Cement is what makes strong concrete, but making cement is like a trip to chemistry class.
First, the right amount of calcium, silicon, aluminum and iron are ground into a fine powder and put into a cement kiln where the material is heated to nearly 2,732 degrees Fahrenheit. The process burns off some properties and creates other, more reactive, compounds with names like tricalcium silicate and tetracalcium aluminoferrite.
The high heat and production of new bonds causes the material to form lumps called clinkers, presumably because of the sound they make if dropped. The material is ground fine and mixed with other components, including gypsum.
Just Add Water
The resulting product is Portland cement, the most common type of cement used around the world. Portland cement was developed in the 1800s and named in honor of the Isle of Portland in England.
The major components in cement are highly soluble in water. When water is added to the cement, chemicals bonds are broken and others created releasing heat. As the reaction continues ions of calcium and hydroxide are produced until it saturates the system and the two types of ions combine to form calcium hydroxide crystals. At the same time, calcium silicate hydrate crystals also form filling in the voids throughout the mixture to form strong concrete.
The paste is mixed with filler material known as aggregate. The combination of cement and aggregate is what makes concrete. As concrete sets in a few hours, the chemical reactions deep inside continue. It takes years for concrete to fully cure. As it does, it continues to strengthen.
Mixing the concrete thoroughly is important to make sure each molecule gets the correct amount of water and that cement covers every particle in the mix.
For all your precast concrete needs, contact us at Del Zotto Products today.