Concrete Mixers: Basic Information

For all kinds of construction jobs a concrete mixer is needed. Also know as cement mixer, this mixer is a devise where various materials like cement, sand, gravel and water are mixed to produce concrete which is used for paving, flooring, wall cladding and other construction work.

How does it works?

It consists of a revolving drum which is used to mix all the components. A cement mixer has a revolving drum, attached with a motor and all the mixing components are put inside the drum. When the motor starts, the materials spin inside the drum and get mixed together evenly. They remain soft for application and forming.

Types of Concrete Mixers

  • Mixers Without hopper
  • Mixer With mechanical hopper
  • Mixer With hydraulic hopper

Sizes of Concrete Mixers

There are different sizes of mixers ranging from the portable machine or mini mixer to the large sized commercial mixing truck. A portable mixer is used for smaller volume works where the concrete is produced at the construction site itself. On the other hand, the big concrete making trucks are used for large scale construction.

Maintenance

Regular maintenance of such mixers is very essential for smooth functioning of the equipment. It is necessary to keep a constant check on the concrete mixer parts so that they are good working condition. They should be stored properly when not in use.

Buying Tips

  • First of all, check out why do you need the mixer. For a job of small duration, you can get it for rent. For longer duration and regular usage, you can purchase one.
  • Next you have to know for what purpose you need the machine. For small construction or landscaping job, the best is to go for a portable cement mixer which can be electric powered or gas powered.
  • For large scale construction jobs like laying a driveway or paving a floor or other heavy construction work, go for a concrete mixer truck.
  • The price is an important factor to consider.
  • You can also opt for used mixers if they are in good condition.

Concrete: Its Types and Uses

Sturdy, durable and economical, concrete is one of the most frequently used construction materials in the United States. Called pourable stone, it was once used by the Egyptians to build structures that still stand more than 3,600 years later. The standard concrete used by most Minneapolis general contractors combines sand, gravel and water with Portland cement.

Different Concretes and Their Uses

Many different varieties of concrete exist and a Minneapolis construction company generally chooses a particular variety for its purposes based on its particular compressive strength, a quality expressed in terms of pounds per square inch (psi) and megapascals (MPa). Some of the different types of concrete are:

Regular Concrete – Standard, or regular concrete, comes in a variety of pre-mixed packages that vary in their water-absorption and setting qualities, depending on the specific aggregates used. For the most part, regular concrete mixes offer a compressive strength in the range of 1450 psi (10 MPa) to 5800 psi (40 MPa). As such, it is not recommended for heavy, load-bearing structures. Minneapolis general contractors commonly use regular concrete for basic installations in residential buildings, for lining curbs and for strengthening sidewalks and driveways.

Pervious Concrete – Studies show that the use of regular concrete adversely affects groundwater supplies as its compact nature prevents water from reaching the ground. One solution for a Minneapolis construction company is to use pervious concrete, which allows a small amount of air or water to pass through the material. The Environmental Protection Agency encourages the use of pervious concrete when other methods of preventing storm water runoff prove impractical. Although this type of concrete has a reduced strength when compared to regular concrete, a number of formulations nevertheless provide enough strength to meet the requirements for a range of applications.

Stamped Concrete – Stamped concrete is concrete that is treated while still wet to mimic the outward appearance of other materials such as brick, cobblestone, wood or other materials. Typically, builders use concrete with a compressed strength of 3000 to 4000 psi for stamped concrete applications. Also known as architectural concrete for its decorative nature, it is most commonly produced by adding a primary color as well as an accent color to the concrete mix. The wet concrete is then poured and stamped with a polyurethane stamp. Nowadays, it is common to see a Minneapolis construction company use texturized stamps to create a look that is closer in appearance to natural brick and flagstone.

Stamped concrete is ideal for decorative purposes as it is easy to clean and offers superior durability when compared to materials such as brick or slate. Most Minneapolis general contractors recommend it for landscaping purposes as it does not have any cracks or edges and will not allow any vegetation to grow through it.

Shotcrete – Also known as Gunite, shotcrete is generally used where formwork is unnecessary, such as when building against rock surfaces or vertical soil. It is also used for rock support, especially while tunneling. In some cases, additives such as fiber reinforcement and accelerators may be added to the mix.

Concrete, in its myriad of forms, has become an indispensable part of our everyday life. All forms of concrete have to undergo the correct hydrating and hardening process to optimize their unique physical and chemical properties. In particular, care should be taken to mix the cement blend thoroughly in order to produce uniform, high-quality concrete. The right Minneapolis general contractor will be able to use a variety of types and styles of concrete to make your construction project the best and most cost-efficient that it can be.

