What Is Concrete?

Concrete is easily and readily prepared and fabricated in all sorts of shapes and structural systems. Its great simplicity lies in the fact that its constituents are ubiquitous and are readily available almost anywhere in the world. As a result of its ubiquity, functionality, and flexibility it has become by far the most popular and widely used construction material in the world.

Concrete contractors are among the most important stakeholders in most construction works. While some sustainable structures are made from pure wood and glass, most commercial and industrial buildings are still made from cement. Here are the basics of different cement types used in the construction industry.

Components of Concrete

The material concrete is often confused with the material cement. Cement is one of the many constituents of concrete, part of the glue that holds the other materials together. Components of concrete are cement, sand, aggregates, and water. A mixture of cement and water is called a paste. 

So, concrete can be called a mixture of paste, sand, and aggregates. Sometimes rocks are used instead of aggregates. The cement paste coats the surface of the fine and coarse aggregates when mixed thoroughly and binds them. Soon after mixing the components, a hydration reaction starts which provides strength and rock-solid concrete is obtained.

 The ingredients are proportioned and engineered to produce a concrete of specific strength and durability, so it is ‘fit for purpose’ for the job for which it is intended. It can be produced in the form of precast products or as ready-mixed concrete, which is delivered in the familiar rotating concrete lorry.

Types of Concrete Mix

Based on the variations in materials and purposes, concrete can be classified into three basic categories:

  • Lime Concrete
  • Cement Concrete
  • Reinforced Cement Concretes

In general, there are four concrete sorts to settle on from counting on the work being done. Such as:

  • Dry Ready Mix
  • Ready Mix
  • Bulk Dry Materials
  • Transit Mix

There are other various types of concrete for different applications that are created by changing the proportions of the main ingredients. Such as:

  • Regular Concrete
  • High-strength Concrete
  • Stamped Concrete
  • High-Performance Concrete
  • Self-consolidating Concretes
  • Vacuum Concrete
  • Shotcrete
  • Roller-Compacted concrete
  • Glass Concrete
  • Asphalt Concrete
  • Rapid Strength Concrete
  • Polymer Concrete
  • Limecrete
  • Light-Transmitting Concrete

Installation

Normal concrete weighs approximately 150 pounds per cubic foot and should be placed as near as possible to its final position. Excess handling can cause segregation of the coarse and fine aggregates. Wetting up the concrete so it can be raked or pushed into a location far from where it is discharged is not acceptable. Concrete is poured directly from the chute of the ready-mix truck, wheeled into place with a buggy, or pumped into place with a concrete boom pump.

Next is spreading the concrete. The purpose of spreading fresh concrete is to place concrete as close as possible to the finish level to facilitate straight-edging/screeding of the concrete. Short-handled, square-ended shovels are recommended for spreading concrete. A come-along can also be used. Do not use an around edge shovel for spreading concrete since it does not spread the concrete evenly. 

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