Concrete is primarily known for its strength, durability and cost effectiveness. It has been used as the primary material for patios, foundations, floors, foundations, dams, bridges, and many more structures. Concrete has several applications in the construction industry and is becoming increasingly popular because of its flexibility, resistance to fire, and cost effectiveness. The following are the most commonly found materials in concrete.
Concrete mixes contain ingredients such as cement, sand, aluminum oxide, calcium carbonate, and water. These ingredients are combined with a binder which provides the necessary consistency for the mix to be shaped into certain shapes. The binder usually adds elasticity to the mixture, allowing the ingredients to conform to each other. The various ingredients and binders can be combined in different proportions to achieve different properties and concrete strength. Different additives and binders have different effects on the concrete’s properties and the way it ages and develops.
The basic components of concrete include cement, sand, and aggregates. When combining these compounds, the cement serves as the main ingredient while the sand and aggregates serve as the additives. Aggregates are any materials that can be added to the mixture to improve its properties, create shapes, or increase the overall strength of the finished concrete. Common aggregates in concrete mixture include gravel, sand, and crushed stone.
After the paste mixture is ready, additives and binders are added to make the mixture as hard as it can possibly be. One of the most common additives used to enhance concrete strength and overall properties is called urea. This compound is made by combining cement and water, though other chemical compounds such as silicone and polymers are also used. Other additives commonly used include urea, silica, lime, and limestone. All these compounds increase the overall physical and chemical properties of the concrete.
Once the concrete has been mixed, it must be allowed to cure. Curing is the process in which concrete is hardened and made impervious to water and most other liquids. For this, concrete is either sprayed with a mixture of curing agents or placed inside an industrial drum that contains curing agents. Once the concrete stops wet, it will begin to harden automatically through the action of crystallization.
Most of the concrete applications that require high strength must have a high amount of aggregate in the composition. High aggregate means more concrete weight will be needed to achieve the same level of toughness. The concrete/agar mixture that results from the mixing of the cement, sand, and aggregates has a high water-cement ratio. This means that the concrete has high levels of bonding liquid and salt concentration. The higher the water-cement ratio, the lower the degree of thermal resistance of the concrete and the longer it will stay hardened.