Concrete is a material used for various construction related purposes. It is made of cement, sand, and some other aggregates. It is a fine powder-like substance that is mixed with water to make a paste. This paste hardens with time. Concrete is mainly used in construction and is a fundamental and essential ingredient in the process. It also has other applications, as seen in decorative concrete, exposed aggregate concrete in the making of pavements, and other aesthetic enhancements to a main building/structure.
The use of concrete can be traced back to Mayan times, with references found at Uxmal ruins. Many improvements were made to it over the ages by different civilisations around the world. These included making it waterproof and making concrete that sets underwater. It was widely used throughout history because of its ease of production and working.
With the onset of the industrial era, concrete as we know it today started to take shape. The know-how of making portland cement was figured out, and reinforced concrete was also discovered during this time.
Things to Look Out for
Great care is taken when concrete is set in unfavourable conditions. Extreme weather can take a significant toll on the consistency of concrete. In particularly cold conditions, one should raise caution as the chemical reactions are affected by the temperature dip. This affects the strength of the structure. The formation of ice should be prevented by all means. Setting concrete underwater is also a challenging task.
Cement is one of the main ingredients in concrete. It is the reason why heat is released when concrete is allowed to set. This has a massive impact on building large structures as the heat emitted will be more. In such cases, cooling mechanisms are set up to prevent damage to the structure. The use of roller-compacted concrete is also very advantageous in such cases as the amount of heat released by it is less than conventional concrete.
- Concrete roads are very efficient. Petrol consumption lowers significantly with the usage of concrete roads. It also lasts much longer than other materials.
- Typically, concrete’s surface has pores and is not very pleasing to look at. Designs are often made on the surface to mask this bland look. Stamped designs are made by stamping a pattern onto the wet concrete and letting it set. More advanced techniques like chiselling are also used to create designs.
- It also has a lot of aesthetic applications. Decorative concrete is the use of concrete to make the structures more appealing to the eye. The use of exposed aggregate concrete is one such example. The main advantage of decorative concrete is that it’s easily available and can be customised to a great extent. The addition of other materials to it results in an even wider variety of options to choose from. Concrete can also integrate with any design and can be used for decorative purposes in all projects. The use of concrete in such cases is also very practical because the result is a visually pleasing structure and a durable one. Exposed aggregate concrete can also be used in the making of driveways. It can withstand most traffic.