What is Concrete and Where is it Used?

Concrete is a material widely used in the construction process, manufactured by combining aggregates, cement, small stones, sand, gravel and water. It is one of the most commonly used artificial materials on earth and has a wide range of applications in buildings, bridges, roads and dams. Its uses range from structural applications to pavements, curbs, pipes and drains. Concrete is a safer building material than most other materials and is mostly cheaper than steel buildings.

It is easy to control heat transfer from the inside to the outside and back, reducing energy consumption. Insulating concrete keeps heat inside walls, reducing energy use by more than 40%. Smoke-eating concrete can help reduce nitric oxides in surrounding polluted environments by more than 60%. Concrete buildings require less maintenance and last longer, while providing better indoor air quality.

Other benefits include fire, wind and hurricane resistance. Workability can be measured by concrete slump test, a simple measure of plasticity of a new batch of concrete following test standards ASTM C 143 or EN 12350-2.This is due to variations in various parameters of concrete - for example, modifications in the concrete mix make each construction case unique. In modern use, most of the production of concrete is carried out in a large type of industrial facility called a concrete batching plant or, often, a batch plant. Modern paving methods and design practices have changed the economics of concrete paving, so that a well-designed and laid concrete pavement will be less expensive in terms of initial costs and significantly less expensive over the life cycle. Examples of improved appearance include embossed concrete in which the wet concrete has a pattern printed on the surface, to give a paved, paved or brick-like effect, and may be accompanied by coloring. Alternatively, concrete can be mixed in dry and non-fluid forms and used in the factory to make precast concrete products.

The water-cement ratio is the determining factor in ordinary structural concrete with a lower water content, resulting in stronger concrete. After pouring the concrete and allowing it to set, the anchors are released and, as the steel seeks to return to its original length, the concrete is compressed. For example, the lower floor columns of high-rise concrete buildings may use concrete of 80 MPa (11,600 psi) or more, to keep the column size small. The production of concrete is the process of mixing the various ingredients: water, aggregates, cement and any additive to produce concrete. Prestressed concrete neutralizes stretching forces that would break ordinary concrete by compressing an area to the point where no stress is experienced until the strength of the compressed section is exceeded. Another popular effect for floors and tables is polished concrete, where concrete is optically flat polished with diamond abrasives and sealed with polymers or other sealants.

Most of the concrete is poured with reinforcing materials (such as reinforcing bars) embedded to provide tensile strength, resulting in reinforced concrete. Mass concrete is defined as large volume concrete work with large dimensions and boundary conditions that are prone to elevated temperatures due to a higher rate of hydration heat. A central mixing plant offers more precise control of concrete quality through better measurements of the amount of water added, but should be placed closer to the jobsite where the concrete will be used, as hydration starts at the plant. When concrete structures are demolished, surplus concrete is recycled for new construction projects, gravel, landscaping stones and mulch.

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