Concrete is a popular construction material all over the world. In fact, some estimates claim that we’ve produced enough concrete to cover the entire land surface of the earth in a thin cement coat. There’s no doubt that concrete is a robust and durable construction material, especially in driveways. It, however, is accompanied by a significant carbon footprint.
According to the Royal Society of Chemists, about 5 to 7% of all carbon dioxide emissions come from the production of concrete. That said, anything that can be done to mitigate the strenuous impact of concrete on the planet is an important move. This is where aircrete steps in; it is a “green cement” alternative with numerous benefits.
What is aircrete?
Aircrete is basically concrete featuring bubbles. The concrete that is often used in the construction of roads, basements, driveways, and even laying foundations is produced from Portland cement. The mixture hardens into a really dense substance with incredible compressive strength. The incorporation of iron rebar further enhances the structural integrity.
Aircrete, on the other hand, eliminates or minimizes the traditionally utilized aggregate. Rather than including gravel or any other coarse types of aggregates, Aircrete incorporates pre-manufactured pieces of foam that basically add airspace bubbles within the mix. Apart from foam, another alternative is to mix various kinds of reactive substances into the wet cement mixture. The resultant chemical reaction generates gas bubbles within the water slurry and cement to harden with the empty cavities.
Can Aircrete be used as a driveway material?
Aircrete is a “green” alternative to traditional concrete. It is a building material that combines durability, strength as well as lightweight properties to produce one of the most eco-friendly construction materials. It is somewhat cheap in comparison to concrete and has a significantly less adverse environmental impact.
Aircrete is, however, not as strong as concrete; it offers 50 percent of the strength found in regular concrete. Different from concrete that features various materials to make it dense, aircrete introduces bubbles or at times styrofoam beads to produce concrete that is lighter and less compact. And when high densities of styrofoam are infused, the aircrete could become frail, and eventually chipping might occur. Moreover, this kind of aircrete will have quite limited compressive strength; it will not be able to support heavy loads.
The best driveway is one that is able to withstand the weight of the traffic (both human and car) using it. With that in mind, using aircrete for driveway construction is not a wise idea as it will not be able to bear the weight of the load it will be subjected to.
Property owners need to understand that concrete and aircrete are two different building materials with different applications. Concrete is a great choice where high levels of compressive strength are required, for instance in driveways. And where high levels of insulation are needed, aircrete is the better option.
Applications of aircrete
Aircrete is often used for interior and exterior walls. It can, however, also be utilized for numerous other home applications such as pre-cast panels and blocks as well as concrete slabs for insulated flooring systems. Aircrete can also be utilized for poured roofs; it elevates the insulation capacity of attics and ceilings where heat escapes from in homes. For those households situated in cold regions, aircrete can be used for the insulation of underground pipes.
Benefits of aircrete
Where appropriate, there are numerous benefits associated with the use of aircrete. They include:
When compared to concrete, aircrete is a lot cheaper. It does away with aggregate materials such as rocks, stones, or gravel mixed together with cement via a strenuous process done by construction workers at the construction site. This is because aircrete is prefabricated using machines and transported to worksites in a ready-to-use format. So using it means reduced initial costs and reduced labor costs.
Compared to some building materials such as wood, aircrete is very durable. Aircrete can totally withstand various weather conditions for a long time.
Aircrete offers brilliant insulation compared to some other materials. This is because it has small air pockets in it that provide insulation. This makes Aircrete perfect for building in places that have cool and wet climates.
Aircrete has the highest fireproof rating among building materials. You can literally use it to build a fireplace and it will not catch fire and burn your home no matter how hot the fireplace is.
Aircrete is an eco-friendly material. It is made of materials that are eco-friendly. Using it does not harm the world. Moreover, using it in places where wood is one of the main materials used for building walls saves trees and reduces demand for timber/tree-felling.
Easy to handle
Because aircrete is lightweight and pre-fabricated in shapes that are easy to handle, it is much easier to use material than other building materials.
Aircrete is an incredible construction material. Even though it is not suitable for the construction of driveways, there are several other applications where it is perfect. Apart from being eco-friendly, aircrete is also fireproof, water-resistant, durable, and pest-proof. These are just a few of the great benefits that aircrete has to offer. However, different from aircrete, regular concrete is one of the best driveway materials. It has high compressive strength and it acquires even more strength with time as it matures.