What Is Concrete Made Of?
Concrete is a commonly used building material that is regularly utilised for a wide range of domestic and commercial projects.
Whether you’re embarking on a bit of garden DIY or work for a construction company that conducts large-scale structures, concrete is typically one thing that every project has in common.
Many people incorrectly assume that all concrete is the same, but this could not be further from the truth.
There is a diverse range of concrete mixes available, with different types suitable for different tasks. It’s important you select the right type for your project or you may not achieve the desired results.
To understand the type that is best for you, discovering what concrete is made of is a useful way to know the type of properties it has to offer.
Many people use concrete without knowing too much about it, and in this article, the team here at Concrete Supply UK will outline exactly what concrete is made of.
This will help you to understand the different types available and which option is best for you and the unique needs of your project.
Read on to find out more
The Benefits of Concrete
As we’ve already discussed, concrete is used almost universally in the construction industry. It is extremely versatile and offers numerous benefits. Some of the key advantages of concrete include:
- Strength and durability – Concrete is well-known for its high compressive strength which makes it a durable building material for various construction applications. It is also able to withstand heavy loads and is resistant to environmental factors like fire, water and wind.
- Versatility – Concrete offers the ability to be moulded into all kinds of different shapes and sizes. This makes it suitable for a wide range of construction projects big and small including buildings, bridges, roads and more. It can also be used in various forms which allows for flexible construction methods. At Concrete Supply UK, we make all our mixes bespoke to the needs of our clients.
- Longevity – When properly constructed and well maintained, concrete structures offer unrivalled longevity and a long service life. This helps to contribute to sustainable and resilient infrastructure.
Specific benefits can also be catered for when creating your specific concrete mix, simply let our team know what properties you require and we will formulate a mix that is most suitable.
What Is Concrete Made Of?
If you’re wondering what concrete is made, Concrete Supply UK is here to help.
We’ve spent many years formulating concrete mixes of all types that are suitable for a wide range of projects. We always take a bespoke approach to our customers, resulting in mixes that feature customised recipes and which have been crafted with your specific work in mind.
This process will involve adjusting the scale of the ingredients to ensure they meet different needs. This could be to enhance durability, make a batch more flexible or contribute additional workability.
Despite being able to curate concrete mixes that are fully bespoke to you and your needs, the core ingredients remain the same with only quantity changing.
- Cement – While some people incorrectly assume that concrete and cement are the same thing and use the terms interchangeably, cement is actually an important ingredient used when creating concrete. Without cement, it is not possible to create concrete as it is the binding agent during the mixing process. Portland cement is the most common type of cement used and we’ll take a closer look at this later in the article.
- Water – Another fundamental ingredient when creating concrete is water. The volume of water used will vary depending on what properties you want your application to have, but it must be used in every mix.
- Aggregates – No concrete batch is complete without the inclusion of aggregates. Aggregates are made from all kinds of geographical materials including sand, gravel and more. There are two types of aggregate, fine and coarse, and again depending on what you’re looking to achieve from the mix will depend on the type of aggregate you will need.
As well as the above ingredients, extra additions can be included depending on the project, but these core ingredients will always feature.
What is Portland cement?
As mentioned in the section above, cement is used as a binding agent when creating a concrete mix. Portland cement is one of the most popular cement types that is used in a wide range of applications.
Developed by British inventor Joeseph Aspdin in the early 19th century, it has now been in use for more than 200 years. Usually, this cement is extremely fine and is made from limestone that was originally sourced on the Isle of Portland in Doreset – hence the name.
As limestone is widely available, it means that portland cement is a fairly cost-effective solution and this, in addition to the great properties it provides, are the main reasons why it is so frequently used by those within the industry.
In the 1840s Aspdin’s son, William, took on the family business and created what is regarded as the ‘modern’ version of Portland cement.
Today, there are many different types of Portland cement available.
How Is Concrete Made?
Now we know exactly what concrete is made of, let’s take a look at exactly how it is made.
First, the cement and water are mixed together in order to creat a paste like solution. This is used to coat the chosen aggregates that will be used during the mixing process. After this, the process of hydration will take place and the paste will harden. This creates a rock-like substance that is known as concrete that we use for all manner of purposes.
Let’s take a closer look at how hydration works.
The Hydration Process
As mentioned above, the core purpose of hydration is to harden the paste that has been created by the cement and water.
Hydration is the chemical reaction that occurs at this point, and during this reaction nodes will form on the surface of the cement’s particles. They will then expand and join up with nodes on other cement particles or adhere to the aggregates.
This process will see the mix begin to harden and it’s important that you pour the concrete or shape it into the required form before it becomes too stiff. As you place the concrete, it will compact within the chosen form, meaning flaws, like air pockets, will be removed.
This will create a uniform and consistent finish.
The Curing Process
Curing is a similar process to drying and will assist the concrete as it begins to harden. It’s an important part of the concrete process and it’s important it takes place in the appropriate conditions.
As opposed to drying which specifically refers to the evaporation of moisture, curing is precisely about hardening the concrete. Curing will give the concrete the physical properties that are needed for it to perform at a high level and withstand heavy footfall. This process will also make the concrete hard and resistant to abrasion.
Curing will begin after the mixture has been poured and can continue for years to come. The beauty of this is that the concrete will continue to harden over long periods of time, making it a great building material for longevity.
Leading Concrete Suppliers
For many years the team here at Concrete Supply UK has provided domestic and commercial customers across the nation with a wide range of quality mixes that are suitable for all kinds of projects.
Our customer-centric approach will always place the needs of your project first, and we’ll take the time to fully understand what you need and formulate completely bespoke mixes based on these requirements.
Once we’ve discussed your needs directly with you, we’ll create these products before delivering them directly to your site at a time of your convenience. Our entire ethos is to make this process as easy as possible for you, and not only will we ensure that you’re always provided with the highest quality products, but we will make sure you have the right quantity, too.
Disrupted projects can result in elongated timelines and, sometimes, even extra costs, so it’s important not to under order and cause delays. In contrast, ordering too much concrete is costly and wasteful and we’ll only ever pour the exact amount you need.
Plus, as we know that sometimes mixes will need to be transported to hard-to-reach or challenging areas of a site, we also provide a leading pump hire service that makes this process much easier.