CD Designs Blog

    What is Concrete?

    Concrete is the most commonly used building material in the world, and has a huge amount of potential applications in construction and architecture. It’s prized for its workability in its wet stage and its resilience once it has set, cured, and has been sealed. Although there are a variety of different types of concrete, they share similar characteristics and are the result of the same kinds of materials undergoing the same process.

    Concrete is created by combining three main substances: The first is cement, itself a mixture of calcium oxides, silicon oxides and aluminium oxides, which are derived from limestone, clay, and sulphates. The second substance is an aggregate, which forms the majority of the concrete.  Aggregate is comprised of both fine and coarse substances, like gravel and sand. Recycled aggregates can also be used, usually harmless industrial by-products like ash.

    Cement and whichever aggregate is being used are mixed with the third substance, water. As concrete sets, cement reacts with water, forming tight bonds which hold the aggregate in place. The final product is a remarkably strong and hardwearing rock-like substance

    Small amounts of other substances can be added to concrete at the mixing stage, in order to change some of its properties according to the task the concrete is needed for. Accelerators speed up the setting process, whilst acrylic retarders delay it. Other admixtures include plasticizers, which make it easier to shape and place the concrete, and a wide variety of pigments which alter the concrete’s colour, making it a more attractive and versatile choice for domestic applications.

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