Not all concrete is created equal. Throughout the years, construction engineers have distilled cement mixing down to a science, adding different materials to the mix in order to produce the best concrete for the job at hand. Vastly different slabs of concrete can be made just by altering the cement formula even the slightest bit.
While the water to cement ratio is often the most important variable determining a cement mix’s strength, there are dozens of other materials that can be added to a mix to change its characteristics in often surprising ways. Read on to see how construction materials like the ones we sell and ship are used to create the perfect cement for the job!
- Water Reducers—When added to concrete, these chemicals reduce the amount of water a cement mix needs to produce the desired slump, or malleability. As less water content results in stronger concrete, these admixtures can produce a sufficiently malleable cement that hardens into concrete that’s much harder than untreated cement would.
- Retardants—These slow the rate at which cement hardens into concrete, allowing it to remain workable longer. They’re especially useful in hot weather, as higher temperatures can cause cement to harden into concrete at a much higher rate than in cool weather.
- Accelerators—On the other end of the spectrum, these admixtures reduce the time it takes for cement to harden and gain strength. These are used if a job requires that cement sets quickly and are especially useful in cold weather, where cement’s rate of hardening is slower.
- Superplasticizers—When added to a mix, these chemicals dramatically increase the cement’s slump, resulting in extremely fluid and workable concrete. The effects only last an hour at most, so they need to be added on the job site immediately before the cement is placed.
- Specialties—Other admixtures fulfill very specific roles and can be very useful in specialized situations. They include corrosion inhibitors, which protect reinforcing steel from environmental damage such as chloride; shrinkage reducers, which help eliminate cracks resulting from drying shrinkage; alkali-silica inhibitors; and aggregates, which can serve as filler and reduce the cost of a construction job.
We hope you found this interesting and learned a thing or two about some of the uses for the construction materials we sell and ship here at NickelRock. No two construction jobs are the same, so using the right materials in a cement mix is key to producing the optimal concrete for the job.
Contact us if you have any further questions about construction materials or need materials for your next project. We’ll ship materials to any site in the Central Texas area!
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