Concrete: Product of the Past, Present and Future
Ready mixed concrete can no longer be considered a commodity. With the advent of improved technology, ready mixed concrete is adaptable to any type of application whether you need more flowability, higher strengths, or adjustment to site and weather conditions. It is one of the most widely used construction materials in the residential, agricultural, commercial, and ICI markets. As the market for ready mixed concrete expands with the use of new technologies, several new products come to light. In the residential market Insulating Concrete Form (ICF) technology has been on the increase in the market.
These are a series of insulating eps boards that are connected with a plastic web system to from blocks. The concrete is then poured in between these stay-in-place forms to offer a solid building envelope resulting in a highly efficient building. The learning curve for constructing these structures is short but experience working with concrete is a necessity. The use and the growth of these systems continue in the marketplace as builders look to competitive products to set them apart in the crowd and meet the specific needs of a much more sophisticated clientele.
On the paving side, the use of a concrete for municipal minor and major arterials has always been the material of choice for long term durability and performance. Today it is competitive on the basis of first cost. The RMCAO offers a free assessment program called the Pavement Design Assistance Program (PDAP) which will determine the first cost of road paving or a parking lot conversion to concrete.
One of the latest technologies that will redefine the use of ready mixed concrete is a product called Self-Compacting or Self-Leveling concrete. Essentially this product can be made as highly flowable as possible with no segregation of the aggregate. The mixture will flow around corners, crevices and reinforcing steel easier than other types of concrete. High strengths can be obtained and the bond to other concrete surfaces is excellent. This new product opens the doors for hard to reach or difficult areas to form. The potential for this product is only limited by the imagination.
The “bible” of the ready mixed concrete industry remains the Canadian Standard Association CSA A23.1 “Concrete Materials & Methods of Concrete Construction” (2014). It faces the challenges objective-based or performance specifications.
Written By: Ross Monsour, Ready Mixed Concrete Association of Ontario