Over long decades, man has used concrete for the construction of monolithic structures and the construction of roads. The main quality of concrete, which is widely used in construction, is its durability. Concrete is comparable in strength to stone, but it is much more convenient to work with: it can be given any shape. It is the combination of strength and ease of handling that has made it so popular.
But, if the strength of the stone is apparent initially, the strength of concrete depends on many factors. Concrete starts with cement, a water-hardening powder that is mixed with water and aggregates. Then the resulting mixture is placed in the formwork, after which a long curing process begins. Each of these stages affects the strength and durability of the material.
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Why do you need to know the durability of concrete?
Concrete is used in almost any construction, be it residential buildings or outbuildings. Depending on the type and stage of construction, the requirements for building materials can vary significantly. So, for example, different grades of concrete are used for pouring foundations and erecting walls.
Concrete grade, in turn, is determined by its durability and strength. The durability of concrete is the essential characteristic that determines the properties and performance of concrete structures and elements of building structures. Knowledge of concrete strength & durability indicators will allow avoiding many undesirable consequences for building structures.
For example, the use of concrete with an insufficient level of strength. It can lead to a decrease in the performance of the building, the appearance of cracks, premature destruction, and early failure of the building. Determining the strength & durability of concrete is also a mandatory procedure for developers before putting a building into operation.
How to increase the durability of concrete?
Initially, it is essential to note the technology of solution hardening. It should be filled with a relatively thin stream. The appearance of splashes or the use of intense pressure is unacceptable. This will lead to the formation of numerous internal voids. They significantly reduce the strength of the structure, which negatively affects the service life.
In order to improve the durability of the concrete, special vibrators can be used during the curing phase. They are pins stuck at the same distance from each other throughout the entire area. The devices vibrate at a particular frequency.
In addition, many ways to improve the durability of concrete during its operation. Exposure to moisture is one of the most damaging effects. If it is not stopped, then slow destruction of the structure occurs. It will accelerate significantly in case of sudden temperature changes. Performing competent waterproofing will eliminate the impact of such a factor.
How the technical factors affecting the durability of concrete?
There is a linear relationship between the durability & strength characteristics of the concrete product and the activity of the binder. The higher the activity, the better the strength indicators.
The water used for mixing the mixture is taken from the drinking water supply system or checked in the laboratory for the presence of impurities that negatively affect the quality of the final product.
The amount of binder:
An increase in the binder content positively affects the durability characteristics only up to a certain percentage. Above, the strength indicators grow insignificantly while other technical parameters deteriorate – shrinkage and creep increase.
The required workability grade determines the optimum value. Usually, the mixture contains 40-70% water. Exceeding the optimal amount of liquid initiates the formation of pores that reduce the durability of the final product.
When vibrating of the concrete mix, excess air comes out of the mixture. It reduces the durability characteristics. Excessive vibration but leads to delamination of the mixture.