Concrete is an indispensable material that has played a significant role in shaping the modern world. It forms the foundation of our infrastructure, providing the essential backbone for buildings, roads, bridges, and countless other structures. While concrete may seem like a simple substance, its made up specific quantities of several materials to be able to create the durable and versatile material it is. In this article we will explore the fundamentals of concrete components.
The primary concrete component is cement, often considered the “glue” that binds all the other materials together. Cement is a fine powder which, when mixed with water, undergoes a process called hydration, forming a paste that solidifies and binds the aggregate together to create concrete.
Aggregates constitute the largest portion of concrete by volume and are responsible for providing strength and stability to the final product. There are 2 types of aggregates which go into making concrete: shingle and sand.
The shingle comes in two variations of sizes, 10mm and 20mm. Although the strength is not affected by having either size, construction projects that require a smoother finish or needs to be filtered into small areas usually use 10mm.
The sand we use in our concrete is sharp sand which is a rough graded sand with a higher percentage of larger grain sizes. This is the most common type of sand used in concrete mixtures.
All aggregates used in our concrete are primary aggregates, which can also be bought from us as bagged aggregates or loose aggregates as well as being used in our concrete.
Water acts as the catalyst for the reaction between the cement and the aggregates, initiating the process of hydration. When water is added to the cement and aggregates, the cement particles react and start binding the entire mixture together. The amount of water used significantly affects the workability, strength, and durability of the concrete. However, excessive water can lead to reduced strength and increased porosity, compromising the integrity of the concrete.
Admixtures are chemical compounds added to the concrete mixture in small quantities to modify its properties, including waterproofing the concrete, improving workability without compromising the strength and speeding up the setting times.
Concrete’s remarkable versatility and durability are a result of the careful combination of its fundamental components. The blend of cement, aggregates, water, and admixtures leads to a robust material that can withstand pressure, environmental challenges, and the test of time. The composition of our concrete mixes have all been specifically designed to reach a minimum strength within 28 days by our research and development department and all meet BSI standards.