Building Concrete Wall Over Other Materials
Building concrete wall structures is the most common and widely-used type of construction in the world. From the Latin "concretus," meaning condensed, concrete refers to a material used in construction made of cement and other cementitious materials, water, and chemicals. Concrete can be and is used in almost every building structure since ancient times. The Egyptian pyramids used concrete in their construction.
Some Examples of Concrete Uses
- Mass concrete structures such as gravity dams or tornado shelters.
- Reinforced concrete structures containing steel reinforcing for added resistance to stress.
- Prestressed concrete structures used reinforced concrete to protect against added stresses.
- Concrete textures where concrete is cast and molded into different textures and used for decorative concrete applications.
Why is Concrete Used More than any Other Material?
Concrete has a service life of one hundred years so, when it is used, other materials and resources can be conserved. It consists of natural materials that are easily attainable and in great supply such as water, sand and crushed stone. Concrete does not necessitate any trees to be cut down and the land required to create concrete is negligible compared to the amount of land required to harvest trees for construction lumber. However, like trees, concrete does absorb CO2, reducing its carbon footprint. Although during the production process of concrete, there are CO2 emissions, new PLC or Portland-limestone cement is being used which results in much less emissions.
Concrete is usually made relatively close to where it will be used so it does not require much energy usage for transportation. Further, over the life of a building, concrete is very energy efficient. Concrete leaks far less air than wood frame structures. Because concrete has significant thermal mass, it stores and releases energy needed for heating or cooling and provides benefits by reducing temperature changes and, subsequently, heating and cooling costs
Fire Safety and Quality of Life
Concrete does not burn and it stops fires from spreading. Since it is so strong, it provides safety from collapse, allowing safe egress from a building for its occupants and access to the building for firefighters in case of a fire emergency. It does not emit smoke or toxic fumes. Neither fire nor water affect its structure so repairs after a fire emergency are made easier.
Besides being fire-safe, concrete provides better safety than other materials from high winds and when properly designed, it also provides superior resistance to earthquakes as well. It will not rust, rot or grow mold. It also withstands extreme temperatures and temperature shifts very well. Therefore insurance on concrete structures is significantly lower than other types of structures.
As mentioned above, concrete does not give off toxic gas or toxic organic compounds as other materials may so air quality is excellent. It does not need any sort of sealant and is easily cleaned. It is also makes a much quieter building because it insulates sound.
Recycling and Recyclable
Concrete can be recycled into things such as road fill and recycled materials can be used to make concrete. Concrete can also be used to store other waste products.