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Concrete

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Definition and Composition of Concrete
– Concrete is a composite material composed of aggregate bonded together with a fluid cement that cures over time.
– It is the second-most-used substance in the world after water.
– Concrete is the most widely used building material.
– Its usage worldwide, ton for ton, is twice that of steel, wood, plastics, and aluminium combined.
– When aggregate is mixed with dry Portland cement and water, the mixture forms a fluid slurry that is easily poured and molded into shape.

Hydration Process, Additives, and Reinforced Concrete
– The cement reacts with the water through a process called concrete hydration that hardens it over several hours.
– The hydration process is exothermic, meaning ambient temperature affects the setting time of concrete.
– Additives like pozzolans or superplasticizers are included to improve the physical properties of the wet mix.
– Additives can also delay or accelerate the curing time of concrete.
– The finished material can be modified by adding additives to change its properties.
– Most concrete is poured with reinforcing materials, such as steel rebar, embedded to provide tensile strength.
– Reinforced concrete is a combination of concrete and reinforcement materials.
– The addition of reinforcement allows concrete to withstand tensile forces.
– Reinforced concrete is widely used in construction due to its strength and durability.
– It is commonly used in structures like bridges, buildings, and infrastructure.

Types of Concrete and Historical Significance
– Lime-based cement binders, such as lime putty, were used in the past.
– Portland cement concrete is a common type of concrete that uses Portland cement as a binder.
– Non-cementitious types of concrete exist, such as asphalt concrete with a bitumen binder.
– Polymer concretes use polymers as a binder.
– Concrete is distinct from mortar, which is a bonding agent used to hold masonry units together.
– Concrete floors were found in ancient structures like the royal palace of Tiryns, Greece.
– The Assyrian Jerwan Aqueduct (688 BC) made use of waterproof concrete.
– Mayan concrete at the ruins of Uxmal (850-925 A.D.) is referenced in historical accounts.
– The Nabateans pioneered small-scale production of concrete-like materials.
– The Romans extensively used concrete from 300 BCE to 476 CE, revolutionizing architecture.

Cement, Water, Aggregates, and Admixtures
– Portland cement is the most common type of cement, patented by Joseph Aspdin in 1824.
– Cement consists of calcium silicates, aluminates, and ferrites.
– Water combines with cementitious material to form a cement paste.
– Lower water-to-cement ratio yields stronger, more durable concrete.
– Impure water can cause problems in concrete setting and structure failure.
– Fine and coarse aggregates make up the bulk of a concrete mixture.
– Sand, natural gravel, and crushed stone are commonly used aggregates.
– Recycled aggregates from construction, demolition, and excavation waste are increasingly used.
– Admixtures are materials added to concrete to give it certain characteristics.
– Common admixtures include retarders, accelerators, air entraining agents, and bonding agents.

Use of Alternative Materials, Concrete Enhancements, and Production
– Alternative materials can lower costs, improve concrete properties, and recycle wastes.
– Limestone, fly ash, blast furnace slag, and other materials are being tested and used.
– These developments aim to minimize the impacts of cement use on greenhouse gas emissions.
– Alternative materials contribute to circular economy aspects of the construction industry.
– Crystalline admixtures, pigments, plasticizers, superplasticizers, and retarders are used to enhance concrete.
– Concrete production is the process of mixing water, aggregate, cement, and additives to produce concrete.
– Concrete production takes place in concrete plants, either ready mix plants or central mix plants.
Design mix ratios, mixing techniques, and curing methods are important factors in concrete production.

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