SIT BACK AND RELAX
This page is designed to keep you up to date with what's going on with concrete in the world. All the articles linked here are not property of p-concrete, but available on the internet.
This is just a shortcut to the most juicy news about concrete.
Slabs are one of the most used element for foundations, they look easy to handle and very effective.
But how can the bracing walls be well fixed onto this foundation? Is there some issue that have to be pondered over?
The following article goes in depth into this topic:
There are people who thik that concrete admixtures are the only important element to get the desired performances, others who think that they are completely useless, others that strongly believe in admixture's irreplacebility but still values other aspects of the concrete mix as equally important. What's your point of view? Why not getting some insight in the admixture world?
As we all know well concrete is a semi-finished product. Which implies that there are several operations to be performed on site in order to have the final structure fulfilling the requirements....so it's not only all about concrete (the raw material) but a lot stands on the shoulders of the workers on site. The following article is a complete overview of do and don'ts:
This is very interesting: How colloidal nano silica effects the SCC lightweight properties?
It's not something that can be discussed in the usual p-concrete style, so I am not going to attempt it. The best way is having researchers doing it. That's why here you'll find a great research:
Have you ever heard about "Geopolymers"? What are them? Can they be used with benefit in the concrete mixes? Some say that this is the future but is it?
The followng article cast some light on this topic and provides with some answers
Can you name all the different causes of concrete deterioration? Can you explain how does that happen? Knowledge is power, power to do thing right at the first attempt!
The following article is a MUST READ! You will find exuisitely explained and with detailed pictures Types and causes of concrete deterioration
We all know, concrete can take whatever shape, but in order to do that proper formworks are needed.
Every element needs a specific type of formwork and skilled manpower in order to place them in the right way.
The following study is en extended discussion about this very important topic:
How the concrete mixer design affect the quality of concrete? How can the lifespan of the blades be prolonged?
Can the angle of the blades be modified in order to optimize the process and prolog the concrete mixer life?
You'll find exhaustive and extended answers in the following study:
Waste tires are a huge environmental issue. Pollution that results in using them as a fuel is quite massive.
Can concrete become a good enviroment allied hosting this kind of waste?
The linked article cast some light on this topic and deserves undoubtedly to be read:
Drivers in ready mix concrete industry or Operators in ready mix concrete industry? What's your point of view?
These actors are often underestimate when it comes about concrete quality....all in all they're just drivers right? Please read the following;
We are now living in a new "space era". But this time the idea of "space colonization" looks more realistic than in the past. That leads to some questions, like: "Can we use concrete in space? Can we build on Mars or maybe closer, like on the moon?"
Nasa has some answers to these questions and you can get some insight reading the following article:
In some areas of the world concrete is still batched on the building site or at least it is still possible to choose doing it or buying it from a ready mix manufacturer.
Why this second choice should always be the first choice? The following article gives good thought-provoking points:
I know, concrete is unreplaceable. And that's fine. But can we implement the construction industry with viable alternatives which maybe are more sustainable?
There are several interesting suggestions and ideas you can read in the following article:
Is concrete to be intended only for buildings, bridges, flooring and similar structures? Not really. You maybe agree with me on the aesthetic beauty of a good concrete properly casted and cured...well, turn this image into ...pieces of furniture! Maybe they'll be heavy, but for sure they will be unique! Read and watch the nice pictures in the following article:
The environmental issue is definitively actual and the cement industry (and so the concrete industry as its natural extension) must take crucial decision in order to reduce its significant footprint. Many are the possible solutions.
Read about some of the major goals in the following article:
Behind the scenes, or: how does concrete is batched? Industrial batching requires good concrete plants.
How do they work and which kind of machinery are involved in production? How can they have an effect on the final product? Which different types of mixers are available, and what's the difference between twin shaft and single shaft mixer? Find it out here:
Concrete and architecture. Brutalism. Raw concrete not only as a skin but as a plastic element which brings dreams to life.
If you are an aesthetic enthusiast and a "concrete lover" probably are hungry of images which depicts this concept.
The next article is just for you:
Urban agricolture, or in other words, using concrete as a crop!
Maybe it's not the most orthodox way to become a farmer, and just between us, I don't even know if it is a good idea or not; but still, it can work! Curious? I'm here just to "feed" your curiosity dear concrete readers:
It's a fight! Concrete VS Wood. Who is the winner? And why?