The History of Radiators

When it comes to renovations, choosing the right radiators is now often considered along with the wallpaper and floor coverings. Many consumers are keen to select radiators from the right era, to bring stylish authenticity to a period property, or to opt for a funky radiator design, to add the wow-factor to a contemporary interior.

Research makes it clear that many changes have taken place in heating products over the years.

As many history buffs will be aware, the Romans were the one of the first to use “central heating” to warm their villas using a system called a hypocaust that used a furnace to heat air and conduct it through voids under floors. Similar systems were also used in ancient Korea, possibly even dating back to the Bronze Age. By 1700, Russian engineers had started designing water based systems for central heating.

Steam-heating systems were then developed and installed in the 1830s. The first was installed in the home of Governor of the Bank of England, John Horley Palmer, so that he could grow grapes in England’s cold climate.

However, there are various people who are claimed to have invented the radiator as we would recognise it today. All evidence points to their development occurring sometime around the mid 19th Century.

Franz San Galli, a Polish-born Russian businessman, invented an early form of radiator between 1855-1857, and two distinguished inventors known as Joseph Nason and Robert Brigss also designed and produced a radiator using vertical wrought iron tubes screwed into a cast iron base in 1863. In 1872, Nelson H Bundy came up with the “Bundy Loop”, a popular cast iron radiator design that is still reflected in products we see today.

The Victorian period is greatly associated with the introduction of cast iron radiators that we are all familiar with and it was in this period that heating became not only a practical installation but also a decorative item.

However, it wasn’t until the 20th Century that radiators were popularised as even up to the 1970s comparatively few homes had central heating. Steel was then introduced as the most popular option for radiator manufacture in the UK, supporting the British steel industry. Consequently, pressed steel corrugated panels became commonplace, despite the prevalence of aluminium radiators elsewhere in Europe.

As interior fashions changed cast iron radiators were thought of being too big and obtrusive and steel radiators were consider ugly, so homeowners discarded them, boxed them in or simply painted them, but in the 21st Century we have seen the radiator market come full circle. Yet again radiators have become a desirable feature in our homes.

Cast iron remains a popular choice amongst today’s heating engineers and architects, particularly for older properties that could otherwise be prone to damp. Radiators made of cast iron stay warm long after the central heating has been turned off, providing a constant, gentle undulating heat, which retains the warmth in the fabric of the building, as well as heating the interior space. Today’s trend of restoring period properties back to their original splendour has re-launched the cast iron radiator that now claims pride of place in many homes.

Cast iron radiators available today are either “reclaimed”, meaning they have been salvaged from older buildings, or “reproduction”, meaning they are new but have been cast from original designs, with both options having a boom in popularity over the last decade. See our blog article “reclaimed vs. reproduction” for more information on this subject.

Contemporary radiators are now available in wide variety of wonderful shapes sizes and finishes, from sleek minimalist radiators that fit close to the wall to wow-factor feature radiators that make a unique and stunning statement.

Yet whatever style you opt for, be assured that there is no need to compromise on heat output, as good looks and performance are not mutually exclusive.

Radiators, be they Victorian in style or ultra-modern designs, no longer have a ‘humble’ status within a room; they are now an essential centrepiece that serves a functional purpose as well as being a stylish accessory to complement any interior.

For more information on radiators, be it reclaimed or reproduction cast iron, or the latest in designer models, then speak to an expert.

World’s Longest and Widest Box Girder Expressway Bridge

Bangna-Bangphli-Bangpakong Expressway, Thailand (BBBE) dubbed as the world’s longest elevated expressway bridge (about 55-kilometre) and also the widest (27.2 meters) carrying 6 lanes traffic 3 in each direction, was built along the median of highway 34 from Bangna to Chonburi. This expressway is part of the networks of expressway planned by the Expressway and Rapid Transit Authority of Thailand (ETA) to ease the flow of traffic in and around the metropolitan Bangkok. Specifically, this superhighway is meant to serve the Eastern Seaboard Area and the soon to be completed Bangkok Second International Airport.

Apart from this 55 kilometers main expressway, there is also an additional of 26 ramps or about 40 kilometers in length, two elevated mainline toll plazas with surveillance buildings, 11 platforms for toll surveillance, two police stations, and associated at-grade works. The total bridge deck area is 1,900,000 m2. All these were completed at a record time of only fifty-three months overall construction period by employing a state-ofthe- art design and construction technique known as the “Precast Segmental Technology of Bridge Construction”.

