Concrete is arguably the most popular construction material, thanks to its strength and durability. It has dozens of uses, and it comes in different types to meet different construction requirements and their varying purposes. Here is an overview of the four most commonly used construction concrete types:
Plain concrete is the most common type of construction concrete. It is used to construct structures that don't require high tensile strength, such as pavements and simple buildings.
Plain concrete constitutes cement, sand, and coarse aggregates. These elements are mixed in varying ratios, depending on the concrete's intended uses. The most common mixture ratio is known as the Nominal Mix Design, which constitutes one part cement to two parts sand to four parts coarse aggregates.
Lightweight concrete is any type of concrete with a density of less than 1920Kg/m3. Lightweight concrete can constitute a wide range of materials, including clay, scoria, pumice, perlite, vermiculite, and expanded shale.
Lightweight concrete is used mainly because of its exceptionally low thermal conductivity. In comparison, lightweight concrete has a thermal conductivity of about 0.3k, while plain concrete has a thermal conductivity of about 12k.
Lightweight concrete's main purpose is to construct structures that require thermal insulation. It is commonly used to insulate and protect steel structures. It is also used in long-span bridge decks.
High-density (heavyweight) concrete is any type of concrete with a density ranging from 3,000 Kg/m3 to 4,000 Kg/m3. It is heavier and has more tensile strength than most other types of concrete. Interestingly, its high density helps to protect against all types of radiation. Consequently, it is used in structures that demand durability, such as atomic power plants.
Heavy rocks are crushed and used as coarse aggregates to give heavyweight concrete its high density. Common coarse aggregates include barite.
Reinforced concrete has more tensile strength than most other types of concrete because it incorporates steel as a coarse aggregate. It is essentially a combination of plain concrete featuring high compressive strength and steel in different shapes and sizes. Steel reinforcements can be shaped as messes, rods, and bars, depending on the construction requirements.
Reinforced concrete has a wide range of uses as it is applicable in many structures. It is especially common in high-rise buildings.
Construction concrete is an integral part of modern construction technology. These four types of concrete are the most common, and there are dozens more designed for varying purposes and construction requirements.