What is Concrete and what are the Properties of Concrete

What is Concrete and what are the Properties of Concrete

  • Concrete is a mixture of portland cement, water, aggregates, and in some cases, admixtures.
  • The cement and water form a paste that hardens and bonds the aggregates together.
  • Concrete is often looked upon as “man made rock”.
  • Concrete is the most widely used construction material in the world.
  • In the United States almost twice as much concrete is used as all other construction materials combined.
  • Concrete is a versatile construction material, adaptable to a wide variety of agricultural and residential uses.
  • Concrete has strength, durability, versatility, and economy.
  • It can be placed or molded into virtually any shape and reproduce any surface texture.

    Grand Coulee Dam - Properties of Concrete
    Grand Coulee Dam – Properties of Concrete

Grand Coulee Dam, which used nearly 10 million cubic yards of concrete, making it one of the largest portland cement concrete projects in history. Demand for concrete with higher strength and better quality, coupled with larger and faster mixer trucks, led to the emergence of the ready-mix concrete industry in the post-World War II period. The ready-mix concrete producer has made concrete an appropriate construction material for many agricultural applications.

Properties of Concrete

  • With proper materials and techniques, concrete can withstand many acids, silage, milk, manure, fertilizers, water, fire, and abrasion.
  • Concrete can be finished to produce surfaces ranging from glass-smooth to coarsely textured, and it can be colored with pigments or painted
  • Concrete has substantial strength in compression, but is weak in tension.
  • Most structural uses, such as beams, slats, and manure tank lids, involve reinforced concrete, which depends on concrete’s strength in compression and steel’s strength in tension.
  • Since concrete is a structural material, strength is a desirable property.
  • Compressive strengths of concrete generally range from 2000 to 5000 pounds per square inch (psi), but concrete can be made to withstand over 10,000 psi for special jobs.

Components of Concrete

Portland Cement

Aggregate – sand, gravel, crushed rock


Admixtures – when necessary


Concrete is a highly versatile construction material, well suited for many agricultural applications. It is a mixture of portland cement, water, aggregates, and in some cases, admixtures. Strength, durability, and many other factors depend on the relative amounts and properties of the individual components. A perfect mix can result in poor quality concrete if correct placement, finishing, and curing techniques under the proper conditions of moisture and temperature are not used. When specifying and ordering concrete, the customer should be prepared to discuss such things as:

  • Amount of concrete required,
  • use of the concrete,
  • type of cement,
  • minimum amount of cement per cubic yard
  • maximum water-cement ratio
  • any special admixtures,
  • amount of air entrainment,
  • desired compressive strength,
  • amount of slump, and
  • any special considerations or restrictions

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