History Of Concrete

The period of time during when concrete first became popular is dependent on the interpretation of the word “concrete.” Ancient materials were cements that were made from breaking down and burning gypsum, or limestone. Lime can also be a reference to limestone that has been crushed and burned. When water and sand were added to cements, they were transformed into mortar, which was a type of plaster used to glue stones together. Through the ages the materials were developed on, incorporated with other materials , and eventually, evolved into concrete.

Concrete today is created using Portland cement along with fine and coarse aggregates made of stone and sand and water. Admixtures are the addition of chemicals to the concrete mix in order to manage its setting properties. They are typically used when putting concrete under extreme environmental conditions that include extreme temperatures or low temperatures, windy conditions and so on.

The earliest concrete precursor was discovered in the year 1500 BC around 1300 BCE. Middle Eastern builders found that when they covered the exteriors of their fortresses made of pounded clay and walls of their homes with a damp, thin layer of molten limestone, it was able to react chemically with gasses that were in the air to create an extremely hard, durable surface. This was not concrete however it was the first step in the creation of cement.

The first composite materials made of cement typically comprised of mortar-crushed limestone, burned limestone as well as sand and water that was used to build using stone instead of casting the materials in molds. This is how concrete today is constructed in the mold, where the mold is the concrete form.

It is one of the primary elements of concrete cement has been in use for quite some time. In the 12 million years prior to that in the area that is now Israel the first natural deposits formed through reactions between oil shale and limestone that resulted from spontaneous combustion. It is true that cement is not concrete. Concrete is a building material. The ingredients that comprise it, from which cement but one, have evolved through time and continue to change even today. The characteristics of performance can alter in response to the different forces that concrete is required to resist. The forces can be intense or gradual or intense, they could originate directly from the top (gravity) and below (soil expanding) and along the edges (lateral loads) or be in the form of erosion, abrasion, or chemical attack. Concrete’s components and their ratios are referred to as”the design mix..

Initial Use of Concrete

The first concrete structures of this type were built in the time of Nabataea traders , or Bedouins who controlled several oases and built a small empire in the region of southern Syria along with northern Jordan about 6500 BC. They soon discovered the benefits of hydraulic lime — which is cement that hardens under water and, by 700 BC they were constructing Kilns to provide mortar to build construction of concrete floors, rubble-wall homes as well as underground cisterns for water. Cisterns were kept in the dark and were among the main reasons why the Nabataea could survive within the harsh desert.

When it came to creating concrete, Nabataeans understood the importance of keeping the concrete as dry and low-slump as is possible, as excessive water creates weak spots and voids in the concrete. The Nabataea’s building methods included the tamping of freshly laid concrete using specific tools. The process of tamping produced more gel that is the material that bonds by chemical reactions that happen during hydration that bond the aggregate and particulates.

An old Nabataea construction

As the Romans were more than 500 years later, Nabataea was a local product that they could use to waterproof their cement. In their territory, there were large deposits consisting of silica fine sand. The silica sand’s water vaporization can change it to a pozzolan substance that is a sand-like volcanic Ash. To create cement, Nabataea found the deposits, took the material, then mixed it with lime. Then, they heated in the same kilns that they made pottery in because the temperature ranges are within the same band.

Around 5600 BC in 5600 BC along the Danube River in the area of the former state of Yugoslavia Homes were constructed using a form of concrete to create flooring.


In the 3000th year BC in the past, the ancient Egyptians utilized mud and straw to create bricks. It is more like Adobe rather than concrete. They also employed lime mortars and gypsum in construction of the pyramids, even though the majority of us consider concrete and mortar as two different substances. Giza’s Great Pyramid at Giza required around 500,000 tons mortar and was used the bedding material for the casing stones that made up the surface of the completed pyramid. Stone masons were able to cut and set the stones for the casing with joints that were that were no larger than 1/50 inch.

