foundation system of burj al arab

Why Concrete is Superior to Other Construction Materials?

We know concrete is the widely used construction material all over the world. Now there have no material that can be compared to concrete. The question is why? About 11 billion tones of concrete are consumed in the world in every year.

Is concrete stronger than steel? Or is concrete tougher than steel?

The answers are no? Steel is mentioned here, as it is the most comparable material with concrete in the world depending on availability and structural properties.

Concrete waste treatment plant
The reasons behind this are of three fold; namely

a. Its excellent performance against water

b. Flow characteristics of concrete

c. It is cheapest and most available materials for the job.


Regarding water resistance, we can include, concrete can withstand without having serious deterioration against water. This property makes it superior to wood and normal steel. So water tight structure can be constructed with concrete. The application is to
  • Control Water
  • Store Water
  • Transport Water

Cryogenic concrete tank for petroleum refinery
The Romans used concrete as waterfront retaining structure (wall) and aquaducts which were the earliest application of this material. Now this material leaves its footprint, on
  • Dams
  • Canal Lining
  • Pavements
So structural elements that are subjected to exposure of moisture or erosion of water, reinforced concrete and sometimes prestressed concrete perform successfully with expected degree of durability. Some examples of these are:
  • Piles
  • Foundations
  • Footings
  • Floor
  • Beams
  • Column
  • Roof
  • Exterior Walls
  • Pipes Etc.

Concrete member can easily be formed into any expected shape and as well as advantage of providing formability makes it universal material, as no other material have shown such characteristics.


This advantage is achieved from plastic consistency at early age. The early age means before it becomes stiffening. The terms stiffing, solidification and hardening will be discussed in upcoming posts. 

Trapezoidal formwork section and finished concrete
For this post, just keep in mind that stiffening means losing consistency of fresh concrete. After this stage the concrete can also be reshaped with revibration; retempering are required which is the act of professionals.


This property allows concrete to flow into formwork that are fabricated according to designed shape. The formwork, after concrete gaining sufficient strength, is removed and reused in another project or further extension of structure.
Exceptional formability of concrete
Regarding availability and cost involvement in concrete construction, it can be included that concrete is readily available and cheapest material for the job. The main components that makes concrete are aggregate, Portland cement and water. All these components are relatively inexpensive.


The components that comprise concrete are generally available all over the world. The consideration which makes concrete superior than steels as an construction materials are :

a. Maintenance

b. Fire resistance

c. Resistance against cyclic loading.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Followers