The revelation of sprayed concrete

Concrete is possibly the most versatile building material in the world, and has the unique property that in its fluid state it can assume complex shapes before hardening and becoming immensely strong. It can even be used in concert with steel reinforcements to add extra strength and make it sturdier.

Traditionally concrete was poured, using shutters and moulds to help shape it so it could set. This was time consuming and could be costly in some cases, especially if a complex framework needed to be made. Surprisingly it was the curator of the Field Museum of Natural Science in Chicago who came up with a better method.

In 1895 Dr. Carlton Akeley was creating models of prehistoric animals but it was tricky to trowel the mortar into such complex shapes. He developed a device using a single pressure air chamber, a hose and a water nozzle. The chamber was filled with a dry mixture of cement and sand. This was forced through the hose by using compressed air. Once it reached the nozzle it was hydrated and could be sprayed as a wet mix. This was the creation of sprayed concrete and the technique would go on to change the whole industry.

The practise of mixing the cement, sand and water in the chamber (known as the wet method) occurred much later and was not commercially viable until the 1970s. Both the traditional dry method and the newer wet method are used today on all kinds of projects.

Sprayed concrete was a revelation because it allows more control over where the concrete is deposited. This means the process can be completed far more efficiently and in a much wider array of settings. On top of this it also did away with the need for moulds and framework to make complex shapes because the water to cement ratio was lower, reducing the risk of sagging. This provides fantastic cost savings.

The technique is used all around the world in a huge array of different applications. The most common uses are structural repairs and to provide fire protection for steel framed structures but it can also be used for lining various structures such as water and oil tanks and many other projects.

At Churchill Concrete Technology we have extensive experience in the field. We can utilise concrete spraying in all kinds of settings and produce fantastic results when it comes to concrete repair and a host of other services. Clients from a variety of sectors can come to us safe in the knowledge they will receive a professional service from a highly trained team with the right equipment.