The one that you are going to read is an interesting article of the Cement Association of Canada. But don't be mislead, it's not an article for canadians only!
It's pretty common to see concrete trucks (please don't call them "cement trucks") running around the city and the city outskirt, busy in delivering their concrete loads.
But how do they work? What different types are available? Enjoy this article and the videos related:
What's better than a sip of well aged wine maybe aged into a wooden barrel? A sip of well aged wine aged into a concrete barrel! Really? Is concrete good to hande a task like that? Can the wine assume a good taste when aged into a concrete barrel?
Well, it looks like the answer is YES! So, what are you waiting for? Click the link and enjoy the reading....with a glass of wine!
Concrete flooring is a world apart. It has its rules and they are very demanding indeed. Not being aware of several little/big setails in the common practices to be adopted could turn into a huge fiasco.
What about the "foundation" of the concrete pavement? Why is that so important? This crystal clear article provides a good answer:
What about a car made of concrete? Com'on....stop kidding! Well, actually I am not kidding and it even works!
I know it sounds insane, but actaully, it is not!
Cars addicted + concrete addicted = READ THE FOLLOWING ARTICLE...or better, download it, it's a pdf!
Is concrete grey? Yeps, but also red, blue, yellow, green....at least for a while! Does anybody agree on that? Is colored concrete little by little fading into grey? What are the mechanisms behind colored concrete and what can be done in order to have a stable color? This very useful article will give you the answers:
When we think about concrete, we normally intend it as a quite heavy material which is used in the construction market. It's hard to see it used in other ways, but....what if I say that it is possible to build ships out of concrete? Would you say that I am totally out of my head? OK! Be ready to change your mind! Take a look to this article:
Concrete tends to decay because of several factors some from the inside-out other from outside-in. Many of these challenges can be prevented or at least partially preveted. Unfortunately in some cases that's not enough or in other circumstances concrete structures which are quite old (and so built with old technolgies) needs to be repared. What can be done? Read his article for some ideas: The Repair of Reinforced Concrete
Back to the basics. Why do we use cement in concrete? What else cement is used beside concrete? How many types of cement are there? Which are some of the advanteges from the use of concrete in construction?
The linked article answers to all these questions:
Honestly, I like concrete a lot and I think that, since you are reading my blog, you feel the same. BUT....have you ever thought about eating it???
Take just few minutes and laugh with me while reading the following article:
Recycling empty plastic bottles into sand to be integrated in conrete mix is no longer a fantasy. This plastic material can be disposed in a more healthy way and at the same time can even contribute to a "better concrete".
If you are sceptical about this, take just 3 or 4 minutes of your time and read this article:
Self Healing Concrete aka SHC is not equally popular all around the world. Some thinks it is a groundbreaking innovation, others are convinced that it's just useless while others are still in doubt about its properties.
For all of them who have a negative point of view or who thinks not to have enough info about SHC the following article could be a good help: Self Healing Concrete
Foam concrete is a mix used as insulation and systems covering. It is used for horizontal pourings.
What if it could be used as a vertical element? This is the subject of an interesting study aimed to evaluate the possibility of building foam concrete walls:
There are several ways in which concrete can contribute to pollution reduction, one of them is by implementing various types of waste into the mix. An interesting research developed in the US cast light on the use of waste latex paint into some concrete mix, with interesting results:
Don't get me wrong! It's not my goal to advertise to anyone here....but I think that this article is perfect for all the "concrete addicted". Wearing concrete seems impossible of even dumb....until you see this!
Curious? Well.....just click it on!
How many times have you read an article were concrete was named "cement"? Isn't it annoying? It looks like the world is totally unaware of simple things...but that's what it is!
If you know someone who still can't tell the difference....this is the article to read:
Today we speak a lot about durability and how concrete suffer from various attacks that accelerate its decay. But if we look back to history it looks like the ancient romans had found the mistrious trick to make "eternal" concrete since much of their concrete is still "alive" and sometimes even in use. What was their secret? Read about it in this intriguing article:
Concrete flooring is not just a money-saving choice. Concrete flooring can be a very attractive and versatile choice and polished concrete is the quintessence of the best results in terms of aesthetics and practicality.
This article is a full or definitive guide to the polished concrete universe:
The dream of flying....the dream of flying with concrete! No, I don't mean it in a metaphoric sense, I just mean it!
Taking to the sky with an airplane made out of concrete! Whaaaat? Insane? Well, to some extent, but still quite interesting isn't it?
