Concrete is a material that we often take for granted. For such a seemingly simple substance, it has many unexpected qualities. The following are a few of the more interesting facts about concrete and concrete formwork:
It’s Been Around for a Lot Longer Than You Think
– The use of concrete can be traced back to ancient Egypt, where it was used as an infill material for the pyramids.
– Romans used pozzolana, a type of cement made from lime, volcanic ash and water to build the Appian Way, in addition to the Roman baths, the Coliseum and Pantheon, and the Pont du Gard aqueduct in southern France. The Pantheon is still the world’s largest unreinforced concrete dome.
– Ancient Chinese used a type of cement to hold bamboo together in boats and in the Great Wall of China.
– Thomas Edison experimented with creating precast concrete houses filled with concrete furniture that even included pianos and refrigerators. He also held 49 different concrete patents.
– In 1874, an English bricklayer attempted to make his own cement and after many failed attempts, managed to develop a type of cement no one had seen before. He quickly patented his discovery and called it Portland cement, as it reminded him of a type of stone found on the Isle of Portland. He created this cement by mixing limestone and clay, which he then burned, transforming it into a very fine powder. It is now the most common type of cement used around the world.
It’s More Popular Than You Think
– Concrete is the most used material in the world in terms of overall volume. In fact, concrete is used twice as much in construction than all other building materials, including timber and steel.
– This material is so popular around the world because it is composed mainly of materials which are cheaply and widely available everywhere, like air, water, sand and gravel.
– The Trump International Hotel is one of the most famous buildings that features huge amounts of concrete in its composition. It is the largest concrete-based building in the world and it stands approximately 1387 feet above the ground.
There’s More to It Than You Think
– It may seem strange that this amazingly durable and strong material would feature something as fragile and soft as air in its composition, but it does. Essentially, concrete is made from gravel and sand, water, cement and, of course, air. In some cases, the air pockets are purposefully included to allow things like water to pass through.
– Over the years, a lot of effort has been made to take form release agents from hazardous to environmentally friendly by using vegetable oil or soy-based release agents. Some take it a step further and actually infuse the release agent with a pleasant scent. Bubblegum is a very popular scent, followed closely by fruit scents such as cherry, lemon, and citrus.
Hopefully, you’ve learned something new about concrete today, and if you’d like to learn more about concrete formwork and concrete from renovation, contact us.