From Weight to Insulation: The Superior Benefits of Aerated Concrete Deconstructed

by Cellenbeton Blokken on Mar 15, 2024

Here's an overview:

Introduction to Aerated Concrete and its rise in the construction sector

Aerated concrete, also known as 'autoclaved aerated concrete' (AAC) or 'aerated concrete', is a building material that is receiving increasing attention in the construction sector. This lightweight, building material is characterized by its small, closed air bubbles that are formed during the production process. These air bubbles are responsible for the unique properties of aerated concrete, such as its excellent insulation capabilities, fire resistance and ease of processing.

  • Lightweight : One of the most glorious features of aerated concrete is its light weight. This makes it much less heavy than traditional concrete or sand-lime brick, resulting in less strain on the foundations and the ability to build taller structures with less material.
  • Thermal insulation : Aerated concrete has excellent insulating properties that contribute to energy-efficient buildings. This reduces operating costs and ensures a comfortable indoor climate.
  • Fire safety : The material is virtually non-flammable and can significantly slow the spread of fire, which contributes to the safety of structures.
  • Sustainability : With a focus on sustainable construction, aerated concrete offers an environmentally responsible choice. It is recyclable and requires less energy during production and transport due to its light weight.

The rise of aerated concrete in the construction sector is due to the combination of these advantages. The material meets the needs of modern construction requirements that demand fast, cost-effective and environmentally friendly construction solutions. Its versatility means it is used in a variety of projects, from residential homes to industrial applications. With the tightening of energy standards and growing awareness of sustainable construction, the popularity of aerated concrete is only expected to increase.

What is Aerated Concrete? A definition and a brief history

Aerated concrete, also known as aerated concrete, autoclave lightweight concrete (ALC) or Ytong (a brand name that has often become synonymous with the material), is a lightweight, preloaded building material that offers a combination of insulating and structural properties. The manufacturing process involves mixing quartz sand, lime, cement and water, adding a chemical blowing agent such as aluminum. This mixture is then hardened under heat and high pressure in an autoclave, creating the typical microcell structure. Due to this structure, aerated concrete has excellent thermal insulation properties and at the same time is sufficiently strong for structural applications.

  • It is lightweight;
  • It is fire resistant;
  • It has good thermal insulation;
  • It is resistant to biological influences such as fungi;
  • It has good acoustic insulation properties.

The invention of aerated concrete dates back to the 1920s and took place in Sweden. The developers, Johan Axel Eriksson and Henrik Kreüger, looked for an alternative to wood and traditional concrete that was both light and strong, and importantly, offered better thermal insulation. Their innovative approach to building materials revolutionized the construction industry. Nowadays, aerated concrete is used worldwide for interior and exterior walls, floors, roof slabs and even in the construction of highways. The balance of weight, insulation, durability and cost-efficiency makes it a popular building material for both residential and commercial projects.

Sustainable construction: Aerated concrete as an ecological choice

In a world where sustainability is becoming increasingly important, aerated concrete is a progressive choice for realizing ecologically responsible construction projects. This material, characterized by its lightweight and strong insulating properties, offers a multitude of environmental benefits.

  • Reduced Energy Footprint : Aerated concrete is produced with a relatively low energy requirement. Its production process emits less CO2 compared to conventional building materials such as brick or concrete.
  • Reuse and Recycling : The material offers excellent reuse potential and can be easily recycled at the end of its life cycle. This reduces the need for new raw materials and contributes to the reduction of waste. The sawing waste that is released when building a building can also be easily recycled.
  • Energy efficiency : Thanks to the excellent insulation values ​​of aerated concrete, the thermal properties of buildings remain optimal. This results in a reduction of energy use for heating and cooling, which reduces both the energy bill and the environmental impact.
  • Sustainable Sources : The composition of aerated concrete, often sand, lime and cement, uses natural and often local sources, which limits transport emissions.
  • Long service life : Due to its durability and resistance to various external factors, aerated concrete has a long lifespan, which reduces the environmental impact over the years.

Although the initial cost of aerated concrete may be slightly higher, this is often offset by the savings in energy consumption and maintenance, in addition to the long-term environmental benefits. The choice of aerated concrete is therefore not only ecologically responsible, but also financially attractive thanks to the lower operating costs. This means that aerated concrete offers a significant advantage for sustainable construction.

Savings on construction costs with Aerated Concrete

Aerated concrete, also known as aerated concrete or Ytong, offers significant cost savings during construction, which are due to several inherent properties of the material.

