29 Concrete Facts That Will Help You Understand Its Importance | Kidadl

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29 Concrete Facts That Will Help You Understand Its Importance

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Concrete is an ingenious simulated invention widely used as a building material in construction technology.

Concrete is a solid mass hard material composed of coarse and fine aggregates, water, binding material, and admixture. Based on these ingredients' mixing proportions, the quality and hardness of concrete structures are formed.

Because of its durability, efficiency, and resistance, concrete is widely used in underground structures, high-rise buildings, and concrete roads. The fine aggregates generally are fine sand, whereas coarse aggregate is a mixture of brick chips and stone chips. The monuments in Roman regions are great examples of Roman architecture and their advanced engineering skills. They used the composition of lumps of tufa, broken bricks, lime, marble, peperino, and a mixture of pumice stone and mortar, saltwater, and volcanic ash. These materials provide high durability and strength to the structures.

Let us explore in detail this popular material used in construction.

The Importance Of Concrete

Most people believe that cement and concrete are one and the same. Cement is a binding agent, which is a generally powdered form, whereas concrete is a mixture of aggregates, Portland cement, and water. It is one of the majorly used building materials in demand, worldwide. Though concrete was neglected in the dark ages, it used to have a prominent place in Roman architecture.

  • Concrete is one of the best material inventions used in modern-day construction structures, even in historical days.
  • Concrete mixtures have lower tensile strength and higher compressive strength.
  • Once used, concrete structures do not require maintenance and sustain extreme weather conditions and earthquakes.
  • In 3,000 BC, Egyptians were the first to use concrete in building the pyramids.
  • The ancient Romans, famous for building great monuments, were fans of concrete and widely used this raw material in construction very efficiently.
  • The concrete used by Romans is stronger and highly durable than the concrete we use today.
  • As per researchers, the Romans' way of using concrete releases less carbon dioxide when compared to the present.
  • In 1824, Joseph Aspdin of England invented and patented Portland cement.
  • Studies proved that though concrete used in the Romans' time was very strong and had minimal effects on the environment, it took considerably more time to dry when compared to Portland cement.
  • When everything is in a fast-moving phase, where time is the biggest investment, it is challenging to replace Portland cement.
  • In 1796, a stake of cement rock was discovered and sold as Roman cement.
  • In 1836, for the first time in history, Germany conducted a test for the tensile and compressive strength of concrete.

Uses Of Concrete

From constructing underwater structures to concrete floors, concrete slab, concrete decks, and concrete piers, this building material gives structures great strength and durability. History has proven how concrete is important in the field of construction and civil engineering. Alvord Lake Bridge (1889) was the first concrete bridge built in San Francisco, California. Thomas Edison, the resident of Union, New Jersey, was the first to build concrete houses.

  • Its durability and cost factors increase its importance and usage in underwater structures.
  • Concrete is widely used in constructing dams, bridges, commercial and residential buildings, roadways, marine ways, and building foundations.
  • The main advantages of concrete are its flowable nature that helps mold it into the required shape, its cost-effective and durable nature, low maintenance, water, and heat resistance.

Types Of Concrete

There are wide varieties of concrete available in markets. Based on the requirements, different types of concrete are used. There are almost 24 types of concrete available, and some of them are:

  • Normal strength concrete: It is generally used for pavements and is not suitable for buildings as it has a less tensile strength.
  • Plain or ordinary concrete: This concrete has cement and sand, and the aggregates ratio is 1:2:4. It has good durability but cannot withstand vibrations.
  • Reinforced concrete: Invented in the 19th century, it is widely used where fibers are used to toughen the concrete.
  • Prestressed concrete: This is used to build heavy structures where bars are pressed into the concrete structure.
  • Precast concrete: This concrete is designed specifically as per requirements in the factory and transported to the construction site. This concrete is used in fitting poles, staircase units, and precast walls.
  • Lightweight concrete: Made with lightweight aggregates, this type of concrete is used in building blocks and long-spanning bridge decks.
  • High-density concrete: This special type of concrete is used in atomic power plants. Heavyweight aggregates are mixed to make this concrete.
  • Pumped concrete: Pumped concrete is used for flooring purposes, roadways, and swimming pools. With the help of a pipe, concrete is pumped to any floor with ease.
  • Other types of concrete are air-entrained concrete, volumetric concrete, ready-mix concrete, rapid-set concrete, decorative concrete, pervious concrete, smart concrete, roll compacted concrete, limecrete, asphalt concrete, glass concrete, and shotcrete concrete.
Concrete is a solid mass hard material

Ingredients In Concrete

The compound named tricalcium silicate is responsible for the strength of concrete. As time goes on, concrete gets hard and becomes stronger. The ingredients used also play a role in the strength of concrete. Concrete is a composition of coarse and fine aggregates, water, binding material, and admixture (optional). Concrete mixes depend on the requirements of the project. A typical concrete mixture's common percentage of ingredients is 20% air and water, 40% gravel, 10% cement, and 30% sand.

  • Binding materials are important elements used in making concrete, like cement or lime. Water is mixed with cement or lime to form a paste that eventually binds and turns into stone-like structures.
  • Cement acts as glue, keeping all the ingredients together.
  • The fine aggregates are generally sand, and coarse aggregates are generally crushed stones and brick chips.
  • Water plays a key role in the mixture, where the idle rule is that water and cement ratio should be 0.4 and 0.6 respectively.
  • The more water we use, the more chances of shrinking the concrete, resulting in cracks.

 

We can find usage of concrete in everyday structures. As it is recyclable and environmentally friendly, there will be a huge demand for concrete as long as construction activities occur.

FAQs

What are some fun facts about concrete?

A: Though concrete is very hard, it can be molded easily when wet. The concrete road reminds us that life is impossible without concrete.

Who first invented concrete?

A: Although Egyptians and Romans used concrete widely, its invention is unknown.

Why was concrete so important?

A: Because of its durability and cost-effectiveness, concrete became an important raw material for commercial and domestic construction purposes.

What was the first concrete mixture?

A: The first concrete mixture was made of gypsum, mortars of lime, mud, and straw.

How strong is concrete?

A: The tensile strength of concrete is 300-700 psi (2-5 MPa), and the compressive strength of concrete varies from 2,200-4,400 psi (15-30 MPa). Concrete is highly durable and resistant to natural calamities.

How many types of concrete are there?

A: There are almost 24 types of concrete available.

What are the four main properties of concrete?

A: Fire resistance, durability, modulus elasticity, and shrinkage are four of the main properties of concrete.

Written By
Sridevi Tolety

Sridevi's passion for writing has allowed her to explore different writing domains, and she has written various articles on kids, families, animals, celebrities, technology, and marketing domains. She has done her Masters in Clinical Research from Manipal University and PG Diploma in Journalism From Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan. She has written numerous articles, blogs, travelogues, creative content, and short stories, which have been published in leading magazines, newspapers, and websites. She is fluent in four languages and likes to spend her spare time with family and friends. She loves to read, travel, cook, paint, and listen to music.

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