From the industrial revolution started in the 18th century, concrete structures have started to make their appearance all over the world.
And now, you'll barely find an area where concrete is not present. From the best city to the poorest of the areas, concrete is the one common thing you'll notice.
This has happened because of its strength, durability and structural integrity. Concrete is flexible and affordable than many other construction materials and yet it is among the most durable materials to make a structure.
In this article, we are going to answer frequently asked questions about concrete and how it works. Stay tuned!
What is Concrete?
Concrete is a mixture of cement, sand, gravel, and water. When all these materials are mixed in a certain amount, it creates a strong bond. Wet concrete is very flexible and you can give it any shape you want until it starts curing.
There are instances when you will see the contractor not using the gravel. This is because, except cement and water, others are filling materials. You can replace the gravel with stone or brick chips. Cement is the binding material that binds all the materials in one place and makes it stronger.
In case you are not aware of what is cement! Cement comes in a powdered form which becomes adhesive when contacted with water. And the binding among the materials becomes strong when the mixture is dried through the hydration process.
If you need a concrete structure stronger than ordinary, you can replace water with bonding agents. The chemical made concrete bonding agents are used for enhancing the bonding capability of the concrete.
As we answered the question – what is concrete made of, you should be able to relate to what you have seen in the past in your neighbors home.
Generally, you should have seen them using steel rods in the concrete. That is used to reinforce the concrete structure. Although concrete can withstand a huge amount of compression force but it is very weak when it comes to tensional force. To make it stronger for both compression and tension, the concrete reinforcements are used.
You can see this video from Practical Engineering where Grady described why concrete reinforcements are needed-
How Does Concrete Work?
Concrete is made out of cement, sand, gravel, and water. When all these materials are mixed, it creates a wet concrete mixture. You need to pour the mixture in a place where you need the concrete structure to be made.
The mixture then cures through a process called hydration where water and cement react chemically to create a strong bond among the materials.
Reinforcements are used where the concrete structure is supposed to face compression and tension force.
How Does Concrete Harden?
Concrete hardens through the hydration process. Water present in the mixture reacts with the cement to bind the other materials together.
To ensure a perfect hydration process, you need to ensure that the temperature inside the concrete and the exterior of the concrete almost identical, if not exactly the same. The whole concrete block needs to be cured at a time. To make this happen, you’ll see workers spraying water on the newly placed concrete after a few hours of application.
Even if you are patching the concrete with a small amount of cement, you should make the surface wet before and after patching.
How Much Concrete Do I Need?
How much concrete do you need to do a task is an easy question to ask but difficult to answer. There are different formulas by which you can determine how much concrete do you need. The easiest way out to determine how much concrete you need is this-
- Determine how long and how wide the concrete structure will be.
- Determine the thickness of the structure.
- Multiply the width by the length of the concrete structure.
- Multiply the result with the thickness to determine the cubic meter.
So, the simple formula is- width x length x thickness.
In general, you will need a 40-pound premixed concrete bag to cover an area of 0.297 cubic feet.
Please note that the number is only the estimation, and can’t be used for professional works. You must consult an engineer for getting the exact volume you need for executing the plan.
Why is Concrete used in Construction?
Concrete is an affordable material yet very durable. Apart from the price and the durability, concrete is flexible thus you can give it any shape and size you want. Flexibility and durability are two vital factors for which concrete is used in construction.
You can see our article on the pros and cons of the concrete to understand the detailed reasoning behind concrete usage in the construction works. Another key thing that triggers people to choose concrete as their go-to construction material is that you can resurface the concrete when the exposed part is damaged by ordinary wear and tear.
Are Concrete Floors Cold?
Yes, concrete floors are cold and can become moisture if not insulated perfectly. You need to use proper underlayment to prevent moisture from reaching the concrete surface.
Although concrete floors are cold, it is not as cold as ceramic tiles. So, if you are thinking about the less cold material, then concrete is a good option to go for.