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What Exactly Is Concrete, Anyway?

Most people who hear the word “concrete” automatically think of a building material which is hard as a rock, and that is absolutely correct. It is an artificial material which is made up of a binding agent which can be cement or lime, which is then mixed with aggregates such as sand or gravel, and water. When water is added to cement it becomes liquified, and this causes a chemical reaction which begins the process of crystallisation. Then the sand or gravel is added and the liquified cement holds everything together which finally produces concrete.

(By the way, the word “concrete” is also used in other ways to describe something solid, and the dictionary shows “concrete objects like stones”, and may also be something specific, such as “there isn’t any concrete evidence”).

What Is Cement?

Next, we need to ask ourselves “what is cement”? It is a major ingredient of concrete and consists mainly of limestone mixed with slates and shales. What’s a shale? It’s a “fissile rock formed by the consolidation of clay, mud, or silt” – fissile meaning that it is capable of being split or divided.

The limestone and shales are then ground to a powder and heated to a temperature of 1,450°C in a huge mixer called a cement kiln, which causes a chemical reaction called calcination. Today, the most common form of cement is Portland Cement which was first produced by one Joseph Aspdin in England in the early 1800’s. So now you know!

For many years, concrete has been produced on construction sites in a mixer. While this has worked quite well, there are disadvantages to producing it on site, not the least of which is the amount of labour involved.

Batches Are Not Identical

There is also the problem of no two batches being exactly the same. No matter how efficient workers try to be, when shovelling sand and cement into a mixer the amounts on each shovelful are never going to be identical. The amount of water may also vary.

This is why, when you need concrete in Swindon, or anywhere else around Oxfordshire, we produce ready-mixed concrete that we deliver to your site ready to be poured and used immediately. With the machinery that we use, and our expertise, this ensures that every batch of ready-mixed concrete in Swindon that we deliver is exactly the same as the last one.

We can also produce ready-mixed concrete to your own precise specification. It all makes for a much more efficient and effective production process, which is what you need on any construction project.