Concrete is made of three main components: Water, Aggregate, and Portland Cement.
What?! Cement and Concrete are not the same thing? NOPE! Cement is an ingredient IN Concrete.
Below I am going to dive into the basics of Concrete and everything you need to know about this powerful mixture.
To understand the basic mixture of Concrete, you must know what each of the three components are and what role they play in the creation of Concrete.
We all know what water is but let’s do a quick refresher of some cool facts about water and why is a vital component in creating concrete.
Water is made of two parts Hydrogen and one part Oxygen. It is a colorless, odorless, liquid, and is essential for human survival.
Water helps activate and determine the slump (or wetness) of concrete.
Concrete is installed for a number of different applications and depending on what you are using it for will determine what slump you pour the concrete at.
When pouring curbs, stairs, and anything where you need the concrete to stay in its place quickly, you will add less water and have a lower number slump.
The stiffer (less water) you pour concrete, the less time you have to manipulate and the more it will stay in its place.
When you need concrete to run or be able to move around easily, as in floors, you will use more water, or a higher slump.
WARNING: Too much water will destroy concrete and completely compromise the strength of the cured product.
Aggregate is a collection of rocks, pebbles, and sand that create the second major component of Concrete.
When you see concrete plants you will see massive machines, a huge pile of stone, and a huge hole in the ground.
Concrete plants mine for aggregate, then separate the different types and sizes of stone and sand so they can accurately blend the aggregate, water, and cement together.
Where you live will determine the different aggregate components in your concrete, but for the most part they all serve the same purpose and strength.
FUN FACT: You can request different types of aggregate for your concrete depending on what type of finish you are looking for. Most concrete plants will have access to different types of aggregate.
Portland Cement is the glue that holds everything together. We see cement as a soft gray powder, activated with water, and drys to very hard and durable material.
According to Howden, cement is made up of 8 ingredients: lime, silica, alumina, magnesia, sulfur trioxide, alkaline, iron oxide, and calcium sulfate.
DID YOU KNOW: There are many different brands of cement. Each brand creates their own batch and mixture to what they feel produces the best quality finish for its consumers. Some brands include Lafarge, Holcim, CNBM, Anhui Conch, and many more globally.