Self Compacting Concrete (SCC)- Properties, Applications and Advantages

Civil Engicon Team
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Update: August 18, 2023

What is Self-Compacting Concrete? Explain in Detail

Self-Compacting Concrete (SCC) is a special type of concrete that is really good at flowing smoothly and spreading out on its own without needing to be pushed around. It can fill up tricky shapes, tight spaces, and places with lots of metal inside without anyone needing to shake or vibrate it. SCC is made by mixing specific materials in just the right way, so it's easy to work with and stays strong. People use SCC for making fancy building parts, complex molds, and when it's hard to reach or move things around. The self compacting concrete was first developed in Japan in the late 1980 to address the need for high-quality concrete that could be placed without the use of vibration.

What is Self-Compacting Concrete? (SCC)- Materials, Properties, Uses, Advantages and Disadvantages

Self Compacting Concrete (SCC)- Materials, Properties, Applications, Advantages and Disadvantages

Self-Compacting Concrete (SCC) is an advanced construction material engineered to possess exceptional flowability and self-leveling properties, enabling it to effortlessly fill intricate forms, densely reinforced structures, and confined spaces without the need for mechanical vibration. 

SCC is meticulously formulated using a precisely balanced mixture of high-range water-reducing admixtures, viscosity-modifying agents, and other specialized components, resulting in a concrete that is not only highly workable but also exhibits enhanced durability, reduced voids, and consistently superior surface finishes.

This innovative concrete variant finds its application in a range of scenarios, including architectural elements, complex formwork, precast components, and challenging construction environments where traditional compaction methods prove inadequate.

Self Compacting Concrete (SCC)- Materials, Properties, Uses, Advantages and Disadvantages

What are the Materials or Ingredients Used in Self-Compacting Concrete? Important 

Self-Compacting Concrete (SCC) is typically composed of various materials that work together to achieve its unique flowable and self-leveling properties. While the specific materials used can vary based on regional practices and availability, see below the common components used worldwide in the production of SCC:
  1. Cement
  2. Fine Aggregate
  3. Coarse Aggregates
  4. Water
  5. High-Range Water-Reducing Admixtures (Superplasticizers)
  6. Viscosity-Modifying Admixtures (VMAs)
  7. Mineral and Chemical Admixtures
  8. Filler Materials
  9. Fiber Reinforcement


The binding material that holds the concrete together and provides strength.

Fine Aggregate

Finely crushed sand or natural fine aggregates that contribute to the concrete's workability and surface finish.

Coarse Aggregates

Larger particles, often gravel or crushed stone, that provide structural strength to the concrete.


Needed for cement hydration, which is essential for the formation of the concrete paste that binds the aggregates together.

High-Range Water-Reducing Admixtures (Superplasticizers)

These additives improve the flowability and workability of the concrete by reducing water content while maintaining proper consistency. They play a crucial role in achieving the self-compacting properties of SCC.

Viscosity-Modifying Admixtures (VMAs)

VMAs enhance the stability and cohesion of SCC by preventing segregation and excessive bleeding of the mix.

Mineral and Chemical Admixtures

These additives can include fly ash, slag, silica fume, and other supplementary cementitious materials that enhance durability, reduce heat generation and improve overall performance.

Filler Materials

Fine materials, such as limestone powder or natural pozzolans, may be added to improve packing and fill voids between particles.

Fiber Reinforcement

In some cases, microfibers or macrofibers may be added to improve the tensile and flexural properties of SCC, reducing the risk of cracking.

What are the Properties of Self-Compacting Concrete?

Self-Compacting Concrete (SCC) possesses several distinct properties that set it apart from conventional concrete. These properties contribute to its ability to flow and self-level, making it suitable for various construction applications. 
  1. Flowability
  2. Self-Leveling
  3. Passing Ability
  4. Segregation Resistance
  5. Cohesion and Stability
  6. Strength and Durability
  7. High-Quality Surface Finish
  8. Reduced Voids and Honeycombing
  9. Reduced Noise and Vibration
  10. Consistency in Properties
  11. Time Efficiency
  12. Sustainability


SCC exhibits exceptional flow characteristics, allowing it to easily fill intricate molds, complex formwork, and congested spaces without the need for mechanical vibration.


SCC levels itself under the force of gravity, resulting in a smooth and even surface finish without requiring manual manipulation.

