How Concrete is Made?
Concrete is made up of different ingredients, which have various functions. The properties of concrete mainly depend on the mixing of concrete ingredients i.e. cement, coarse aggregates, fine aggregates (sand), and water. Various other concrete ingredients can also be used such as admixtures, pigments, fibers, polymers and reinforcement. All these ingredients help in modifying the properties of the fresh as well as hardened concrete. In short, these materials are like members of family and they perform their individual role in such a manner that they contribute to overall success of the concrete as a whole family.
We often think that concrete can easily be made by carrying out few simple steps, however in reality this is not the situation. Mixing of concrete ingredients with proper proportion is must. Concrete is made by using scientific formula. Concrete Mix Design is carried out to choose particular concrete ingredients. Brief description on common concrete ingredients are given below.
Also Read: What is Concrete Mix Design (CMD)?
Cement is used in concrete as a most powerful binder material. It is capable of setting, hardening and remaining stable under water. When cement is mixed with water, it will form paste and it acts like glue. Cement paste fills up voids between aggregate particles and binds them into strong solid mass.
Also Read: Grades of Cement
The major ingredient in terms of volume used in concrete are aggregates. Aggregates bound together by hydrated cement and make it like an artificial rock. Aggregates have very important role to improve concrete properties such as workability, thermal expansion, Shrinkage, compressive and tensile strength. Aggregates are normally subdivided into two categories depending upon sizes as they are coarse aggregates and fine aggregates.
Water acts as a lubricant and plays an important role for the mixing, setting, laying, compaction and hardening of concrete. The quantity and quality of water used in mix is directly affecting the strength of concrete.
Water is the only concrete ingredient, which reacts chemically with the cement so that setting and hardening take place. Water spreads the cement to fill the voids between aggregates. So uniform layer of cement paste gets stuck on all the aggregates.
Admixtures are chemical additives, which are added to the concrete at the batching stage. The properties of fresh and hardened concrete are modified by adding small dosage of admixtures. There are various types of admixtures, i.e. plasticizers, air entrainment, retarders, accelerators, waterproofing etc.
So, making good concrete for home’s structural element, directly depend on the quality and quantity of all the ingredients. So wisely choose all the ingredients of concrete and make your home lasting forever.