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This section will cover what concrete is, how it is made and its uses. Concrete is a mixture of cement, water and aggregate (sand, gravel, crushed rock). Concrete is one of the most common man-made materials on earth. It's used in buildings and infrastructure to create sidewalks, roads and bridges. It can be used as a building material in two ways: as a precast concrete or as cast-in-place concrete.
Precast concrete is made by mixing the ingredients together offsite before they are transported to the construction site to be assembled into panels that are then lifted into place by crane onto the foundation of an under-construction building. Cast-in-place concrete is poured on site and cured for about 28 days before it can be walked on or driven over.
Cement is a mixture of limestone, clay and water that can be mixed with aggregates to make concrete. The ingredients are mixed in a large tub and poured into forms, which allow the product to be shaped while it sets. This type of concrete sets relatively quickly, but doesn't last as long as cast-in-place concrete. Water causes cement and aggregates to mix together, creating a paste that becomes stronger over time because it binds and shrinks when dry.
Cast-in-place concrete generally has a longer life than cast-in-situ concrete. It is poured in forms, which can be precast or made of a particular shape on site. The forms are filled with the mixture and then removed to let the product set up. This process requires more time than casting it on site, but it saves time by allowing only one pour of concrete at a time, rather than having to prepare the area for multiple pours.
Cast- in-place concrete typically forms the foundation for buildings, with structural steel and other materials added on top. Cast-in-situ concrete is poured into a prepared area. This process allows for faster construction, but does not allow for multiple pourings of the same material.
Concrete construction safety can be achieved through various ways.
- Having a qualified site foreman that inspects each batch of concrete before it is poured to ensure that it meets the required strength specifications;
- Making sure that all personnel are trained in proper safety procedures when working with concrete;
- Ensuring that all personnel have appropriate personal protective equipment such as hard hats and gloves. ;
- Having a backup power supply in case the main power fails.
There are many types of concrete that are used in construction, such as: concrete for footings, pipe reinforcement and piles. There are also different types of concrete, such as high-pressure pipe reinforcing or aircrete to accommodate certain specifications.
Concrete can be produced with different additives which vary depending on the specific application or environment in which it is going to be applied; for example, if the concrete is going to be exposed to a high-acid environment, some form of alkali-reactive Portland cement is added to increase resistance. Concrete can also contain air entrainment agents which serve the purpose of increasing the volume of concrete by packing together the materials used in it.
The primary commercial example is fly ash, but other forms include slag cement and blast furnace slag that contains steel fines and heavy minerals. In order to prevent or reduce cracking due to rapid temperature change or expansion, fly ash may be mixed with cement and sand. Fly ash is also sometimes mixed with limestone, which has a low expansion rate that helps reduce cracking, and water to create a mortar or concrete-like material. Of particular interest is the use of fly ash in conjunction with the Portland cement to produce concrete. This concrete mixture, called "combined-burnable" or "creep", is produced by burning an energy source such as coal in the presence of Portland cement and water.