Versatility and Concrete Examples
Whereas we normally offer posts about various materials in the natural stone category, today we will deviate from that pattern to discuss a material that continues to prove itself a versatile solution for several applications. Concrete surfaces seem to be ubiquitous. Everywhere you look there is a structure, a focal point, or a decorative design feature that is made from the stuff! And there is good reason for this as we will see. In this article, we will consider not only what concrete is, but what makes it such a great example of a versatile material. Are you ready to get into the concrete examples of a versatile material?
What is Concrete?
Although sometimes people confuse concrete with other materials such as “cement”, it is a specific material that is composed of very specific components. In fact, it is a composite material by definition. The concrete page on Wikipedia.com defines the material this way:
Concrete is a composite material composed of fine and coarse aggregate bonded together with a fluid cement (cement paste) that hardens (cures) over time.
As that definition clarifies then, cement is merely one of the components of concrete. And incidentally, perhaps the reason why concrete seems to be so ubiquitous as we mentioned in the opening remarks is because it is. Check out this statement from that same Wikipedia page:
Concrete is the second-most-used substance in the world after water, and is the most widely used building material. Its usage worldwide, ton for ton, is twice that of steel, wood, plastics, and aluminum combined.
That statement would be amazing if concrete were used for a couple of applications in an abundance. But it is truly astounding when you consider how many different applications for which this versatile material is used. Concrete is used for a large number of things in civil engineering and more including:
- Parking Garages
- Drain Channels
- Swimming Pools
- Parking Lots
- Highway Dividers
That is not an exhaustive list, but you get the idea. This material has been and is used for virtually everything you can imagine. But the question is, why is concrete so versatile?
Why Concrete is Versatile
There are a number of reasons why concrete is so versatile and use for so many applications. Let’s consider just a few of those reasons here.
Concrete is Durable
The first reason why concrete is so versatile is that it is extremely durable. Structures fashioned from concrete have proven their durability by remaining for decades and even centuries despite whether and natural elements.
It Can be Formed
Another reason concrete is so versatile is that it can be formed. This factor alone means that concrete can be used for virtually any shape. For this reason concrete statues, lawn ornaments, even outdoor furniture is made from concrete that is poured into forms and molds to become everything from a turtle statue to a large concrete art exhibit.
Easy to Maintain
The third and final reason that we will mention here regarding the versatility of concrete is that it is easy to maintain. The material is so durable you can use all sorts of cleaners, mold removers, and stain lifters on all kinds of concrete materials. Yes, maintaining concrete structures, objects, and decorations is simply a matter using an effective product and then sealing it using the most effective concrete sealer for the task.
The Versatility of Concrete
Now that we have talked a bit about why concrete is so versatile, let’s briefly look at how its versatility is manifest. As we mentioned earlier, concrete is used in just about everyplace you can imagine. The versatility of concrete ranges from structural applications, to entire buildings. Consider these examples of famous structures that are made from this amazingly versatile material.
The Pentagon is Made of Concrete
That’s right. This five sided building in Virginia is made of some 400,000 cubic yards of the stuff.
The Panama Canal
This international trade route bridges the gap between the Atlantic and Pacific oceans and contains even more concrete than the previous structure at some 4,500,000 cubic yards of the material.
The last example of the versatility of concrete is one that many people are amazed by. The 4,000,000 cubic yards of concrete in the Hoover Dam is astounding. And as we have bee discussing this structure is very durable.
As we have seen, concrete is very durable and versatile. In just the last few paragraphs we have given examples of a government building, a retaining barrier, and an entire water passage.
In conclusion, concrete is a truly ubiquitous material that is used in virtually every place on the planet. In fact, if you just look around where you are right now, there is probably concrete within 20-50 feet of your current location. And what is more, this versatile material is probably performing some vital function.