Precast concrete finds its way into a long list of applications; building construction is just one. Storm drains, cattle feed bunks, bridge systems, water tanks and hazardous materials containments are other applications. In fact, concrete itself has become so popular that you'll find at least one structure or component made of concrete anywhere you look within a village, town or city.
One of the most important advantages of precast concrete is its strength. It's very durable, dense and resistant to many of the problems faced with wood and metal. It doesn't rot, rust or corrode and continues to retain its strength even after many years. The only time it'll produce problems is if it isn't laid properly or is subject to tremendous force such as during earthquakes. This makes it a sought-after product for today's consumer who doesn't want to or can't afford to deal with high maintenance costs.
Safety: Precast concrete, if laid well, can guarantee a high degree of safety. Being very dense means it's not susceptible to damage under heavy impact and so can be safely used for structures that see a lot of abuse or activity such as in stadiums, apartments, fencing, walls etc. Bridge piers, conveyance systems and waste water containers are more examples of structures that benefit.
Healthy: Though some concerns have been voiced that concrete contains substances toxic to health, increased awareness and changing trends have eliminated the inclusion of many harmful additives. Concrete is safe when cured; it's only during the production and construction stage that airborne particulates can cause health concerns.
Intelligent: Building monitoring is an important part of maintenance especially if it's used for high-stress activities or constructed in sensitive areas like earthquake-prone zones. Precast concrete can help make the process easier by being able to be fitted with microchips that log data for assessment later. Engineers can find out levels of building movement and stress to determine if structures require re-strengthening, repair etc.
Resistant to chemicals: Oil and fuel can corrode metal and lead wood to rot. Not so with precast concrete which is immune to the damaging effects of certain chemicals. This is why it's used to pave roads and driveways which see regular oil and fuel spillage but still suffer no ill-effects.
Can absorb impacts: Structures must be able to withstand impacts and the higher the better. With concrete, there's little worry which makes it very useful as a perimeter fence or for industrial applications where the ability to endure heavy loads is a must.
Versatile: Most precast concrete is dense and heavy but the concrete mix can contain other very strong materials that allow it to be used finely. Steel fiber reinforcement and carbon composite grids, for example, permit it to be used in ambitious projects where aesthetics demand finer details. It can also be shaped into creative forms in keeping with design trends and functionality.
There's a whole lot more benefits precast concrete boasts and we only have to look around to see just how many applications make use of it.
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