  • Lightweight : Because aerated concrete is lightweight, less heavy foundations are required, which leads to direct savings on earthworks and foundation materials. In addition, the lower weight reduces transport costs, as more units can be transported per transport, and reduces the costs of lifting operations on site.
  • Dimensional stability : The uniformity of aerated concrete blocks ensures less waste and faster installation speed, which reduces labor costs. Less cutting loss and more efficient use of material lead to direct cost savings.
  • Easy processing : Aerated concrete can be sawn, drilled and sanded with standard tools, without the need for expensive specialized equipment. This makes it possible to make accurate adjustments with less experienced workers, which in turn can save labor costs.
  • Thermal insulation : The good insulating properties of aerated concrete can reduce or even eliminate the need for additional insulation materials. This means a saving on both the purchase of additional material and the labor time for applying it.
  • Reduced construction time : Due to the rapid assembly and the ability to combine multiple construction steps (such as building structure and insulating in one step), the total construction time can be significantly reduced. This results in lower overall construction costs, especially when it comes to paying labor hours and limiting interest losses during the construction period.

In summary, aerated concrete is a cost-effective choice for construction projects, where savings can be achieved on several fronts. From the foundation to the finish, the use of aerated concrete provides financial benefits without sacrificing quality or durability.

Thermal insulation: Improved energy efficiency through aerated concrete

Aerated concrete, known for its lightweight construction and excellent insulation properties, plays a crucial role in the energy efficiency of modern buildings. Because this material consists of tiny air pores, it has remarkable thermal resistance. This results in an increased insulation capacity, which in turn contributes to reduced energy consumption for heating and cooling of buildings.

How aerated concrete promotes energy efficiency:

  • Thermal Mass : Aerated concrete has substantial thermal mass, which helps stabilize interior temperatures. During the day it absorbs heat and keeps the inside cool, while at night the stored heat is slowly released, ensuring a consistent indoor climate without extreme temperature fluctuations.
  • Minimize air infiltration : The uniform structure of aerated concrete provides hardly any room for air flow, which significantly reduces air permeability. This minimizes the infiltration of external air masses that can lead to unwanted heat loss or gain.
  • Durability : In addition to thermal efficiency, aerated concrete is resistant to moisture and mold, which maintains long-term integrity and insulation value without significant degradation.
  • High construction speed : The modular construction makes an aerated concrete wall easy and quick to assemble. This efficiency in processing time not only saves costs, but also ensures faster implementation of thermal insulation in a construction project.

The result of the integration of aerated concrete in construction projects is a significant reduction in energy costs and a positive contribution to the ecological footprint of the buildings. Architects and construction professionals increasingly recognize the superiority of aerated concrete in creating energy-efficient and sustainable living environments. As a result, the adoption of aerated concrete sets the standard for the future of construction and establishes itself as an indispensable material in the pursuit of energy-neutral constructions.

The impact of aerated concrete on the speed of the construction process

Aerated concrete has unique properties that significantly speed up the construction process. This lightweight, yet sturdy building material offers significant advantages over traditional construction methods.

Firstly, the lightweight nature of aerated concrete makes processing the aerated concrete blocks much easier and faster. The reduced mass leads to less lifting and placing effort, which in turn results in faster construction times.

Secondly, aerated concrete blocks are larger than, for example, traditional bricks, meaning fewer units are needed to cover the same area. This not only saves time in laying, but also in logistics and preparation.

In addition, there are specific properties of aerated concrete that contribute to its efficiency:

  • Easy Processability: The material can be cut to size quickly and accurately, which speeds up on-site adjustments and customization.
  • Ease of installation: Aerated concrete is easy to attach with standard mounting materials and does not require heavy or special tools.
  • Self-supporting Capacity: The structural properties of aerated concrete allow the material to be loaded early in the construction process, which makes parallel work possible.
  • Minimal Seams and Joints: Due to the size of aerated concrete blocks, there are fewer seams and joints that need to be filled, which reduces labor time.

The use of aerated concrete can lead to a shortening of the construction process by up to 30 to 50 percent. When efficiency is a core objective in construction, aerated concrete offers a solid solution for faster completion of construction projects.

Fire safety: Why aerated concrete is a safe choice

Aerated concrete, known for its fire-resistant properties, offers a high level of safety in the event of fire.

The composition of aerated concrete does not contain organic materials, which means that it does not contribute to the spread of fire. In addition, no smoke or toxic gases are released when aerated concrete is burned, which significantly increases safety in the event of fire.

The thermal insulation properties of aerated concrete also play a crucial role in fire protection. The high insulation capacity means that the heat of the fire is stopped or significantly slowed down, helping to maintain the structural integrity of a building during a fire. This gives residents more time to evacuate and allows firefighters to work more effectively.

  • In fire tests, aerated concrete often achieves a fire resistance of several hours, which also contributes to the overall fire safety of structures.
  • The aerated concrete blocks can also act as fire walls*, limiting the spread of fire between individual parts of a building.

In short, aerated concrete is not only a sustainable and economical choice for construction projects, but also offers essential fire safety benefits, which increases the protection of life and property. This makes it an extremely safe choice for both residential and commercial buildings.

*Fire walls have special requirements. Please feel free to contact us for this.