This turnkey project was undertaken by a joint venture company called JV-BBCD composed of Germany’s Bilfinger + Berger and Thailand’s Ch. Karnchang Public Company as the lead partners. These two companies havefor years been a part of Bangkok’s implementation of networks of elevated expressways, now to a record total length of expressways built in and around the city of 132 km or 3,598,000 square meters of deck area or 5,854 spans total including this project.

Alignment and Foundation Design was done by the Asian Engineering Consultants (AEC) and the Superstructure and Column Design was done by the inventor of the Segmental Technology of Bridge Construction, Jean Muller International (JMI). The design of selected parts was reviewed by ACECOMS, AIT.

Different Types of Spectrophotometer Instruments

A double beam spectrophotometer is one of the two basic types of spectrophotometer in use currently (the other type being the single beam spectrophotometer). Spectrophotometers are devices that measure the wavelength distribution of light.

These instruments are available in many shapes, configurations and sizes. A double beam instrument compares the light intensity between two light paths by splitting the light source into two separate beams. The splitting of the beam is accomplished either statically using a partially transmitting mirror or through attenuation of the beams optical devices.

One beam is used to illuminate the reference standard, while the other illuminates the sample. The instrument measures the amount of light of a specific wavelength absorbed by an analyte in a gas or liquid sample. Typically, the two beams of a double beam spectrophotometer are combined before they reach a single monochromator, but in some cases two monochromators are used. Depending on the wavelength being studies, an electrically powered ultraviolet, visible or infrared lamp can be used. A single beam spectrophotometer measures the relative light intensity of the beam before and after a test sample is introduced.

The comparison measurements from double beam instruments are easier make and more stable but single beam instruments still are useful for certain applications, having a larger dynamic range and being optically simpler as well as more compact.

Historically, spectrophotometers use a monochromator containing a diffraction grating to produce the analytical light spectrum, though some use arrays of photo sensors instead. Still other spectrophotometers that use a Fourier transform technique to acquire spectral information more quickly, a technique called Fourier Transform InfraRed.

A double beam spectrophotometer or single beam spectrophotometer quantitatively compares the fraction of light that passes through a reference solution and a test solution. Light from the source lamp is passed through a monochromator, diffracting the light into a “rainbow” of wavelengths. The outputs are narrow bandwidths of this diffracted spectrum. Discrete frequencies are transmitted through the test sample. Then the intensity of the transmitted light is measured with a photodiode or other brightness sensor. The transmittance value for this wavelength is then compared with the transmission through a reference sample.

Spectrophotometry routines consist of shining a light source into a monochromator. A particular output wavelength is then selected and beamed at the sample. The photodetector behind the sample responds to the light stimulus and outputs an analog electronic current which is converted to a usable format. The numbers are either plotted or (as is now most commonly the case) fed into a computer for further analysis.

The main advantages of a double beam instrument over the single beam spectrophotometer are an improvement in the stability of the light source, detectors and associated electronic devices. The disadvantages include the precision required in recombining the beams prior to reaching the monochrometer, the quality of the mirrors and other optics (if used) and their coatings and the problems which can created by dust buildup on these devices.

These disadvantages can make the double beam instruments somewhat more difficult to maintain than single beam devices, though the results they can provide make them ideal for certain spectrophotometry applications.

Reasons Why Your Toenails Are Turning White

Have you ever looked at your toenails and noticed that they just don’t look right? They used to be clear, now they look opaque, thicker, and their surface is white. What can cause toenails to turn white?

Most people first consider the white discoloration of the toenail to be a fungal infection of the toenail. This indeed can be the cause of the white appearance. Fungus is an opportunist that lives naturally on our feet and in our shoes. If there is any injury to our toenails, the fungus can infect the toenail, which causes the nail to become thickened and discolored. Fungal toenails can be treated in a variety of ways. Medication applied to the toenail, such as Formula 3, are useful for mild and moderate toenail infections. Oral medication, such as Lamisil, and the revolutionary laser treatment are appropriate for moderate to severe infections. As the fungus resolves, the white appearance of the toenail should clear as well. Your foot doctor will be able to guide you towards the best treatment for your toenail fungus.

Fungus is not the only cause of a white toenail. Injury can also cause the nail to become discolored, deformed, and thickened. Depending on where on the toenail the trauma is, will determine how it effects the toenail. If the trauma is to the nail itself, often resulting in bleeding beneath the toenail, the damage can be temporary. There will be discoloration to the toenail, because it is lifted from the nail bed, but often will resolve on it’s own as the nail grows out. It is useful to use a topical anti fungal medication to ensure that the damage to the nail will not allow a fungus infection to occur.

