What Is Concrete Made Of?

What Is Concrete Made Of?To make concrete, you will need five main ingredients –  cement, air, water, sand and gravel. 

Let’s expand on this.  To make concrete you will need 10-15% cement and 15-20% water  to make a paste. This paste is then mixed with 65-75% of aggregates  sand and gravel or crushed stone. As the cement and water mix with one another, they begin to harden and bind together to form a rock-like mass. 

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Key Concrete Ingredients 

The key substances can be thought of like a cake, cement is the flour and cake is the final product. Cement is the main substance that is needed to make concrete. 

Here are the 3 main components that come together to form concrete: 

  1. Cement
  2. Water 
  3. Aggregates (Rock and Sand)

Cement – A paste formed from cement and water. This paste then coats the aggregate and sand in the mix. Aggregates and sand are then bonded together once the paste hardens. 

Water – The cement needs to be hydrated in order to chemically react with the water. This also provides workability with the concrete. 

A cement/water ratio is the amount of water in comparison to the amount of cement. The lower the water/cement ratio, the stronger the concrete. The higher the strength, the lower the permeability. (Permeability: the ability to let gases and liquids enter a substance). 

Aggregates – In terms of texture, sand is a fine aggregate. Whereas, gravel or crushed stone is a more coarse aggregate in most mixes.

 

The Facts Regarding How is Concrete Made?

The Facts Regarding How is Concrete Made?For most building projects the proportions are approximately 10-15% cement, 15-20% water and 65-75% aggregates. 

A paste is made with these substances and within the process of the paste forming, a chemical reaction called hydration occurs. After this process, the concrete becomes firm and strong.

or the structure of the concrete to stay secure and compact once it is ready for use, the concrete must be consolidated to ensure no air bubbles or honeycombs enter the concrete. This process is called placement. 

As concrete continues to harden, the level of moisture is determined by the amount of moisture within the concrete. As concrete becomes more solid, it will progressively shrink over time. If it can’t contract, stress cracks will begin to appear which will weaken the interior structure and strength of the end result of the concrete. It is vital moisture levels are well maintained and monitored for at least 2 days while the concrete slowly develops structure.

Benefits Of Using Concrete

Benefits Of Using ConcreteCost-effective:  The material’s production cost is relatively low. The main ingredients used to make concrete are cement, water and other aggregates. Which is beneficial as they are available in most shops. Concrete is less expensive because it offers strength and durability. 

High durability leads to a decrease in maintenance costs and insurance costs than lesser quality and fragile materials. This indicates builders will spend less money on these expenses saving them more time and money.

Offers Strength and Durability: Strength and durability are key factors that are ideal for construction materials. It boosts the longevity of the material making it a reliable option for builders.

Zero Maintenance: Concrete does not require any maintenance to protect it from the elements. Coating or painting isn’t required to protect concrete from the weather for instance as it is a resistant material. However, materials such as wood and steel require maintenance. Maintenance requires new coatings and coatings have to be replaced regularly which raises costs in the long run.

Where Does Concrete Come From?

Where Does Concrete Come From?The country that produces the most cement globally is China. In 2022, the country was estimated to have produced a whopping 2.1 Billion metric tons. China’s cement share equates to over half the world’s cement production. India is the second largest cement producer in the world with 370 million tons produced in 2022.

Concrete can be produced in factories. There are two main types of factories that produce concrete –

  • Dry Mix Concrete Plant: This is where compositions are weighed in appropriate proportions and then sent into a mixer truck which rotates continuously on the journey from the factory to the building site. The condition of the drum or mixing blade are factors that may cause inconsistencies in the texture of the concrete. Traffic conditions can also affect delivery time and the condition of the concrete.

 

  • Wet Mix Concrete Plant: Concrete is then mixed to exact proportions in the factory and is then transported to the building site in a lorry. In order to obtain a more consistent concrete mix, the mix can be agitated rather than mixed in transit.

 

Concrete FAQ’S

  • The main ingredients used to make concrete are the following: cement, water, air, sand and gravel.
  • Calcium, silicon, aluminium, iron and other ingredients are fused together in a chemical combination in order to make concrete.
  • To put it simply, cement is an ingredient used to make concrete. For example, your home’s slab foundation is likely made of concrete, and concrete was made with cement, plus other ingredients. 
  • Once hydration occurs within the concrete, it will gradually get harder. This is due to inclusion of water in other words hydration that is into the product that causes concrete to set, stiffen and get firm. Once set, concrete will continuously harden (cure) this makes concrete stronger for a longer duration of time, in some cases, it can last up to several years. 
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