Regular concrete is the lay term describing concrete that is produced by following the mixing instructions that are commonly published on packets of cement, typically using sand or other common material as the aggregate, and often mixed in improvised containers. This concrete can be produced to yield a varying strength from about 10 MPa (1450 psi) to about 40 MPa (5800 psi), depending on the purpose, ranging from blinding to structural concrete respectively. Many types of pre-mixed concrete are available which include powdered cement mixed with an aggregate, needing only water.
Typically, a batch of concrete can be made by using 1 part Portland cement, 2 parts dry sand, 3 parts dry stone, 1/2 part water. The parts are in terms of weight – not volume. For example, 1-cubic-foot (0.028 m3) of concrete would be made using 22 lb (10.0 kg) cement, 10 lb (4.5 kg) water, 41 lb (19 kg) dry sand, 70 lb (32 kg) dry stone (1/2″ to 3/4″ stone). This would make 1-cubic-foot (0.028 m3) of concrete and would weigh about 143 lb (65 kg). The sand should be mortar or brick sand (washed and filtered if possible) and the stone should be washed if possible. Organic materials (leaves, twigs, etc) should be removed from the sand and stone to ensure the highest strength.
High-strength concrete has a compressive strength generally greater than 6,000 pounds per square inch (40 MPa = 5800 psi). High-strength concrete is made by lowering the water-cement (W/C) ratio to 0.35 or lower. Often silica fume is added to prevent the formation of free calcium hydroxide crystals in the cement matrix, which might reduce the strength at the cement-aggregate bond.
Low W/C ratios and the use of silica fume make concrete mixes significantly less workable, which is particularly likely to be a problem in high-strength concrete applications where dense rebar cages are likely to be used. To compensate for the reduced work-ability, superplasticizers are commonly added to high-strength mixtures. Aggregate must be selected carefully for high-strength mixes, as weaker aggregates may not be strong enough to resist the loads imposed on the concrete and cause failure to start in the aggregate rather than in the matrix or at a void, as normally occurs in regular concrete.
In some applications of high-strength concrete the design criterion is the elastic modulus rather than the ultimate compression strength.
Stamped concrete is an architectural concrete which has a superior surface finish. After a concrete floor has been laid, floor hardeners (can be pigmented) are impregnated on the surface and a mould which may be textured to replicate a stone / brick or even wood is stamped on to give a superior textured surface finish. After sufficient hardening the surface is cleaned and generally sealed to give a protection. The wear resistance of stamped concrete is generally excellent and hence found in applications like parking lots, pavements, walkways etc.
High-performance concrete (HPC) and Ultra-high-performance concrete are relatively new terms used to describe concrete that conforms to a set of standards above those of the most common applications, but not limited to strength. While all high-strength concrete is also high-performance, not all high-performance concrete is high-strength. Notable concrete-mixtures are: Ductal, concrete mixed with titanium oxide, some examples of such standards currently used in relation to HPC are:
|Ease of placement||Compaction without segregation|
|Early age strength||Long-term mechanical properties|
|Heat of hydration||Toughness|
|Volume stability||Long life in severe environments|
|Depending on its implementation, environmental|