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Last edited 15 Jan 2024
Types of concrete
Concrete is the most commonly used man-made material on earth. It is an important construction material used extensively in buildings, bridges, roads and dams. Its uses range from structural applications, to paviours, kerbs, pipes and drains.
Concrete is a composite material, consisting mainly of Portland cement, water and aggregate (gravel, sand or rock). When these materials are mixed together, they form a workable paste which then gradually hardens over time.
There are several different types of concrete, including:
This type of concrete is one of the most commonly-used, often for the construction of pavements and where buildings don’t require very high tensile strength. The constituents are cement, sand and aggregate, mixed with water, typically in the ratio 1:2:4.
Lightweight concrete, sometimes referred to as cellular concrete is a general term covering concrete solutions with reduced weights which includes lightweight aggregate concrete, no-fines concrete, aerated concrete, autoclaved aerated concrete, aircrete as well as other similar products with varied properties..
Lightweight aggregate concrete use aggregates such as pumice, scoria, expanded shales and clays to create a solid product with air pockets often within the aggregate rather between them. It has relatively low thermal conductivity, usually with a k value of around 0.3 W/mK, whereas plain concrete can be as high as 10-12 W/mK. No-Fines concrete removes fine aggregate from the concrete mixture creating large voids between the coarse aggregates.
Aerated concrete with varieties such as aircrete (created by introducing foam in to the mix) introduce air pockets of varying densities into the concrete structure, reducing weight and increasing thermal performance. This material pours easily and can be self levelling, but often takes longer to cure. The autoclaved version of this is then heated at high temperature and typically used to construct floor slabs, window panels and roofs.
This type of heavyweight concrete has a greater density than other types and is manufactured using crushed rocks as coarse aggregate. As it provides good protection from x-rays and radiation, it is often used in nuclear power plants and other such buildings.
To increase its overall strength, steel rods, wires, mesh or cables can be embedded in concrete before it sets (or laid before the concrete is poured). This reinforcement, often known as rebar, resists tensile forces, whilst concrete resists compressive forces (and is inherently weak at resisting tensile forces). By forming a strong bond together, the two materials combine to resist a variety of applied forces, effectively acting as a single structural element.
This is a form of concrete that is prepared, cast and cured off-site, usually in a controlled factory environment, using reusable moulds. Precast concrete elements can be joined to other elements to form a complete structure. They are typically used for structural components such as; wall panels, beams, columns, floors, staircases, pipes, tunnels, and so on.
Prestressed concrete is a structural material that allows for predetermined, engineering stresses to be placed in members to counteract the stresses that will occur when they are subject to loading. It combines the high strength compressive properties of concrete with the high tensile strength of steel.
GRC is composed from high-strength, alkali-resistant glass fibres embedded in a concrete matrix. The fibres act as the principal load-carrying component, while the surrounding matrix keeps them in position, and transfers load between the fibres. Both fibres and matrix are capable of retaining their physical and chemical identities, while combining their properties to create a high-performance composite.
This is a form of plain concrete that contains microscopic air bubbles that range in size from a few thousandths of an inch in diameter to a few hundredths, and typically constitute between 4 and 7% of the total volume of the concrete.
The air bubbles create chambers for water to expand into when it freezes, thereby relieving internal pressure on the concrete. It is manufactured by introducing air-entraining agents as the concrete is mixed, or by using air-entraining Portland cement.
The introduction of self-compacting concrete (SCC) is regarded by some as one of the most important recent advancements in the concrete technology. It is a non-segregating concrete that can flow under its own weight, spread, fill formwork, and encapsulate reinforcements without the need for mechanical consolidation. Because of its exceptional flowing properties, SCC is used predominately in the construction of complex concrete frames.
Smart concrete technology offers an alternative method for monitoring the health of reinforced concrete structures. It works by adding a small quantity of short carbon fiber to concrete with a conventional concrete mixer which modifies the electrical resistance of the concrete in response to strain or stress. This can be used to monitor stress or strain in concrete structures, identifying potential problems before the concrete fails.
The polymer concrete market is segmented into epoxy, polyester, vinyl ester, and others. Epoxy is the largest category due to its increasing use in construction and its superior properties of high impact strength, high vibration resistance, good bonding with concrete and metal surfaces.
- Admixture, additive or agent.
- Admixtures in concrete.
- Binding agent.
- Cast-in-place concrete.
- Concrete fibre.
- Concrete masonry unit CMU.
- Construction materials.
- Mass concrete.
- Polymer concrete.
- Portland cement.
- Stratification of concrete.
- Types of cement.
- Types of brick.
- Types of mortar.
- Types of steel.
- Types of stone.
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