Advantages And Characteristics of Concrete
Concrete: – Concrete is made up of three basic components: water, aggregate (rock, sand, or gravel) and Portland cement. Cement, usually in powder form, acts as a binding agent when mixed with water and aggregates.
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What are The Advantages of concrete?
Based on Economical
As we know that concrete is the most inexpensive and the most readily available material in the universe. The cost of production of concrete is low compared with other engineered construction materials. Other construction materials may be steel, iron, reinforcement etc.
The three major components in concrete are
Compared with steels, plastics, and polymers, these components are the most inexpensive and are available in every place of the world. This enables concrete to be produced globally at very low cost for local markets, thus avoiding the transport expenses necessary for most other materials.
Based on Ambient temperature-hardened material
Because cement is a low-temperature bonded inorganic material and its reaction occurs at room temperature (a comfortable ambient temperature, generally taken as about 20°C.) concrete can gain its strength at ambient temperature. No high temperature is needed.
Based on Ability to be cast
Fresh concrete is flowable like a liquid and hence can be poured into various formworks to form different desired shapes and sizes right on a construction site. Hence, concrete can be cast into many different configurations.
Yes I have a good example to show concrete castability is the Baha’I Temple located in Wilmette, Illinois, USA, (See fig.) The very complex configurations of the different shapes of flowers in the wall and roof are all cast by concrete.
Based on Energy efficient
If compared with steel, the energy consumption of concrete production is very low. The energy required to produce plain concrete is only something 450–750 kWh/ton and that of reinforced concrete is 800–3200 kWh/ton, while structural steel requires 8000 kWh/ton or more to make.
Based on Excellent resistance to water
Unlike wood (timber) and steel, concrete can be hardened in water and can withstand the action of water without serious deterioration, which makes concrete an ideal material for building structures to control store, and transport water, such as pipelines dams, and submarine structures. Contrary to popular belief, water is not deleterious to concrete, even to reinforced concrete; it is the chemicals dissolved in water, such as chlorides, sulfates, and carbon dioxide that cause deterioration of concrete structures.
Based on High-temperature resistance
As we know concrete conducts heat slowly and is able to store considerable quantities of heat from the environment. Moreover, the main hydrate that provides binding to aggregates in concrete, calcium silicate hydrate (C–S–H) (See Fig.), will not be completely dehydrated until 910C. Thus, concrete can withstand high temperatures much better than wood and steel. Even in a fire, a concrete structure can withstand heat for 2–6 hours, leaving sufficient time for people to be rescued. This is why concrete is frequently used to build up protective layers for a steel structure.
Based on Ability to work with reinforcing steel
Concrete has a similar value to steel for the coefficient of thermal expansion (steel 1.2 × 10−5; concrete 1.0–1.5 × 10−5). Concrete produces a good protection for steel due to the existence of CH and other alkalis (this is for normal conditions). Therefore, while steel bars provide the necessary tensile strength, concrete provides a perfect environment for the steel, acting as a physical barrier to the ingress of aggressive species and giving chemical protection in a highly alkaline environment (pH value is about 13.5), in which black steel is readily passivated.
Based on Less maintenance required
Under normal conditions, concrete structures do not need coating or painting as protection for weathering, while for a steel or wooden structure, it is necessary. Moreover, the coatings and paintings have to be replaced a few years. Thus, the maintenance cost for concrete structures is much lower than that of steel or wooden structures.
Must Read: Types of Concrete In Civil Engineering
Ref. Advanced Concrete Technology by ZongjinLi