India AAC blocks and Non-Reinforced Panels: A Concise Guide
As the awareness about earthquake resistant, green buildings has increased, Reinforced Cement Concrete or RCC framed structures are being preferred by the urban population. For such fundamental structures, AAC blocks are preferred to bricks. AAC blocks have many advantages and disadvantages.
In recent years, the concept of residential buildings in India has been redefined with advent of new construction materials. Architects are inventing many trailblazing designs for a new and enriching architectural experience. Bricks, the most basic material for construction has also gone through renovation.
Nowadays, as the consciousness for earthquake resistant, green buildings has increased, Reinforced Cement Concrete or RCC framed structures are being favored by the metropolitan population. For such fundamental structures, AAC blocks are preferred to bricks.
AAC is the abbreviation of Autoclaved Aerated Concrete. In India, AAC blocks are in production since the last three decades. Yet, these were not being used at the individual level for residential purpose. However, as the awareness has been increased about the beneficial properties of AAC blocks, they are being used in individual level too. This is the reason behind the growth of the India AAC block and Non-reinforced panel market.
The Making Process of AAC
Unlike other concrete types, AAC contains no aggregate. In its making process, sand or fly ash is included. Aluminum powder is added to one of these ingredients and ferment the concrete, creating tiny bubbles.
The concrete is then poured into molds and left to rise. Next, the mold is baked in an autoclave. This autoclave uses steam in order to pressurize the completion of the chemical reactions and speeding up the curing process significantly. The process takes a few hours.
Advantages of using AAC in Construction
AAC has many advantages compared to conventional concrete. They include:
- It uses less material, which is important for a good type of concrete.
- According to manufacturers, it consumes only 50% less energy, despite the energy-intensive autoclaving process.
- As AAC concrete is light-weight, it reduces transportation costs and use of fuel.
- The AAC block has a steady R value, marginally more than R-1, which works better compared to conventional concrete with an R value of approximately R-0.2.
- AAC concrete makes the air leakage minimal.
- The soundproofing properties of AAC are amazing.
- It can also be used as a firebreak.
Disadvantages of AAC
In a report, Stefan Schnitzler has mentioned a few disadvantages to AAC. Two of these disadvantages are:
- Higher costs related to the manufacturing process is a huge barrier for the adoption of AAC.
- AAC requires a special training for builders, as the process is somewhat complex.
Some other demerits of AAC concrete are mentioned below:
- Can’t be installed during rainy weather: AAC blocks are prone to getting cracked after installation. However, by diminishing the strength of the mortar and ensuring the blocks are dry during and after installation may prevent the blocks from cracking.
- Fragile nature: AAC blocks require more careful handling than clay bricks. This way any chance of breakage may be handled.
- Careful attachment process: Because of the delicate nature of the blocks, longer and thinner screws are used while attaching cabinets or wall-hangings.
- If AAC blocks are used alone, insulation in newer building codes would require very dense walls in Northern European countries.
- Another disadvantage of AAC block is that it can’t be used as a finish like other conventional concrete. As these blocks are more porous, cladding or stucco is required on the outside preventing it from moisture.
COVID-19 Impact Analysis
During the coronavirus pandemic and the restrictions to prevent the spread of the virus took a deadly toll on the global economy. India experienced a drastic downfall in its GDP. Industries and companies are going through heavy loss. While some of the industries are on temporary shutdown, others are entirely out of business. Just like all these other industries, the Indian AAC blocks and panels market has also experienced an adverse impact of the pandemic. Lockdowns imposed by the state governments in order to curb the spread of the virus has resulted in the cancellation of construction projects and supply of raw materials. This has affected the Indian AAC blocks and panels market in a negative way during the forecast period. In addition, decreasing supply of raw material, increasing financial burden on builders, and halts in supply chains because of the unpredictable revival of the virus is going to impact the market in an adverse way in the upcoming times.
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