What is Concrete?
Concrete is easily and readily prepared and fabricated in all
sorts of shapes and structural systems. Its great simplicity
lies in the fact that its constituents are ubiquitous and are
readily available almost anywhere in the world 1. As a
result of its ubiquity, functionality and flexibility it has become
by far the most popular and widely used construction material in
the world 2.
The material concrete is often confused with the material
cement. Cement is one of the many constituents of concrete, part of
the glue that holds the other materials together. Concrete is made
by mixing cement, supplementary cementitious
, fine aggregate
(sand), coarse aggregate (gravel or
crushed stone) with or without admixtures
, fibres or pigments.
The ingredients are proportioned and engineered to produce a
concrete of a specific strength and durability, so it is 'fit for
purpose' for the job for which it is intended. It can be produced
in the form of precast
products or as ready-mixed
concrete, which is delivered in the
familiar rotating concrete lorry.
There are literally thousands of sites throughout the UK from
which concrete can be sourced. One of the major sustainability
benefits of concrete is that it is almost entirely sourced from
within the UK, with the average delivery distance for all
concrete being 46km 3.
To find out more about concrete products, please use the
References and further reading
1. Parrott, L, Cement, Concrete and Sustainability,
British Cement Association, 2002
2. Hawken, P, Lovins, E and Lovins, H, Natural Capitalism -
creating the next Industrial Revolution, Little Brown and Co,
3. Ninth Concrete Industry Sustainability Performance
Report, MPA The Concrete Centre