Concrete is the most common building material in the world. It is widely used to construct houses, high-rise buildings, roads, airfields, harbors, and dams worldwide. Although it is considered a simple combination of cement, sand, and gravel, you need to know the many hidden aspects and properties of concrete because these properties decide how it will perform in all the applications mentioned above.
Many essential properties distinguish concrete from other materials, and an understanding of each is necessary to design and build effectively with concrete. Though there are many properties, it is better to focus on the four main properties of concrete. Let us look at them one by one below.
Concrete possesses many valuable characteristics that make it the ideal substance for a wide variety of uses. Although different concrete forms have varying properties, perhaps the most widely known concrete property in its hardened state is its strength. While concrete gains strength when it has achieved total hardness, the strength increase is not well-proportioned to the extra energy required to set the cement further.
The following are the varying strengths of concrete:
- Compressive strength is one of the most important structural properties of concrete. It can be measured in tensile strength or shear strength. The compressive strength of concrete rises with the temperature used to make it and depends on the concrete’s thickness.
- Tensile strength – When it comes to tension, ordinary concrete can be weak. Its tensile strength ranges from about 7 to 10% of the compressive strength. The tensile strength of concrete is usually measured in units of Force per Cross-Sectional area (FSCA), a unit similar to the one used to measure the strength of an earthquake or hurricane building.
- Flexural strength – An ordinary concrete’s flexural strength may entirely depend on the tensile strength. It is the measure of an unreinforced concrete beam or slab’s resistance to failure in bending.
- Shear strength – This is the fundamental factor that determines the compressive strength of short columns. The concrete’s average strength in direct shear varies from about half of the compressive strength for rich mixtures to about 0.8 of the compressive strength for lean mixtures.
The strength of a concrete mix is determined quite highly by its degree of compaction. When a concrete mix reaches its degree of compaction, it is ready for finishing, and there are instances when less cement can be used as the strength of the concrete will be stronger. The ability to achieve higher strength quickly means that workability has been increased, and the concrete has reached its degree of compaction.
The factors that can affect concrete mixes are:
- Grading and surface texture of aggregates
- Mix proportions
- Size and shape of aggregates
- Use of admixtures
- Use of supplementary materials
- Water content
Several factors come into play when it comes to determining how long a concrete structure will last. Durability is another property of concrete that has been given high importance by science and architecture since it enables builders to achieve a better quality of construction. Concrete has been proven to stand the test of time, in contrast to many other building materials that break down or degrade during their use. Due to this fact, concrete remains a useful tool in preventing natural disasters from destroying buildings when an earthquake, hurricane, or flood comes along.
Thus, durability is a fundamental aspect of preventing deterioration or damage to a concrete structure. It is essential to take the necessary measures to ensure proper care is taken by contractors when building new facilities or for existing structures to make them as safe as possible—especially for those structural components where defects can quickly occur.
- Elastic Properties
There is no reason why two adjoining concrete panels should not have the same tensile strength, but there should be differences in the properties of the concrete forming the surfaces. In general, the more grains in concrete material, the less elastic it will be when subjected to tensile loads. The more pixels in a rectangular block display, the less these blocks will be curved in the real plane when loaded over an edge. In both cases, the concrete will cease to be entirely concrete and preserve its elastic properties without any loads.
We should expect that the properties of concrete will be less elastic in areas where loads are applied continuously for a time, such as at the ends of walls when poured concrete is laid down. The effect of this on our contractors’ work will depend on the nature of the concrete and its consistency.
If you need concrete supplies and services, we have the perfect solution. At Pro Contractor Supply, we offer a comprehensive range of competitively-priced solutions for the concrete industry. Whether you’ve got a refurbishing project or might be building something new, our team is always ready to help you every step of the way.