Modern concrete is a mixture of sand or gravel, also referred to as aggregate, Portland cement and water that is poured into a mold. When evenly distributed and exposed to air, the liquid concrete hardens into a solid structure. While the concrete making process may seem like a straightforward task, there are several factors to consider when mixing your concrete to achieve a successful, durable and attractive finished product.
For every building project, a specific concrete mixture is determined — the key to a strong concrete is its composition, or the proper proportion and mixture of the water, aggregate and other ingredients. Concrete mixture quality is largely determined by the cement paste and the aggregate and water ratio.
Mixtures that don’t have enough paste to fill the spaces between the aggregates will be difficult to form and will have a rough, porous surface, and those with too much paste will be easier to handle with a smooth surface, but can easily crack under certain conditions. Typically, properly mixed concrete will have 10 to 15 percent cement, 60 to 75 percent aggregate like sand or gravel and 15 to 20 percent water for proper durability and long-term strength.
When mixing large batches of concrete, take the following steps to ensure proper results:
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