Weight is one of the most important factors to be taken into account when designing a structure. Bridges, skyscrapers, roads, and everything else we build on earth need to be light enough but at the same time strong enough to pass the test of time and weather.
The secret to making lightweight concrete is using low-density aggregate. Basically, concrete is made of three elements: cement, aggregate, and water. The weight of the concrete depends on the type of aggregate used in its composition. Aggregate is chosen from a wide variety of materials, from sand and pebbles to synthetic material. Lightweight concrete uses aggregates made of light, coarse material.
Advantages of Lightweight Concrete
Dreaming the impossible
One of the main advantages of lightweight concrete is that it makes projects possible that would have been otherwise too ambitious to go through with. The lightweight nature of this concrete makes it possible for architects to dream of more outlandish designs.
Shorter project and lower cost
Lightweight concrete takes much shorter to complete. With a shorter time, the cost of construction is less as well. With shorter completion time and lower cost, using lightweight concrete is the most logical choice project managers might have.
Concrete gets stronger the more water it gets. Lightweight concrete is prepared by a process called internal curing. In internal curing, the concrete layers are provided with their own water source, and therefore, their moisture and temperature are closely controlled through the curation period.
This amount of moisture and prolonged curation time make the lightweight concrete stronger than regular concrete. This kind of concrete is also more resistant to corrosion and has a longer lifespan.
Companies that make lightweight concrete
Cimpor is a subsidiary of Cimpor Global Holdings. This company is headquartered in Portugal and was founded in 1976. Cimpor Global Holdings has many subsidiaries some of which are: Indústria De Cimentos, Cement Trading Activities — Comércio Internacional, Cimentos Dos Açores, Cimpor Cabo Verde, and many more.
Cimpor has three cement plants, two grinding plants, 42 ready-mixed concrete plants, and 15 aggregate pits. Cimpor also had one bag plant acquired by OYAK, one of the most prominent industrial groups in Turkey.
Cimpor has 408 employees in Lisboa, Portugal. The stock price for this company is currently 0.36 euros per share. This company had a revenue of 287.59 million dollars in 2010.
Cemex is located in Mexico and was founded in 1906. Cemex has many subsidiaries and specializes in cement, ready-mix concrete, aggregates, and other construction materials. This company has 64 cement and grinding plants in Asia, North and South America, Africa, and Europe.
Other Cemex’s facilities include 1,348 ready-mix concrete plants, 246 aggregates quarries, 269 land distribution centers, and 68 marine terminals. With more than 41,000 employees across the world, Cemex’s stock is currently traded for 6.65 dollars per share. This company is estimated to have a revenue of 14.64 billion dollars of revenue in 2021. This revenue is expected to reach 15.45 billion dollars in the following year, 2022. Cemex is predicted to grow by 33.20% per year in the next five years.
Holcim provides customers from all over the world with high-quality cement and concrete. However, this company’s distinguishing feature is making the first green cement production plant. The cement made at Holcim has a lower CO2 footprint by about 30% lower than regular cement.
Holcim also sells aggregates which consist of crushed stone, gravel, and sand. Holcim manufactures building stones, roofing, dry mortar, precast concrete, and asphalt. All these materials are produced with the highest quality, which is also environmentally responsible.
The stock price for Holcim is currently traded for 47.52 dollars per share. This company is reported to have a revenue of 28.58 billion dollars in 2021. This number is predicted to reach 29.98 billion dollars in the following year. According to analysis, Holcim is forecasted to grow by 29.48% per year for the next five years.
HeidelbergCement Group (HEI.DE)
Heidelberg has offices in 50 countries across the world. This company provides residential houses, infrastructures, and industrial facilities with the material they need, including cement, aggregates, ready-mix concrete, and asphalt.
Heidelberg’s aggregate sales volumes were 293.6 million tonnes, about 3.9% lower than the previous year’s level. Similarly, the sales volumes for asphalt were reported to be 11 million tons, with a decrease of 2.6% since the last year.
The stock price for Heidelberg is currently 63.9 euros per share. This company’s revenue was 18.61 billion euros in 2019. According to analysis, Heidelberg will grow by 16.20% per year in the next five years.
Buzzi Unicem S.p.A. (BZU.MI)
Buzzi is located in Pennsylvania, USA. This company is one of the major cement companies in the United States. Buzzi was founded in 2004, the result of RC Cement and Lone Star Industries. Buzzi has seven production plants and has a production capacity of 9 million metric tons.
Buzzi’s concrete is distributed to over 30 states in the United States. This company has 1,400 employees in operations in the US, Germany, Italy, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Poland, the Czech Republic, and other countries.
The stock for Buzzi is currently traded for 19.80 euros per share. This company is reported to have a revenue of 3.37 billion euros in 2021. This revenue is forecasted to experience a slight increase and reach 3.5 billion euros in the following year. The stock for Buzzi is predicted to fall by 12.5% in the current year.
The future of the lightweight concrete market
The concrete market suffered some loss due to the global pandemic of COVID-19. The pandemic put a dent in the construction industry in 2020 and 2021. After global vaccination, the wheels of the industry are turning again, and this market is expected to go back to its previous glory. Lightweight concrete plays an essential role in this industry because of its low cost, high strength, and durability. Therefore, it is safe to assume that the lightweight concrete market has nowhere to go up.