Plain Cement Concrete

Plain Cement Concrete

Plain Cement Concrete (PCC) is a commonly used construction material that serves as the foundation for most structures. It is a mixture of cement, coarse and fine aggregates, and water, and is known for its high compressive strength and durability. PCC provides a strong and stable base for the superstructure above, making it an essential component in the construction industry. In this article, we will delve into the various aspects of Plain Cement Concrete, including its properties, uses, and methods of construction.

Ingredients of Plain Cement Concrete

Plain Cement Concrete, commonly known as PCC, is a vital construction material in the civil engineering industry. It is a composite material made of fine and coarse aggregates, cement, and water. PCC is mainly used in structural foundations, flooring, pavements, and other general construction purposes. The following are the ingredients of plain cement concrete:

1. Cement: The main binding element in PCC is cement, which acts as a glue that binds the other ingredients together. Portland cement is the most commonly used cement in PCC due to its high strength and durability.

2. Fine Aggregates: Fine aggregates, also known as sand, are small-sized particles with a size range of 0.075mm to 4.75mm. These aggregates fill the voids between the coarse aggregates and provide strength and workability to the concrete.

3. Coarse Aggregates: Coarse aggregates, also known as stone chips or gravel, are large-sized particles with a size range of 4.75mm to 20mm. These aggregates provide bulk and reduce the shrinkage of concrete. They also impart strength and durability to the concrete.

4. Water: Water is a vital component in PCC as it helps in the chemical reaction between cement and other ingredients. The amount of water used affects the workability, strength, and durability of concrete.

5. Admixtures: Admixtures are chemical compounds added to PCC in small quantities to modify its properties. These include air-entraining agents, water-reducing agents, and plasticizers, which improve workability and reduce bleeding and segregation in concrete.

6. Reinforcement: In some cases, PCC may also require reinforcement for added strength and durability. Steel bars or meshes are used as reinforcement in such cases.

The proportions of these ingredients are crucial in determining the properties of PCC, such as strength, durability, and workability. Properly designed and mixed PCC can provide a strong and long-lasting foundation for any construction project.

Uses of Plain Cement Concrete

Plain cement concrete, also known as PCC, is a versatile and commonly used construction material in civil engineering. Composed of cement, coarse aggregates, and water, PCC is a cost-effective material that offers several benefits and can be used in various applications. Here are some of the main uses of PCC in construction projects:

1. Foundation Work
PCC is used extensively in the construction of foundations for buildings and structures. The uniform and strong base provided by PCC makes it an ideal material for reinforcing and supporting the weight of the structure above.

2. Road Construction
PCC is widely used in the construction of roads and highways as a base layer. Its high compressive strength and durability make it suitable for handling heavy loads and withstanding traffic conditions.

3. Flooring
One of the most common uses of PCC is for flooring in residential, commercial and industrial buildings. It provides a smooth and level surface that is durable and able to withstand heavy foot traffic.

4. Pavement Construction
PCC is also used in the construction of pavements, sidewalks, and driveways. Its strength and resistance to weather and traffic make it a reliable material for creating a stable and long-lasting surface.

5. Water Retaining Structures
PCC is often used in the construction of water retaining structures such as dams, canals, and reservoirs. Its impermeable nature and ability to resist water pressure makes it an ideal choice for these types of projects.

6. Retaining Walls and Fences
PCC can be used to construct retaining walls and fences due to its strength and stability. These structures are essential in preventing soil erosion and maintaining the stability of a construction site.

7. Pre-cast Concrete Products
PCC is used in the production of various pre-cast concrete products such as manhole covers, pipes, and blocks. Its ability to be molded into different shapes and sizes makes it a preferred material for these types of products.

8. Indoor and Outdoor Stairs
PCC is a popular choice for constructing both indoor and outdoor stairs. Its strength and durability ensure that the stairs remain safe and sturdy for years to come.

9. Landscaping
PCC can also be used for landscaping purposes such as creating pathways, patios, and borders. Its versatility allows it to blend in seamlessly with the surrounding design and provide a functional and attractive outdoor space.

In conclusion, the uses of plain cement concrete in civil engineering are numerous and diverse. Its versatility, strength, and cost-effectiveness make it an essential material for various construction projects, making it an integral part of the construction industry.

Properties of Plain Cement Concrete (PCC)

Plain Cement Concrete (PCC) is the most commonly used construction material for making pavements, floors, foundations, and other structural elements. It is a mixture of cement, coarse aggregates, fine aggregates, and water, which hardens into a strong and durable material. Let’s explore the properties of plain cement concrete (PCC) in detail:

1. Strength: One of the major properties of PCC is its compressive strength, which is the ability of the material to resist crushing under a applied load. The compressive strength of PCC ranges from 1200 to 2500 psi (pounds per square inch), depending on the mix proportions and quality of materials used.

2. Durability: PCC is known for its excellent durability and long-term performance. It can withstand harsh weather conditions, heavy traffic loads, and chemical attacks, making it suitable for various construction applications.

3. Workability: The workability of PCC refers to its ability to be easily mixed, placed, compacted, and finished without segregation or bleeding. Proper workability is essential for achieving a smooth and uniform surface finish.

4. Impermeability: PCC is relatively impervious to water, which means it has low permeability. This property makes it suitable for structures exposed to moisture and water, such as basements, underground structures, and water tanks.

5. Heat resistance: PCC has good resistance to high temperatures, which makes it suitable for use in fire-resistant structures. It can withstand temperatures up to 1000°C without undergoing significant changes in its properties.

6. Adhesion: PCC has excellent adhesion properties, which means it can bond well with other materials such as reinforcement steel, masonry, and other cementitious materials. This property is crucial for ensuring the structural stability of the elements.

