- Project plans
- Project activities
- Legislation and standards
- Industry context
Last edited 22 Jun 2018
The Properties of Concrete
As one of the world’s most abundant resources, concrete has worldwide appeal. It’s extremely versatile to use, as it produces a material similar to stone that allows for many uses. Not to be confused with cement, concrete is composed of a mixture of several materials and cement.
Concrete’s durability and versatility make it a material of choice, particularly useful due to low maintenance and repair costs. From commercial and residential buildings, bridges and roads, concrete is present in everyday life, sustaining complex and simple structures for safety and aesthetics.
Concrete has the ability to gain strength over time and to help conserve resources due to its capacity to remain a high-quality material with little to no need of reconstruction or maintenance. One of the most durable materials in existence, it resists rotting, burning, and rusting, providing a stable and safe foundation for high-rise buildings. It has double the lifespan of other construction materials, such as wood, allowing for long-term applications.
Due to its durability, concrete is used to build roads with fewer chances of potholes. With maintenance costs reduced, it helps to save on asphalt and to aid the environment. Concrete is a sustainable construction material, with more efficient travel due to not needing maintenance like other materials. Roads have less surface deflection that allow for vehicles to utilise less fuel, and they become easier to see at night.
In buildings, foundations and walls are sturdier and more durable. Long-term projects can contain both an aesthetically pleasing view and safe and long-lasting constructions. With concrete’s properties, construction and operational costs are lower. For residential buildings, the fire resistance allows for fewer accidents, more stability in case of natural disasters, and higher protection against the elements.
As concrete is rot resistant, it aids in the control of allergens; it helps to keep allergens such as pollen from entering the building, and it helps to regulate the temperature for better energy efficiency and reduced costs.
As limestone is the main component in cement, which in turn is utilised to produce concrete, this material becomes very easy to make. Limestone is one of the most abundant materials found on Earth, providing an almost never-ending source. Silica fume and fly ash are other industrial waste by-products that are utilised to make concrete, originating from power plants and steel mills.
Concrete allows for highly efficient buildings, saving on both energy and costs due to its inherent thermal ability. This ability permits heat retention and absorption, which helps to conserve heat and cool houses in a more effective manner.
Find out more
Related articles on Designing Buildings Wiki
- 3D concrete printer.
- Admixture, additive or agent.
- Admixtures in concrete.
- Alkali-silica reaction (ASR).
- Architectural concrete.
- Cellular concrete.
- Concrete in aggressive ground (SD 1).
- Concrete vs. steel.
- Concreting plant.
- How to clean concrete.
- Precast concrete.
- Prestressed concrete.
- Reinforced concrete.
- Testing concrete.
- Urban mining to reinvent concrete.
--Heritage Builders Ltd 12:13, 05 May 2017 (BST)
Featured articles and news
New report explores impact of independent museums.
Parents are pivotal in reaching future engineers.
What is a final account?
The situation with the insurance of vulnerable properties.
New standards for homes
Competition to address the grand challenges of future housing needs.
The redevelopment of Leicester's sewerage system by Joseph Gordon.
A standard design for manses in the Highland districts.
The Prairie School style.