The Segregation of Concrete: Your Questions Answered

By December 30, 2021 No Comments

The mixing and setting of concrete is a finely tuned and precise task in the hands of experts, such as those at Columbia Precast Products. There’s a lot that goes into the proper preparation of this material. Plus, there are multiple variables to consider, including the best ways to avoid concrete segregation.

Here are a few questions we’ve often heard related to this topic.

What is concrete segregation?

Concrete is a mixture of two main components: coarse aggregates or fine aggregates and cement paste. The paste is made of portland cement and water, which is then bound with materials such as crushed stone, sand, or gravel (the aggregate).

After the concrete is mixed, there is the potential for issues to arise. The issue of segregation is when the two components — concrete aggregate and cement paste — begin to separate.

How does segregation happen?

Concrete segregation occurs when the cement paste and graded aggregates separate from each other. This is usually due to improper water content or excessive motion.

This separation tends to occur during the transit, mixing, or compaction process. Any strong vibrations can ruin the mixture, resulting in segregation and a sub-par project.

Occasionally, if the mixture segregates during the transportation process, it can be salvaged by getting remixed properly before the final deposit.

Why should I be worried about any separation?

It is imperative that concrete producers utilize proportional mixing. Improper mixing can result in many different issues down the line, potentially sabotaging the project.

In particular, the following issues may occur with the separation of concrete:

  • Honey-combing (the mixture becomes porous)
  • Lowered compressive strength
  • Poor finishing of surfaces

Precast vs. Pour-in-Place: Which is the best option for me?

Many cement companies will pour fresh concrete at the site of your build. This means that there is a higher chance of segregation and other potential issues. At Columbia Precast Products, however, we precast all of our pieces at our warehouse and deliver the final product to your site. This streamlined process helps ensure that we avoid segregation and any other possible issues.

In addition to avoiding any segregation issues, our precast materials are personally strength-tested by our team of experts and built precisely to your specifications.

When it comes to pour-in-place, there are many steps that have to be taken. Time is needed to set up forms, reinforce the mixture, pour it, and wait for it to set. This days-long process can be completely bypassed with our services, saving you valuable time and money.

Not only do we utilize top-of-the-line building materials, we are also a national environmental leader in the precast industry. We take pride in producing a product that is high-quality and sustainable.

Our team offers a wide array of products for your project needs, to view your options, check out our precast concrete products. We look forward to serving you!