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Why Is Concrete Used In Construction?
Concrete is a composite material that combines cement, aggregate (sand and gravel), water, and other additives to form a hard mass. It is used in construction for its strength, durability, and resistance to corrosion.
In the United States, concrete is the most widely used building material for commercial or residential construction projects. It accounts for about 80 percent of all new construction and nearly 50 percent of all existing structures, like highways, exterior walls, power plant, industrial buildings, and sustainable construction.
Yards of concrete are also widely used as an industrial product. For example, it is used to make roads, bridges, buildings, dams, parking lots, sidewalks, playgrounds, sports fields, airport runways, swimming pools, foundations, retaining walls, and many other products.
Fresh concrete is made from Portland cement, which is a mixture of limestone or clay with silica sand and alumina. The resulting paste is mixed with water and other ingredients such as fly ash, slag, lime, gypsum, iron ore, steel scrap, and quartz powder. The mix is then poured into forms (molds) where it sets over time. After curing, the hardened concrete can be finished by adding aggregates, coloring agents, plasticizers, stabilizers, and air-entraining admixtures.
The properties of plain cement concrete depend on various application methodologies and control of concrete mixtures. In the concrete industry, this process is called “mixing” and requires skillful mixing techniques regardless of the type of concrete used. Poorly mixed concrete will have low compressive strength, and poor workability and may not be set properly during the curing process.
What is concrete and why is it useful for the civil engineering industry?
Cement is the main component of the ingredients of concrete because it binds the other components together. Cement production is classified according to its composition: Ordinary Portland cement contains only one type of mineral, calcium oxide, which reacts with water to produce hydrated lime and calcium carbonate. When these two minerals react, they release heat, causing the reaction to continue until the final product has been produced.
Portland cement is mixed with water and any additional additives needed from the cement industry to achieve specific performance requirements. For example, if the concrete needs to resist high temperatures, more aluminum trihydrate (ATH) must be added. If the concrete needs to resist frost damage, more magnesium sulfate heptahydrate (MgSO4·7H2O) must be added.
Portland cement is the most common type of cement, but there are several types available. They differ in terms of chemical composition, fineness, color, setting times, and cost.
What are the advantages of concrete over other materials?
Concrete is versatile. It can be molded into almost anything you want. You can pour it into molds, cast it into blocks, shape it into beams, columns, and slabs, and even use it to build houses. It can be colored, tinted, stained, painted, and coated with various finishes.
The strength of concrete goes to show as compared to wood, brick, stone, and some metals, concrete is very durable. It can withstand extreme weather conditions like freezing rain, snow, wind, and intense sunlight. Concrete is inexpensive. A typical project using concrete costs less than half that of a comparable project using other materials. It is also easy to maintain. It doesn't rot, warp, crack, or decay. It's also relatively maintenance-free. Concrete basically lasts forever. It won't rust, corrode, or deteriorate. It's also fire-resistant.
Do you know that concrete provides good insulation by acting as a thermal insulator? It is a porous engineering material that's also environmentally friendly. It produces little waste compared to other construction materials.
Benefits of concrete as a construction material
The benefits of concrete as a construction product include:
Different types of concrete
Cement concrete is the most common type used in concrete structures. Other types of concrete include:
• Aggregate concrete - This concrete type is similar to cement concrete but uses more finely ground aggregates such as crushed rock instead of sand and gravel.
• Self-consolidating concrete - Self-consolidating concretes are designed to reduce the amount of labor needed during the control of concrete pouring. They contain small amounts of air which allows them to flow freely once they're poured while remaining tensile strength.
• Mortar - Mortars are mixtures of cement and sand or gravel. They are used to fill joints between bricks and blocks.
• Gypsum board - Gypsum board is a sheet of plasterboard that has been coated with a gypsum solution. Gypsum boards are used primarily for interior walls.
Types of Concrete Formwork
Forms are used to shape concrete so that it will meet building specifications. There are two main types of forms: temporary and permanent. Temporary forms are removed after the concrete has been set. Permanent forms are left in place permanently.
Temporary forms are cheaper than permanent forms. However, they may not have tensile strength. If you plan to pour large quantities of concrete at one time, you should use temporary forms. Otherwise, you'll have to spend extra money replacing them every few days.
Permanent forms are more expensive than temporary forms. But they can be reused indefinitely. You can save money if you reuse your permanent forms over and over again. Permanent forms come in many different shapes and sizes. Some are shaped like cylinders while others are square or rectangular. Some forms are made from wood, metal, or plastic. Others are made from cardboard.
How Concrete Works As A Building Material
The process of making concrete involves mixing cement, sand, gravel, and water together to form a homogeneous mixture called a "slurry". The slurry is then poured into forms where it hardens. After the concrete is hardened, it is ready to be used.
There are three basic steps involved in the production of concrete for the construction of buildings:
1. Mixing - This step is done by hand or machine. The ingredients are mixed together to make sure all of the ingredients are evenly distributed throughout the mix.
2. Curing - Once the ingredients have been thoroughly mixed, they need time to set up before being poured into forms. During this period, the concrete begins to dry out and gain strength.
3. Pouring - When the concrete has cured sufficiently, it is poured into forms. Forms are usually made from steel or plastic. Steel forms are stronger than plastic ones because they don't stretch when pressure is applied to them.
The Differences Between Cement and Concrete In Construction
Cement is an ingredient in both the properties of concrete and mortar. It's what gives concrete its strength. Concrete also contains aggregate (such as sand and gravel) and other additives. These materials help give the concrete its color, texture, and durability.
Concrete is a combination of cement and aggregate. Aggregate is any granular material that isn't cement. Sand, gravel, crushed stone, and even recycled tires are examples of common aggregates.
The impact of concrete is much lighter than cement. Therefore, it doesn't weigh as much as cement does.
Concrete is harder than cement. That means concrete buildings won't break down as easily.
Concrete is less porous than cement. That means its composite materials resist absorbing moisture better than cement does.
Concrete Production Wastes
During the concrete production process, you're producing waste. The industrial waste includes things such as excess sand, cement, and water. Here are some ways you can reduce these wastes:
- Use only enough water for the amount of cement needed.
- Add air to the mix so the plain concrete will cure faster in advanced applications, without worrying about airborne pollutants.
- Use smaller amounts of cement in the chemical process.
- Use small amounts of sand and gravel.
- Aside from reducing energy consumption, you can recycle leftover plain concrete.
- Reduce the number of times you mix wet concrete.
- Keep track of how much concrete you use and the impact of concrete in a particular space.
- Use reusable forms instead of disposable ones for modern concrete construction.
- Reuse your forms over and over again rather than throwing them away after one use.
Underwater Building With Modern Concrete
You may not realize it, but there are several types of underwater construction. One type uses concrete as the primary building material while another type uses reinforced concrete, regardless of the quantity of water present. Both types require special techniques to keep the concrete from cracking.
Types Of Underwater Construction: