Shotcrete is essentially concrete that is pneumatically sprayed through a hose at high velocity onto a receiving surface. Used extensively in construction, shotcrete is typically reinforced by conventional steel rods, steel mesh or fibres. While shotcrete has been used for over 100 years, it has numerous advantages over traditional cast-in-place concrete and the process has evolved with technology to a point where shotcrete has become the number one choice in the application of concrete.
The primary advantages that shotcrete has over traditional concrete is that it is far more sustainable both in economic and environmental terms. Shotcrete requires less labour, less materials, and the finished product is much stronger and durable than traditional concrete. In addition to this, shotcrete can be used in complex or custom shapes with little to no formwork, construction speeds are increased by roughly double, and it has lower absorption, lower permeability, and a higher resistance to weathering and chemicals. Lastly, shotcrete can be applied in difficult to reach areas including overhead and underground where traditional concrete simply isn’t feasible.
Consequently, shotcrete has many applications in construction projects all over the world and today we’ll be taking a closer look at some of these applications to give you a better understanding of why shotcrete is the superior method.
Given that shotcrete has a high resistance to water, it is ideal for structures like swimming pools, dams, reservoirs, and marine based structures. Swimming pools typically have a custom design with odd shapes and shotcrete is the optimal choice since it requires little to no formwork. Shotcrete can be applied directly against soil to create attractive shapes that are more durable and less costly than traditional concrete.
Rock themed landscapes are becoming more popular in residential and commercial settings, and shotcrete provides a cheap alternative which still has a natural looking finish. Rather than using real rocks which are heavy and difficult to transport, the rock formations found in museums, theme parks, resorts, shopping malls, golf courses, and even next to backyard swimming pools are all made from shotcrete. Not only is shotcrete significantly cheaper, but it is more versatile and has a better environmental impact.
Slope stabilisation can be a difficult problem that civil engineers encounter when building highways, railroads, and dams due to many factors such as soil grade, composition, terrain characteristics, and climate. Shotcrete provides an ideal solution for slope stabilisation due to its durability, versatility, early resistance, and its capacity to adhere to the subtract. When shotcrete is pneumatically applied, the concrete is compacted against the surface to fill any cracks and fissures and prevent loose materials from falling.
The application of shotcrete to stabilise excavated tunnel sections and provide a durable final lining has shaped the evolution of modern tunnelling. Without shotcrete, contractors simply wouldn’t be able to construct the vast range of tunnels we see today. Pneumatically spraying shotcrete to the tunnel lining allows the concrete to be densely compacted, creating a thick wall that has a stronger and more durable finish. Furthermore, applying traditional concrete would be extremely expensive and time-consuming given the accessibility issues.
The durability, versatility, and adaptability of shotcrete make it extremely useful in the construction of retaining walls. The shotcrete process allows retaining walls to be built much faster than traditional concrete and without needing formwork which saves substantial costs. Additionally, the shooting method provides the added advantage of allowing for a variety of architectural or artistic finishes to be applied.
Repair and restoration
Shotcrete is used extensively in repair and restoration projects due to its versatility, accessibility, and ease of application. The need for formwork can be eliminated when repairing or restoring structures which enables contractors to complete these projects quickly and economically. Shotcrete can be used for a range of repair and restoration projects, from canal linings and walls, dam faces, tunnel linings, highway bridges and tunnels, and to thicken and strengthen existing concrete structures.
There are many other engineering applications which can benefit from the application of shotcrete, such as basement walls, rail cuttings, water tanks, drainage, and even skate parks. The combination of the methods of mixing, transporting, and applying the concrete results in a myriad of benefits from increased productivity, decreased costs, and a better environmental impact.
Evolution Shotcrete have a fleet of the latest shotcrete equipment and an experienced team of qualified contractors to meet the requirements of any project. If you’re interested in using shotcrete for your next project, get in touch with the team at Evolution Shotcrete on 07 5561 8885 for more information.