Portland Concrete- The Most Commonly Used Concrete

The most commonly used and widely known concrete is Concrete Portland. It is made by mixing fine and coarse aggregates, water and Portland cement. It can be modified in a number of ways. This concrete was developed in England in the middle 19th Century from other types of hydraulic lime. Some facts about the concrete:

  • Concrete Portland is caustic and hence can cause burns.
  • It can cause irritation and also lung cancer if severely exposed to it.
  • It contains many hazardous components, so it’s important to be careful while working with it.
  • It consumes high energy in mining, manufacturing and transporting.
  • It releases greenhouse gases and other harmful gases.
  • The easy availability of raw materials used in making it makes it low cost.

Where can you use a packet of Concrete Portland?

The low cost Concrete Portland has many uses. Some of them are listed below:

Concrete Portland

  • For making cost effective and beautiful driveways.
  • For making Patio.
  • For making strong and long lasting basements.
  • For Sidewalks.
  • For building homes.
  • For making curbs.
  • For building parking areas.
  • For making bridges.
  • For constructing dams.
  • For making skyscrapers.
  • For building swimming pools.

The different types of concrete available in the market

Concrete Portland comes in six different types. Let’s look into them one by one.

  • Type 1: This kind of concrete is used for general purpose. It contains fairly high quantity of tricalcium silicate. This gives the concrete good early strength development. It is used in the general construction like buildings, bridges, precast units, pavements and the likes.
  • Type 2: This Concrete Portland has moderate resistance to sulphate attack. It has low quantity of tricalcium aluminates. It is used in building structures that are exposed to the soil or water that contains sulphate ions.
  • Type 3: This type is grounded more finely and has slightly higher tricalcium silicate than type 1. It is designed to develop high early strength and is used in rapid construction and cold weather concreting.
  • Type 4: This type of Concrete Portland releases heat more slowly than the type. This means it also gains strength comparatively slowly, hence helpful in maintaining fast pace of construction. This type is now rarely used.
  • Type 5: This type has highly resistant to sulphate and contains very low tricalcium aluminates. It is used in making structures that are highly exposed to heavy levels of sulphate ions.
  • White concrete: This type is made with the ingredients that are low in iron and magnesium. It is used in decorative constructions and has properties similar to the type 1 concrete.

Concluding with a backdrop – A small historical perspective

This concrete was developed from natural cements that were made in Britain Sometime in the middle of 18th Century. It has got its name from the similarity it bears to the Portland stone. In late 18th Century it was imported to US from Britain and Germany. By the beginning of 20th century, American made Portland concrete had ousted most of the imported concrete. This concrete has come a long way since then. Even though it is cheaper than other concrete, Concrete Portland could be dangerous if handled carelessly.