When the toenail is injured at the matrix, the group of cells responsible for growing the toenail, the damage can be permanent. This results in a continued thickening of the toenail and a persistent white discoloration. While there may be a fungus infection of the toenail at the beginning, use of an anti fungal medication will not fully improve the toenail’s appearance. In these cases, using an conditioner for the toenail will help to improve how the toenail looks.

Toenails also develop a white discoloration due to damage from toenail polish and toenail polish remover. Most nail polish have chemicals, such as formaldehyde and toluene, that dry and damage the toenails. Nail polish remover also has chemicals, such as acetone, that does the same. Using a healthy nail polish and remover, such as Dr.’s Remedy, that does not contain these chemicals is the best solution. It allows women to wear a stylish polish without the damage to the nails. The polish even had vitamins and natural antifungals to keep the nails even healthier.

Don’t let a white, discolored toenail go unchecked. Visit with your podiatrist to learn what solution is best for you.

Architecture: Current Trends in Architectural Design

Like any other form of art, whether it is painting, music or fashion design, architecture is dependent on current trends. People want their structures to incorporate the latest and greatest advances in architectural design, but maintain a classic sense that will ensure the look is in, no matter what year it is.

As technology and mindsets have advanced, so has architecture. Here are some of the current, more popular trends in architectural design:

Green

We live in a world that is more environmentally conscious than ever. This urge to protect Mother Nature extends to architecture, and more architects are trying incorporate eco-friendly items into their designs, including selecting materials that don’t leave much of a carbon footprint. These items include:

  • Efficient use of land and energy
  • Storm water filtration
  • Waste-product reduction
  • Native landscape use
  • Minimal disruption of the habitat

With these healthier designs, architects can help make those occupying the structure more comfortable and healthier by indoor air quality enhancements, increased connections to the outside environment, improved acoustics and introducing more sources to daylight.

Honesty

Maybe it’s a reaction to the Great Recession, but homeowners are looking to simplify their lives, including their homes. While glitz and glamour used to be very popular architectural features, more are opting for a more honest form of architecture, and having interior designs that focus on clean lines, little to no embellishments and natural finishes.

This “architectural honesty” extends to the size of the home. With the bloat of large-scale homes, more buyers are choosing something a little smaller, and medium-sized houses have become less popular among prospective homeowners.

Thought

Modern architecture isn’t just about how good the final result looks; it’s about presenting new ways of thinking. Architects are able to accomplish this by applying scientific and analytical methods while making the buildings. In doing so, they should be able to reflect complex technical problems in 20th Century house designs. It’s about presenting something that is not only beautiful, but natural in every aspect of construction.

Whatever you want from your new home, remember that while it should incorporate modern design elements, but it also needs to be timeless. You want this structure to be long-lasting, so don’t just opt for the “latest and greatest” trends. This will be the home where you possibly raise your family, so make sure it’s something that can be enjoyed by everyone living there and that you choose the architect who can do the job you want.

Foot Arch Pain – Why Does it Hurt and What Can I Do About it?

What Is The Foot Arch?

The foot arch is located between the heel bone and the ball of the foot. It is formed by the bones, ligaments, muscles, fascia, and tendons of the foot. Its purpose is to support the weight of the body and to help propel the body forward while walking. To do this, the foot requires both a high degree of stability and a great deal of flexibility, which is provided by the arch.

There are three arches that help form the overall foot arch.

1. The medial longitudinal foot arch runs along the inside of the foot from the front to the back and is the one most people think of when they think of their arches. Part of its job is to absorb most of the shock that occurs upon impact and support the structure of the foot.

2. The lateral longitudinal foot arch runs in the same way as the medial longitudinal arch, but it is located on the outer edge of the foot. For most of us it is fairly horizontal and contacts the floor along its entire length when standing. It can be seen best in people with high arches.

3. The transverse foot arch, also called the metatarsal arch, unlike the first two, runs from the outside to inside (lateral to medial) across the mid/front part of the foot and also helps provide support and flexibility.

General Foot Arch Classifications

There are three general classes of foot arch, primarily based on observation of the medial longitudinal arch (the main arch at the inside of your foot).

1. Normal arch

2. High arch (associated with supination)

3. Low arch (flat feet, associated with overpronation)

Low arches, or flat feet, known as pes planus, usually occurs when the arch disappears upon standing or taking a step. In a smaller percentage of people it remains low whether they are standing on it or not. People with low arches or flat feet are often overpronators. With too much pronation, the ankle turns inward and the arch collapses upon standing. It can give a knock-kneed appearance.