You will enjoy the reading about this incredible story:
Augmented reality and concrete? The goal of this research is to use tubular geometries, using cheap and universal materials as formwork, such as PVC pipes and reinforcing bars, under computational design explorations, managing the active bending properties of the material through generative controlled curves through polygons. Read the article here:
Concrete and vinegar seems to have no connection at all, but can vinegar be a valid alternative to commercial cleaners when it comes to clean concrete surfaces in daily life? Can the concrete be damaged by vinegar?
Believe it or not this subject was investigated! Read the related article here:
Concrete is ....forever (just like diamonds). But what can we do with concrete when the structure is demolished? Many old buildings and public structures come to the end of their "life" and must be demolished and replaced. Unfortunately concrete can only be crushed, so how to reuse it in order to reduce its footprint? Good suggestions can be found in the following article:
The environmental issue is pivotal when we talk about sustainable construction. Re-use of waste concrete is a great idea but doubts about its performances are quite high. Recently at the university of Tokyo an interesting sinergy between waste concrete and waste wood was the subject of a research aimed to solve this issue with suprising results. Read the article:
Winter weather is quite challenging in the construction world. Concrete is no exception. Keeping its performances despite the low temperature is not easy, but it's doable. If adequately batched and used, concrete can be a big success even under the most severe weather conditions. The following article highlights 6 good suggestion in order to get the best out of concrete even during winter time: 6 Tips for Placing Concrete in Cold Weather
Almost 100% of the articles about concrete starts more or less this way: "concrete is the most used building material in the world...." OK, granted (an by the way, really boring introduction)! But was it always that way? What about its origins and a bit of its hystory? You can read a "delicious apetizer" in this fast reading article:
Concrete slabs and in particular concrete industrial flooring, suffer contractions, shrinkage and tensile stress. A way to increase concrete ductility in similar situation is introducing fibers in the mix.
A new interesting tendency is to integrate basalt fiber. Which are the benefits? This research cast some light:
Have you ever thought about the effect that lightnings can have on concrete? Me neither....until, I read this research. It is a downloadable pdf file what you are going to find at this link.
If you are curious as I was, well....just open it
Concrete is a conglomerate commonly made up with cement, aggregates water and admixtures. But there are other forms of cement-based conglomerate with other functions. One of the most common is the so called soil-cement known also as cement-stabilized base, or cement-treated aggregate base. You can read about it here:
Back to the origins of concrete....back to the Roman Empire!
Their use of concrete was game changer in construction. Today we have a huge debt toward this innovative culture. It is astonishing to realize that some of their concrete structures are still .... in use!
Read a little about it here: History of Construction | Roman Construction Advancements
The superiority of the ingenuity we can find in nature, compared to the man-made achievements, is unquestionable. The good thing is that what's present in nature is an infinite source of inspiration in many fields of research. Concrete is no exception. Read in the following article how 3D printed concrete can be further improved taking inspiration from the lobster shell:
Concrete is renowned for its ability to withstand compression but everybody knows about its low ductility and almost zero ability to bend. Nevertheless bendable concrete is no longer a myth; in recent years the world was surprised in discovering that concrete CAN also be bendable. What now if bendable concrete goes without cement? Impossible? Well...read this:
Translucent concrete is no longer a novelty, but still, it is a great breakthrough. Transforming a grey artifical stone into a light transmitting material is something that reminds all of us a sci-fi movie, isn't it?
But does this material (expensive indeed) have any future in real world, in the construction industry? Here's the answer:
We all know that concrete will get dry in time....is it true even when the concrete is underwater? Does concrete set underwater? How washout is prevented? Can durability be ensured? And at least, how can the concrete be cured when it is underwater?
Good answers to all these smart questions can be read in the following article:
Can glass be used as a partial replacement for cement? It would be pretty interesting environmentalwise and it could contribute even to a reduction of costs. Is it a good idea? Is there some study which could disclose some insight on this topic?
Unleash your fantasy! Concrete is the right material to do it! Take inspiration from the pictures and the ideas you can find in this article. Concrete is NOT a boring material even if its color is quite often just grey.
DIY with concrete and enjoy the versatility of the "artifical stone"...you will for sure find several other applications!
