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History of Concrete

 

Opus Caementicium

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History of Concrete  

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Concrete is a compound material made from sand, gravel and cement. The cement is a mixture of various minerals which when mixed with water, hydrate and rapidly become hard binding the sand and gravel into a solid mass. The oldest known surviving concrete is to be found in the former Yugoslavia and was thought to have been laid in 5,600 BC using red lime as the cement.

The first major concrete users were the Egyptians in around 2,500 BC and the Romans from 300 BC, in fact the very word 'concrete' is derived from the Latin concretus, meaning grown together or compounded. Most of the surviving roman structures, from the Colosseum to Hadrian's Wall, were constructed using concrete.

Portland cement was first manufactured in Britain in the early part of the 19th century, and its name is derived from its similarity to Portland stone, a type of building stone that was quarried on the Isle of Portland in Dorset, England. The patent for Portland cement was issued to Joseph Aspdin, a British bricklayer, in 1824.

Concrete is now universally the most commonly used construction material for foundations, reinforced frames for buildings, bridge decks, retaining walls, roof tiles, in-situ and precast floors. Most structural concrete is supplied to site as ready mixed concrete. Many modern concretes contain admixtures, such as plasticisers, and pozzolanic additives, such as pulverised-fuel ash or blast furnace slag to enhance the durability or reduce the cost of the concrete.

Info source: www.concreted.com

       

Opus Caementicium

 

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A type of concrete was used in Roman construction called opus caementicium, consisting of undressed stones bedded in a mix of lime and pozzolan, which dried out quickly, so had to be laid in courses. By C1 ad the drying-out process could be retarded, thanks to the evolution of slow-drying mixes, and this facilitated the evolution of huge vaulted structures covering vast spaces. The Romans used types of concrete made of lime, with tufa (porous, light, volcanic rock found around Rome) and other aggregates for these vaults, often in association with brick or stone reinforcement, and this created an architecture where the inner volumes were more important, perhaps, than the exteriors. Early examples of Roman architecture covered by concrete vaults are the Domus Aurea (Golden House) by Severus, and the enormous Pantheon in Rome, with its coffered dome Info source: www.encyclopedia.com

       

Cement

 

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portland cement

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concrete briks and plaster

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cement application

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The origin of hydraulic cements goes back to ancient Greece and Rome. The materials used were lime and a volcanic ash that slowly reacted with it in the presence of water to form a hard mass. This formed the cementing material of the Roman mortars and concretes of 2,000 years ago and of subsequent construction work in western Europe. Volcanic ash mined near the city of Pozzuoli (now Italy) was particularly rich in essential aluminosilicate minerals, giving rise to the classic pozzolana cement of the Roman era. To this day the term pozzolana, or pozzolan, refers either to the cement itself or to any finely divided aluminosilicate that reacts with lime in water to form cement. (The term cement, meanwhile, derives from the Latin word caementum, which meant stone chippings such as were used in Roman mortar—not the binding material itself.)

Portland cement is a successor to a hydraulic lime that was first developed by John Smeaton in 1756 when he was called in to erect the Eddystone Lighthouse off the coast of Plymouth, Devon, Eng. The next development, taking place about 1800 in England and France, was a material obtained by burning nodules of clayey limestone. Soon afterward in the United States, a similar material was obtained by burning a naturally occurring substance called “cement rock.” These materials belong to a class known as natural cement, allied to portland cement but more lightly burned and not of controlled composition.

The invention of portland cement usually is attributed to Joseph Aspdin of Leeds, Yorkshire, Eng., who in 1824 took out a patent for a material that was produced from a synthetic mixture of limestone and clay. He called the product portland cement because of a fancied resemblance of the material, when set, to portland stone, a limestone used for building in England. Aspdin’s product may well have been too lightly burned to be a true portland cement, and the real prototype was perhaps that produced by Isaac Charles Johnson in southeastern England about 1850. The manufacture of portland cement rapidly spread to other European countries and North America.

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Concrete  

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concrete house rendering

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concrete precast concrete

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The first recorded fact points to the year 1756 when John Smeaton, an engineer made the present day concrete by mixing coarse aggregate (pebbles) and powered brick and mixed it with cement. In 1793, he built the Eddystone Lighthouse in Cornwall, England with the use of hydraulic cement. Another major development took place in the year 1824. An English inventor Joseph Aspdin invented Portland cement. He made concrete by burning grounded chalk and finely crushed clay in a limekiln till the carbon dioxide evaporated, resulting in strong cement.

It was in Germany that the first systematic testing of concrete took place in 1836. The test measured the tensile and compressive strength of concrete. Another main ingredient of concrete is aggregate and includes sand, crushed stone, clay, gravel, slag and shale. Concrete that uses imbedded metal is called reinforced concrete or Ferroconcrete. It was Joseph Monier who first invented reinforced concrete in 1849. He was a Gardner who made flowerpots and tubs of reinforced concrete with the use of iron mesh. The reinforced concrete thus combined the tensile power of metal and the compression strength of concrete for tolerating heavy loads. He received a patent for this invention in the year 1867.

In 1886, the first rotary kiln was introduced in England that made constant production of cement. In 1891, George Bartholomew made the first concrete street in Ohio, USA. By 1920s, concrete found major usage in construction of roads and buildings. It was in 1936 that the first concrete dams Hoover and Grand Cooley were built.

There has been no looking back for concrete since its modern development. Known as the strongest building material, concrete has found major uses in dams, highways, buildings and many different kinds of building and construction.

Info source:www.howconcreteworks.com

       
Reinforced Concrete  

reinforced concrete cement steel

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concrete foundations

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The advantages of using this in building construction was first discovered in the mid 1800's by a man by the name of Joseph Louis Lambot. He found that by adding thin steel bars or steel fibers to concrete, he could greatly increase the strength of the concrete, making it better for use in a variety of applications. In the early years, this was used for making a number of items, such as reinforced garden tubs, road guardrails, and reinforced beams.

There were a number of different types of reinforced concrete products on the market because construction firms all wanted to use the product, but no standard method of production had yet been developed.

In 1878, the first system was patented in the United States by an American by the name of Thaddeus Hyatt. The Pacific Coast Borax Company refinery, located in Alameda, California, was the first building constructed in the United States using this new system. The popularity of the process skyrocketed in the early 1900's and soon, a majority of the developers in the country were using steel reinforced concrete in the construction of their steel buildings. The process has been refined over the years, constantly changing and improving the formula for making high-quality steel reinforced concrete. Info source: ezinearticles.com

       
Links  

history of concrete: www.howconcreteworks.com

more about opus caementicium: www.ostia-antica.org , users.skynet.be

more about cement: cameo.mfa.org

more about concrete: www.concreted.com

more about reinforced concrete: www.concreted.com

 

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