Passing Ability

SCC can navigate through densely reinforced areas, effectively filling voids and ensuring proper compaction without the need for external vibration.

Segregation Resistance

SCC is formulated to resist segregation, which means that the components within the mixture remain uniformly distributed during transportation, placement, and curing.

Cohesion and Stability

SCC maintains its cohesion and stability while flowing, minimizing the risk of separation of materials and ensuring consistent performance.

Strength and Durability

SCC possesses comparable or even improved strength and durability properties when compared to conventional concrete, thanks to its thorough compaction and reduced porosity.

High-Quality Surface Finish

The self-leveling nature of SCC results in excellent surface finishes, making it suitable for architectural and exposed concrete elements.

Reduced Voids and Honeycombing

The consistent flow and compaction of SCC reduce the likelihood of voids, honeycombing, and air pockets within the concrete, leading to enhanced durability and structural integrity.

Reduced Noise and Vibration

SCC's ability to self-compact eliminates the need for external vibration equipment, leading to a quieter and less disruptive construction environment.

Consistency in Properties

SCC's uniform flow and compaction ensure consistent material properties throughout the concrete, resulting in predictable and reliable performance.

Time Efficiency

The self-compacting nature of SCC speeds up construction by eliminating the need for time-consuming manual compaction processes, leading to faster project completion.


The reduced requirement for energy-intensive compaction methods aligns with sustainable construction practices, potentially lowering environmental impact.

What are the Applications of Self-Compacting Concrete?

Self-Compacting Concrete (SCC) finds a wide range of applications in the construction industry due to its unique flowable and self-leveling properties.
  1. Architectural Elements
  2. Complex Formwork
  3. Precast Concrete
  4. Highly Reinforced Sections
  5. Tunnels and Underground Structures
  6. Bridges and Infrastructure
  7. High-Rise Buildings
  8. Repair and Restoration
  9. Industrial Flooring
  10. Architectural Concrete
  11. Concrete Overlays
  12. Horizontal and Sloped Surfaces
  13. Seismic Zones Structures
  14. Mass Concrete Applications

Architectural Elements

SCC is often used to create intricate architectural features, decorative panels, and ornamental elements with smooth and high-quality surface finishes.

Complex Formwork

SCC's ability to easily fill complex and intricate formwork makes it ideal for constructing structures with unique shapes and designs.

Precast Concrete

SCC is commonly used in the production of precast concrete elements such as beams, columns, walls, and façade panels, ensuring consistent quality and surface finishes.

Highly Reinforced Sections

SCC is well-suited for structures with densely packed reinforcement, where traditional compaction methods might be challenging or insufficient.

Tunnels and Underground Structures

SCC's flowability and ability to fill confined spaces make it suitable for tunnel linings and other underground construction projects.

Bridges and Infrastructure

SCC is used in bridge components, such as segments, piers, and abutments, where complex geometry and difficult access points may be present.

High-Rise Building

SCC can simplify the construction of vertical elements like elevator shafts, staircases, and shear walls in tall buildings.

Repair and Restoration

SCC is employed for repair and restoration work, filling voids and ensuring proper compaction in hard-to-reach areas.

Industrial Flooring

SCC is used for industrial floors where flatness and smoothness are essential, providing a durable and aesthetically pleasing surface.

Architectural Concrete

SCC's ability to flow into intricate molds allows for the creation of detailed architectural concrete features, including intricate façades and textured surfaces.

Concrete Overlays

SCC can be used as a thin overlay to renew and improve the appearance of existing concrete surfaces, particularly in decorative applications.

Horizontal and Sloped Surfaces

SCC can be effectively used for horizontal surfaces, such as floors and pavements, as well as sloped surfaces where traditional compaction methods might be challenging.

Seismic Zone Structures

SCC's ability to fill voids and effectively distribute reinforcement makes it useful in seismic zones where structural integrity is crucial.

Mass Concrete Applications

In massive concrete structures, such as dams and retaining walls, SCC can help ensure proper compaction and reduce the risk of thermal cracking.

Table of Self-Compacting Concrete Advantages and Disadvantages

The self compacting concrete having many advantages but also it having many disadvantages. See the below table.