Concrete structures are advantageous for a plenty of reasons. In this interesting article is largly discussed how concrete can contribute dramaticaly to have high disasters resistance: fire attack, wind (up to tornado and hurricanes), flood, high humidity and rain, earthquackes, blast. Safe living is possible when surrounded by good quality concrete:
Concrete is often related to high water consumption. What if waste water is used? Could it be a viable soultion to an outstanding envronmental problem? A study was conducted on the effect of waste water when used in the mix of high performance concrete. It is quite an academic reading, but it is worthy the effort:
Glass is a recyclable material and it looks stunning when used in concrete...have you ever seen it? But there are several challenges in using crushed glass as for example ASR. Is it possible to deal with these issues? Are there any other benefits or advanteges in the use of crushed glass in concrete? Find the answers in the following article:
What is the toolbox every concrete contractor should have? What are the "must have" tools in order to optimize every concrete casting? Is it always worthy the investment to have all the possible tools?
That's a insightful article to read:
Building Information Technology aka BIM. What's its potential when it comes to concrete? How can BIM help finding problems "concrete related" before starting building? How can the database of information linked to concrete can result of some benefit? Find insight reading the following article:
Hollow bricks and concrete one of the most ancient combination. This stunning building was designed to enphasize both the materials and getting the best out of them. Enjoy the pictures and the much interesting related article-
Here's the link:
Son: "Dad, can I call it Bugs bunny cement?" Dad: "Why not kiddo? Long life to the Bunny"...Maybe nobody is going to call it "Bugs bunny cement" for real (or at least I hope so) but there are several interesting advanteges in this wierd combination. Does it mean that we will have "orange concrete", not really. However get some inspiration here: Carrot cement: How root vegetables and ash could make concrete more sustainable
Soft plastic like the one used for the shopping bags, for example, is quite hard to digest for the environment. Why not using it as a useful addition to concrete? Well...plastic and cement doesn't work well together....but that doesn't mean that it would be impossible! Impossible means only that one've never tried! The australian DID IT! Read this: An Australian research team found a way to recycle soft plastic into concrete – and it could have broader applications in construction
Concrete and cars. What's the connection...if there is one...
Yeps, it's just for fun! But can you imagine to drive a car on "concrete wheels?" There is someone out there that is so "out of his head" to try this "ultimate tuning". Fast and furious?....not really
Do you like concrete? Some people say "I love it"....that sounds wierd to some "how can you love a building material?"...well, for all who can give a clear answer to that rethorical question, talking about the beauty of concrete is not something out of the world, on the contrary concrete can be "brutally beautiful", agree? Sounds good! So you are the ones who can read that: Brutal beauty: how concrete became the ultimate lifestyle concept
Concrete without cement....is that ever possible? What kind of binder can replace cement? Is there something that could possibly be more eco-friendly and cheaper? Bacteria?! The concrete, developed by researchers at the University of Colorado, Boulder, uses bacteria as a binder. This leads to a material that can grow and even heal itself — much like a living organism. Bringing biology to bricks — concrete details on how to grow building materials
How to combine low thermal conductivity, high sound-absorbing efficiency, outstanding air and water permeability, light weight and fire resistance together with high mechanical performances? Why not taking inspiration from nature? Wood could be a great source of inspiration. If you want to read more about that, so just take a look here: Wood-inspired cement with high strength and multifunctionality
Is it possible to use recycled concrete not compromising in performances? The answer to this question can surprise you.
Please grab the opportunity to read "Recycled aggregate concrete from large-scale production to sustainable field application by University of British Columbia Okanagan researchers"
Here's the link: STUDY ON RECYCLED CONCRETE
Can we live without cement and so without concrete? Absolutely not. The problem is, as all we know, that cement production is the cause for very high pollution ratio. So in terms of sustainability it is vital for mankind to find a viable solution. Interesting researches and actions are now taking place. Read more on this interesting article: Scientists are taking concrete steps towards reducing cement’s massive carbon footprint
Sure! Concrete is heavy, even the structural light concrete is quite heavy. That's a structural issue, a problem when it comes about seismic areas and in the big picture it's even an environmental issue. Have you ever imagined that beach balls could help minimizing this problem? Curious? Than read this article: Bubble Deck Technology Uses Less Concrete by Filing the Slab With Beach Balls
Did you know that cement and salt can work as a composite material for thermal energy storage? Can you imagine all the possible applications? Doesn't that sound like a thought-provoking topic? Yes this is not exactly "easy reading" material, but it's worthy the effort! Check it out here: Cementitious composite materials for thermal energy storage applications: a preliminary characterization and theoretical analysis
Conrete and architecture, the perfect combination! Every year new stunning pieces of architecture are realized using both the most classical and the most advanced concrete available.
