What Exactly is Concrete Made From?

From high rise buildings and industrial structures to countertops and even decorative accessories in the home, concrete is a material we’re all familiar with, and we see it everywhere. However, one thing many of us don’t know is exactly what goes into making this versatile and robust material.

Ingredients

Most concrete solutions are made up of three basic ingredients: water, cement and aggregates. Special concrete formulations may contain extra ingredients, depending on the purpose of the concrete. For example, fibre reinforced concrete will have synthetic or metallic fibres added to the mixture to increase the strength and durability of the end product. Depending on the purpose of each concrete mixture, the concentrations and consistencies of the base ingredients will vary also. Our watertight concrete formula is designed to be used for water retaining structures and areas that need to be waterproof, because of these requirements we incorporate special admixtures during the batching stage.

Aggregates

In construction, the word aggregate refers to a mixture of rocks and stones. These can be sourced from a variety of natural materials including slag, lime or recycled materials. The consistency of aggregates can come in many forms also, from fine sand to larger stones and rocks.

Cement

You may have heard people use the word ‘cement’ to refer to what is in fact, concrete. You may even use these words interchangeably yourself, yet, despite the popular belief of many, concrete and cement are two different materials. Concrete is the end product of a cement, water and aggregate mixture. Cement is an ingredient in concrete, and is usually in the form of a powder. When mixed with water, cement is a binding agent which coats the aggregates and holds everything together; if we think of making concrete like making a cake, the cement would be the egg of the mixture.

Water

Without water a concrete mixture would just be dry ingredients. Water is essential for hydrating and binding the mixture. It is important to use the correct amount of water in order to achieve the type of concrete required. For mixtures which require a low permeability and high strength, less water is added, if a mixture requires more workability, more water will be added.