Concrete is a versatile and strong material that’s used in a variety of construction projects, including foundations, roads, sidewalks, buildings, and parking garages. And it’s made from only three basic ingredients, which makes it all the more impressive.
The elements of concrete
Concrete is a mixture of paste and aggregate. The paste is a mix of cement and water, which is then mixed with both fine and coarse aggregate. Aggregate can include sand, gravel, or crushed rock.
Mixing the elements
As it dries, concrete hardens and becomes very strong. It seems simple enough, but the wrong proportions of the three materials in concrete can greatly affect the outcome. If the concrete mix doesn’t have enough water, it can be difficult to work with and can produce a rough surface and porous concrete. If the mixture has too much water, it can be extremely easy to work with and create a smooth surface, but it will crack more easily once dry.
Admixtures are an additional ingredient in concrete that can further complicate the process. They can be used to alter the color, change the drying time, or adjust the shrinkage rate if mixed in the proper proportions. But as with mixing concrete, using the wrong type or quantity of admixture can effect the strength of the final product.
Concrete for small projects can be mixed in buckets, but larger projects will likely use a concrete truck that rotates the mixture to keep it from setting during transport. Both the temperature and the moisture content of the concrete are important at the time it’s poured into the molds.
As concrete dries, the water evaporates and the concrete begins to shrink. If it’s been properly mixed and poured and the surface is kept damp to support uniform shrinkage, you should end up with a nice smooth surface of finished concrete. Extreme hot or cold temperatures can affect the drying process, so it’s important to plan ahead for summer or winter projects involving concrete.
At JK Industries, we have extensive experience working with concrete and can help ensure a quality outcome for your concrete restoration projects. Contact us today for more information.