What’s autoclaved aerated concrete?

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Autoclaved aerated concrete (AAC) is a lightweight precast building material made of fine aggregates, cement, water, and aluminum powder. It provides thermal, acoustic resistance, and protection against hazards. The mix is poured into shapes, autoclaved, and hardened. AAC has disadvantages, such as low strength and degradation over time.

Autoclaved aerated concrete, or AAC, is a precast building material composed of a variety of aggregate parts no larger than sand. At around one-fifth the weight of regular concrete, it’s an incredibly lightweight building material. It provides excellent thermal and acoustic resistance and also protects against household hazards such as mold, termites and fire. Autoclaved aerated concrete is commonly referred to as autoclaved aerated concrete because hydrogen bubbles are formed during the manufacturing process, resulting in small pockets of air within the concrete which substantially increase the volume of the final concrete product. Concrete can be poured into many different shapes and can be used in the construction of walls, floors, roofs and other purposes.

Although the precise composition of autoclaved aerated concrete can vary, it generally consists of quartz sand or other fine aggregates, cement and water or other binding components, and aluminum powder. The aluminum powder reacts with the concrete and forms hydrogen bubbles which form within the mix, thereby increasing the volume to weight ratio of the concrete mix. After the mix has been poured into the desired shape and the volume-enhancing chemical reactions take place, the concrete mix, which is still soft, is autoclaved.

In an autoclave chamber, the concrete mix is ​​exposed to high temperatures and high vapor pressure. In these conditions the quartz sand reacts with the cement forming a very resistant solid. The autoclave is then used to harden the sand-cement-aluminum powder mixture into strong, solid concrete. Autoclaved cellular concrete can be used immediately after hardening in the autoclave. Pockets formed by hydrogen bubbles fill with air after the hydrogen has left the porous concrete. In some cases, the finished autoclaved aerated concrete can contain up to 80% air by volume.

Autoclaved aerated concrete, while excellent because it provides superior insulation and has other advantages, is not without its disadvantages. For example, it is not as strong as less porous concrete varieties, so it must often be reinforced if it is to be used for heavy load-bearing work. While it can be shipped virtually anywhere with relative ease due to its low weight, autoclaved aerated concrete is not widely produced, so it may be difficult for many to obtain locally. It also needs to be lined with some form of protective material, as it tends to degrade over time due to its porous nature.

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