Cement and cement mixers are used often in the construction industry whereby concrete contractors are some of the most essential stakeholders in the majority of construction works. Even though lots of sustainable structures are constructed using glass or pure wood, the majority of industrial and commercial buildings have been and are still built from cement. If you want to know more about the world of cement mixers and cement-created structures, take a look through this article as we dive into some of the basic advantages of building with concrete and the importance of various cement materials and cement mixers used in construction today.
What Is Concrete?
Concrete is an essential element and an important material used to create many commercial and individually-owned buildings. When it is mixed with water and placement, concrete hardens and solidifies as a result of a chemical process called hydration. It helps with the binding of other materials together. Concrete is a material which is used within the construction process and is made by mixing cement, small stones, mixing aggregate, gravel, sand, and water. All these elements combined form a stone-like material.
Hydraulic cement-based concrete was created by the Romans. It was then further improved by the British who then popularised it. Rome is home to the Pantheon which is one of the best examples of Roman architecture that has been able to survive to this day. The pantheon has a 42-metre-diameter dome consisting of concrete which has been poured over it.
Uses Of Cement In Construction
One of the most used man-made materials in the world is cement. From art pieces to urban landscaping elements, concrete and cement is a versatile material that reigns supreme when it comes to creation and construction. Here is a list of a few things cement and concrete can be used for:
- Architectural structures
- Poles and fences
- Footings for gates and walls
- Parking structures
How Does Cement Work?
Cement is grown together from a moldable liquid into a rigid, hard solid. In the world we live in today, concrete and cement mixers have become a reality of modern life. Across the world today approximately six billion tons of concrete are used every year. The addition of coarse aggregates, sand, and fine aggregates of roughly a few centimetres makes concrete. The material is porous whose properties are dependent on various types of pore space. During the mixing process air voids as well as the capillary pores are captured. The strength of concrete is compressible concerning the porosity of form, amount of aggregates, and cement paste.
Cement In Construction Today
Concrete is an intricate composite that requires monitoring, control, and improvement. The quantity of water within the mix is compared to the cement amount known as the water/cement ratio. If you want strong concrete it is advised to have a lower water-cement ratio. One can expect qualities such as water-tightness, wear resistance, formidable strength, and resistance to chemicals and cold temperatures.
Admixtures are included in the mix which is used to achieve specific goals. To decrease the setting time of the accelerated strength and setting time of the concrete, admixture-accelerates are added to concrete. However, the amount of decreases in setting time fluctuates. To delay the setting time in hot weather conditions retarding admixtures are utilised. Finally, to reduce the heat which is generated by concrete Fly ash is used.
Advantages Of Using Concrete In Construction
Concrete including all other construction materials like; concrete mixers are used all over the world. Concrete is however the most widely used material because of its unique benefits. Here is a list of 7 noteworthy advantages of using concrete:
1- Concrete is Economical
In comparison to cementitious materials which are engineered to be used in construction, cement concrete has a low production cost. To reiterate, it is inexpensive as well as widely and easily available around the world compared to other materials such as polymers, steel, and other materials. Concrete is composed largely of water, cement, and aggregates. All of these can be found easily at various local shops at a very low cost.
2- Concrete Hardens at Ambient Temperature
Concrete hardens, sets, and gets its strength at a normal room temperature or ambient temperature. This occurs since cement is an inorganic material which is low-temperature bonded. As a result, concrete can be utilised regardless of ambient weather conditions and can be optimised by using admixtures if need be.
3- Ability to be Cast into Shapes
New concrete can flow and it is in a liquid form. Thus, at the construction site concrete can be poured into numerous shuttering configurations or different from-works to form into the desired sizes and shapes. By adjusting the mix of concrete, it can be shaped into complex shapes as well as configurations.
4- Energy Efficiency in Production
Compared to other construction materials such as steel, the quantity of energy needed for the production of concrete is low. Only 450-750kWh/ton of energy is required for standard cement concrete and 800-3200kWh/ton of energy is needed for reinforced concrete. To produce structural steel 8000kWh/ton or more is required, which is essentially 3-10 times more energy consumption than plain cement concrete.
