Quantcast Concrete and masonry

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This chapter provides information and guidance for the Engineering Aid engaged in or responsible for drawing structural and architectural layouts from existing plans, engineering sketches, or specifications, It includes information on basic materials commonly used in concrete and masonry construction.

Basic principles and procedures associated with the construction of reinforced, precast, and prestressed concrete and tilt-up construction are also discussed in this chapter. Terminology as it applies to masonry units is used to acquaint the Engineering Aid with the various terms used in this type of construction.


CONCRETE is a synthetic construction material made by mixing CEMENT, FINE AGGREGATE (usually sand), COARSE AGGREGATE (usually gravel or crushed stone), and WATER together in proper proportions; the product is not concrete unless all four of these ingredients are present. A mixture of cement, sand, lime, and water, without coarse aggregate, is NOT concrete, but MORTAR or GROUT. Mortar is used mainly for bonding masonry units together. The term grout refers to a water-cement mixture (called neat-cement grout) or water-sand-cement mixture (called sand-cement grout) used to plug holes or cracks in concrete, to seal joints, and for similar plugging or sealing purposes.

The fine and coarse aggregates in a concrete mix are called the INERT ingredients; the cement and water are the ACTIVE ingredients. The inert ingredients and the cement are thoroughly mixed together first. As soon as the water is added, a chemical reaction between the water and the cement begins, and it is this reaction (which is called HYDRATION) that causes the concrete to harden.

Always remember that the hardening process is caused by hydration of the cement by the water, not by a DRYING OUT of the mix. Instead of being dried out, the concrete must be kept as moist as possible during the initial hydration process. Drying out would cause a drop in water content below the amount required for satisfactory hydration of the cement.

The fact that the hardening process has nothing whatever to do with a drying out of the concrete is clearly shown by the fact that concrete will harden just as well under water as it will in the air.

Concrete may be cast into bricks, blocks, and other relatively small building units that are used in concrete MASONRY construction. The proportion of concrete to other materials used in building construction has greatly increased in recent years to the point where large, multistory modern building are constructed entirely of concrete, with concrete footings, foundations, columns, walls, girders, beams, joists, floors, and roofs.


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