Aircrete is a lightweight concrete made of cement, fly ash, sand and a foaming agent. The foaming agent is agitated with compressed air in a foam generator (either a hand held manual device or an automated large scale commercial machine). The resulting mixture distributes a multitude of air bubbles uniformly throughout the concrete mix to create the desired density. Different types of foaming agents are available with the optimum one varying for each mix design recipe. The aircrete needs to be strong and stable to withstand the physical and chemical processes of mixing, placing and hardening.
Aside from being a solid building material, aircrete is also considered a thermal insulator and sound absorber. It also provides fire-resistance that can outperform wood construction in terms of protecting the structure from wildfires. Additionally, its vapor barriers and water-resistant properties can diminish moisture penetration and protect the building from condensation.
In addition to these perks, aircrete is relatively easy to make and work with on site. It can be mixed by hand, poured in a mold, or even prefabricated in block forms which allows it to be used in various types of projects including domes.
However, like any building material, aircrete has its shortcomings that should be kept in mind for each application. It is not as strong or durable as concrete and may require reinforcements in some cases. It is also not as tensile, so it may not be ideal for structures that need to withstand great amounts of pressure. In addition, if the foam is not mixed well enough or if the project is pumped over great lengths and heights, the foam will collapse and lose its strength.
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