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Concrete is one of the most frequently used building materials worldwide. The distinctive characteristics like strength, durability, low-maintenance, energy-efficient, sustainability are the reasons for wide range usage of concrete in the field of civil engineering.

In this article, we discuss the different uses of concrete in the field of civil engineering.

Uses of Concrete

The major uses of concrete are-

1. Concrete Dams

The characteristics of concrete such as high strength and unit weight make it a more suitable material for the construction of dams. Dams are used to store water and produce electricity. The loads imposed on the dam due to water pressure are very intense which makes concrete as a suitable material for dam construction.

Uses of Concrete in Dams
Fig 1: Uses of Concrete in Dams

2. Residential Buildings

The construction of small buildings, villas, and even high-rise buildings are done using concrete with traditional or modern form-work as a method of construction of the skeleton from foundations to the slabs and of course columns and beams.

Use of concrete in the construction of residential buildings.
Fig 2: Use of concrete in the construction of residential buildings.

3. Commercial Buildings

The use of concrete in commercial buildings makes it safer than using most other construction materials. It is mostly more economic than steel buildings and requires less maintenance. It is easy to control the heat transfer from inside to outside and vice versa which reduces the energy consumed.

Concrete used in the construction of Commercial buildings.
Fig 3: Concrete used in the construction of commercial buildings.

4. Roads or Driveways

Concrete streets, pavements, and driveways are more durable and stronger than asphalt roadways. The long-lasting service time and the less maintenance required for concrete roads make it the first choice of material for the construction of roads and driveways.

Concrete in Roads.
Fif 4: Concrete in Roads.

5. Marine Construction

Concrete has had extensive use as a construction material for seawalls, jetties, groins, breakwaters, bulkheads, and other structures exposed to seawater. The performance record has generally been good.

Underwater structural members made of concrete.
Fig 5: Underwater structural members made of concrete.

6. Culverts and Sewers

Sewers and underground construction works need strong and durable building materials and concrete is the ideal one. Culverts, piers, foundation, abutments are constructed using special concrete mix.

Culvert constructed using concrete.
Fig 6: Culvert constructed using concrete.

7. Foundations

The foundation of high-rise or low-rise buildings is usually constructed using reinforced cement concrete, as it is durable and has a huge load-carrying capacity.

Footing concrete.
Fig 7: Footing concrete.

8. Fences

The development in the precast concrete industry has improved the industry of concrete fences. It is faster to produce and install the fence elements using precast than the traditional method of concrete fence construction. Moreover, it is beautiful and more attractive.

 Precast concrete fence.
Fig 8: Precast concrete fence.

9. Concrete Bridges

Reinforced concrete strength, durability, ductility, weather resistance, fire resistance, and long-lasting life cycle makes the concrete the best solution for constructing the bridges. Pre-stressed concrete, post-stressed concrete, self compacted concrete are different types of concrete that may apply in bridges construction.

Concrete Bridges
Fig 9: Concrete Bridges.

Other Uses

  1. As the concrete is an important part of a building, it is prioritized over wood as a construction material.
  2. Concrete once cast and cured does not require any maintenance and can hold up against any weather condition.
  3. Concrete is a non-combustible or decaying material that makes it inert material that doesn’t burn, mildew or feed rot.
  4. Its superior structural integrity provides an added degree of protection from the severe weather as well as an earthquake.  
  5. Concrete is produced from locally available materials and leaves a small environmental footprint while still providing high-level durability.
  6. Concrete can be shaped in various forms when freshly mixed.
  7. A concrete floor can be stamped to create an attractive surface. It can admit natural light during the day and transmit artificial light after work.
  8. It is a durable and cost-effective material which is a necessity for underground use.

Read More: What is Reinforced Concrete? Uses, Benefits, and Advantages

About Fasi Ur RahmanVerified

Fasi is a Civil Engineer associated with Tumkur Smart City Project. He is the author, editor and partner at theconstructor.org