardens quickly and generates heat
CSA concrete warming and drying

Water Curing

CSA concrete gets watered while curing
One hour water curing CSA Aircrete

Stripping the Forms

The next morning I stripped the forms from the castings. I remove all the screws from the form, gently wiggle the sides to free them, then remove the panel from the base and stand it on one side. And then remove the ends.

disassemble concrete moulds
Removing screws to disassemble the forms

The sand in the Cement All was noticeable in these panels compared to Portland-based aircrete. And I had hoped that it would make the panels more durable and impact resistant.

stripping the form from the casting
Little wiggling helps to remove the form ends

All the panels came out of the forms well. They all felt sound and solid. Other than some surface blemishes around the panel inset, there were no significant cracks or any signs of warping.

complete csa lightweight concrete garden panel
Good looking casting!

Longer Water Curing

As in my last two videos, these panels where also submerged in water in an improvised tank. They soaked for two weeks then were pulled out and left to slowly dry in my shop for another two weeks.

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wet curing the lightweight panels in a water bath
Air crete curing by water submersion

Surface Durability Test with Line Trimmer

I then weighed the panels and lined them up on the lawn and ran a line trimmer along them all. As a test for surface durability. The first two panels didn’t do so well. The line trimmer cut grooves in the surface.

line trimmer test of surface durability
Line trimmer (weed eater) durability test

The third panel, with a higher percentage of Cement All did better. It only had minor damage.

looking at damage from line trimmer test
Denser CSA aircrete panel did better than first two

Weight Reduction Results

The first two panels were very close in weight and averaged 64% lighter than regular gravel and sand based portland concrete.

64 percent lighter than regular portland-based sand and gravel concrete
Yup…they are light

The third panel was 52% lighter than regular concrete. I used more Cement All in this one cause I just had a hunch that this type of aircrete needed to be denser.

52 percent lighter than regular portland-based sand and gravel concrete
The denser (and more durable) third panel is also still very light

The panels look good and the bubbles appear to be uniform. I didn’t see any cracks forming or any warping as they fully cured and dried. So the density of the cement seems to be adequate so the panel can resist the internal stresses that build up during curing and drying.
I had hoped that the stronger CSA cement would make these panels more durable but they didn’t do so well against the line trimmer. The denser third one did better than the first two.

Closeup of aircrete panel
Closer image of dense third panel with line trimmer damage

Final Thoughts on CSA Aircrete

So I hope that was helpful. And I think it showed that aircrete can be made from CSA based cement.

I can’t say just yet that it’s any better than a portland based version. There’s a possibility that the sand is actually detrimental and weakens the tiny bubbles. I’d have to get my hands on some pure CSA cement to see if that was the case.

the plywood forms I\'ll be using for these tests
And that`s it for now

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