Heavy concrete vs standard concrete - LKAB Minerals
High density concrete project

Standard concrete continues to be the most utilised concrete, even when dense concrete might be considered a better, more cost-effective and time-reducing alternative. Why is this?

We talk a lot about the advantages of heavyweight concrete and the use of our MagnaDense product as a high-density aggregate. However, after we did an in-depth survey among Civil Engineers, we found that not everybody is using heavyweight concrete when it could be the most optimal solution. We have therefore created more tools to support engineers and contractors in understanding heavy concrete better.

What is high-density concrete?

First of all, high density concrete has a couple of synonyms, and when we talk about HDC (high density concrete), we also mean:

  • Heavy concrete
  • Heavyweight concrete
  • Dense concrete

The official definition of high-density concrete is concrete with an oven-dry volumetric mass that is greater than 2600 kg/m3.

What is standard concrete?

Standard concrete is the most applied, mixed and known concrete in the world. By official definition, this type of concrete has an oven-dry volumetric mass greater than 2000 kg/m3. However, it cannot exceed 2600 kg/m3; otherwise, it will be named high density or heavyweight concrete.

Myths around heavy concrete

The most posed question to LKAB Minerals when talking about heavy concrete is, “isn’t this a lot more expensive than normal concrete?”. The simple answer is, of course, yes. However, when you look at a complete construction project, there is more to it than only the price of your heavy aggregate or the dense concrete itself.

One of the more recent projects explaining these advantages is, for example, the Modern dock bridge replacement with MagnaDense ballast.

For projects where we supply our dense aggregate MagnaDense, using heavyweight concrete is undoubtedly not the most expensive option. Of course, this will again depend on your project challenges, but in the total project summary, using MagnaDense concrete can offer benefits including:

  • Costs
  • Sustainability
  • Time
  • Performance

When is standard concrete the better option?

Is using heavy concrete always a better option? No, it’s not. It will depend on your project as to whether using high density MagnaDense concrete is the best solution.

In general, heavy concrete is often the better choice when:

Perceived higher cost

After a thorough investigation, we found that the benefits of high density concrete and ballast is not well known, or at least not well understood. We also discovered that some engineers and contractors lack experience in specifying high density concrete and therefore, have not considered it as an option. But most of all, we have noticed that the perceived higher cost is a crucial reason for overlooking the use of heavyweight concrete as a solution.

Guidance for using high density concrete

To help overcome the knowledge gap, we advise you to contact our sales managers. You can quickly reach them via the contact form at the bottom of the MagnaDense product page or the high density concrete application page. With their experience, they can advise you on your particular project. And perhaps you will find that total project costs can be on par or lower, using high density compared to standard solutions. We have many examples which can be an inspiration to include MagnaDense concrete in your next project.

Additionally, we can suggest watching one or more of our online (on-demand) webinars on high density concrete. Available in English, Dutch and Swedish soon. Besides, you might find inspiration on our YouTube channel where we regularly place project, product and application videos.