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How a Wall is Actually Made and what’s inside

Great big old buildings such as the Great Pyramid of Giza, Stonehenge and the Great Wall of China are amazing examples of how stone architecture can still be here with us after thousands of years. Although stone is one of the oldest and strongest building materials, it isn’t that simple and effortless to work with. It’s heavy and difficult to transport and awkward to work with, especially when it comes to shaping.  Just imagine if all those years ago, they could have made and moulded the stone right there on the spot out of some mixture. This would certainly have saved so much time and effort in shaping and moving.

Today

Luckily for us today, we do have that magical liquid stone, it’s called concrete. And even though concrete has been blamed for some aesthetically displeasing displays of architecture during the past 60 odd years, concrete is still out there as a pioneer of the modern world. From the Hoover Dam to the Sydney Opera House, you’ll find it in the planet’s tallest skyscrapers, longest and largest bridges, longest highways, deepest tunnels, and more than likely under the floor in your own humble place of abode. Concrete is rather incredible stuff, but what is it and how exactly is it made? Let’s take a look.

Etymology and Combination

The word “concrete” comes from a Latin word, concretus, meaning to grow together—and that’s exactly what happens to it when you mix its three basic ingredients, which are: water (15-20 percent), aggregate (60–75 percent, consisting of rock, sand, or gravel) and cement (10 – 15 percent). Cement, usually in a powder form, acts as a binding agent when mixed with water and aggregates. Blended together and mixed well, these three basic ingredients make a composite, or concrete mix, which is then poured and harden into the strong, hard and durable material which we are all familiar with.

Recipe

Just like any other kind of recipe, you can modify the mixture for concrete to manufacture concrete that flows faster, sets faster or harder, can withstand different weather conditions, or where a particular colour is desired for appearance.

Let’s Build! This time a Reinforced Concrete Wall

A concrete wall can serve many purposes. They can be used for decorative adornments in a garden or a yard, a retaining wall which keeps back soil or water, or markers for property. Many people choose to make concrete walls out of blocks, but the safest and strongest way is use reinforced concrete.  When it comes to the finest quality in steel reinforcement supplies in Australia, check out http://www.bestbar.com.au. As we’ve seen above, concrete is a composite material that works well in compression, but not so much when it comes to tension. That problem is solved by casting wet concrete around strong, steel reinforcing bars (joined together to make a cage). When the concrete sets and hardens around the bars, we now have a new, composite material named reinforced concrete, and in this case, a much stronger and longer lasting wall.

You see the walls in the building around you? Those walls on the houses and apartments near yours?  They, no doubt, were also built with reinforced concrete as are most of the buildings in the city, town or village where you live. Amazing eh?

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