Have you ever wondered how concrete is made? Basically, concrete is a combination of stone and paste. However, there are certain skills to get the right mix. More specifically, the paste is a Portland cement and water mix which should lining the small, smooth stones or aggregate and larger, coarse aggregate to form a good concrete mix. A chemical reaction called hydration occurs then the mixture hardens and strengthens which is when we see the final result of hard concrete.
You may not have thought much about concrete in the past but it’s a pretty amazing substance. When it is initially mixed, it is similar to plastic and is simple to set up, but during hardening into a position, it is incredibly strong and durable. This explains why concrete is such a familiar sight in our urban areas, serving as pathways, roads, motorways, bridges, property and dams. If you are in need of this tough substance for your home projects, be sure to check Derby Ready Mix Concrete at a site like https://www.bestmix.co.uk/
So, how does the ideal mix get made?
The secret of success is the proportion of concrete materials and how you mix them. Too little paste and you will be left with a difficult mix to use, that makes rough edges and will become porous. Mix with too much paste and it will be more susceptible to cracking. That is why it is so important to get it right and best left to the professionals.
The paste is created when water is added, allowing the substance to completely cover every part of the small rocks and larger sand particles (known together as aggregate). The quality of the paste mix affects the quality of your concrete and this is where the process becomes complex. The strength of the paste is also dependent on the cement-water ratio. It is calculated as the weight of water divided by the weight of the cement. Concrete is best made by reducing the ratio water to cement ratio without compromising the effectiveness and workability of the final result. Ideally, the concrete should be approximately 15% of cement, aggregate of 60-75% and 15-20% water.
Any type of natural water can be used in the mixing process as long as there is no odour or taste. When there is a high level of pollutants in the water, it can have an impact on the time it takes for the concrete to set and how strong it becomes. Unclean water in the process can also lead to a shorter life, corrosion, easier staining and instability. Most mixtures have certain specifications set for amounts of impurities such as sulphates, chlorides, alkali and solids in the water. The type of rock and sand used, and their size has a large impact on the final result, as well.