Concrete Basics

Concrete has two basic components: aggregates and paste. Aggregates come in two sizes. “Fine” aggregates or sand are smaller that ¼ inch in diameter. “Coarse” aggregates are larger than ¼ inch and are usually gravel or crushed stone. Paste is composed of cement, water, and sometimes, quality enhancing admixtures. It functions first, to coat and lubricate the individual grains of sand, thereby making it “workable.” Secondly, paste is the “glue” which binds the entire mixture together. When sand is added to paste, it is known as mortar. A chemical reaction, called hydration, between cement and water gives mortar its cementing property.

Here is a good way of understanding the process of making concrete:
Portland cement + water = cement paste
Cement paste + sand = mortar
Coarse aggregate + mortar = concrete
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Contrary to popular belief, concrete does not set and harden through a drying-out process. Through favorable temperature and moisture conditions the hydration process transforms the cement into a mineral “glue” which acts to bind the sand and coarse aggregates together. The hardening process is known as curing. With proper curing, hydration takes place very rapidly at first, and then more slowly for a long time.

Meurer Research Inc.

Mountain States Project Highlight 1Mountain States Project HighlightProject Data:

Location: Arvada, CO

Project: Meurer Research Inc.
A lication type: Concrete parking lot
Fiber type: Novomesh 950
Concrete contractor: Mountain States Paving
Concrete producer: Metro Mix
Total area: 30,000 square feet
Date Completed: September 2008

When asphalt material costs reached record highs recently, Metro Mix, saw numerous opportunities to convert an asphalt parking lot to concrete. We recommend Novomesh 950 as an alternate to #3 and #4 rebar. Novomesh 950 is an engineered blend of micro-synthetic and macro-synthetic fibers used for temperature and shrinkage reinforcement. The all synthetic blend is perfect for concrete pavements as there is no concern with corrosion. In the last few months, she has organized numerous seminars to educate her customers about the use of high performance fibers from Propex. This recent project originally called for #4 rebar. After obtaining a design analysis from Propex Concrete Systems, 7.5 pounds of Novomesh 950 was recommended. Matt Thompson with Mountain States Paving, estimated that he saved at least $6,000.00 and 3 days by not using rebar and plans to use Novomesh 950 again.