4 Interesting Facts about Concrete
Most people will probably be familiar with construction equipment and what they do. Bulldozers push soil and rubble, cranes lift and lower metal, and dump trucks move much-needed material from one place to another. But do you know how concrete works? We all know that it's the stuff that buildings are made of, but why is it so important?
You're probably thinking, "It's just concrete." It's easy to disregard things that are so commonplace and nondescript. If you work with Volvo construction equipment such as excavators or are a regular Joe looking for something fun to read, knowing some basic facts about concrete can someday be useful.
1. Cement vs Concrete
Most people they're the same and use both terms to mean the other, but concrete and cement are different.
What we call concrete is a mixture of water, rocks, sand, and cement. The cement, meanwhile, acts like an adhesive. It bonds the aggregates and water together, resulting in the stuff that our homes and offices are built on.
Cement is seldom used alone and has to be combined with aggregates such as rock and sand to form adequate support. The powder is made of a blend of many kinds of compounds and elements, such as limestone.
Always remember: Cement is the glue. Concrete is the mixture.
2. When was Concrete invented?
Saying that concrete is the foundation of modern civilization would be an understatement. Almost every structure built in modern times is made of concrete. Without it, we wouldn't have any of the things that make modern life possible such as sewer systems, roads and highways, bridges, office buildings, and many more. But what if we told you concrete is much, much older?
It might not seem like it, but concrete has been used for a very long time. There is evidence to suggest that the Mesopotamians and ancient Egyptians used some form of concrete in construction. Still, its use was limited due to limitations of their location and period.
The first civilization to use concrete at a wide scale is the ancient Romans. Concrete was used to construct large public buildings and systems such as baths, theaters, arenas, roads, aqueducts, and temples. Even everyday Romans had access to concrete for residential and commercial construction. This explains why Roman structures survive to this day.
One of the most famous Roman structures, the Pantheon, is made of concrete. Built over two thousand years ago during the reign of Augustus, its dome boasts the world's largest unreinforced dome.
3. What's Portland cement?
Portland cement is the most popular type of cement mixture today. And no, it doesn't come from Oregon.
It was invented in 1824 by Joseph Aspdin. Aspdin created a cement mixture from limestone and ground clay. He called it Portland cement because the aggregate mixed with cement looked a lot like quarried rocks from Portland in England.
4. It's the most common material in the world
With so much construction happening, it's no surprise that concrete is the most commonly used material in the world, next to water. It's even more common than plastic. Concrete has made structures like Burj Khalifa and One World Trade Center possible. 10 billion tons are produced every year, and the number is rising.
Concrete is the most popular construction material for a straightforward reason: It's incredibly durable. Concrete structures built thousands of years ago still stand today, a testament to the strength of the material. Perhaps structures built today will outlive our civilization and serve as monuments to our ingenuity.