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The Concrete Triumvirate: Cement, Water and Some Rocks

By Manuela Jelen Subscribe to RSS | May 17th 2012 | Views:
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Long before Smeaton, however, the ancients have been using concrete for their architectural structures—the Pantheon being one of the most famous products of these.

Concrete serves as the foundation on which every building stands. The mix has to be just right; otherwise, the building itself could be one disaster waiting to happen. A concrete mix can determine how strong it is and how long it can last against the forces of nature. The mixes vary by ingredients and proportions, but they contain at least three basics.

Cement: The cement is the most basic ingredient in a concrete mix. Without it, you’ll just be making the gravel wet. While some types of cement don’t require water in the mix, most types need water to harden. Cement is actually a mix of finely crushed rocks like limestone and shale, as well as other materials like sand and clay.

Portland cement is the most widely used type of cement in buildings, but other types also exist, such as its alternative, Pozzolana. The cement reacts with water to initiate a chemical reaction that not only hardens into concrete but also makes it water resistant. Of course, engineers rarely rely on cement alone, unless it’s the type that doesn’t need water.

Water: How exactly does water work in the mix? The water dissolves the fine grains in the cement, releasing ions to form new compounds that are vital to its strength. Once the cement compounds saturate in the mix, it hardens and turns into the concrete Atlanta buildings use. The water, however, has to be just right—too much or too little can affect the integrity of the concrete.

Aggregate: Gravel, sand and other fine rocks are mixed with the Atlanta concrete mix to make it even stronger. An aggregate in a concrete mix makes it more stable, which is vital when making concrete bases and floors. The rocks and granules help the concrete distribute the load across the structure, avoiding putting too much stress at one point.

For more information on what makes up strong concrete decks Atlanta buildings have, visit Cement.org. You can also visit the Materials and Science Technology workshop of the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign at matse1.matse.illinois.edu/.

Manuela Jelen - About Author:
If you have questions, please visit us at www.UniqueConcreteGa.com for complete details and answers.

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