Concrete is a hard building material that is made for the creation of a variety of construction structures, driveways, etc. This material offers remarkable durability and can withstand a variety of atmospheric conditions.
In this article, we will look at the features and manufacturing method of this material.
Structural concrete contains cement, fine mineral aggregate, and coarse mineral aggregate in a 1:2:4 ratio respectively. This proportion helps achieve the desired flexibility and strength in a particular setting.
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The Manufacturing Process
The manufacturing process of concrete is simple. It follows the following steps:
- The cement is prepared.
- Next, several ingredients such as sand or gravel, chemical additives, essential fibers, and water are added to the cement. This results in the formation of concrete.
- The concrete, thus formed, is transported to the worksite. There it is placed, compressed, and preserved.
Preparation Of Portland Cement
Portland cement is superior to the natural form of cement. This is because it is durable, stronger, and shows consistent quality. To prepare Portland cement, silica, alumina, and limestone, are added in predetermined ratios, preheated, and calcined to form a fine and dry powder. Calcination helps burn away impurities from it.
This powder is burned in a massive rotary kiln at 2,550 degrees Fahrenheit. This causes the material to fuses into the substance called clinker. With the help of a ball mill, the clinker is cooled and crushed to make a fine powder.
Now Gypsum is added to the powdered clinker. The final Portland cement composition comprises various compounds such as tricalcium silicate, tricalcium aluminate, tetra calcium aluminoferrite, and dicalcium silicate.
Now several compounds are mixed in the cement. These are:
- aggregates such as small pieces of stone, gravel, or sand. These are pre-blended materials that are added under usual operating conditions.
- fibers, and
The mixing operation comprises rotation of the mixture with cement paste. All the ingredients are blended in batches to prepare a homogeneous mixture.
The addition of fibers is done using various methods such as direct spraying, impregnating, hand laying-up, and premixing. Silica fume is used in the form of a densifying and dispersing agent.
Next, the concrete is shipped to the construction place and placed over there. During its placement, segregation of ingredients has to be avoided so that air bubbles are eliminated from it.
Pumping helps ship large amounts of concrete over large distances via the system that comprises a hopper, the pipes, and a pump. These pumps are available in a variety of types such as small portable pumps/squeeze pumps and the horizontal piston pump that has semi-rotary valves.
A vacuum offers a constant flow of concrete. It comprises two rotating rollers that compress the pipe to displace the concrete inside the delivery pipe.
Different types of concrete material are considered as per their installation method. Engineers use a variety of tools and methods to create solid concrete-based construction structures that can easily withstand stress and tension. This makes it a valuable construction material.