Foam concrete has self-isolating features comparable to other expensive high quality insulating materials such as polyestrol and polyurethane. It is noncombustible and environment friendly. It is a solid substance that does not decompose and is lightweight compared to its sizable volume. It is also a low-cost substance.
The foam concrete is used to open channels for electricity wires, telephone circuits, and sewage pipes with high efficiency and it does not require the addition of deep foundations, columns, and thick concrete bridges. It also does not require the use of large amounts of paving materials to smooth the surface.
The research reported that the developed foam concrete could be used to improve and increase the thermal insulation of flat and slanted ceilings. It will also be used to fill and install pipes extended through tunnels, reservoirs, wells, and mines, as well as make stones used in walls and facades of buildings, basements, and floors.
Foam concrete consists of high amounts of silica sand, which is silica ground into powder, as well as a cement substance and an amount of aluminum powder, all of which are mixed with water until it creates a mixture that is poured into molds. The mixture is left for a period of time until the aluminum mixture interacts with the cement substance and form air bubbles within the mixture. This helps expand the size and make the substance lightweight.
Lastly, nanocarbonic tubes are added to the mixture and it is cut before it dries. Then it is placed in steam ovens under high pressure to form into foam concrete that is highly durable and uniform in shape.
Buildings using this foam concrete are characterized as having relatively high sound absorption, as well as not emitting toxic substances that affect the environment during construction and maintenance. These buildings have the ability to be easily configured, adapted to produce of angles and arcs, and do not require much paving to smooth surfaces.
These buildings are also less subject to the spread of fire in the building, according to experiments proving that buildings of foam concrete with a thickness of 150 millimeters can withstand flames for four hours at a temperature of up to 12,000 degrees Celsius.
The difference between the traditional foam concrete and the new form of the foam concrete developed by KACST researchers is that the new foam concrete uses micro carbon material increasing its resistance to breakage and reducing its thermal conductivity.
(c)2013 Arab News (Jeddah, Saudi Arabia)
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