Concrete is one of the single most common harder substances used in our world today, but many people — even those who utilize it regularly on their property — don’t really understand how it’s made. Concrete is a combination of a few different elements in most cases, combined to create the finished product you see on areas like driveways, sidewalks and numerous others.
At Lift-Up Concrete, we’re happy to offer a wide range of concrete lifting and leveling services for situations where your concrete undergoes any form of damage. Part of this process, though, and part of our common services provided to clients as well, involves understanding the composition of the concrete we’re working on, as this often plays a major role in how we’ll remedy any damage that’s taken place. For those who are unaware, what goes into the makeup of concrete, and how does this composition vary depending on the type of slab needed? This two-part blog series will tell you everything you need to know.
Standard Concrete Composition
Concrete is a mixture of cement, water and various aggregates. The simplest concrete composition consists of 10-15% cement, 15-20% water, and 65-75% aggregates. This mixture needs to set for 8 hours before the concrete can be used.
When we talk about “aggregates,” we’re referring to a few different possible substances: Sand, gravel, crushed stones and possibly a few others. These may be used in different combinations depending on the exact slab you require.
The properties of concrete are determined by its ingredients. Stirring the concrete after it has been mixed will increase the strength of the material as well as cause bubbles to rise to the surface which can be popped prior to final use. Cement also forms a skin on top, which can be scraped off so that it doesn’t interfere with casting or mixing with other materials like gravel.
Concrete and Cement Are Not the Same
While cement is an important ingredient in the formation of concrete, they are not the same and should not be used interchangeably. Concrete is a mixture of cement, water and various aggregates. Cement itself is the substance that creates the glue, binding these three ingredients together.
Cement can be manufactured using one of eight different ingredients: Lime, silica, sulfur trioxide, alkaline, iron oxide, alumina, and calcium sulfate. Within the concrete world, it will then be made into a paste that hardens and holds the other concrete ingredients together within the slab, with highly effective bonding qualities that allow it to create a long-lasting adhesive effect.