Concrete is a substance made of various coarse conglomerations containing particulate content like gravel, sand, slag, and crushed stone, which are bonded with cement. Portland cement is the common type of cement used in most concrete mixtures; consider it a standard. However, if you specifically need a different kind of cement, then you are free to do what you must. Concrete can be bought in small quantities, usually in bags of 60 or 80 pounds, or in large quantities in concrete mixer trucks.
Accurate and correct mixing of concrete is vital to achieving a uniform and durable concrete. This incorporates the mixture of cement, water, aggregate, and other preferred additives. Making concrete requires time and it has to be set prior to its hardening process, while it is still viscous. For special situations, like when the concrete needs to dry faster than usual, other agents can be added to quicken the drying process.
Various mixtures are used to manipulate the behavior of concrete depending on the situation or environment. Compounds that quicken the drying process of concrete are called accelerators. A good example is the low-cost calcium chloride. However, in situations where the concrete has been reinforced with, say, steel, a non-chloride agent should be used to prevent the steel from corrosion. Retarders are agents that are used to increase the drying period of concrete, usually in hot environments. Another mixture is fly ash, which is used to make the concrete easier to manipulate and reduces the amount of cement used in mixing the concrete. To increase the durability of the concrete, ‘air entrainment’ is an agent that can be employed.
A concrete calculator is used to determine the correct portions for mixing the best concrete for a construction project or any other project where it will be used. It evaluates the weight and volume of concrete required to cover a specified area. In addition, it determines the amount of bags of concrete needed for a project according to the conventional 60 or 80-pound bags. Trying to determine these proportions manually is both time consuming and risky in the event there are miscalculations. The good thing with concrete is that more often than not, it hardens firmly enough to guarantee the successful completion of a project.
However, with the wrong calculations, the concrete may not dry uniformly, leading to a project that looks like amateurs did it. If you don’t mind this, then at least ensure you make your estimates as close as possible to the right proportions. A slightly worse scenario is mixing an insufficient quantity of concrete than what was required for the project. The worst-case scenario is mixing the concrete in wrong proportions such that the final structure ends up being weak to the degree of collapsing. Instead of taking all these project-shuttering and life-threatening risks, it makes sense to just use a concrete calculator and save yourself both time and energy.
Curing is the procedure of hardening that concrete goes through after it has been placed. As indicated earlier, the process can sometimes be quickened but usually, it is gradual. It normally takes about a month for concrete to attain 90% of its hardness strength; however, the strengthening phase can sometimes last for nearly three years. To increase the strength of the concrete in the course of the initial phases of curing, one should ascertain that it is damp. To achieve this, one uses methods like spraying the concrete slabs with mixtures that create a layer that retains water on the concrete, and ponding, which is an approach that involves submerging the concrete in water and covering it with plastic.
The ideal concrete mix should be workable such that it makes it possible for proper placement and consolidation to take place. The hardened concrete should be allowed to attain the maximum preferred strength or hardening, for it to be durable. The water to cement ratio is often an issue. The concrete calculator comes in handy here. Too much water often means using an unnecessary amount of cement, which increases the cost of projects. To save money, water should be used sparingly when mixing concrete.
I hope that helps in helping you get an excellent concrete mixture to guarantee the successful completion of your project.