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Concrete as a Building Material: Issues and Practiced Solutions - Essay Example

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Concrete as a Building Material: Issues and Practiced Solutions

Water is essential component of concrete because it gives the concrete the required fluidity which helps in pouring concrete in the various forms of constructional shapes and for fabricating structural members of various sizes, more importantly water is required for the hydration of cement. The cement and thus the concrete gets the desired strength after the process of hydration in which the cement react chemically with water and physically with the aggregates to form a strong and homogeneous stone-like mass of concrete. Concrete has a very high compressive strength due to the presence of crushed stones and aggregates of high strength; however its brittle nature makes it a very weak material in tension. This is the reason concrete has to be reinforced by using other materials which are strong in tension in situations where the structural members is also subjected to tension in addition to compression. The most widely practiced reinforcement is done by steel bars embedded in concrete for resisting tension. Sometimes it is also reinforced with bricks and reinforcement of concrete with fibers is the most modern method of reinforcement. Concrete is extensively used in construction of all types of buildings and all parts of a building varying from high rise multi-storey buildings to simple framed structured houses, from bridges to swimming pools and water tanks, from roads to monuments; thus concrete finds applications in all types of architectural and structural construction. Concrete is being used by man for construction since ancient times and Ancient Romans widely used this in construction. Concrete technology remained passive for a long period of time before its revival in the 18th century. The concrete used by Romans utilized lime as the binding material and pumice stone was used as aggregate. The discovery of concrete allowed Romans to construction magnificent structures including the hippodrome, coliseum, baths, aqueducts, ship bridges and the great temples such as the Pantheon. These structures allowed the Roman civilization to achieve remarkable progress in the fields of commerce and industry, technology, social welfare and culture (Nawy, 2009). The ancient civilizations that used concrete were also aware of the uses of additives in concrete. Romans used horse hair in concrete for giving it strength against cracking. Similarly blood was also used as additive in concrete for giving it frost resistant properties. Today various additives are added to concrete for giving it special properties as per the architectural or situational requirements. Canal du Midi constructed in 1670 in France is regarded as one of the very first structures built from concrete. Concrete structures dating back to 16th century are also found in Finland. These concrete structures of the medieval period utilized quicklime as binding material and brick powder as the filler material. Engineers and Architects started using Portland cement in concrete by the middle of 19th century. Recycling of concrete is possible and is being carried out in the construction industry these days in order to minimize the high environmental impact of concrete. Concrete has a very high thermal mass and thus it can absorb heat energy and radiate it at the required time, this property of concrete makes it very effective to be used in energy efficient buildings. The various admixtures added in concrete include accelerators (calcium chloride, calcium ...Show more


Concrete as a Building Material: Issues and Practiced Solutions Concrete is a construction material which consists of a binding material, a filler material and water. The commonly used binding material is cement and the filler material consists of aggregates coarse as well as fine aggregates…
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