Technological advancements in the last several decades have led to improvements in the quality of concrete being produced, including longevity. Experts in the field suggest that today’s concrete is designed to last for hundreds of years, not just decades. The website, AggregateResearch.com states that, “new concretes have better corrosion resistance, equal or higher compressive and tensile strengths, higher fire resistance, and rapid curing and strength gain. In addition, the production and life cycle of these new concretes will reduce greenhouse gas emissions by as much as 90%.”
So along with an improved performance for a broader range of applications, concrete is also becoming “greener”. By using new materials in the production process, an increase in recycling, and a change in mixture proportioning, concrete’s environmental impact has been reduced and the durability improved. New concrete mixtures such as High Performance Concrete (HPC), Ultra-High Performance Concrete (UHPC), and geopolymer concrete offer several advantages over traditional concrete and have few disadvantages.
HPC and UHPC are some of the concrete mixes that are produced using industrial waste by-products such as fly ash from coal burning, blast furnace slag, and silica fume. Using these by-products reduces the amount of portland cement required in the mix, which thereby cuts down on the amount of carbon dioxide emissions emitted while producing the cement. Another benefit to the by-products is that as they are plentiful, they generally are less expensive than portland cement.
Other new technologies include creating fiber reinforced concrete that is premixed with dry components to create higher tensile and flexural strength than in standard concrete. Some of the new concrete uses steel or other organic fibers. This concrete is denser and lighter weight that concrete reinforced with steel rebar and is being tested for use in earthquake resistant structures, bridges, and nuclear containment structures.
The Conco Companies are a leading supplier of concrete services for the Western U.S. and got our start in the Bay Area in 1959 by offering clients the best value on a wide range of concrete services and products. Since that time, we have taken a leading role as one of the top concrete contractors in the region. Our offices serve California, Colorado, Oregon, Washington and Nevada.