Concrete is on top of the list of the most versatile building materials in the construction industry. It is considered the most used man-made material with endless applications, especially in building homes and various business establishments.
Concrete has the strength and durability that homes and buildings need against natural and man-made disasters. Considering that it is composed of incredibly cheap material, it has an exceptionally long life and requires little or no maintenance.
Concrete is a mixture of water, cement, and a combination of gravel, sand, or rock to form a pliant material that is easy to form and hardens over time.
Various types of concrete are available for construction use, depending on the properties and applications.
Concrete Types and Applications
- Regular Concrete
This type of concrete is achieved after mixing the essential ingredients of water, cement, and aggregates. It is of average strength, usually able to withstand pressures of 10 MPa to 40 MPa. Regular concrete is used as blinding concrete, such as the bottom layer of the floor slab in a house. Blinding concrete prevents dirt from disturbing the structure of your construction and making it more susceptible to damage over time.
- High-Strength Concrete
High-strength concrete has a higher compressive strength than regular concrete. This concrete can withstand pressures higher than 40 MPa achieved by lowering the water to cement ratio to 0.35. This concrete type is used for building high-rise structures, even those that go 30 storeys or more.
- Reinforced Concrete
Reinforced concrete is not only characterised by a high compressive strength but also durability and resistance to abrasion. In this type of concrete, reinforcement is the key to bearing tensile stress. Reinforcements used can be in the form of metal bars, rods, or meshes of steel. Reinforced concrete demonstrates durability, ductility, and strength. This concrete is used for earthquake-resistant structures and to create elaborate facades.
This concrete type differs from the others in the way that it is applied. With shotcrete, concrete is shot onto a frame or structure through a nozzle using compressed air. The advantage of using shotcrete is that it can be applied on a vertical surface without formwork. Its usual applications are rock support when building a tunnel and concrete repairs on pools, dams, and bridges. It can also be used as a instant fix for weathering in construction sites with loose soil types.
Commonly, concrete uses cement in the mixture. However, In limecrete, cement is replaced by lime. Substituting cement with lime has many environmental and health benefits in the production process. Lime is an energy saver because it burns at a lower temperature than cement. It also allows sustainable products like wood or straw to be used because of its capability to control moisture. The hygroscopic or water-seeking property of lime helps create a more comfortable surrounding by drawing moisture from the inside to the outside environment. Limecrete is generally used on floors, domes, and vaults.
As an inexpensive and flexible material, concrete has revolutionised the construction industry for many decades. Progress in using concrete is still growing as manufacturers are moving towards a more sustainable environment and future. As technology lowers its carbon footprint, you can expect the construction industry to play a more prominent role in people’s lives.
Carmel Issac is a blogger and writer. He loves to express his ideas and thoughts through his writings.