Shotcrete: Advancing Technology’s Contribution to the Construction Industry
Shotcrete is a mix of aggregate and Portland cement that is pushed into the spray gun’s nozzle to apply on receiving surfaces to prevent leakage and fragmentation. Shotcrete is of two types namely dry-mix process and wet-mix process and has excellent properties like quick setting time, better mechanical strength, etc.
The construction sector has witnessed immense growth over the past years due to regular technological advancements, the introduction of new equipment, new designs for better infrastructure, and much more. Now that the construction industry is adopting new concrete techniques, there is more effectiveness and fewer formworks in the overall applications. Among the many modern building materials, shotcrete is a widely used technological improvement to spray on fancy concrete architectures of all complex shapes and structures like tunnels, domes, canopy roofs, artificial rock walls, etc. A mixture of Portland cement and aggregate, shotcrete is conveyed by compressed air through a nozzle of a spray gun to prevent leaks and fragmentation. The spray gun is usually projected at high velocity on a vertical or overhead surface. In addition, shotcrete is also known as mortar concrete or gunite and can take any shape, can be colored easily, and can also be sculpted after application. Now that we know what shotcrete is, let’s explore its types, advantages, and disadvantages in this blog.
Types of Shotcrete
Basically, there are two types of shotcrete:
- Dry-mix Process
The dry-mix method involves putting pre-mixed damp or dry materials into the nozzle of the spray gun by compressed air. Later, water is added to the nozzle but is not completely mixed with water. Finally, the material is then applied to the surface. This type of shotcrete is useful in repair applications where it is necessary to stop the spray gun frequently.
- Wet-mix Process
This process involves pumping a ready-mixed concrete to the spray gun’s nozzle where compressed air is applied to impel the shotcrete mixture on the surface. As compared to the dry-mix process, the wet-mix procedure produces less wastage, rebound, and dust.
Advantages and Disadvantages of Shotcrete
Shotcrete has numerous advantages over conventional concrete in a variety of construction and repair applications. Some of them are as mentioned below:
- Shotcrete is more durable than regular concrete and imparts greater mechanical strength to the buildings and other constructions like domes, tunnels, bridges, etc.
- Shotcrete makes the structure less porous and enhances the bond strength.
- Shotcrete reduces the overall cost as well as the construction time.
- Shotcrete can be applied by a nozzle at a safe distance.
- Shotcretes make the buildings more corrosion-resistant and redistribute the stress to enhance the load-carrying capacity of the structure.
- Shotcrete can be easily used on irregular surfaces and hard-to-reach areas.
According to market analysts, the above-mentioned advantages are expected to boost the global shotcrete market growth and is predicted to gather a revenue of $13,215.3 and grow at 8.9% CAGR during the 2021-2028 forecast timeframe.
Despite the various advantages, applying shotcrete also has some drawbacks that are as stated below:
- Shotcrete is a time-consuming task in the case of large foundations and structural piers.
- In the case of dry-mix application, shotcrete produces too much dust that can cause serious health issues like lung-related diseases to the workers.
- Since shotcrete is widely used for its quick setting time and hardening properties, its quick application is very important or else, it might dry beforehand.
The Bottom Line
The ongoing technological improvements have boosted the construction industry to adopt the shotcrete-spraying technique for stronger structures and relish the various benefits it offers. Shotcrete can be easily used for repairing activities of architectures with complex shapes. Moreover, the excellent mechanical strength, quick setting time, and hardening properties of shotcrete are the prime factors to increase its usage in the construction field.
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