Advantages of Self-Compacting Concrete Disadvantages of Self-Compacting Concrete
1. Excellent Flowability and Self-Leveling 1. Complex Mix Design
2. Reduces Need for Mechanical Vibration 2. Costly Raw Materials
3. High-Quality Surface Finishes 3. Initial Learning Curve for Workers
4. Enhanced Durability and Strength 4. Quality Control Challenges
5. Reduced Risk of Voids and Honeycombing 5. Sensitivity to Temperature
6. Improved Consolidation in Dense Rebars 6. Limited Applicability in High-Strength Mixes
7. Faster and Quieter Construction7. Possible Segregation in Improper Placement
8. Suitable for Complex Form-work 8. Environmental Concerns with Admixtures
9. Minimizes Labor and Equipment Costs 9. Potential Delay in Setting Time
10. Consistency in Properties and Quality 10. Limited Availability in Some Areas

Self-Compacting Concrete Advantages and Disadvantages

The self compacting concrete having both advantages and disadvantages:

Advantages Self-Compacting Concrete

Self-compacting concrete (SCC) offers several advantages over conventional concrete that makes it an attractive option for many construction applications.
  1. Effortless Placement and Compaction
  2. Cost-Efficiency
  3. Aesthetic Excellence
  4. Enhanced Structural Durability
  5. Versatility with Complex Formwork
  6. Adaptability in Restricted Spaces
  7. Uniform Properties and Performance
  8. Time Savings
  9. Environmental Considerations
  10. Optimized Precast Production and
  11. Enhanced Safety and Worker Well-being

Effortless Placement and Compaction

SCC's inherent flowability and self-leveling properties eliminate the need for manual compaction, streamlining the placement process and reducing labor-intensive tasks.


By minimizing the requirement for vibration equipment and specialized labor, SCC reduces operational costs, making it an economically viable choice for construction projects.

Aesthetic Excellence

SCC consistently delivers impeccable surface finishes, making it particularly suitable for projects demanding architectural finesse and exposed concrete surfaces.

Enhanced Structural Durability

The thorough and consistent compaction of SCC significantly lowers the risk of voids and weak points, contributing to heightened structural integrity and longevity.

Versatility with Complex Formwork

SCC's ability to effortlessly fill intricate molds and complex formwork expedites the creation of intricate designs and shapes without compromising quality.

Adaptability in Restricted Spaces

SCC's self-spreading nature proves indispensable in confined or difficult-to-reach areas, offering a practical solution in construction scenarios with spatial limitations.

Uniform Properties and Performance

SCC's consistent flow and compaction ensure uniform material properties, resulting in reliable and predictable performance throughout the structure.

Time Savings

The elimination of time-consuming vibration processes accelerates construction timelines, facilitating faster project completion and reduced downtime.

Environmental Considerations

SCC's reduced reliance on energy-intensive compaction techniques aligns with sustainable construction practices, contributing to lower environmental impact.

Optimized Precast Production

SCC's ability to maintain consistent flow and quality in precast manufacturing results in improved product standards, decreased wastage, and enhanced precast element durability.

Enhanced Safety and Worker Well-being

The diminished need for manual labor and vibration equipment enhances on-site safety conditions and minimizes potential health hazards for construction workers.

Disadvantages Self-Compacting Concrete

While Self-Compacting Concrete (SCC) offers numerous benefits, there are also some notable disadvantages to consider:
  1. Complex Mix Design
  2. Costly Raw Materials
  3. Initial Learning Curve for Workers
  4. Quality Control Challenges
  5. Sensitivity to Temperature
  6. Limited Applicability in High-Strength Mixes
  7. Possible Segregation in Improper Placement
  8. Environmental Concerns with Admixtures
  9. Potential Delay in Setting Time
  10. Limited Availability in Some Areas

Complex Mix Design

Designing the optimal SCC mix requires careful consideration of various materials and proportions, which can be more intricate and demanding than traditional concrete mixes.

Costly Raw Materials

SCC may require specific high-performance admixtures and fine aggregates, which can contribute to higher material costs compared to conventional concrete.

Initial Learning Curve for Workers

Construction teams may need training and adaptation to effectively handle SCC, potentially leading to an initial learning curve that affects project timelines.

Quality Control Challenges

Ensuring consistent mix quality and performance requires vigilant quality control measures throughout the production and placement processes.

