In today’s world, you can find concrete everywhere, there is no single structure without the use of concrete. Buildings, bridges, walls, swimming pools, roadways, airport runways, floors, tunnels, storage dams and power generating plants, airports, atomic power reactors, and the list will go on… All of these structures depend on man-made material with a simple formula.
Concrete is made up of cement, water, and coarse aggregates, when these are mixed together, they create a construction material that hardens over time, and thus the concrete is prepared. The quantity of cement and water used will determine some properties of concrete such as,
1. Strength 2. Durability 3. Resistance to heat or radiation 4. Workability
There are many different types of concretes that are produced based on the constituent material, mix design, the method of construction, area of application, a form of hydration reaction. Details of such a few types of concretes, their properties, and applications are discussed.
1. Normal Strength Concrete
Normal strength concrete can be obtained by mixing the basic ingredients cement, water and aggregate will give us normal strength concrete. Strength – 10 MPa to 40MPa. Initial setting time – 30 to 90 minutes (also dependent on the cement properties and the weather conditions of the construction site).
2. Plain Concrete
Plain concrete is one that will have no reinforcement in it. The main constituents are the cement, aggregates, and water which are mixed in the ratio 1:2:4. Strength – 200 to 500 kg/cm2. Uses – Used in the construction of the pavements and the buildings, especially in areas where there is less demand for high tensile strength.
3. Prestressed Concrete
Prestressed concrete is used in mega concrete projects. This is a special technique in which the bars or the tendons used in the concrete is stressed, tensioned bars placed firmly and held from each end of the structural unit. Once the concrete sets and harden, the structural unit will be put in compression.
4. Precast Concrete
In today’s world precast concrete is gaining much attention where the structural elements are made and cast in the factory as per the specifications and bought to the site at the time of assembly. These precast structures can be concrete blocks, staircase units, precast walls and poles, concrete lintels, and many other elements. As the manufacturing is done at the site, quality is assured. The only precaution taken is for their transportation.
5. Lightweight Concrete
Concrete that has a density lesser than 1920kg/m3 is categorized under lightweight concrete. The examples include pumice, perlites, and scoria which can be applied for the protection of the steel structures, used for the construction of the long-span bridge decks, and are also used for the construction of the building blocks.
6. Ready Mix Concrete
The concrete that mixed in a central mixing plant is called ready-mix concrete, which can be used directly without any further treatment. The ready-mix concrete is very precise and specialty concrete can be developed based on the specification with utmost quality.
7. Vacuum Concrete
Concrete with water content more than the required quantity is poured into the formwork. The excess water is then removed out with the help of a vacuum pump without waiting for the concrete to undergo setting. Hence the concrete structure or the platform will be ready to use earlier when compared with normal construction techniques.
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