Last edited 15 Feb 2019

Cellular concrete in construction

Lightweight cellular (foamed) concrete is made by mixing pre-formed stable foam and cement-based slurry. Cellular concrete is replacing traditional materials in the construction industry due to its lightweight, high quality and availability.

Cellular concrete can have a range of dry densities, typically from 400 kg/m3 to 1600 kg/m3 and a range of compressive strengths, 1 N/mm2 to 15 N/mm2. It is very versatile, since it can be tailored for optimum performance and minimum cost by choice of a suitable mix design

The cellular concrete market is projected to grow from USD 337.6 Million in 2015 to reach USD 449.8 Million by 2020, at an estimated CAGR of 5.9%.

Accelerated urbanisation, growth in infrastructural activities, and increasing industrialisation have driven the growth of the cellular concrete market. The increasing income and spending capacity of people in developing economies and increasing demand by end-use sectors such as commercial buildings, residential buildings, and infrastructure are the major factors driving the market.

This growth will be stimulated by expanding applications in construction components, blocks, void filling, and roof insulation.

In the UK the use of cellular concrete became popular after it was specified for trench reinstatement in the New Roads and Streetworks Act 1991. Other applications include road sub-bases, ground stabilisation, bridge abutments and strengthening, and land reclamation.

Due to its lightweight nature cellular concrete can indirectly reduce costs on a project by, for example, reducing the overall loading on a building so that fewer piles are needed to support it.

Cellular concrete is a very flowable material and so can be easily installed by using gravity and can be self-levelling. It is typically used to construct floor slabs, window panels and roofs.

The key companies involved in the market are:

  • Propump Engineering (United Kingdom)
  • Saint Gobain (France),
  • Fillcrete (South Africa),
  • Xella Group (Germany),
  • Cellucrete (U.S.),
  • Cematrix (Canada),
  • Litebuilt (Australia),
  • Nublok (South Africa),
  • Laston Italiana S.P.A (Italy),
  • Cellular Concrete Technologies (U.S.),
  • Aerix Industries (U.S.),
  • ACICO (Kuwait),
  • Shirke (India),
  • Broco Industries (Indonesia),
  • Aircrete Europe (Netherlands).
  • EAB Associates (United Kingdom)

Cellular concrete provides structure, insulation, and fire and mold-resistance. Cellular concrete products include blocks, wall panels, floor and roof panels, and lintels. It also provides a low-density fill material used in geotechnical applications.

The infrastructure sector accounts for the largest market share of the market and this trend is projected to continue during the forecast period. This segment is also expected to grow at the fastest rate during the forecast period. The increase in development in the construction industry and eco- friendly building material is expected to boost the growth of the infrastructure sector. The residential sector is forecast to be the second-largest segment in the market in the coming years.

The rising demand for lightweight building materials across the world is expected to drive the market. The road sub-bases segment will see the highest CAGR from 2015 to 2020, followed by building materials and concrete pipes.

The European region is expected to account for the largest share in the cellular concrete market from 2015 to 2020. Asia-Pacific is projected to be the fastest-growing region for the market during the forecast period. Countries such as China and India are transforming their economies from being agriculture-based to manufacturing and other industry-based economies. Increasing urbanised population in China and India and growth in disposable income are driving the cellular concrete market in Asia-Pacific.

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Comments

Xella actually produces autoclaved aerated concrete (AAC) and not cellular concrete. The two materials have similar properties but are made in very different ways. There is growth in cellular concrete products with fencing and equipment pads being two additional applications. One company I am aware of that offers moulds and equipment for cellular concrete is Greentec Construction Technologies (https://greentecct.com/).