Sensitivity to Temperature

SCC can be more sensitive to temperature changes during mixing and placement, necessitating careful monitoring to prevent issues like premature setting or delayed strength development.

Limited Applicability in High-Strength Mixes

SCC might face challenges in achieving very high compressive strengths, limiting its suitability for certain high-strength concrete applications.

Possible Segregation in Improper Placement

If not handled correctly, SCC can experience segregation, where components separate, leading to non-uniform concrete with compromised properties.

Environmental Concerns with Admixtures

Some high-range water-reducing admixtures used in SCC formulations may raise environmental concerns due to their chemical composition.

Potential Delay in Setting Time

SCC can have a longer initial setting time compared to traditional concrete, which may affect construction schedules and require adjustments in project planning.

Limited Availability in Some Areas

The availability of SCC materials, expertise, and construction practices might be limited in certain regions, potentially impacting its feasibility for local projects.


The production and use of SCC require a high level of expertise, and not all concrete producers and contractors are familiar with its use.

Risk of Cracking

Because SCC has a high water content and relies on superplasticizers and viscosity agents to maintain its fluidity, there is a risk of cracking if the mix proportions are not carefully controlled.

Testing and Quality Control of Self Compacting Concrete

Testing and quality control of self compacting concrete are following:
  1. Fresh Concrete Properties Testing
  2. Hardened Concrete Properties Testing
  3. Quality Control During Production
  4. Field Testing
  5. Non-Destructive Testing

Fresh Concrete Properties Testing

Before placing Self-compacting concrete in the formwork, it is important to test its fresh properties such as slump flow, T50 time, V-funnel flow time, J-ring, U-box tests and L-box blocking ratio. These tests help to ensure that the Self-compacting concrete has the desired flowability and filling ability.

Hardened Concrete Properties Testing

After the Self-compacting concrete has hardened, it is important to test its properties such as compressive strength, flexural strength, and modulus of elasticity. These tests help to ensure that the Self-compacting concrete has the desired strength and durability.

Quality Control During Production

Self-compacting concrete production should be closely monitored to ensure that the mix design is consistent and that the desired properties are achieved. This may include regular testing of raw materials, mix proportions, and temperature control.

Field Testing

Self-compacting concrete should be tested on-site to ensure that it is performing as expected. This may include testing the temperature, slump flow, and air content of the Self-compacting concrete as it is being placed in the formwork.

Non-Destructive Testing

Non-destructive testing (NDT) techniques such as ultrasonic testing, rebound hammer testing, and permeability testing can be used to assess the properties of hardened SCC without damaging the structure.

Difference Between Normal Concrete and Self Compacting Concrete (SCC)

Difference between normal concrete and self compacting concrete:
Aspect Normal Concrete Self-Compacting Concrete
Compaction Requires external vibration for compaction Self-levels and flows on its own
Workability Lower workability; needs vibration for placement Exceptional flowability and self-leveling
Voids and Honeycombing May have more voids and honeycombing Reduced risk of voids and honeycombing
Labor Intensity Higher labor and equipment requirements Reduces labor and equipment costs
Surface Finish Surface finish may be less consistent High-quality, uniform surface finishes
Complex Formwork Limited suitability for complex formwork Ideal for intricate and complex shapes
Precast Production Used for precast elements with manual compaction Enhances precast quality and efficiency
Construction Speed Slower due to compaction requirements Faster construction due to self-leveling
Reinforcement Congestion Reinforcement Congestion Effective compaction even with congestion
Noise and Vibration Generates noise and vibration during compaction Reduces noise and vibration on site
Segregation More prone to segregation if not properly compacted Reduced segregation due to better homogeneity
Mix Design and Testing Standard mix design; less complexity Complex mix design; rigorous testing
Initial Learning Curve for Workers Workers familiar with traditional methods Workers may need training for SCC handling
Applicability in Tight Spaces Limited applicability in confined spaces Suitable for challenging access areas
Aesthetic and Architectural Applications May require extra effort for architectural finishes Enhances architectural and decorative features
Structural Integrity May have voids affecting structural integrity Enhanced structural integrity and strength
Environmental Concerns with Admixtures Use of admixtures may raise environmental concerns Admixtures may raise environmental concerns
Seismic Performance May have reduced performance in seismic areas Suitable for seismic zones with proper design
Availability in Various Regions Widely available and commonly used Availability may vary based on region

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