What is concrete?
In the following article we explain the properties of concrete and where it is used.
The reading time is approx. 4 minutes.
What concrete consists of?
Concrete is produced specifically by us humans. It is a stone that was already used in Roman times. Contents: Cement, aggregates (sand and gravel), water and, if necessary, additives.
When fresh, the mixture is called cement glue. In this state, all aggregates are coated with cement paste. If this mixture then hardens, it becomes the cement paste. This gives the mass its necessary strength.
Due to its properties as a building material that can be composed in many ways, can be shaped at will, is pressure-resistant, durable and economical, concrete can be used in a wide range of applications.
Concrete is the most widely used building material in the world. But where is concrete used? And in which fields of application do you find concrete?
That would be, for example, in civil engineering. The building material is often used in constructions such as dams, bridges, tunnels, locks, towers, wind turbines, pipes, sewage treatment plants, collecting areas, but also in the construction of petrol stations, road construction and much more.
Concrete is also indispensable in building construction. Here it is mainly used for residential construction, high-rise buildings as well as commercial and hall construction. Typical applications in residential construction are foundations, soles, walls, ceilings, balconies and staircases.
But it can also be used for design purposes. These include types such as exposed concrete, concrete paving, concrete furniture and finishing products. A wide range of prefabricated products for outdoor use, such as angle retaining walls, paving stones and pavements, are the most common.
What types of concrete are there?
There is normal concrete, lightweight concrete and heavy concrete.
Normal concrete is the most commonly used type of concrete and is colloquially referred to as concrete. It can be used universally in hydraulic, traffic, bridge, residential, industrial and commercial construction. Normally, it is produced using naturally occurring aggregates.
Lightweight concrete, as the name suggests, is used where light concrete is needed. These would be, for example, heat-insulating components in residential construction. Structural lightweight concrete always has a closed, dense structure. Lightweight concrete with a porous aggregate structure is a concrete characterized by cavities between the aggregates. It is used for non-reinforced walls, bricks and slabs.
Last but not least, heavy concrete remains. This is mostly used as radiation protection concrete for shielding e.g. X-rays in medical areas. But it is also used for ballast weights in ships or counterweights in cranes and bridge resistances.
This concrete is quite versatile. But what about its environmental compatibility and sustainability?
In principle, the protection of the environment is one of the essential requirements of European law as well as national building regulations. In today’s world, the effects of construction are becoming more and more public awareness. However, one should consider the environmental burdens, as well as the environmental reliefs, which are connected with the production and use of building materials and/or buildings. In order to illustrate to you the comprehensibility of environmental relief in connection with construction: the use of suitable secondary raw materials and fuels in the production of cement, as well as the recycling of industrial by-products and recycling materials in the production of cement and concrete, these would be environmental relief measures. An essential prerequisite for the use of these substances is that they neither lead to environmental pollution during cement production nor to an impairment of the structural and environmental properties of the cement or concrete.
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