The linked article highlights 10 of the most interesting projects where concrete show off at its best, nice pictures here for the aesthetics lovers: Top 10 concrete projects of 2020
CO2 reduction is one of the most important goal in XXI century. How to make cement green? How can we use less cement in a more clever way? What if we start to think about sustainability not only in terms of renewable electricity or passengers transportation? Have a look to this article to find some ideas: Cement has a carbon problem. Here are some concrete solutions
Shine on you crazy diamond....do you remember this song? Well what about concrete that shine or even better....that glows? This is a groundbreaking way to use concrete! It is simply fascinating during the night and it can even help saving electic resources with a twist of magic. Would you like to have it in your garden? And what about inside your bathroom...read more about that here: New Concrete Aggregate Glows in the Dark
Using the sun light to clean the air by means of photocatalytic concrete....no, it's not the plot of a sci-fi movie! It's something real and simply astonishing. And what would you say if I add that there is nothing to be recharged or replaced so to have this incredible result going on day in and day out....forever? If I tickled your curiosity, than read this: Depollutant photocatalytic concrete (DPCC)
The green of the grass, the colours of the flowers and....the grey of the concrete! Concrete can trigger your fantasy when it comes to your garden. DIY taking inspiration from this article...it's not necessary to be a concrete technician or an expert to appreciate the multiple facettes in the use of concrete:
Normally concrete is totally harmless, but there are certain moments in its life where human health and safety could be in danger on different levels. Nothing that cannot be prevented or kept under control, but it is important to know when and how concrete is to be considered dangerous and how to handle it in the most safe way. If you want to go in dept in this topic, here's a good starting pont: Work Safely with Concrete and Cement
Strength against meteorites impact, mix without water, aggregates with virtually unknown chemical-physical characteristics...what is that? Concrete mixed on MARS! Space, the last frontier.....it looks like the future is now! Building on Mars? Quite a challenge but nothing is out of reach with the right kind of concrete....the red planet with the green men and the ..... grey concrete! All you need to know is here: Building concrete shelters on Mars
What if we could have at our disposal a kind of cement which particles could turn from disordered clumps into regimented shapes? Well, lesser porous concrete could be easier to design, increased durability and high mechanical strength would be easier to reach and why not, even lesser use of cement and so lesser CO2 with a large benefit for the environment. This is "Programmable Cement"...yes, you've read right. Read more here: The latest in concrete innovation: programmable concrete
Are you an audiophile? Do you like to listen to your favourit music using high end loudspeakers? Well, you should consider concrete as your next step! Really? Is concrete any good in connection with sound?
The article linked here provides with a really good and insiprational argument
You probably have heard about concrete with added air but have you ever heard about "inflatable concrete"? It is an interesting tecnique that can have a plenty of different applications.
If any curiosity about this topic arose in you, well, what are you waiting for? Just click the link and read about it!
Concrete strenght is one of the most required performance. Mistakenly some think that it's the only important value one have to know and check. Nontheless it is an important figure (even if not the only one or the most important). How can it be kept under control? The following article highlights some ways:
This time let me quote a portion from the linked article "Concrete is naturally an insulative material, but when we add nanocarbon black particles, it moves from being an insulator to a conductive material."
Isn't it quite interesting and inspiring? All you have to do is click on the following link and read about it:
Combining aesthetics, sound quality and concrete leads to a wonderful piece of design. This smartphone amplifier is definitively out of the box, cool and well performing. If you are able to read German please click on the following link, if you can't, click it anyway, at least you'll see what we are talking about!
Every day the concrete slurry sub-production is massive. That is a huge environmental issue and let's say it...a waste of money. Can this unpredictable, almost useless sub-product be reused? The study that is linked here highlits how concrete slurry can be turned to new life:
Aggregates are a very important part of concrete to the extent that they are even defined as the "bones" of the mix.
Which kind of aggregates can be used to batch quality concrete? What's the difference between coarse aggregates and fine aggregates? Discover more reding the following article:
One drawback of UHPC is their pretty high autogenous shrinkage stemming from their very low water-to-binder ratio. What’s the impact of various SRA, different mixing and curing conditions as well as different curing starting times and durations on the shrinkage of UHPC? This interesting study casts light on that.