How Is Concrete Made?
Concrete is one of the most common building materials in the world. It is used in small domestic DIY projects to huge scale industrial constructions and everything in between.
However, despite its popularity and wide scale use, not everyone understands what goes into producing the concrete used in everyday construction. That’s why we’ve put together this guide to how high quality ready mixed concrete is made.
At its most basic form, concrete is made up of three ingredients:
Other ingredients (chemicals) can be added to the mix to affect the finished product. These additives give the hardened concrete different properties like enhanced durability, for example.
Despite containing a simple list of ingredients, ready mix concrete can be mixed in different ways to achieve varying results. The key to a strong, durable final product is the way the ingredients are proportioned when mixed.
More porous concretes are produced when the paste – the mixture of cement and water – is not enough to fill the gaps between the aggregates. This type of concrete will be difficult to place and will form a rough surface.
A mixture with an excess of paste will be easier to pour and will produce a smoother finish. However, this is less cost-effective and will be more prone to cracking.
The quality of the paste dictates the properties of the concrete. The ratio of water to cement is the main influence on the strength of the paste, so higher quality concrete is made by lowering the water to cement ratio as much as possible while maintaining the workability of the mix, so it can still be poured and placed properly. You can see how easy it might be to get the wrong mix for your project, that’s why using a reliable supplier of top quality concrete like Ever Readymix is vital to the success of your project.
Ideally, the perfect mixture of readymix concrete will maintain the workability of fresh concrete while providing the strength and durability needed for hardened concrete. Typically, a concrete mixture will have the following proportions:
- 10-15% cement
- 60-75% aggregate
- 15-20% water
Entrained air may take up another 5-8% in many mixes.
Hydration refers to the chemical reaction between cement and water that causes the mixture to begin hardening. During this reaction, nodes form on the surface of each cement particle; they grow and expand until they meet with other nodes or until they adhere to adjacent aggregates.
The mix hardens progressively and once the concrete is thoroughly mixed it should be placed in forms before it becomes unworkably stiff. During placement, consolidation takes place where flaws like air pockets are eliminated.
From here, once the exposed surfaces have hardened sufficiently, curing can take place. Curing allows for the continued hydration of the cement, so the concrete can become stronger over time. The longer the hydration process is allowed to continue, the stronger the concrete will become. Surfaces are cured by spraying them with water fog or by covering them with moisture retaining materials like burlap or sand.
Ever Readymix Concrete provide the highest quality ready mix concrete to customers with efficient delivery via our fleet of trucks and mini mix vehicles. Our ready mix concrete is mixed expertly at one of our two batching plants and delivered directly to you. Perfect for jobs of any size, our ready mix concrete is durable and precisely mixed so if you need concrete for a spot of DIY, get in touch with our friendly team today.