Become a Better Construction Manager - Learn About Concrete

Today's construction manager needs to understand how the most widely used building material on Earth actually works.
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  • Lectures 12
  • Length 40 mins
  • Skill Level All Levels
  • Languages English
  • Includes Lifetime access
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About This Course

Published 3/2015 English

Course Description

Concrete is the most widely used building material in the world. Today's construction professional needs to understand how this material works, how it has evolved and how it is made. The course includes discussions on the chemistry behind making concrete, and the evolution of the science behind making concrete. These are things that today's construction professional needs to understand in order to effectively manage today's projects. You will learn the meaning and origins of the terms and processes used in the industry by today's concrete producers and engineers so that you become a more effective and more professional construction pro.

Gain a better understanding of the chemistry behind the Worlds most widely used building material and learn how its production has evolved to produce a more advanced and eco-friendly finished product.

After completing this course you will be able to...

  • Describe the difference between concrete and cement
  • List the basic components or ingredients needed to make concrete
  • Explain how concrete uses industrial by-products
  • Discuss how these by-products enhance the properties of concrete
  • Describe the chemical process through which concrete gets hard
  • Explain how chemical admixtures can be used to alter the properties of concrete
  • Define the terms used by designers and producers when they are preparing and reviewing concrete mix designs

Learn from a professional

My courses have been created as a place where everyone, whether you are an experienced professional, a young project engineer, new to a trade or a seasoned journeyman, can come to learn more about the industry that we have chosen as our profession. That's what this platform is about. These courses are meant to be a way for you to increase your knowledge of the construction industry in a variety of cutting edge topics from concrete reinforcing and prestressing, to micro trenching, to safety management systems. These are not meant to be how-to courses. These are meant to be courses that educate you on a construction topic and give you a real understanding of how something works or why its being used. This is also meant to be an unbiased platform that discusses both the advantages and the limitations of the topic being taught.

This course is a great way for you to increase your knowledge about the material science behind the production of concrete.

What are the requirements?

  • There are no prerequisites for this course and there is not any particular self-study needed before beginning this course. The short introduction section in this course will ensure that everyone understands the fundamentals before continuing with the course.
  • If you are new to the construction industry you can download and refer to the Guide to Concrete Terms and Definitions published by the American Concrete Institute. There is a link to download this reference for free in Lecture 4 of this course.
  • You will need a software that allows you to view PDF files in order to download the handouts attached to this course.

What am I going to get from this course?

  • Describe the difference between concrete and cement
  • List the basic components or ingredients needed to make concrete
  • Define terms used to describe concrete and its components
  • Explain how the concrete industry utilizes industrial by-products to enhance its products and proceses while being more eco-friendly
  • Describe the chemical process through which concrete gets hard
  • Discuss the various ways that chemical admixtures can be used to alter the properties of concrete

What is the target audience?

  • This course is meant for anyone that has responsibilities as a construction management professional. This course will give you a basic understanding of the chemistry behind the making of modern concrete, and will get you familiar with the terms used by the professionals and experts in the industry. This course is ideal for construction professionals that may not have formal training in concrete or material sciences. This course is also ideal for anyone that is just getting started in the industry, or anyone that wants to go beyond a basic understanding of concrete and move to a level of understanding that will help you communicate with designers, producers and other professionals.
  • If you have ever wondered what terms like "pozzolan" or "hydraulic cement" mean, or if you have ever wondered if things like "fly ash" make the concrete better or is just a filler, then this course is definitely for you!
  • Do you work with concrete every day, but need a refresher on the terminology, or an update on things like admixtures? This is a great course for your continuing education.
  • If you are already have a solid background in material science related to concrete, or if you are someone like an ACI Certified Lab Technician, then this course may not be for you.

What you get with this course?

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30 day money back guarantee.

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Lifetime access.

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Desktop, iOS and Android.

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Certificate of completion.

Curriculum

Section 1: Introduction
02:20

This section introduces you to the most widely used building material on the planet! In fact, concrete is the most widely used man-made material on the Earth.

6 questions

This opening section will quiz you on how much you already know (or can guess) and set the stage for the materials to be covered in the next 30 minutes.

01:21

Cement is just one of the ingredients in concrete. Cement, also called Portland Cement, is often referred to by engineers as Hydraulic Cement. This term refers to the fact that concrete hardens due to a chemical process, not by simply drying out. Since this chemical process takes place in the presence of water, it can, in fact, harden under water.

Section 2: Welcome
05:22

This course is one of many (current and planned) meant to educate today's construction professional about a wide variety of topics in the construction industry. The goal of this course is to educate you about the science behind the making of concrete and to inform you of some of the modern advances and practices used in the industry today.

