Structural Lightweight Concrete
Structural lightweight concrete uses LECA (light expanded clay aggregate) as the aggregate material to cut weight, improve strength, and enhance the overall durability of precast concrete and ready-mix concrete. Let’s explore the benefits of structural lightweight concrete with LECA now, and discuss it in further detail.
What Is LECA, ECA®? Explaining Light Expanded Clay Aggregate For Structural Lightweight Concrete
LECA, ECA® is a class of lightweight aggregates made from clay and is used as a lightweight construction material. Light expanded clay aggregate is made in a rotary kiln, which is heated to a temperature of more than 1200°C.
This causes the light-expanded clay aggregate to form oval or round balls, and the gases within the clay expand and create thousands of tiny air bubbles within each LECA, ECA® pellet. The process of creating light expanded clay aggregate can be fine-tuned to create LECA, ECA® of varying densities and sizes.
Light expanded clay aggregate is one of the best lightweight aggregates for use in ready-mix concrete and precast concrete, and has lots of benefits when used in structural lightweight concrete applications, especially when compared to other lightweight aggregates. Structural lightweight expanded clay aggregate’s cellular structure provides internal curing through water entrainment which is especially beneficial for high-performance concrete, internal curing improves the contact zone which mitigates microcracking. Let’s take a look at its benefits of choosing LECA, ECA®during the concrete mix design process now, and explore this lightweight construction material in further detail.
The Benefits Of Light Expanded Clay Aggregate In Ready-Mix & Precast Concrete
So, why is LECA, ECA® used by leading concrete contractors over other lightweight aggregates? Here are a few reasons it’s preferred lightweight construction material for concrete mix design.
- The reduced overall weight of ready-mix concrete – One reason LECA, ECA® is so popular in concrete mix design is that it reduces the overall weight of ready-mix concrete during shipping and when casting structural lightweight concrete components.
- Lower cost for shipping precast concrete components – Just like with ready-mix concrete, using light expanded clay aggregate for precast concrete panels and components means lower overall weight due to how light LECA, ECA® lightweight aggregates are – reducing concrete contractor’s shipping costs and the complexity of shipping precast structural lightweight concrete components to job sites.
- Excellent insulation – LECA, ECA® is one of the best lightweight construction materials for insulation when building concrete panels and other elements. Its thousands of tiny air bubbles hold air, which helps provide better overall insulation properties. This is always something to consider during the concrete mix design process. With LECA, ECA®, buildings save lots of energy when heating and cooling, which allows for cost savings and the implementation of smaller, less complex HVAC systems in some cases.
- Improved soundproofing – Lightweight expanded clay aggregate also helps absorb sound, which can be very useful when using structural lightweight concrete and ready-mix concrete to create sound barriers around roads, industrial areas, or even in buildings. The shape and structure of LECA, ECA® help absorb sound and reduce the sound load on nearby areas.
- Lower overall dead loads – This is one of the biggest reasons that LECA, ECA® lightweight construction material is so popular with concrete contractors. When LECA, ECA® is used in concrete mix design, dead loads can be reduced up to 20-30% due to the strength and lightweight of ready-mix concrete using LECA, ECA®. This helps reduce the overall use of concrete and steel components, improves overall structural function, and provides a better overall load-bearing structure, especially in areas where earthquake-resistant buildings are important. It is possible to obtain concrete with variable densities between the limits indicated, with strength levels starting from 15 N/mm2 up to 70 N/mm2. This concrete can be made directly on-site, mixed in concrete mixing plants, or at the prefabrication plant. Pre-mixed concrete in bags is also available and is mostly used for smaller interventions, generally in restoration works.
- Freeze-thaw durability – Because clay absorbs very little water and LECA, ECA® contains thousands of tiny air bubbles, this helps insulate structural concrete components and improves freeze-thaw durability, which is often a top concern in outdoor concrete structures located in areas with cold winters.
LECA, ECA® Is An Ideal Aggregate For All Structural Concrete Applications
For all of the above reasons and many more, concrete contractors, architects, engineers, and other building professionals have begun turning to LECA, ECA® as their aggregate of choice when mixing structural lightweight concrete. With a reputable LECA, ECA® supplier for lightweight aggregates, the potential of light expanded concrete aggregate is nearly limitless. Discover more and see how LECA, ECA® can transform your next construction project to
100 % Inert
Light in Weight
Reduction of 40-50% Load
High Compressive Strength
Cylinder Compressive Strength 0.6 to 3.0 N/mm2
Micro Porous Structure
Aids Better Aeration
Non-Toxic & Eco- Friendly
100% Eco-Friendly and Sustainable
Excellent Thermal Insulation
Thermal Conductivity 0.097 to 0.10 W/mK
Excellent Sound Insulation
Excellent Acoustic Insulation Property
Low-Coefficient of Thermal Expansion
Excellent Fire Resistance
1 to 6 hrs - 9 to 19 cm LAC 1100 kg/m³
High Resistance to Water Absorption
Excellent insulation properties allows greater energy savings
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