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 materials, water, fine aggregate (sand), coarse aggregate (gravel or crushed stone) with or without admixtures, reinforcement, 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.




Further information

To find out more about concrete products, please use the following links:

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, 1999

3. Ninth Concrete Industry Sustainability Performance Report, MPA The Concrete Centre