A stone used to make a pyramid


At the same time, northern Chinese utilized a particular form of cement to build boats and for the construction of the Great Wall. Tests using spectrometers have proven that the primary ingredient of the mortar used in the Great Wall and other ancient Chinese structures was sticky, glutenous rice. Certain of these structures have stood the test of time and been able to withstand even modern attempts to tear them down.


At the time of 600 BC in the year 600 BC, it was believed that the Greeks were discovering a stone which developed hydraulic properties when it was mixed with lime. However, the Greeks weren’t nearly as efficient in building using concrete, as were the Romans. In 200 BC in the year 200 BC, the Romans were building extremely successfully with concrete, however it wasn’t the same as the concrete we have in the present. It wasn’t a fluid material that was that was poured into shapes rather like cement-based rubble. The Romans constructed their majority of buildings by stacking rocks of various sizes and then filling in the gaps between the stones using mortar. Above the ground, walls were covered both inside and outside with clay bricks, which also served as forms to the concrete. The bricks were of minimal or no structural value and their purpose was primarily for aesthetic purposes. Prior to this and throughout the majority of places at the time (including 90% of Rome) mortars used in the majority of cases were simple limestone cement that cured slowly due to the reaction of carbon dioxide vapors in the air. Chemical hydration was not able to occur. The mortars were weak.

To support the Romans larger and more artistic structures, as well being their land-based infrastructure that needed greater durability, they created cement using an naturally reactive volcanic sand known as Harena Fossicia. For marine structures and structures which were exposed to freshwater like docks, bridges, storm drains, and aqueducts they made use of the pozzuolana volcanic sand. These two materials could be the first use on a large scale of a true cementic binding agent. Pozzuolana and Harena fossicia interact chemically water and lime to form a solid and hydrate into a solid rock which can be used to be used underwater. The Romans also utilized these substances for the construction of large structures including the Roman Baths as well as the Pantheon and the Colosseum which are still standing even today. In the form of admixtures they used animal fat, milk , and blood — substances that reveal very primitive techniques. However as well as making use of natural pozzolans Romans were able to create two kinds of synthetic pozzolans — the calcined kaolinitic clay as well as the volcanic stones that were calcined that, together with the Romans impressive building achievements demonstrate an impressive level of technological advanced technology at the time.

The Pantheon

The Pantheon was constructed by the Roman Emperor Hadrian and completed in 125 AD the Pantheon has the biggest un-reinforced concrete dome that has ever been constructed. It measures approximately 142 feet wide and features a 27-foot-wide hole known as an oculus at its highest point at about 142 feet higher than the floor. It was constructed in situ most likely by starting from the exterior walls and then adding layers of thinner and thinner as it moved towards the middle.

The Pantheon has foundation walls on the exterior that measure 26 feet wide and 15 feet thick and comprised of pozzolana cement (lime reactive volcanic sand and water) that is then tamped on top of an overhang of stone aggregate. The fact that the dome is still in existence is not a coincidence. Moving and setting over two thousand years, as well as occasionally shaking, has caused cracks which would normally have weakened the structure to the point that, at this point, it would have fallen. The walls outside which support the dome have seven niches that are evenly spaced with chambers that are extending outwards to the exterior. These chambers and niches originally designed to reduce the structure’s weight are a bit smaller than the bulk of the walls. They serve as control joints to regulate the locations of cracks. Movement-related stresses are eased by cracking within the chambers and niches. The dome is basically supported by 16 heavy sturdy concrete pillars, which are formed by the sections of the exterior walls that separate the niches from the chambers. Another way to reduce weight was using extremely heavy aggregates in the structure and the use of lighterand less dense aggregates like pumice, which is high in the walls as well as in the dome. The walls also taper their thickness in order to lessen the weight that is higher up.

Roman Guilds

Another key to their success as Romans was the use of guilds for trade. Each trade had its own guild, whose members were accountable for imparting their skills in the field of materials tools, techniques and techniques to apprentices as well as to those in the Roman Legions. Alongside fighting the enemy, the legions were taught to be self-sufficient, and they also learned techniques for construction and engineering.

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