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Designing Pervious Concrete Mixes

Source: | Updated: Mar 21, 2016

The market for pervious concrete has seen significant growth, primarily in parking lots and walkways. Since pervious concrete provides distinct advantages over conventional impervious surfaces, it allows the ready-mix industry to compete for the parking lot market, especially where asphalt has historically been the pavement choice by default.

Pervious concrete low-cost stormwater management system provides a safe, durable traffic surface while often saving on land costs. For several years, I have described it as a “cement-based (storm)water treatment system,” and stormwater regulations across the country are now encouraging or requiring techniques that emphasize infiltration instead of detention.

Since it is not natural to intentionally make a mix with voids, ready-mix QC departments must think backwards about designing pervious concrete mixes. It is best to design around your aggregate gradations and void content, then proportion cement content leaving enough space to achieve 20% hardened voids. The ACI 522R-10, Report on Pervious Concrete, is a good guide to the mix design process. Alternate mix design resources, such as the NRMCA Mix Proportioning Software for Pervious Concrete Mixtures, have been developed to help producers design mixes that perform well.

Basic pervious mixes do not require exotic admixtures — regular water reducer, and a hydration stabilizer are two common admixes that are on hand at most batch plants and will usually provide durable, placeable pervious mixes. 

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