Lightweight Concrete made of foamed cells
A flexible material known as lightweight concrete or foamed concrete is made mostly of cement-based mortar that has been combined with at least a small amount of air by volume. It offers good thermal insulating qualities, a regulated low strength, low self-weight, high flowability, and low aggregate consumption.
Porous concrete includes foam concrete. It is comparable to aerated concrete in terms of its attributes and applications. There are several methods to characterize foamed concrete. In spite of the fact that it has a variety of names, such as cellular concrete, foamed concrete, and closely related substances like air-entrained concrete is frequently confused.
Comparison between normal concrete and the Foam Concrete
Contrary to normal concrete, lightweight foamed concrete has an extremely fine pore structure and is created by mixing cement, water, fine aggregate, and a foaming agent.
For as long as the finished product is exposed to the atmosphere, foam or bubble agents are employed in concrete to absorb moisture, allowing the cement to continue to hydrate and grow stronger over time.
Normally, it is obvious that lower densities yield weaker strengths, since even at the highest densities, it does not yield strengths, so the fact that lower densities result in weaker strengths is not surprising.
The main method of making foamed concrete involves entrapping air bubbles within cement paste or mortar. The process can be done mechanically or chemically:
1. It is best to pre-foam an appropriate foaming agent with water & then combine it with paste or mortar to form the foam.
2. In order to obtain a stable mass with the desired density, add a quantity of foaming agents to the slurry and whisk the mixture together.
The selection of the material plays a very important role in achieving high-performance and quality foamed concrete.
As a result of curing, newly poured concrete is prevented from drying out too quickly during its first day. This results in any tendency to fracture being reduced, as well as concrete strength being allowed to develop during its first day. There is a high percentage of concrete that is cellular concrete that is air-curing.
The curing process can be sped up by heating, steaming, or using chemicals. As soon as the casting is complete, the hardening chemical is applied in order to reduce excessive water loss and boost the strength of the product.
Benefits of Lightweight Concrete
The foam helps reduce building dead weight, resulting in a more cost-effective structural design. The use of less material and a more cost-effective structural design will ultimately lower the cost of the building itself, which will ultimately benefit the user. Below is a list of some advantages:
Decrease in loads
Smaller footing, fewer piles, smaller pile tops, and less reinforcing, among other things, maybe the outcome of the reduction in foundation loads.
Reduced dead loads may lead to smaller supporting members, which would save costs significantly and increase space availability. Lower inertial seismic forces would result from the reduced dead load. Pre-cast parts that are lighter and smaller require less expensive handling and transportation equipment.
Material savings from other raw materials
Continued with significant raw material savings as no gravel is needed in this instance, lowering the dead load of high-rise structures.
Given that a significant quantity of steel is only required to support the weight of the building, the amount of steel required for a high rise will decrease by hundreds of tonnes, resulting in savings for everyone.
Insulation against the heat
In the design and construction of buildings, thermal insulation is becoming more and more critical. The sandwich structure of a wall is insulated using a variety of expensive materials and techniques, including adding rigid insulation.
The optimum answer is to include thermal insulation in the concrete mix, as is the case with air-cured cellular lightweight concrete.
To learn more, watch the following video tutorial.
Video Source: Anime_Edu - Civil Engineering Videos
The self-leveling principle
Foam concrete fills even the smallest holes, cavities, and seams within the pouring area since it is inherently self-leveling and self-compacting. Foam concrete creates a foundation that is completely compressed over the soft subsoil in excavations or poor soils that are difficult to compact.
Regular, granular concrete backfill that is compacted next to retaining walls or substantial foundations may result in displacement or damage to the nearby structure. Foam concrete's decreased lateral loading provides a secure solution in this situation.
The increased face of Constructing
The absence of aggregate creates the ball-bearing effect of the foam and makes cellular concrete of much higher consistency. It distributes evenly & fills all voids completely ensuring uniform density all over. In this way full-height walls of a complete building can be poured in situ in one step, thus speeding up the construction considerably.
Efficiencies & Cost Savings
Foam concrete is a practical and affordable alternative, especially in high-volume applications where its use may have an impact on other construction-related factors. It is evident from the aforementioned benefits that they all result in time and money savings. Lower maintenance expenses are a result of foam concrete's greater endurance.
Rapid installation of high-volume equipment lowers installed unit costs, saves on labor expenses, etc. Producing foamed concrete for casting, pouring panels, blocks, or even whole walls for dwellings only requires a small number of employees.