Concrete is a composite construction material made primarily with aggregate, cement, and water. There are many formulations of concrete, which provide varied properties, and concrete is the most-used man-made product in the world
Portland cement is the most common type of cement in general usage. It is a basic ingredient of concrete, mortar and plaster. It consists of a mixture of oxides of calcium, silicon and aluminium. Portland cement and similar materials are made by heating limestone (a source of calcium) with clay and grinding this product (called clinker) with a source of sulfate (most commonly gypsum).Combining water with a cementitious material forms a cement paste by the process of hydration. The cement paste glues the aggregate together, fills voids within it, and makes it flow more freely. Hydration involves many different reactions, often occurring at the same time. As the reactions proceed, the products of the cement hydration process gradually bond together the individual sand and gravel particles and other components of the concrete, to form a solid mass.
Fine and coarse aggregates make up the bulk of a concrete mixture. Sand, natural gravel and crushed stone are used mainly for this purpose. Recycled aggregates (from construction, demolition and excavation waste) are increasingly used as partial replacements of natural aggregates, while a number of manufactured aggregates, including air-cooled blast furnace slag and bottom ash are also permitted.
The presence of aggregate greatly increases the durability of concrete above that of cement, which is a brittle material in its pure state. Thus concrete is a true composite material.source wikipedia
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