Concrete Microstructure, Properties and Materials

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The most widely used construction material is concrete, commonly made by mixing

portland cement with sand, crushed rock, and water. Last year in the U.S. 63 mil-

lion tons of portland cement were converted into 500 million tons of concrete, five

times the consumption by weight of steel. In many countries the ratio of concrete con-

sumption to steel consumption exceeds ten to one. The total world consumption of

concrete last year is estimated at three billion tons, or one ton for every living human

being. Man consumes no material except water in such tremendous quantities.

Today, the rate at which concrete is used is much higher than it was 40 years

ago. It is estimated that the present consumption of concrete in the world is of

the order of 11 billion metric tonnes every year.