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A brief definition to concrete Importance of concrete Types of concrete The properties Mechanical testing on concrete Fire resistance Comparison of Concrete, Wood and Steel Advantages and disadvantages

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Concrete is the most widely used manmade construction material in the world, and is second only to water as the most utilized substance on the planet. It is obtained by mixing cementitious materials, water, aggregates and admixtures in required proportions.  The mixture when placed in forms and allowed to cure hardens into rock-like mass known as concrete.

Concrete : Main Material in Construction man-made material  Concrete is a composite

consists of a mixture of binding material such as cement, well graded fine and coarse aggregates, water and admixtures (if needed to produce concrete with special properties).  In a concrete mix, cement and water form a paste or matrix which fills the voids of the fine aggregate and binds both coarse and fine aggregates. Freshly mixed concrete before set is known as wet or green concrete whereas after setting and hardening it is known as set or hardened concrete.

Types of concrete

Polymer concrete

This type is used for repair, thin overlays for floors and bridges, and for precast components. Compared to cement-based concrete, polymer concrete (PC) is stronger and more durable. polymer concrete is used in many structures such as box culverts, hazardous waste containers, trench lines, floor drains, and in the repair and overlay of damaged cement concrete surfaces such as pavement and bridges.

Polymer Concrete

Lightweight Concrete
 Lightweight Aggregate

Concrete, LWAC or simply known as Lightweight Concrete, LWC is not a new invention in concrete technology. It has been known since ancient times as it was made using natural aggregates of volcanic origin such as pumice, scoria, etc.  lightweight concrete has also been used in ship building, and for thermal insulation.

Lightweight Concrete

Properties of Concrete

Concrete can be distinguished onto two distinct phases, the fresh concrete and the hardened concrete. Three main properties should be controlled in

1- fresh concrete; workability,

consistency and cohesiveness.  2-hardened concrete, the strength, durability and volume stability are the properties that should be controlled.

Fresh Concrete

Freshly mixed concrete is known as wet or green concrete, or just fresh concrete.

1-Workability is the relative ease with which a
fresh concrete mix can be handled, placed, compacted, and finished without segregation or separation of the ingredients. . Concrete

with poor workability does not flow smoothly into forms and properly envelop reinforcing steel and embedded items, and it is difficult to compact and finish.


Concrete with poor workability does not flow smoothly into forms and properly envelop reinforcing steel and embedded items, and it is difficult to compact and finish. There is a certain range of consistency that is appropriate for each type of work. Workability is at a maximum in concrete of medium consistency with a slump between 3 and 6 inches.

the element of workability which indicates whether a mix is harsh, sticky, or plastic. Plasticity is a desirable property in concrete, indicating that a mix can be molded and hold a shape when formed.

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Hardened Concrete

Concrete is strong in compression but relatively weak in tension and bending. It takes a great deal of force to crush concrete, but very little force to pull it apart or cause bending cracks.  Compressive strength is determined primarily by the amount of cement used, but is also affected by the ratio of water to cement, as well as proper mixing and placing and the adequacy and extent of hydration and curing.

 Durability

Might be defined as the ability to maintain satisfactory performance over an extended service life. Satisfactory performance is related to intended use.

Mechanical Testing


The compressive strength of concrete is measured by breaking cylindrical concrete or concrete cube specimens in a compression-testing machine . The compressive strength is calculated from the failure load divided by the crosssectional area resisting the load and reported in unit psi or MPa in SI units. The compressive strength is taken as the maximum compressive load it can carry per unit area.



Flexural test is a measure of an unreinforced concrete beam or slab to resist failure in bending.

Cracking, Corrosion and Spalling
Cracking of concrete, corrosion of reinforcement, spalling of the concrete cover, and surface scaling are the four most common and important types of deterioration of reinforced concrete. Deterioration of concrete can result from: 1. environmental factors including moisture levels, temperature levels, 2. the original materials and workmanship, including aggregate material, level of consolidation of the concrete during placement, 3. improper maintenance such as prolonged exposure to moisture, application of waterproofing coatings

Fire Resistance
 Concrete

offers great fire resistance to structures. It is reasonably physically stable to about a thousand degrees Fahrenheit, and even above that temperature it usually does not fail dramatically. Concrete's thermal properties protect reinforcing steel and pre-stressing steel, and it does not fall off structural steel members like some fireproofing coatings do.

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Carefully estimate quantities of concrete required on the jobsite; that help to reduce waste and save raw materials and energy. Consider precast systems to reduce job site operation and minimize the amount of waste. Modularity simplifies precast production. Specify fly ash because it is a recycled product that substitutes a portion of a cement, using fly ash environmental impacts are minimize. Specify recycled aggregate: reduce the amount of material going to the landfill and the mining operations.

Concrete has many environmental advantages, including durability, longevity, heat storage capability, and chemical inertness.  The raw materials used in cement production are widely available in great quantities. Exploit concrete thermal mass in walls and floor for passive solar design  Needs little or no finish or final treatments.  Low It is possible to burn waste as a fuel for the cement manufactures  maintenance and Can be reused or recycled  No risks for the workers. Only during extraction and manufacture of raw materials it is better to take some precaution to protect the skin from the high alkalinity.
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All phases of concrete's life cycle have some environmental concerns, such as: land and habitat loss from mining activities Cement is energy intensive to produce. Cement represents only about 9-13% of concrete and accounts for 92% of the total embodied energy  It is not a particularly good insulator (energy saving) so, use high insulation value concrete.  Disposal of the demolition debris due at the great volume and weight represent more than 50 % of the demolition waste going to the landfill in the US.Waste disposal is still a problem.


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