Lightweight concrete refers to an alternative concrete made up of coarse lightweight aggregate and sometimes even portion of finer aggregates. Lightweight concrete is different than regular concrete in terms of density, weight, strength etc. Many PEB structure in Gujarat and other areas have been made with the use of lightweight concrete.
Broadly there are three different types of lightweight concrete:
- Lightweight aggregate concrete
- Foamed concrete
- Autoclaved aerated concrete
Of these foamed lightweight concrete is a low density highly workable concrete with is ideal to fill out redundant spaces/ voids in buildings etc. Because of its high thermal insulation ability it is also good to fill under floor voids. It can also be used to insulate the roofs by filling it in the gaps between roofing sheet in Gujarat/ any construction project.
Autoclaved aerated concrete is another highly thermal concrete base which is used in interior as well as exteriors of construction projects. This is low in density and can be easily cut, routed and/ or sanded. They are fine to be used in construction of solar structure in Gujarat/ India; however they are majorly used in masonry units.
Now for the lightweight aggregate (LWA) concrete! The use of lightweight concrete initially began with it being a load bearing component in the inner cavity of walls. But with time we are currently able to produce and use high strength lightweight concrete which is suitable for most structural work. Many producers of lightweight concrete panels in Gujarat etc will vouch by the fact that in many instances it is equivalent in strength to normal weight concrete.
Even within the segment of lightweight aggregate concrete there are many different types. These include the following:
- Foam Slag:
- Clays and Shales
- Sintered Pulverised
There are multiple benefits to using LWA in place of regular full density concrete. Some of the most prominent benefits of LWA are as follows:
- LWA is optimal when there is need to reduce the weight of the structure in question. Since it comes is great strength but is lighter in weight it greatly helps in reducing the dead loads of the building.
- Another great characteristic of lightweight aggregate concrete is that it is highly thermal. This property also adds to the advantages of using it in place of regular concrete. It improves the thermal insulation of the structure without adding to the weight.
- It is also more fire resistant in comparison and hence is a better option.
- Developers/ builders may favor the use of LWA also because handling precast units of LWA in comparison to regular concrete is cheaper. Also it is cheaper and more easy to transport this type of concrete/ concrete panels.