Are you about to start a construction project that involves concrete? Or perhaps you are just curious about it and how it’s made. Concrete is among the most used building materials, thanks to its durability and functionality. You can use it in many applications, such as making foundations, driveways, roads, commercial buildings, etc. This guide will discuss everything about concrete, including what it is and its advantages.

What Exactly is Concrete?

Concrete is a building material used in various commercial and residential applications. Although there are different types of concrete, each type contains three basic ingredients; water, aggregate, and cement. When these ingredients are mixed, they harden through a chemical process known as hydration. The hardened material can then be used in various applications.

Who Invented Concrete?

Although many assume that concrete is a modern invention, it has been around for a long time. The origin of concrete dates back to the ancient Romans. It was later discovered by the British, who improved it and popularized it across the globe. One example of Roman architecture created using concrete is the Pantheon in Rome.

The Common Uses of Concrete in Construction

Thanks to its durability and functionality, concrete is used in various industrial, commercial, and residential applications, including:

- Pavements
- Roads
- Bridges
- Foundations
- Walls
- Parking lots
- Architectural structures
- Overpasses
- Poles
- Concrete dams
- Residential buildings
- Seawalls
- Sewers

Why Use Concrete in Construction?

Now that you know what concrete is and how it is used, you are probably wondering whether you should use it in your next construction. The truth is that concrete has grown in popularity due to its unique benefits. Discover why most people use concrete in construction below.

Concrete is Inexpensive

Concrete is a better option than other building materials because of its affordability. Not only that, but concrete is widely available across the globe, unlike polymers, steel, and other construction materials. The primary ingredients used to make concrete can be found in the market near you at a low cost.

Concrete Gains its Strength at Normal Temperature

Because concrete is a low-temperature bonded inorganic material, it gains strength at normal room temperature. That means that concrete can be used irrespective of the weather conditions. Above all, it can be strengthened with admixtures in case of harsh weather conditions.

Concrete can Form Different Shapes and Sizes

Since concrete flows in a liquid state, it can be cast into various shapes and sizes. You only need to pour it into form-works to form the desired shapes. You can even adjust the mixture to make complex shapes and configurations.

Concrete is Easy to Produce than Other Materials

Concrete requires less energy during production, unlike other building materials like steel. For instance, approximately 450 to 750 kWh energy is used to make plain cement concrete. On the other hand, more than 8,000 kWh is required to produce structural steel.

Concrete can Withstand Water

Concrete is also heavily used because it can withstand water without severe damage. That’s why it’s the preferred building material for underwater applications such as waterfront, seawalls, dams, linings, canals, and more. Other building materials like steel and wood suffer severe deterioration when exposed to water.

Concrete can Withstand High Temperature

Concrete can overcome high temperatures compared to other building materials like wood and steel. This is because the calcium silicate hydrate bond in concrete can withstand temperatures as high as 910 degrees Celsius for two to six hours. As a result, concrete is used to fireproof steel. It can also be used in blast applications.

Concrete Requires Low Maintenance

Since it can withstand harsh weather conditions and temperatures more than other materials, concrete requires low or no maintenance.

Concrete can be Applied in Various Ways

Finally, concrete is the go-to building material for many due to its ability to be applied in countless ways. Common application methodologies include hand applications, pouring, spraying, grouting, pumping, and more.

What are the Different Types of Concrete?

Concrete has been classified into various types depending on the material used to make it, its density, and the nature of stress conditions. Without wasting your time, let’s discuss each type in detail below.

Plain Concrete

Plain concrete, also known as ordinary concrete, contains three essential ingredients; coarse aggregate, cement, and sand. These constituents are mixed with a specific amount of water. Ordinary concrete is mainly used to construct residential and commercial buildings. Plain concrete is also used in the construction of pavements and dams.

High-Density Concrete

Also known as heavyweight concrete, high-density crushed rocks such as Bartyes are used to make this type of concrete. It is usually used in the construction of atomic power plants due to its ability to withstand all kinds of radiation. On average, the density in high-density concrete ranges from 3,000 to 4,000 Kg/m3.

Lightweight Concrete

Lightweight concrete, also known as LWC, is any concrete type with a density of less than 1920 Kg/m3. It is mainly used for partitioning and fireproofing due to its lightweight nature.

Reinforced Concrete

Reinforced concrete contains other materials such as glass, fibers, and steel to withstand cracking, shrinkage, and corrosion. As a result, this concrete type can withstand any stress during construction.

Asphalt Concrete

Asphalt concrete is made from the same aggregates used to make plain concrete. However, it contains a binder, usually bitumen, for more flexibility and strength. Asphalt concrete is vastly used in constructing highways, pavements, parking lots, airports, and more.

Permeable Concrete

This concrete type allows water to pass through it. Permeable concrete usually has 15 to 20% voids so water can pass through it. It is widely used in construction projects in areas adversely affected by stormwater runoff.

Ready Mix Concrete

As the name suggests, ready mix concrete is partially mixed and transported using concrete mixer trucks. Generally speaking, this concrete type is standard concrete. The concrete is remixed with additional admixtures and water at the job site.

The Bottom Line

There you go, your comprehensive guide to concrete, including what it is, how it is used, its advantages, and the different types. To learn more about concrete, please get in touch with our team today.