What is Concrete?
Concrete is a composite material consisting of coarse and fine aggregates(natural or crushed stones and sand) embedded in a hard matrix of cement-water paste.The cement-water paste, acting as a binder, fills the space between the aggregateparticles and bonds or glues them together.While both coarse and fine aggregate are inert, naturally-found materials, thecement is a man-made material which reacts with water to form cement paste. With time,the cement undergoes chemical reaction with water and results in the hardening of thecement paste. This chemical reaction is often referred to as the hydration process.
Concrete Mix Design
The solid portion of hardened concrete is composed of inert mineral aggregatesand the hardened cement paste. Such hardened concrete should not only satisfy certaindesign requirements in its hardened state, but other design requirements should also besatisfied in its freshly mixed or plastic state. The purpose of a concrete mix design is toproportion its main ingredients in such a way that the resulting concrete mix satisfies thefollowing:1) The properties which are important when the concrete is in its fresh plastic state, i.e.:a) workability, andb) finishabilityThese are affected by the physical properties of fine and coarse aggregate
(grading, shape and surface characteristics), the fine to coarse aggregate ratio and cementand water contents.