Concrete is one of the most used materials today for construction projects. Its versatility and easy availability make it the first choice for a number of construction projects. Not only can it help insulate a building, but it provides better soundproofing than many other materials. This improves the comfort level of any building.
But comfort aside, it also has an environmental impact. Concrete is durable, creating less need for future rebuilds. And it reduces waste too because Industrial waste can be recycled and added to concrete mixtures to create a cleaner world.
Strains of concrete differ depending on the aggregate mix, where it’s being utilized and its reaction to water molecules. Here’s a short-list of some concrete types used today and what they’re used for.
Regular concrete can crack or crumble under tension. But reinforced concrete amplifies tensile strength by incorporating meshes made of metal bars, rods or fibers into the concrete structure to fortify it and improve its ability to bear heavy loads. The improved structural design is better able to withstand earthquakes, making it a good retrofitting option.
Precast concrete is formed and cured offsite to save construction teams time and money. Precast concrete can be used on everything from security walls to skyscrapers. Its easy installation has made it a go-to material. It also comes in a vast color range and special shapes and finishes so that architects and designers can tweak the appearance of a building. Precast concrete is making steady inroads in the construction industry, and a vast majority of precast companies saw a 69% sales increase in 2016.
Lightweight concrete is typically used to protect metal structures from being exposed to the elements and improve building insulation. The concrete is relatively lightweight because of the elements (such as pumice) used in the mixture. Lightweight concrete can help reduce the weight of structures like decks, and is often used to insulate water pipes.
Plain concrete, or regular concrete, is used mainly for pavements or home-based projects in which high tensile strength is not a priority. It uses a typical ratio of cement to an aggregate material to water to create a compound aimed at durability.
High-density concrete is often used in construction projects of nuclear and atomic power plants to prevent radioactive elements from seeping out. It uses high-density aggregates like iron or Barytes to increase the density and minimize material volume.
Unlike other cement, polymer concrete possesses unique binding capabilities. Rather than bonding with cement, the aggregate materials bond with a polymer. This creates a very dense material that more easily holds old and new concrete together. It’s often used for projects such as marine structures, bridge decks and structural repairs.
Concrete’s versatility and adaptability make it the perfect compound for any construction project. And with more infrastructures on the horizon than ever before and a greater focus on sustainable construction, the market is open for new and existing forms of concrete to continue taking shape.