Foam concrete, also known as aircrete, is a material that has all the strength and durability of traditional concrete but at a fraction of its weight. It is made by mixing cement, pulverized fuel ash and aluminum powder in a mixer to produce multiple air bubbles that are then trapped inside a layer of concrete. This is then cut into blocks and autoclaved for further reinforcement. The result is a lightweight concrete with excellent insulation properties that can be used in a wide variety of construction applications.
The Allied foam systems provide very high levels of foam stability that allow the materials to be incorporated into a variety of foamed concrete products such as ICFs, concrete slabs and blocks and other building products. The fine texture and good strength/handling features of the cured Allied stable foams also make them ideal for application as an external coating to rigid insulation panels, concrete form walls and other structures.
One of the most important aspects of a good foamed concrete mix is its ability to flow when wet. An excessively stiff matrix will result in foam breakage and collapse, while an overly fluid matrix will segregate. The Allied stable foams are easily mixed with water to achieve a slurry with an appropriate rheology for the desired application.
The optimum mix composition for thermal conductivity was determined by environmental scanning electron microscopy (ESEM). The resulting SEM images of the foam concrete M-2 shown in Figure 11 show the distribution and structure of the pores. As shown in the image, the air bubbles are non-uniform, with a size range of several tenths to hundreds of micrometers. They are also separated by a cement-based matrix and do not form a continuous network.
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