Concrete is a commonly used building material known for its resilience, sturdiness, and malleability which makes it ideal for many different types of projects. Nearly 20 billion tons of concrete are used around the world each year, making it the most popular building material around the globe. Some of the most amazing properties of concrete include:
It’s virtually soundproof
When a sound wave collides with an object, one of three things happens: the sound wave is reflected back towards its source, it is transmitted through the object, or it is absorbed by the object. Concrete is so effective at reducing sound because the majority of the sound will bounce off it and be reflected back. Some of the sound waves are also absorbed by the concrete itself. Only a small amount of the sound will be able to travel through the concrete if, depending on its thickness, any is able to get through at all, making concrete a highly effective noise barrier.
It has an incredibly high compression strength
Concrete has a PSI (pressure per square inch) strength of between 2,500 and 7,000. For reference, wood, on average, has a PSI strength of about 1,000 making concrete between two to seven times stronger than wood depending on the concrete mixture. In some cases, concrete compressive strength can reach 20,000 PSI. When reinforced with steel, concrete becomes even more sturdy and rigid.
It continues to strengthen for decades
Concrete reaches about 90% of its final strength at around four weeks after pouring. However, due to the conversion of calcium hydroxide into calcium carbonate, it can continue to strengthen for decades afterward because it absorbs carbon dioxide over time. Some bacteria also help strengthen concrete.
The Pantheon in Rome was built using concrete in approximately 126-128 AD. To this day, it is still considered the world’s largest, unreinforced concrete dome. Modern concrete has a lifespan, on average, of about 50 to 100 years.
Reinforced concrete is fireproof and waterproof
Reinforced concrete has a slow rate of thermal conductivity, meaning it doesn’t transfer heat well. Due to this, it becomes an effective shield against fire. It is also highly water-resistant on its own. With certain types of mixes, it can become virtually waterproof. This is why it is one of the most widely used materials for underwater structures.
It comprises most of the methods of transportation in the United States
Concrete is used in the construction of roads, curbs, bridges, and sidewalks. This is because concrete is strong, durable, and easy to shape to fit almost any need. It is also easier to maintain and cheaper than some other building materials. Asphalt, for example, is cheaper initially but requires more maintenance over time and doesn’t last as long.
It’s easy to make