Concrete is defined as a mixture of coarse aggregate bonded with fluid cement in a definite ratio that hardens over a period of time. When the aggregate is mixed together with cement and water, the mixture forms the fluid slurry that can be easily poured and molded into shape. The cement basically reacts chemically with the water and other constituents that binds the materials together into a hard material that attains a particular level of strength if left for the specified time span.
One such development in the field of Civil engineering is the development of the light weight concrete blocks also termed as cellular concrete also termed as foamed concrete. Cellular concrete is made by mixing sand, fly ash, water and most importantly Portland cement and preformed foam in various proportions. One of the over powering important feature of these cellular weight concrete is that its self compacting nature and thus the compaction is not required during the setting of the blocks.
Important constituents of cellular lightweight concrete are- Foam, Fly ash, and Cement. Foam is an important constituent, the air content is maintained at 40 to 80 percent of the total volume. The size of the bubbles varies from around 0.1 to 1.5 mm in diameter. The main raw material for foaming is Genfil. Fly ash an industrial waste is one of the key ingredients of cellular lightweight concrete, and the last part of this mixture is cement with it variations either can be Portland cement, cement-silica, cement-pozzolana, lime-pozzolana; lime-silica pastes.
In this process the batches are formed by combining key elements in concrete mixer. The properties such as strength and dry density differ based on the compositions. It is formed by mixing mortar and perforated foam under pressure in the static mixer at a proper ratio.
The foamed concrete is produced in varied ranges such as-
- Lower densities (400 –600 kg/m3):
- Medium densities (800-1000 kg/m3)
- High densities (1200 to 1800 kg/m3)
The advantages of light weight concrete is that it is light weight in nature, fire resistant, thermal insulated, termite proof, cost efficient, environment friendly, resistant towards freezing issues. The application of light weight concrete is that it is utilized as thermal insulation in the form of bricks on non-loading walls. It has a significant role in soil water drainage purpose, application in the bridge to prevent freezing, Production of special light heat resistant ceramic tiles etc. The applications of the cellular light weight concrete cannot be expressed in words as this is rapidly covering the market requirements by replacing the bricks. It is seen as a replacement to bricks in the near future.
This innovation in the field of concrete technology is the most efficient and economical and is making its presence felt all across the globe. One of the major fact is that it had been widely accepted in India basically in southern states. This is making the country having lots of job opportunities of Civil engineering in the market in the current scenario.
Focus should be made to have a cutting edge, world class infrastructure so that a country can easily move from a slow or choked growth which can only be achieved with the help of Civil engineers and its landmark innovations and one such example is cellular concrete.
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