5- Excellent Water Resistance Characteristics
The chemicals found in the water can sometimes induce corrosion in reinforced concrete and concrete, luckily concrete can endure water without experiencing any major deterioration compared to steel and wood. As a result of this property, concrete can be viewed as ideal for submerged and underwater applications such as; dams, buildings, canals, linings, waterfront structures and pipelines. Water is pure and is not damaging to either concrete or reinforced concrete, chemicals such as chlorides, sulphates, and carbon dioxide, which dissolve in water do however cause corrosion.
6- High Temperature Resistance
Concrete can resist high temperatures better than steel and wood. The main binder found within concrete is calcium silicate hydrate, C-S-H, which can resist high temperatures up to 910 deg C. However, concrete is a bad conductor of heat, it stores a substantial volume of heat gathered from the environment. Concrete can resist heat for about 206 hours, which provides it enough time for rescue operations in the event of a fire. Concrete can also be used to fireproof steel and is utilised in blast applications as well as in high temperatures.
7- Ability to Consume and Recycle Waste
Cement and aggregates can be recycled in numerous industrial waste sites. This includes; slag, also referred to as GGBFS or ground granulated blast furnaces slag, fly ash, ground vehicle tires in concrete, and waste glass. Therefore, concrete production can decrease the environmental impacts that are caused by industrial waste. By utilising these types of wastes the properties within concrete improve as well, making sure not to compromise the quality of the structure.
Types Of Concrete
Within the technology of concrete, there is an assortment of type names that have been used for various types of concrete. The following classification has been based on three factors:
- Which material was chosen for its making?
- The nature of stress conditions.
- As well as its density
The following are 3 types of concrete that can also be used in cement mixers:
1- Plain or Ordinary Concrete
Plain or ordinary concrete is one of the most predominant types of concrete used in construction. Cement, coarse aggregates, and sand constitute this form of concrete. Together they are mixed and designed with a certain quantity of water. These constituents can be mixed using cement mixers as well.
The ratio of important compositions can vary within wide limits. Nominal Mix Design is a mix design often used in plain concrete, which is 1:2:4.
Plain concrete is predominantly used to construct buildings and pavements because high tensile strength is not a requirement. Plain concrete can also be used to construct dams.
2- Lightweight Concrete
Concrete that has a density which weighs less than 1920 kg/m3 is considered lightweight concrete. Many different types of aggregates that have been utilised for manufacturing lightweight concrete include naturally occurring materials such as; scoria and pumice, processed materials such as vermiculite and perlite, and imitated materials like expanded clays and shales.
The most important property found in lightweight concrete has to be its low thermal conductivity.
Dependent on their composition, lightweight concrete is utilised for safeguarding steel structures, and thermal insulation is used for building blocks and is useful in the construction of long-span bridge decks.
3- Precast Concrete
Precast concrete refers to various forms of concrete shapes that are placed into moulds either at the construction site or within a factory. It should be noted that they may not be used unless they have completely hardened and set within a controlled condition. Examples of this include; staircase units, concrete lintels, fence posts, precast poles, cast stones, concrete blocks, etc.
The decorative and structural members are organised in a well-equipped setting whereby arrangements can be made for the following;
- Excellent proportioning of concrete ingredients
- Rigorous mixing of aggregates, water, and cement to acquire the mix of the wanted consistency and design. Rigorous mixing can also be done by using cement mixers.
- Delicate handling whilst transporting and placing the flawless design moulds.
- Excellent curing, done in a controlled environment of humidity and temperature. Stem curing can be used as well to get precast products which have high strength in a shorter amount of time.
- Within the construction industry, the most recent trend has shifted to using more prefabricated concrete units used in building construction.
About BS Power
Concrete is one of the most important elements which make up most construction projects, included in these projects is the use of cement mixers. But that is somewhat common knowledge, no need for an expert to tell you how important concrete is for your structure or building. If you take a look outside at the structures and buildings which surround you, you will note how we are surrounded by concrete from buildings to the pavements we walk on.
Concrete is all around us. If you are interested in any construction project BS Power has your back. BS Power has all the best quality construction tools and cement mixers you will require in the construction of concrete structures, which allows you to mix on-site, guarantying effective construction. To start your concrete project, ensure to get in touch with the talented and skilled team at BS Power today.