Everything You Need to Know About Concrete
Are you in the process of working on a project for your home or office that involves using concrete? Are you just curious about concrete and what concrete is made of? Concrete is an incredibly functional and durable material used for a wide range of purposes, from making driveways to house foundations. Read on for a quick guide to understanding and making concrete, put together by our concrete experts at Base Concrete.
What is Concrete?
At its core, the word concrete means ‘together, to grow’. Concrete is an easily made and flexible substance that can be shaped and molded to just about any shape. The idea behind using concrete is the need for something that can reliably withhold the structural integrity of buildings through years of wear and tear. It’s incredibly functional for a wide range of purposes, so people use it all over the world.
Most concrete used for making buildings is called ‘reinforced’ concrete, meaning that the concrete materials are reinforced with steel to add support and flexibility on top of strength and hardness. For maximum strength, concrete should be compressed rather than pulled; overall concrete strength will depend on its ingredients and intended use.
Who Invented Concrete?
Arguably, concrete was originally invented by the Romans to be used for their many iconic architectural structures. One of the most famous and oldest concrete structures was the Roman Pantheon. Many historians believe that the origin of concrete goes back even further, referring to striations built in Syria and northern Jordan around 6500 BC.
For thousands of years, people have been using a combination of crushed and burned materials to create paste or plaster-like materials to stick things together. Over time, the water, sand, and rock combinations were improved and modified to become part of the many materials in today’s modern concrete.
How is Concrete Made and What is it Made of?
Concrete is essentially made from certain forms of rocks, sand, and water. More accurately, it’s made up of cement (the heated fusion of powdered limestone and clay), water, sand, crushed stone or gravel, and a few other elements to help with sealing and appearance.
The exact ingredients of concrete will depend on the type of concrete being made according to its intended use. By mixing these materials together, the result is a chemical reaction that causes the workable material to eventually harden into a very strong slab.
When it comes to making concrete, the ratio of water to cement matters. Paste quality is important because the cement needs to be solid and free of empty spaces within the mixture. The portion and type of aggregates (rocks, sand, or gravel) will also play a role in the overall characteristics of the concrete.
The key to successfully putting down concrete is to know exactly what kind of concrete you need (what consistency), when to make it and where to put it before it starts to harden. Becoming a concrete expert takes time, and so it is best to consult a local concrete professional such as ourselves to advise you best on your next concrete construction project.