Archive for cement

The History of Cement and Concrete Part 1

The History of Cement and Concrete

Introduction 

Cement and concrete have a long and illustrious history. From the Ancient Egyptians to modern buildings, both have served as materials for the most astonishing of construction projects. This five-part series tracks how the materials have developed over time. 

Part 1: Who first used cement?

Natural cement has been around for at least 12 million years. Ancient Egyptians used cementitious materials – those that bond things together – including lime, clay and gypsum, to create the Pyramids. Early Chinese civilizations used these substances in the Great Wall. And Babylonians and Assyrians were using cements to bind stone and brick.

The use of cements and concrete was widespread in the Roman era. Polozzana cement from Italy, made from volcanic ash from Mount Etna, was used to build structures that are still here today. The Appian Way, the Coliseum, and the Pantheon all used cement. Wherever they went, the Romans found ways to use the local natural materials to create bonding substances. They adapted the materials and processes to a huge variety of construction, including bath houses, walls, and aqueducts.

The use of both concrete and cements was documented by Marcus Vitruvius Pollo, a Roman Architect, in his ‘Ten Books of Architecture’. In the series, he includes instructions for pouring a concrete floor and a ‘recipe’ to mix the polozzana cements.

Unfortunately, widespread knowledge and use of cements was lost at the end of the Roman era only to be rediscovered in the later years of the Middle Ages.


 

The History of Cement and Concrete Part 2

The History of Cement and Concrete 

Introduction 

Cement and concrete have a long and illustrious history. From the Ancient Egyptians to modern buildings, both have served as materials for the most astonishing of construction projects. This five-part series tracks how the materials have developed over time.

Part 2: The production of hydraulic cement

 

Hydraulic cement is created when a chemical reaction takes place between water and the cements (a combination of silica and lime). The Romans had developed a process to create hydraulic cements, but this was lost during the Middle Ages. In fact, it was not until the 17th and 18th centuries that the methods for making hydraulic cements were formalized.

Perhaps the first noted contribution to the development of modern cement was John Smeaton who built a lighthouse in the English Channel that is now known as Smeaton’s Tower. Tidal flows meant that he needed a cements that would set within the twelve-hour cycle. He carried out a number of experiments combining cementitious materials in different quantities until he was successful. This work found that the hydraulic characteristics of the cement were directly related to the clay content of the limestone used in the mix.

Experimentation with different types of cements continued in the following years with different mixes gaining popularity for different building styles. In England, Joseph Aspdin, a bricklayer from Leeds, obtained a patent for his ‘Portland Cement’ in 1824. His process created the first true artificial cements by burning ground limestone and clay together. Aspdin’s substance is noted as being the first step towards the Portland cements known today.

 

 

The History of Cement and Concrete Part 3

The History of Cement and Concrete 

Introduction 

Cement and concrete have a long and illustrious history. From the Ancient Egyptians to modern buildings, both have served as materials for the most astonishing of construction projects. This five-part series tracks how the materials have developed over time. 

Part 3: The invention of reinforced concrete

Reinforced concrete – or ferroconcrete – was the next stage in the develop of concrete and cement as building materials. Concrete is a combination of cement with sand, water and aggregate, or crushed stone. Because it is weak when stretched, concrete was not the ideal building material for many structures. Reinforced concrete sought to answer this challenge. It was developed in the nineteenth century as a way to strengthen the building material, with steel rods, bars or mesh embedded within it. This combination helps to absorb tension created by wind, earthquakes, vibrations and other forces.

Credit is usually given to Joseph Monier who received a patent in 1867. Monier was a Parisian gardener who experimented with the approach in his garden pots. Others attribute the invention to W.B. Wilkinson who was a plasterer from Newcastle, England. Wilkinson’s method inserted straightened steel barrel hoops into wet concrete. Whatever the case, Monier exhibited his invention at the Paris Exposition in 1867 and promoted its use for floors, arches and pipes.

Use of this reinforced concrete became widespread, first in Europe and then in the United States, soon becoming one of the world’s most common building materials. The method was even used to create vast structures such as the Hoover and Grand Coulee Dams.

 

The History of Cement and Concrete, Part 5

The History of Cement and Concrete Part 5

Introduction 

Cement and concrete have a long and illustrious history. From the Ancient Egyptians to modern buildings, both have served as materials for the most astonishing of construction projects. This five-part series tracks how the materials have developed over time.

The versatility of both cement and concrete means that they are still widely used in construction today. Cement can be used in mortar for plastering therefore making joints for drains and pipes, in the preparation of foundations and in the construction of bridges, dams, tunnels, wells and roads. It is also a major element in concrete. Concrete can be used for residential driveways, house foundations, walls, and paving.

In fact, cement and concrete are some of the most versatile and widely-used building materials in the world today. The ingredients are easily available in most places and can be cast on site which makes the process economical. CementS and concrete are durable, non-combustible and resistant to wind and water. They can also be cast to any shape. As an inert construction material they do not emit any volatile compounds. This provides excellent air quality. And their use helps governments and developers meet sustainability goals. Most of all, they are long-lasting with very slow deterioration.

Will we continue to use concrete and cementS into the future? Nothing yet suggests that we will ever have to look for other building materials.

 

 

What is cement and when and how was it invented?

Of course, ancient civilizations have been using a type of cementation before the modern concrete was invented.  The Romans, the ancient Greeks, Babylonians and Egyptians all had their types of binders.  The Romans and the Greeks utilized a pozzolan, sometimes artificial, for creating hydraulic cement.  Before that, the Babylonians used bitumen as a binder for bricks and Egyptians used mortar for their stones.

To understand cementation,it is first important to note that the Pozzolanic Reaction is a chemical reaction and the reason and process used to create cement.  Pozzolans are silicous and aluminous materials and when mixed with water and lime it chemically reacts.  This reaction between water and the combination of a silica and lime (calcium oxide) is known as hydraulic cement.

A method for producing hydraulic cement was finally patented by Joseph Aspdin in 1824.  Mr. Joseph Aspdin was a mason bricklayer in Leeds, England and named his Portland Cement because the color reminded him of the quarry near the Britain coast called the Isle of Portland.

One score and five years later Joseph Monier took the process a step further and invented reinforced concrete which was used on the first concrete bridge in 1889 as well as the first reinforced concrete dam in 1936; the Hoover Dam.

Please contact us at Bill Houston Concrete Construction, Inc. at 281-443-0874 or houstonconcrete@sbcglobal.net for a consultation, we are always eager to share our knowledge.