Introduction to Concrete
Concrete is virtually used for almost all kinds of construction work, ranging from sidewalks to foundations, homes, buildings and high rise towers. Concrete is one of the few building materials that has a high range of applications, mostly because of its properties that can be customized according to the needs of the building job. Concrete work in Staten Island is evident, as well as in other boroughs of New York, and it highlights how long concrete has been a part of the construction industry.
But how is concrete made? What exactly makes it possible to form different variants of concrete from the same ingredients?
Essential Concrete Ingredients
Concrete is essentially a mix of cement (generally Portland cement), gravel, sand and water. Every single concrete work across Staten Island and other parts of the states uses the same ingredients, with minor differences in cement variants according to the concrete variants. While cement changes, the other 3 ingredients of the concrete mix, i.e. sand, gravel and water always remains omnipresent.
The secret to the widespread customizability of concrete lies with the ration in which these ingredients are mixed. All 4 components are generally used in varying ratios to obtain the desired properties of concrete. Out of these 4, water and cement ratio is the one that matters the most; this can make or break the concrete mixture. If very thin concrete mix is desired, then more water is added as compared to cement. If a thick, strong bond of concrete is required, then more cement is added to water, exponentially increasing the strength of the concrete mix. The main contributions of the 4 ingredients are:
- Cement: This is the primary ingredient of the concrete mix. These are of many kinds, and different types of construction work need different types of cement. However, the most commonly used variant is Portland cement.
- Gravel: This is used to increase the internal strength of the concrete mix. If the concrete is used only with water and cement without gravel, it will not be able to support heavy loads and can break down easily, forming cracks on the surface.
- Sand: Sand is used to fill the holes between the gravel particles. Presence of air pockets is undesirable when mixing concrete, and usage of sand helps overcome the issue. It also helps smoothen the concrete mix.
- Water: This is an essential ingredient that is used to mix all the other 3 components together. It lends concrete its workability, and the amount of water essentially determines how weak or strong the concrete mix is.
By volume, gravel and sand typically make up nearly 70% of the concrete mix, while cement and water make up the other 30%. It is essential to use similar sized gravel particles (also known as aggregates) for uniform application and streamlined workflow. Even the sand is filtered for rough stones and particles, and only fine sand is used in the concrete mix. In case of water cement mix, various tests are performed on-site by construction workers to determine the stability and strength of the concrete mix, so that they can adjust the properties of the mix before it is put to use
Types of Concrete Mix
While there are many types of concrete mixes, this classification is used on the basis of the area of application of concrete.
- Type 1: This one is mostly used for building residential homes, foundations and sidewalks.
- Type 2: This one is used in environments where the concrete is prone to sulfate exposure.
- Type 3: This one is used for freezing conditions.
- Type 4: This one is used for customized constructions in industries.
- Type 5: This one offers high resistance to sulfate conditions, more than Type 2
If you need any concrete work done in Staten Island, you can contact your nearest concrete contractor rightaway.