In individuals with a high arch, known as pes cavus, you can see a big gap between their foot and the ground at the inside (medial longitudional) arch, and sometimes even on the outside (little toe side) as well. This condition often leads to the ankles rolling slightly outward and giving them the appearance of being bow-legged. Both of these conditions change the mechanical approach to walking and can cause painful arch symptom.

How Can I Tell What Type of Foot Arch I Have?

To estimate what type of arch you may have, look at your feet in a standing position. If you have a clear space between the ground and your foot arch, even on the outside (little toe side) you may have a high arch. If you have absolutely no defined medial (inside) foot arch, you are most like flat-footed.

You can test this by stepping on a dry surface with a wet foot. If your footprint shows only a thin strip along the outside of your foot connecting your heel and ball-of-the-foot area, you have a high arch. If the connecting strip is approximately half the width of the foot you most likely have a normal or medium arch. If most or all of the sole of the foot touches the floor between the heel and the ball-of-the-foot area, you have a low foot arch or flat foot.

What Problems are Associated With Foot Arch Position?

The foot is the primary part of our body that absorbs the force when we hit the ground. So the arch has a lot of work to do and can become injured fairly easily. Direct force can cause injury, or when the ligaments or the muscles of the foot are overstretched. Overuse can also result in a significant amount of irritation and pain. Poor biomechanical alignment can cause pain not only to the arch of the foot, but to other parts of the foot, ankles, knees, hips, and lower back. Arthritis of the joints in the area may also occur if your arch is improperly aligned.

Injury leading to inflammation of the plantar fascia is a common source of pain as well. The plantar fascia is a thick band of fibrous tissue that extends from the heel to the toes and acts as a support platform, making up one of the main components of the foot arch. Excessive pronation or supination generally caused by having flat feet or a high arch, can cause micro-tears and tension where the plantar fascia attaches to the heel. When this happens, the point of insertion into the heel becomes inflamed and plantar fasciitis pain occurs.

Foot Arch Pain: How Is It Treated?

If you are having pain, a visit to your doctor may determine the best course of action. Often for foot arch problems, foot orthotics or arch supports will be prescribed. Foot orthotics work to distribute your weight more evenly when you are walking and to adjust poor biomechanical alignment that is contributing to your pain. For a flat foot, your arch supports will have longitudinal arch support, and may have angles built in to tilt your foot in a better position. For a high foot arch, your orthotic insoles will cushion the heel and help absorb some of the shock.

Other treatments include stretching exercises, heel cups or heel cradles, plantar fasciitis night splints, and proper fitting footwear.

If you know you have a high or low foot arch but have no pain, you may never develop a problem…or you may develop problems over time. Make sure you don’t ignore even slight foot arch symptoms. Over the counter arch supports (off the shelf arch supports) may bring the symptoms under control before they become a bigger problem, or they may be able to help prevent foot arch problems before they occur in the first place.

If you are getting over the counter arch supports for foot arch pain, make sure they are designed with enough stability to actually support the arch. Many products on the market today add a bit of cushion, but very little support.

Plastic Roofing – A Boon to the Construction Industry!

Construction industry has changed a lot after the concept of plastic roofing has emerged. Plastic roof has made construction process lot easier and cheaper with its use. Plastic is a cheaply available material, which can be easily molded in to any shape. Who so ever got the idea to mold them into sheets to use in construction might have never thought that it would bring so much change. These roofs are simple to use flexible sheets that can be installed easily and quickly.

They are used all over and commonly both in domestic as well as industrial setting. There will be many places where these will be an ideal choice than roofing with concrete or something else. Places like a garage, farmhouses, balcony, walkways, terrace garden, sitting and waiting areas, poolside sit out etc. are places that are ideal for roofing. Since you can mold these in various shapes, you can customize and make your designs according to your needs.

Plastic roofing can act a protection from UV radiation and can keep you in shade. Other materials like wood, metal, asphalt etc., which were used previously, are now obsolete with the emergence of plastic roofs. Here are some of the interesting facts about plastic roofing that have made it so popular

• These are very cost effective and that is the most important reason for their popularity. Plastic is cheaply available and so are the plastic roofing sheets.

• Plastic roofing when compared to all other building materials is very light in weight. This makes it easy to handle and install.

• They come in a variety of colors and patterns. Therefore, you can match them according to your taste and need of the surroundings.

• Though they are light in weight, these plastic roofing sheets are very durable and can withstand all kinds of weather

• They can protect you from harmful UV rays of the sun without blocking the visible light.

• Installation is very easy and one can do it without the need of any professionals for installing them. You can cut them even with a garden scissors or an axle blade.

• They are very appealing to the eyes and give life to any place where they are used.