Concrete is the most widely used material worldwide for construction and has been for centuries. As society has progressed, so too have the building materials we use and that has led to quite a bit of variety in term of the types of concrete we now have available. The most common two are plain concrete and reinforced concrete, and which you use always depends on the project in question. Below we’ll lay out the positives and negatives to both types of concrete to help you make the right choice for your needs.
The Advantages & Disadvantages Of Plain Concrete
Plain concrete, also known as plain cement concrete or PCC, is most commonly used for paving and flooring. Made from a mix of cement, aggregate, and water the different types of aggregate and ratio of materials used will give different types of cement with slightly different properties. This is one of the main selling points of ready mix concrete as the exact values and types of aggregate can be measured and monitored precisely to provide the qualities that are needed without any variance. The automated manufacturing process limits the potential of human error while saving time and resources.
While there are differences in the composition of the concrete most plain concrete shares the same strengths and weaknesses. It is incredibly strong under compression whilst weak under tension, this means that when on a solid, unmoving surface it is capable of withstanding huge amounts of weight. However, when placed under tension it is much weaker and can often crack and buckle. This makes it the perfect material for ground floor layers and providing a stable and even base for reinforced concrete to be built onto while limiting its use in larger construction projects.
The Advantages & Disadvantages of Reinforced Concrete
Reinforced concrete, or reinforced cement concrete (RCC), is actually very similar to PCC in terms of materials used. The one big difference in its composition is the addition of steel rebar. By casting the wet cement around reinforcing steel bars the resultant composite material has much more strength under tension while still keeping the properties that make PCC so effective.
With the concrete maintaining its strength under compression and the steel resisting any bending or stretching thanks to its tensile strength the RCC is a much more versatile construction material.
Able to stand up to weight pushing down onto it as well as any wind pressure or shifting that results in slight twists and strains thanks to the increased flexural capacity of the concrete/steel mix, it is the ideal material for taller and heavier buildings and for roads and bridges.
Steel is the most common material used for the creation of rebar as it reacts to very similar variances in temperature as concrete, meaning it will expand and contract with the concrete rather than cracking it from the inside.
As you can see there is no real answer as to which type of concrete is better as they both perform different roles. Every example of concrete construction will require both plain and reinforced concrete and hopefully, this article will help you recognise the difference and make the right choice for your project. At Al Manaratain we pride ourselves on the quality of the concrete blocks, concrete pavers, precast concrete, and ready-mix concrete products we have to offer. Whether you need plain concrete or reinforced concrete, you can rest assured that we have exactly what you need and can help and advise you further if necessary.