Concrete is a common construction material that you can find anywhere from roadways to skyscrapers. It is exceptionally malleable and tough, but it also has a wide range of other special features that make it useful in different applications.
Concrete can be mixed and molded in various ways, from hand tools to industrial machinery. You can even order specialty concrete mixtures that are ready to pour on site from volumetric mixer trucks.
Concrete is a versatile construction material and it’s used in roads, sidewalks, flooring and everything our eyes can see. However, the sheer amount of concrete we’re consuming is causing concern about environmental impact.
Plain concrete, also known as PCC, is a type that does not have reinforcement in it. It is mainly used in pavements and building floors as it can withstand compressive loads.
It was a popular choice after World War II as it was cheap and simple to use. It also paved the way for South America’s infamous ‘concrete jungle’ of modernist cityscapes designed by Oscar Niemeyer, Tadao Ando and others.
Concrete is used on a large scale to build structures like bridges, dams, and piers. It also finds use in footings and foundations for homes Concrete walkway contractors Chandler. It is extremely strong and can withstand the weight of buildings and the forces exerted on them from the ground below.
Plain concrete, made with Portland cement, aggregates and water, is very strong in compression but weak in tension, making it ideal for floors, walls and pavements. However, adding steel rods, bars or mesh to the mix improves its tensile strength. Reinforced concrete combines the best of concrete (a material capable of absorbing compressive forces) with iron, which can withstand tensile force.
Concrete made on site is an increasingly common alternative to ready mix, and it’s a popular choice for projects that require flexible specifications or changes in the project’s requirements. Volumetric mixers are specialized trucks that carry unmixed cement, sand, coarse aggregate and water to a jobsite, where they’re mixed onsite for fresh, maximum strength concrete to meet the specifications of a specific pour.
These machines can change mix designs on the fly onsite without returning to the batch plant, according to manufacturers like Zimmerman Industries of Ephrata, Pennsylvania. This flexibility helps contractors complete jobs quickly and efficiently. It also saves on fuel costs and cuts waste.
Concrete isn’t just for utilitarian purposes; it can also be imbued with a range of looks to make buildings, sidewalks and roads look more appealing. Concrete can be stamped, coloured, stained or overlayed to achieve this. This type of decorative concrete is often used for driveways, patios, outdoor kitchens and pools.
Concrete is crucial for our modern world; it provides strength and stability to massive buildings, bridges, roads, sidewalks and flooring. It’s also extremely durable and inexpensive. Its only downside is that it produces greenhouse gases in its various stages of production. However, this may be outweighed by its many benefits. Concrete is one of the most common construction materials we use today.
The high density of this concrete offers increased strength and less voids. It is also more durable than other types of concrete and requires little maintenance.
It has a lower water content, which helps with faster concreting times and reduced crack formation. It can be used in situations where early strength development is required, such as in cold weather or for precast applications.
The environmental impact of concrete is a hotly contested issue. The thirsty behemoth consumes a tenth of the world’s industrial water, straining supplies for drinking and irrigation. It also contributes to the urban heat island effect and pollutes the air with dust and toxic chemicals.
Rapid-set concrete mixes are designed to harden quickly. These mixes typically contain more cement than standard mixes and may also contain admixtures that speed up the hydration process.
These mixes have the ability to achieve a structural strength of up to 15 MPa in one hour, allowing them to be used for critical projects where time is crucial such as motorway repairs. They are designed with low shrinkage and have superior resistance to chemical attack from sulfates and alkali reactions.
While using a rapid-set concrete mix does come with an upfront cost, the time saved in labor makes this investment worthwhile for many construction professionals.