For those involved in the industry, the introduction and usage of self-consolidating concrete (SCC), also known as “self-compacting concrete” or “self-leveling concrete,” may be one of the greatest advances in concrete construction in the last century, if not since the Industrial Revolution. It is indeed revolutionary, and offers the construction industry more reliable methods for laying down and establishing solid foundations.
So, what exactly is it and why has it grown in popularity as of late? In its simplest terms, SCC is a superior form of concrete developed in the 1980s which offers a better and fuller flow when poured. This allows it to spread into place, fill the formwork around it naturally and completely, and do so with minimum air content (and thus fewer air bubbles).
Choosing SCC mixtures for structures offers multiple benefits, such as:
Because the concrete mix is composed of concrete that can spread on its own — and thus can self-consolidate — SCC-crafted surfaces will naturally conform and level out without any mechanical consolidation, manual effort, or measuring.
Better Noise Absorption
Concrete mass which is more compact means sounds and noises tend to absorb instead of echoing off.
Flexibility in Detailing
Companies can use an SCC mix to create curved and smooth surface finishes without the concern of honeycombing.
This high-performance factor is particularly important when dealing with congested areas. SCC allows for reinforcement without any mechanical effort, which decreases the need for lengthy work on the project and improves job site safety.
Thanks to these concrete mixes’ increased strength and durability, most vibration is readily and fully absorbed. This reduces the negative effects commonly experienced with vibrator noise from long use of heavy equipment.
Lower Equipment and Labor Costs
The concrete surfaces are naturally and automatically well-consolidated, meaning the need for additional workers and concrete laying equipment around the job site drops dramatically.
SCC mixes produce the smoothest possible surfaces, making it a popular choice for architects worldwide who need cementitious materials for their design projects.
For those seeking fast turnaround, nothing beats SCC. A truck bed filled with it can be unloaded and spread within minutes.
For most organizations, the two top reasons for choosing SCC are its immediate, significant cost savings and resultant better performing, more reliable concrete installations and surfaces. Specific commercial applications make it the material of choice for businesses experiencing lots of traffic of all kinds, too, including human, vehicles, and large equipment.
5 Popular Commercial Self-Consolidating Concrete Applications
Any business with a physical building or property needs to pay attention to the materials used in the actual structure. Recognizing the risks inherent in running a brick-and-mortar operation is essential for any entrepreneur, but poorly constructed floors, walls, and buildings will require repairs or replacements sooner than later. Businesses are thus discovering many SCC applications and uses.
1. Construction Retrofitting and Repair
If you are facing the need for either retrofitting and repair on an older construction, chances are you did not choose an SCC mix in the first place. Conversely, if the structures were built before 1980, this new material didn’t even exist and wasn’t an option over conventional concrete. From both economic and safety perspectives, repairing and retrofitting your structures with SCC is the smartest business move you can make.
2. Constructing Raft and Pile Foundations
Building upon weak or compressible strata or where the presence of water appears, means there is a need for a better, more reliable transfer of the load across the span of the foundation. Applying SCC to a foundation increases its size and efficacy, meaning fewer issues when resisting horizontal loads. This is of particular concern for large commercial buildings which naturally boast larger and heavier loads than residential structures, and are also susceptible to long-term issues with vibration.
Multi-storied buildings depend upon a broad and intricate web of columns — often reinforced with steel — to support their myriad floors. The superior strength and durability of SCC in the concrete industry has meant there really are no other options when selecting the best materials for high performance, sturdy design, and building development.
4. Deep Foundations
Structures designed to support large axial and lateral loads require deep foundations for maximal stability and strength. This involves excavating cylindrical shafts below the surface which perform best when using SCC mixes as the filler. Because drilled shafts can easily run 300 feet deep with a diameter spanning as much as 10 feet, there really should be no other concrete option under consideration.
5. Retaining Walls
Shoring up or holding back large quantities of soil used to be a challenging task that required close attention and regular inspection. One had to ensure that SCC-constructed retaining walls continued preventing mudslides and other disasters, after all. The installation and deployment of a retaining wall built with self-compacting concrete often delivers a sense of security along with an affordable price.
Not all buildings are simple four-sided structures, though, and aesthetics in building construction has taken a large leap since the introduction and application of SCC. Its ability to spread with an almost-innate intelligence has made the material a mainstay in creating secure and lasting reinforcement distributions, regardless of their complexity.
Self-Consolidating Concrete Care and Maintenance Tips
The materials used in SCC mixes mean its care and maintenance are easy and fast. Whether the surface is horizontal or vertical, bringing an almost-new look or shine to most structures requires:
- A simple application of soapy water, followed by a thorough rinsing.
- Pressure washing can be used on SCC for tougher stains or marks, but be sure you follow care-related guidelines to get the best results.
- Maintenance should entail regular inspection of the surface, looking for any potential cracks or chips which may appear.
- In the unusual circumstance where you find damage to your SCC, your best approach is to contact experts capable of assessing the situation and determining the best course of action.
The team at Limitless Paving & Concrete is your reliable, affordable resource when it comes to self-consolidating concrete concerns. Contact us today for help with any questions you might have about SCC and how it can improve your business through increased safety and lower maintenance.