Modern advanced concrete, more commonly referred to as ‘high-performance concrete’, It be defined as ‘concrete meeting special combinations of performance and uniformity requirements that cannot always be achieved routinely using conventional constituents and normal mixing, placing and curing practices’ (Russell 1999).
In other words, advanced concrete is simply concrete that is significantly better in some respects than the concrete that we usually make.
Clearly, the above definition is, like concrete itself, highly time-dependent; what might have seemed like very advanced concrete 100 years ago would look very ordinary today, just as today’s ‘advanced’ concretes will seem quite primitive 100 years from now.
Before discussing the properties of some of the modern advanced concrete available today, it is necessary first to say a few words about the materials that are currently available.
It must be emphasized that, in order to produce truly high performance concretes, it is essential that the composition and properties of all of the components of the concrete be carefully considered: cement chemistry and particle size distribution, the chemistry and size distribution of the supplementary cementing materials, the chemistry of the admixtures and their possible reactions with the cementing materials, and the physical, chemical and mechanical properties of the aggregates.
In addition, there must be strict quality control governing every phase of the concrete-making process; the design engineer(s), the cement producer, the concrete supplier and the contractor must all work together to ensure the quality of the final product.
Even with the best choice of materials, if the concrete is not placed, finished and cured properly, the result will be a substandard material.