Formwork is basically a mold in which the wet concrete is poured in order to get the desired shape. It is specially made from materials like timber, steel, fiber, plastic, plywood, etc. based on the requirements of the design, type of structure, budget, usability, etc. The basic requirement of such a mould made from any material should be strong enough to withstand heavy load, joints should be able to prevent leakages, should not damage concrete, etc.
Different materials used to make a required mould have different advantages and disadvantages which are discussed below:
Advantages And Disadvantages Of Formwork:
1. Timber: It is one of the most commonly used materials to make a formwork. Timber has been used since ancient ages as lumbers, logs, etc. are being used as a material to make moulds and it is one of the most economical options when compared to other materials that are used to make a formwork.
Advantages: As timbers are light in weight, they are easy to handle in the construction site, it is very easy to cut the timber in various sizes as per requirement and moulds made of timber are very easy to dismantle.
Disadvantages: Moulds made of timber are not as durable as the life of timber mould is very limited hence cannot be used for a long period of time. Dry timber can absorb the water from the concrete thus weakening the structure.
2. Plywood: Plywood is a byproduct of timber and is most commonly used nowadays to make a formwork as they can provide a smooth finish. This also helps in reducing the finishing cost. Exterior plywood of 18 mm which is water resistant is most commonly used to make the moulds.
Advantages: Mould made from plywood provides a smooth finish, easy to install as its light in weight, easy to cut in various sizes based on the requirements and it’s also easy to make curved molds.
Disadvantages: Moulds of plywood are an expensive option when compared to timber and if the proper thickness is not provided, plywood sheets cannot withstand the load of the heavy concrete.
3. Plastics: Molds made of plastic can be used in areas where the structure design is complex. In such cases, molds made from glass reinforced plastic are most commonly used. Vacuum formed plastics are also used in some cases where the concrete structure is very complex.
Advantages: Plastic is light in weight, durable and long-lasting, complex design molds can be easily made from plastics and old plastic molds can be recycled and made into new molds.
Disadvantages: Plastic moulds are costly when compared to plywood and timber, and load-bearing capacity is less when compared to others
4. Aluminum: Formworks made up of aluminum are gaining more popularity day by day as it’s versatile, lightweight and can be used for any type of construction.
Advantages: Formworks made of aluminum lasts long as they are reusable, it requires very less support, easy to install and remove and provides the high-quality finish.
Disadvantages: Complex modifications is not possible in aluminum formwork.
5. Steel: It is the most expensive material used to make a formwork. This kind of mound can be used the greatest number of time when compared to others. The finish provided by such molds is very smooth and uniform. Steel molds are most commonly used in big construction projects like building bridges, dams, etc.
Advantages: Formwork made of steel can bear a heavy load, it can be used for a large number of times and they are easy to install and remove.
Disadvantages: Steel formworks are very expensive; it cannot be framed to desired shape and size and as it is made of steel it is prone to rust.
Formwork is an essential part of the construction and without the use of such molds, it is practically impossible to construct a structure.
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