7. Shrinkage and cracking: PCC tends to shrink during the drying process, which can result in cracks if not controlled properly. However, the use of proper mix design, proper curing, and the use of expansion joints can reduce the shrinkage and minimize the chances of cracking.

8. Versatility: PCC is a versatile material that can be easily molded into different shapes and sizes as per the construction requirements. It can also be used as a base for laying other flooring materials, such as tiles, marble, and granite.

9. Easy availability: The materials used in PCC, such as cement, sand, and aggregates, are readily available in most parts of the world, making it a cost-effective and widely used construction material.

In conclusion, PCC has various properties that make it the preferred choice for many construction projects. Its strength, durability, workability, impermeability, heat resistance, adhesion, and versatility make it a highly reliable and versatile material for use in different construction applications. As a civil engineer, it is essential to understand and consider these properties while designing and using PCC in construction projects.

Preparation of Plain Cement Concrete (PCC)


Plain Cement Concrete, commonly referred to as PCC, is a construction material used in various civil engineering projects. It is a mixture of cement, fine aggregates, and coarse aggregates, with water added to form a strong and durable base for structures.

Preparation of PCC:

The following steps are involved in the preparation of PCC:

1. Design Mix: The first and foremost step in the preparation of PCC is to determine the design mix ratio of the concrete. This is done by conducting tests on the materials and considering the desired strength and properties of the concrete required for the project.

2. Batching: Once the design mix is determined, the required quantities of cement, aggregates, and water are measured and weighed accurately. This is known as batching and is usually done with the help of mechanical devices to ensure the right proportions are achieved.

3. Mixing: After batching, the materials are placed in a concrete mixer and mixed thoroughly until a homogenous mixture is obtained. The mixing process ensures that all the particles are evenly distributed, and a uniform consistency is achieved.

4. Transportation: The mixed concrete is then transported to the construction site using trucks or dumpers. Care should be taken during transportation to prevent segregation and maintain the workability of the concrete.

5. Placing: Placement of PCC is done by pouring the concrete in layers onto the prepared sub-base. It is spread and flattened using shovels or rakes to the required level and compacted using mechanical or manual methods.

6. Curing: Curing is the process of keeping the concrete moist and at a specific temperature for a specific period to ensure it gains its desired strength and durability. Curing can be done by covering the concrete with wet hessian, curing compounds, or by sprinkling water regularly.

7. Finishing: The final step in the preparation of PCC is finishing. This involves troweling the surface to achieve a smooth, level, and compacted finish. A float or a trowel can be used for this process.


Proper preparation of PCC is crucial to ensure the strength, durability, and longevity of the concrete. It is necessary to adhere to the recommended procedures and precautions during preparation to achieve the desired results and ensure the success of the project.

Dos & Don’ts of PCC Work

1. Do proper site preparation before starting the PCC work to ensure a smooth and level surface.
2. Do use good quality materials and follow the mix design as per the specifications to ensure a strong and durable concrete mix.
3. Do prepare the formwork and reinforcement properly to avoid any errors or mistakes during concreting.
4. Do vibrate the concrete thoroughly to remove any air pockets and ensure proper compaction.
5. Do keep a check on the weather conditions and avoid concreting during extreme temperatures or heavy rainfall.
6. Do protect the freshly laid concrete from direct sunlight, wind, and excessive moisture by using appropriate curing methods.
7. Do regular quality checks during the construction process to ensure the desired strength and quality of concrete.
8. Do follow proper safety measures, such as wearing protective gear and using appropriate machinery, to avoid any accidents.
9. Do conduct regular maintenance and repairs to prevent any deterioration of the concrete structure.
10. Do follow the specifications and guidelines provided by the relevant authorities and ensure compliance with building codes and standards.

1. Don’t start the PCC work on a poorly prepared surface as it can lead to unevenness and cracking of the concrete.
2. Don’t use substandard or expired materials as it can compromise the strength and quality of the concrete.
3. Don’t neglect the placement of reinforcement and not follow the recommended reinforcement spacing and cover.
4. Don’t over-vibrate the concrete as it can lead to segregation and affect the strength of the concrete.
5. Don’t proceed with concreting in adverse weather conditions that can affect the setting and curing of concrete.
6. Don’t leave the concrete unprotected after it is poured as it can lead to surface shrinkage cracks and reduce the durability of the structure.
7. Don’t ignore quality checks during the construction process as it can result in poor quality and weak concrete.
8. Don’t compromise on safety measures, as any accident can not only affect the workers but also delay the project.
9. Don’t deviate from the approved design and specifications without proper authorization.
10. Don’t skip regular maintenance and repairs to avoid any safety hazards and ensure the longevity of the structure.

Full Form of PCC in Civil Engineering

The full form of PCC in Civil Engineering is Plain Cement Concrete. It is a composite material commonly used in construction as a base for pavement, foundations, walls, and other structures. PCC is essentially a mixture of cement, water, and aggregates (sand, gravel, crushed stones) that hardens over time to form a strong and durable material. It is also known as “Paving Cement Concrete,” “Plain Reinforced Cement Concrete (RCC),” or “Plain Cement Concrete (PCC) Slab.” PCC is a fundamental component in many civil engineering projects and plays a crucial role in providing a smooth and stable surface for construction activities.


In conclusion, Plain Cement Concrete (PCC) is a widely used construction material that is known for its strength, durability, and cost-effectiveness. Its various applications in construction have solidified its importance in the industry. With its simple composition of cement, aggregates, and water, PCC serves as the base for many structures and provides a solid foundation for further construction. Understanding the components and properties of PCC is crucial for ensuring its quality and longevity in any construction project. With proper design, installation, and maintenance, PCC can withstand heavy loads, adverse weather conditions, and the test of time. Overall, Plain Cement Concrete continues to be an essential building block for the infrastructure and development of our modern society.

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