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Concrete is a composite construction material composed primarily of aggregate, cement, and water.

There are many formulations, which provide varied properties. The aggregate is generally a coarse gravel or crushed rocks such as limestone, or granite, along with a fine aggregate such as sand. The cement, commonly Portland cement, and other cementitious materials such as fly ash and slag cement, serve as a binder for the aggregate. Various chemical admixtures are also added to achieve varied properties. Water is then mixed with this dry composite, which enables it to be shaped (typically poured) and then solidified and hardened into rock-hard strength through a chemical process called hydration. The water reacts with the cement, which bonds the other components together, eventually creating a robust stone-like material. Concrete has relatively high compressive strength, but much lower tensile strength. For this reason it is usually reinforced with materials that are strong in tension (often steel). Concrete can be damaged by many processes, such as the freezing of trapped water. Concrete is widely used for making architectural structures, foundations, brick/block walls, pavements, bridges/overpasses, motorways/roads, runways, parking structures, dams, pools/reservoirs, pipes, footings for gates, fences and poles and even boats. Characteristics of Concrete 1 Strength and Used in the majority of buildings, bridges, tunnels and dams for its Durability strength Gains strength over time Not weakened by moisture, mould or pests Concrete structures can withstand natural disasters such as earthquakes and hurricanes

Roman buildings over 1,500 years old such as the Coliseum are living examples of the strength and durability of concrete Concrete is used in buildings, bridges, dams, tunnels, sewerage systems pavements, runways and even roads Concrete, being inert, compact and non-porous, does not attract mould or lose its key properties over time Compared to other comparable building materials, concrete is less costly to produce and remains extremely affordable Being naturally fire-resistant concrete forms a highly effective barrier to fire spread Concrete walls and floors slow the passage of heat moving through, reducing temperature swings This reduces energy needs from heating or air-conditioning, offering year-round energy savings over the life-time of the

2 Versatility

3 Low maintenance 4 Affordability

5 Fire-resistance

6 Thermal mass

building 7 Locally produced and used


The weight of the material limits concrete sales to within 300km of a plant site Very little cement and concrete is traded and transported internationally This saves significantly on transport emissions of CO2 that would otherwise occur The high "albedo" (reflective qualities) of concrete used in pavements and building walls means more light is reflected and less heat is absorbed, resulting in cooler temperatures This reduces the "urban heat island" effect prevalent in cities today, and hence reduces energy use for e.g. air-conditioning 80% of a buildings CO2 emissions are generated not by the production of the materials used in its construction, but in the electric utilities of the building over its life-cycle (e.g. lighting, heating, air-conditioning

8 Albedo effect

9 Low life-cycle CO2 emissions