Concrete is one the most fire-resistant materials found in the construction industry. This is due to the fact that it is non-combustible, non-toxic and has low thermal conductivity. It’s essential that a concrete building structure has good fire resistance in order to minimise damage and help keep occupants safe in the event that a fire breaks out.
As we mentioned, all concrete has a good level of fire resistance, however there are different factors that contribute to providing it with this quality. The fire resistance of a concrete building structure can be affected by the following factors:
Type Of Aggregate
Aggregates are added to concrete in order to help it meet certain properties required for the construction project. The most common types of aggregate used are carbonate, siliceous and lightweight aggregates, all of which are considered fire-resistant although to different degrees. Carbonate aggregates usually provide the highest compressive strength and tensile strength when subjected to high temperatures.
Unsurprisingly the moisture content of concrete also plays a big role in the fire resistance of a concrete building structure. The method used to cure the concrete once it has been laid has a large influence on controlling the moisture ratios. The moisture content impacts how the concrete behaves in a fire. For example, concrete that has not been allowed to dry may spall, particularly if it is very impermeable.
The density of the concrete used also impacts the fire density of the concrete building structure. Generally speaking, concretes with lower unit weights have a greater fire resistance. This means that dried, lightweight concrete structures, such as those made from lightweight blocks are exceptionally resistant to fire.
Density and thickness can often be confused when used to describe the properties of construction materials, however their meanings are very distinct. Density refers to the volume and compactness of the material, whilst thickness is a more specific measurement of the concrete’s dimensions. This thickness will also be largely influenced by the aggregates used in the concrete. The thicker the concrete, the more resistant it will be when exposed to fire.
At Al Manaratain, all our concrete products are made under strict quality control conditions to ensure that they meet our customer’s specifications and all relevant safety standards.This includes ready-mix concrete which is mixed to customer-specific standards, blocks, pavers and slabs to name just a few examples. To hear more about our services and to discuss the requirements for your next construction project, please don’t hesitate to get in touch with us.