Concrete Technology and It's Importance in Construction Industry

Concrete is the mother constituent of the construction industry and the largest manufactured material in the world after water. According to...

Concrete Technology and It's Importance in Construction Industry

Concrete is the mother constituent of the construction industry and the largest manufactured material in the world after water. According to Wikipedia, by 2025, the revenue of the largest segment of concrete manufacturers, the ready-mix concrete industry will exceed $600 billion as the worldwide consumption of concrete is twice the steel and other building materials combined.

About Concrete Technology

What is Concrete Technology?

Concrete technology is the study of the properties of concrete and its constituents such as cement, aggregate, admixtures, etc and it has become a major branch of civil engineering. It has made marvelous improvements globally, though few Asian countries are still lagging, we are catching up fast with the rest of the world since concrete technology is becoming the backbone of the infrastructural evolution of every country.

We have to understand that concrete plays a key role in the construction industry including commercial, residential, and industrial infrastructures. The quality and performance of concrete make it the first choice even for transportation systems, power-generating infrastructures, military structures, dams, and other small to large structures.

Concrete is the most used artificial material and it has become so much popular over time that even a common man keeps basic knowledge about it. This has become possible because the constituents of concrete are easily available. Therefore, if you are to use or supply well-graded concrete with required properties, you must understand concrete technology and this blog will, therefore, help to generate better awareness of Concrete Technology and Quality Concepts.

Development in Concrete

Concrete's popularity has resulted in many development and innovation in the construction industry due to its versatility and mouldability and one should not be surprised by concrete being used from small pavements to huge expressways, from small culverts to long multi-span bridges since the discovery of the reinforcing and prestressing technique that has helped to overcome its weak tensile strength.

Today's engineers can't afford to be ignorant because of the stage where concrete is, here it is not sufficient to call it concrete only because, since its invention, concrete has traveled a long path, revolutionizing the construction industry. Still, many engineers and officials on the job seem to not working on the known techniques for tailoring desired properties of concrete to make the structure strong, durable, and economical.

Even in common society, today, people talk about "Ready-mix Concrete", "High-Performance Concrete", "Self Consolidating Concrete", etc.

Acknowledging the scale of development and rising graph of popularity of this material, ask yourself, if you can take a chance being ignorant about concrete technology and quality concepts.

A few years ago, we knew about M10 to M25 grade of concrete only. Today we are producing well above M60. Then we used to discuss the Nominal mix ratios like 1:2:4 for M15, 1:1.5:3 for M20, etc. while today we talk about Design Mix Concrete.

Earlier people's mentality was like 'Concrete can be made easily just by mixing some broken stones, sand from whatever source, and cement to make good concrete.' But the same proportion of the constituents can make bad concrete because the end product's nature depends more on quality control.

Then we were struggling for quality control of normal concrete now we are producing concrete with modified properties i.e Ready-mix Concrete, High-Performance Concrete, Ultra High-Performance Concrete, Self Consolidating Concrete, etc.

Before we used "Ordinary Portland Cement" now we are using various cementitious materials like 'Fly Ash', 'Micro Silica', 'Blast Furnace Slag', etc. blended with OPC. Today we have started using different generation admixtures to modify single or multiple properties of concrete like 'Compressive strength', 'Workability', 'Self Compacting', 'Initial Setting Time', etc with a highly reduced water-cement ratio.

There was a time when the compressive strength of concrete was only considered and much importance was given. Today we have understood that quality material is important for better compaction and curing of concrete therefore, we have become aware of the selection and proportioning of materials.

How has this become possible? It's because of the acceptance of concrete as the primary construction material. 

Concrete Technology and Ready Mix Concrete

Concrete Technology and Ready Mix Concrete

In the concrete industry, there has been significant improvement in the quality production of concrete. This concrete industry is Ready-mix Concrete (RMC). In an RMC plant, concrete is produced in a controlled batch where all the constituents of concrete have to pass through the strictest quality test before batching.

Then the desired grade of concrete is delivered to the site ensuring the workability of concrete and other quality measures. The concrete is then sampled and tested timely according to respective codes.

Due to the lack of manpower in Japan, they invented concrete in form of fluid that doesn't need a vibrator and self-compacts, this is called "Self Consolidating Concrete" (SCC). This invention has become a boon for modern concrete technology and the construction industry.

When this concrete is poured into a formwork, it flows and fills every nook and corner of the formwork with automatic compaction ensuring high compressive strength and long-lasting durability.

At present, the durability of concrete is also an important factor alongside the compressive strength of concrete. The service life of concrete structure depends upon durability and it depends on the water-cement ratio, compaction, and curing of concrete.

To reduce permeability and increase the durability of the structure we must ensure the concrete is well proportioned with minimum water-cement ratio and good compaction of fresh concrete and curing to be done to the fullest extent.

We have also started blending cementitious materials like Fly Ash, Slag, and Micro Silica in OPC to improve the durability of concrete. Micro silica plays a major role in the improvement of the durability of concrete as it has greater fineness compared to OPC which helps it to fill the micro spaces of the concrete matrix resulting in a highly compact mass with very little permeability and high compressive strength as well.

Concrete Production and The Process

If we talk about concrete production, it has two distinct ways of activities where both activities are equally important. One of the production is about the selection and proportioning of materials while the other is related to the process of production of concrete.

When we talk about the process of production of concrete it is related to mixing, transportation, placement, compaction, and curing of concrete which is responsible for the quality of the end product.

With so much development in concrete technology and the construction industry, no engineers can afford to be ignorant and with this intention, I have written this blog for my fellow engineers and officials involved in the concrete industry which should give the basic knowledge about concrete technology and the latest improvement in the construction industry.

Suggestions are invited to make the blog better and please share the post with your friends and families who are involved in the concrete industry and the construction industry.