A Brief History Of Concrete

February 27, 2020

A Brief History Of Concrete

Concrete has been around for thousands of years and is still widely regarded as a durable and cost-effective construction material. Concrete structures, if properly built, can withstand immense pressure and last for thousands of years.

Historical Use of Concrete

It’s believed that some 12,000 years ago, the historic settlements at Gobekli Tepe in southern Turkey happened due to the discovery of cement and concrete that was made from it. In Jordan and Syria, underground water cisterns made of concrete have been found to be more than 8000 years old. Desert traders then used them for storing water. The tombs in the Peloponnese in Greece were also made of concrete almost 3,000 years ago. The Romans used naturally occurring cement from volcanic ash to build their bathhouses and aqueducts.

Concrete in Recent History

Concrete structures are known to better withstand adverse weather conditions and other natural disasters than most other alternatives. In recent history, concrete housing has been instrumental in driving people out of poverty. It’s also known to promote healthy living conditions. Concrete is easy to maintain, especially concrete flooring.

Concrete Helps Fight Diseases and Improve Living Conditions

Countries like China and Mexico have invested heavily in concrete infrastructure in recent years. In Mexico, a state-run social program called Piso Firme, meaning the firm floor was introduced almost 2 decades back in the state of Coahuila. Under this program, concrete mixers were introduced to poverty-stricken areas. Workers poured concrete into the living room of one house, guiding the residents on how to mix and dry the porridge-like structure, before moving onto the next house.

It was found that the residents that were part of the program became less prone to diseases. Their children’s health and study grades also improved noticeably. Parents who participated in the program were also less stressed and happier. Their depression levels reduced simply with the introduction of concrete flooring.

Prior to the concrete flooring, the residents lived on floors made of soil and dirt. Those floors were difficult to clean and prone to germs and diseases. Hence, concrete flooring improved the health and living conditions of the residents.

Excess of Everything is Bad; Is Concrete an Exception?

The increased use of concrete is causing the cement industry to emit the same levels of carbon dioxide as the aviation sector. In the past few years, China has used more concrete than the US did in the entire 20th century. For this reason, people have started asking if there’s just too much reliance on concrete at least in some countries.

Concrete Benefits the Local Economy

Concrete is manufactured using local resources and is hence beneficial for the local economy. Generally, you tend to find the resources needed to make concrete structures within a short distance of your local area. This is also one of the reasons why concrete is so widely used as it is readily available.

Unlike Bricks, Concrete Cannot Be Reused

While a benefit of concrete is that it lasts a long time, the downside is that concrete cannot be reused. You cannot get rid of concrete debris. It will last forever. This is an important consideration people should make when making concrete structures. Before it is placed, concrete is flexible and you can do anything you want with it. People add tones and textures and mold the concrete structures in any way they like. But once it’s built, you’re left with little to no choice. It becomes rigid and inflexible. It’s noteworthy that in a thousand years, when the steel has corroded and the wood has rotted, concrete will still last.

Reinforced Concrete

Monier is the father of reinforced concrete with steel. He patented variants of the design after first experimenting with a typical concrete flower pot that he found to be brittle and susceptible to cracks. The reinforced concrete flower pot withstood more pressure. He later found other uses of reinforced concrete like making pipes and slabs.

Recent Innovations in Concrete

In recent years, we’ve seen several notable improvements in concrete. Ways of improving low-grade concrete and making it waterproof have been identified. Self-cleaning concrete is reinforced with titanium dioxide to keep it sparkling white. Self-healing concrete has limestone secreting bacteria that reseal any cracks. It’s believed that in the future, roads made of concrete may absorb harmful car emissions.

Attempts are being made to make the concrete manufacturing process more energy-efficient. This will be a major breakthrough with a very positive impact on the environment.

Pioneer Concrete is one of Edmonton’s leading concrete companies that specializes in a variety of concrete works, including driveways, basements, patios and countertops. Contact us today to get your needs fulfilled.

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