Sound-absorbing Properties of Aerated Concrete for Greater Living Comfort

Aerated concrete, also known as aerated concrete or Ytong, offers excellent acoustic insulation that contributes to living comfort. The structure of aerated concrete, which contains numerous small air bubbles, is decisive for its sound-absorbing qualities. Below are the specific properties that make aerated concrete an effective sound insulator:

  • Porosity: Thanks to the many air pores, aerated concrete has a low density. This ensures that sound waves are absorbed and scattered. The result is a reduction in the permeability of sound, resulting in less external noise such as traffic or neighbors.
  • Uniformity: The homogeneous structure of aerated concrete ensures that there are no weak points through which sound can 'leak'. It ensures consistently high sound insulation performance over the entire surface.

These characteristics of aerated concrete mean that the material is extremely suitable for both new construction and renovation where sound insulation is important. The use of aerated concrete in the construction of interior and exterior walls, as well as floors and ceilings, contributes to the creation of a calm and serene home environment. This can achieve a significant improvement in living comfort for residents who value silence and privacy.

Easy to work with: Aerated concrete as a flexible building material

Aerated concrete is known for its exceptional workability, a property highly valued in the construction industry. This lightweight building material can be easily cut to size, facilitating adaptation to various architectural designs and construction requirements.

  • Easily cut to size yourself: Construction professionals can accurately cut aerated concrete using standard hand tools. This means it can be adjusted on site without the need for specialist equipment. For this you use our Aerated Concrete Hand Saw and sawing angle.
  • Moldability: Due to its homogeneous structure, aerated concrete can be modeled in almost any desired shape. This opens doors for creative architecture and complex construction elements.
  • Anchoring: Fastening materials such as nails and screws can be applied directly into the aerated concrete without prior treatment. This allows operators to work quickly and efficiently on the installation of systems and finishing materials.
  • Holes and channels: Holes and channels can easily be made in aerated concrete for laying pipes and electrical cables, which simplifies the integration of utilities. For this you use our Slot Puller and Drill 80mm

This machinability reduces construction time and saves on labor costs. This makes the material not only easy to handle, but also cost-saving. Furthermore, it produces less construction waste compared to traditional construction materials, contributing to more sustainable construction practices.

Given these benefits, it is no surprise that aerated concrete is a popular choice for both residential and commercial construction projects. Its adaptability makes it possible to respond quickly to changing design requirements inherent in the modern construction process. Aerated concrete therefore offers a significant contribution to the efficiency and flexibility of construction projects.

Aerated concrete saw Cutting angle for aerated concrete blocks Trench puller Drill 80mm
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Long-term maintenance and durability of aerated concrete

Aerated concrete is known for its long lifespan and low maintenance requirements, making it a sustainable choice for construction projects. The unique properties of the material contribute to its ability to withstand the test of time:

  • Weather resistance: Aerated concrete is resistant to weather influences such as rain, frost and heat. It is not sensitive to moisture and mold.
  • Impervious to vermin: Due to its inorganic composition, aerated concrete does not attract vermin, limiting the risk of damage by termites or rodents.
  • Fire safety: The material is not only fire resistant, but also retains its structural properties during a fire, increasing long-term safety.
  • Dimensional stability: Aerated concrete does not shrink or swell under the influence of temperature changes, which means that the risk of cracks in the structure is small.
  • Ease of repair: Damage to aerated concrete can be repaired relatively easily without weakening the structure.
  • Recyclability: At the end of its lifespan, aerated concrete can be recycled and used again as a raw material, contributing to the circular economy.

For optimal maintenance, it is recommended to periodically inspect and clean the aerated concrete construction. However, thanks to the durable characteristics of the material, this maintenance will be minimal compared to other building materials. This makes aerated concrete a progressive choice for sustainable construction projects that are aimed at the long term.

Conclusion: The future of building with Aerated Concrete

The future of aerated concrete in the construction sector appears promising, with a continued focus on sustainability and energy efficiency. The unique properties of aerated concrete, such as its lightness, thermal insulation and fire resistance, make it an excellent choice for a wide range of applications in modern architecture and construction.

  1. Innovation in Aerated Concrete : With continued technological advances, it is likely that we will see improvements in aerated concrete manufacturing processes, aiming for even better insulation values ​​and strength properties.
  2. Sustainability and Circular Construction : Aerated concrete fits well within the trend of circular construction; the possibility of recycling the material and its long lifespan support the pursuit of a more sustainable building environment.
  3. Integration with Smart Technology : The integration of sensors and smart technology within building materials, including aerated concrete, could in the future provide 'smart' building elements that further improve energy efficiency and contribute to the development of smart cities.
  4. Custom Design Options : Aerated concrete offers flexibility in design due to its easy workability. This can lead to innovative architectural designs and tailor-made building solutions.
  5. Stricter Energy Regulations : Governments are imposing increasingly higher requirements on the energy performance of buildings. Aerated concrete contributes to achieving these energy goals, making it an obvious choice for future construction projects.

Aerated concrete continues to evolve to meet the changing needs of the construction industry. It is both a return to proven methods and a look ahead to future innovations that take construction to a higher level of sustainability and functionality. Construction professionals around the world will continue to recognize and implement the benefits of aerated concrete, ensuring the future of this material.