5. Types of Concrete
A concrete may be any of several manufactured, stone-like materials composed of particles, called aggregates, that are selected and graded into specified sizes for construction purposes, usually with a substantial portion retained on a No. 4 (4.75 mm) sieve, and that are bonded together by one or more cementitious materials into a solid mass.
The term concrete, when used without a modifying adjective, ordinarily is intended to indicate the product formed from amix of portland cement, sand, gravel or crushed stone, and water. There are, however, many different types of concrete. Some are distinguished by the types, sizes, and densities of aggregates; for example, wood-fiber, lightweight, normal-weight, or heavyweight concrete. The names of others may indicate the type of binder used; for example, blendedhydraulic-cement, natural-cement, polymer, or bituminous (asphaltic) concrete.
Concretes are similar in composition to mortars (Art. 5.4), which are used to bond unit masonry. Mortars, however, are normally made with sand as the sole aggregate, whereas concretes contain both fine aggregates and much larger size aggregates and thus usually have greater strength. Concretes therefore have a much wider range of structural applications, including pavements, footings, pipes, unit masonry, floor slabs, beams, columns, walls, dams, and tanks.
For design of a concrete mix, ingredients are specified to achieve specific objectives, such as strength, durability, abrasion resistance, low volume change, and minimum cost. The ingredients are mixed together so as to ensure that coarse, or large-size, aggregates are uniformly dispersed, that fine aggregates fill the gaps between the larger ones, and that all aggregates are coated with cement. Before the cementing action commences, the mix is plastic and can be rolled or molded in forms into desired shapes. Recommended practices for measuring, mixing, transporting, placing, and testing concretes are promulgated by such organizations as the American Concrete Institute (ACI) and the American Association of State Transportation and Highway Officials (AASHTO).
Concretes may be classified as flexible or rigid. These characteristics are determined mainly by the cementitious materials used to bond the aggregates.
5.1 Flexible Concretes
Usually, bituminous, or asphaltic, concretes are used when a flexible concrete is desired. Flexible concretes tend to deform plastically under heavy loads or when heated. The main use of such concretes is for pavements.
The aggregates generally used are sand, gravel, or crushed stone, and mineral dust, and the binder is asphalt cement, an asphalt specifically refined for the purpose. A semisolid at normal temperatures, the asphalt cement may be heated until liquefied for binding of the aggregates. Ingredients usually are mixed mechanically in a “pug mill,” which has pairs of blades revolving in opposite directions. While the mix is still hot and plastic, it can be spread to a specified thickness and shaped with a paving machine and compacted with a roller or by tamping to a desired density. When the mix cools, it hardens sufficiently to withstand heavy loads.
Sulfur, rubber, or hydrated lime may be added to an asphaltic-concrete mix to improve the performance of the product.
5.2 Rigid Concretes
Ordinary rigid concretes are made with portland cement, sand, and stone or crushed gravel. The mixes incorporate water to hydrate the cement to bond the aggregates into a solid mass. These concretes meet the requirements of such standard specifications as ASTM C685, “Concrete Made by Volumetric Batching and Continuous Mixing,” or C94, “Ready-Mixed Concrete.” Substances called admixtures may be added to the mix to achieve specific properties both of the mix and the hardened concrete. ACI published a recommended practice for measuring, mixing, transporting, and placing concrete.
Other types of rigid concretes include nailable concretes; insulating concretes; heavyweight concretes; lightweight concretes; fiber-reinforced concretes, embedding short steel or glass fibers
for resistance to tensile stresses; polymer and pozzolan concretes, to improve several concrete properties; and silica-fume concretes, for high strength. Air-entrained concretes, which contain tiny, deliberately created, air bubbles, may be considered variations of ordinary concrete if in conformance with ASTM C685 or C94. (See also Art. 5.6.)
Because ordinary concrete is much weaker in tension than in compression, it is usually reinforced or prestressed with a much stronger material, such as steel, to resist tension. Use of plain, or unreinforced, concrete is restricted to structures in which tensile stresses will be small, such as massive dams, heavy foundations, and unit-masonry walls.
6. Portland Cement Concretes
This mixture of portland cement (Art. 5.2) fine aggregate, coarse aggregate, air, and water is a temporarily plastic material, which can be cast or molded, but is later converted to a solid mass by chemical reaction. The user of concrete desires adequate strength, placeability, and durability at minimum cost. The concrete designer may vary the proportions of the five constituents of concrete over wide limits to attain these aims. The principal variables are the water-cement ratio, cementaggregate ratio, size of coarse aggregate, ratio of fine aggregate to coarse aggregate, type of cement, and use of admixtures.
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