Article

In its simplest form, concrete is mix of paste and aggregates. One of the key things that makes concrete such a widely used material is that it is plastic and workable when it is freshly mixed, and it hardens to a strong durable material.

Concrete comes in several different forms:

  • Ready-mixed concrete
  • Precast concrete
  • Advanced products like roof tiles or counter-tops
  • Concrete's "cousins" such as grout, soil cement or flowable fill

You can download the complete Concrete Technology Guide, published by the American Concrete Institute, using the link in the RESOURCES section. This free resource is a complete guide to the terms and definitions used in the industry.

Section 3: What's In Concrete?
07:55

Here we learn about the ingredients in modern day concrete, including industrial by-products and chemical ad-mixtures. We also discuss the chemical process that causes concrete to get hard, known as "hydration".

Article

Learn why we use the terms Portland Cement and Hydraulic Cement to refer to virtually all of the cement we use today.

Section 4: Beyond the Basic Ingredients
02:30

This section discusses one of the most widely used industrial by-products in the concrete industry - Fly Ash.

Fly ash has been used in concrete for many years, but it was not well understood in the early years which led to misuse. When used properly, this industrial by-product can greatly enhance the properties of concrete, making it:

  • More durable
  • More flowable
  • Easier to finish
  • Continues to gain strength over time

Much more than just a filler, this material makes concrete better and makes it more "green" or eco-friendly.

The RESOURCES section of this lection contains several handouts that contain additional details about fly ash in concrete.

2 pages

A pozzolan is also known as a supplementary cementitious material. This is a material that does not act like cement by itself, but it takes on the same behaviors and properties as cement when it is used in concrete along with cement.

06:11

This section is an introduction to the different types of chemical add-mixtures used in concrete and their effects on the product in both its workable state and its final hardened state. This includes the following classes of admixtures:

  • air-entraining
  • accelerating
  • retarding
  • water reducing
  • plasticizers
  • other speciality chemicals
03:57

Water is needed to make the concrete mix plastic and flowable, but too much water decreases strength. A proper water to cement ratio is needed to ensure required strength of the finished (hardened) material.

Section 5: Sustainability
03:15

The concrete and cement industries are working to become more sustainable. These efforts focus on four main areas:

  1. Reduction in the energy needed to manufacture cement by 37% since the 1970's
  2. The use of old tires as fuel in cement kilns diverts this waste from landfills and reduces reliance on fossil fuels
  3. The use of industrial by-products as partial replacements for cement in the concrete diverts these products from land fills and enhances the properties of concrete
  4. Durability - the longevity of concrete results in structures that last a long time, reducing the need to rebuild
Section 6: Check Your Knowledge and Conclusions
10 questions

Answer these questions to see how you measure up against the learning objectives given at the beginning of this course.

02:09

Thanks for completing this course! If you have reviewed all of the instructional materials and downloadable content, you should now have a better understanding of concrete and its components, including supplementary cementitious materials and chemical admixtures.

If you enjoyed this course, please consider leaving a positive review! If you have questions, make sure to post them in the discussion board for this course. I check for questions everyday; or you can use the message feature to send me a note or question.

Thanks, and be sure to look for our other courses. Additional topics are added each month.

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Instructor Biography

Jim Rogers, More knowledge makes better construction profesionals

I work in the School of Sustainable Engineering and the Built Environment at Arizona State University. I have been a faculty associate in the construction management program and have taught many undergraduate and graduate courses in that program, including courses in concrete, scheduling, productivity and safety. I am currently the Director of the school's OSHA Training Institute Education Center where I develop, produce and teach many courses in occupational safety and health for construction and general industry.

Prior to joining ASU, I spent many years in the construction industry including roles managing a public works contractor in California, a large concrete contractor in Arizona and I managed a division of one of the largest post-tensioning companies in North America. In between my industry roles and my latest role teaching, I spent some time working for industry associations and acting as a consultant for a large construction union. I learned a lot in these different roles and as I have progressed I have come to realize that our industry has a real need to do a better job disseminating knowledge.

My teaching experience includes the following academic courses taught at Arizona State University:

--CON 100 - Introduction to Construction

--CON 271 - Construction Safety

--CIM 205 - Concrete Construction Methods

--CIM 306 - Concrete Plant Management

--CIM 494 - Reinforcing and Post-Tensioning

--CON 494 - Temporary Structures and Reinforcing Methods

--CON 495 - Planning and Scheduling

--CON 540 - Construction Productivity

I also have a number of published articles and write a regular construction safety collumn for Concrete Construction Magazine.

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