Inthe modern world the concrete is one of the most demanded constructionmaterials, which was, is and will be used for thousands years. It is used in variousareas, starting with a small lintel over the window in your house and endingwith a multi-storey building somewhere in Dubai, Moscow or Kuala-Lumpur. So,what is that fascinating material, which can be met all over the world? Itis complicated to tell where does exactly concrete came from, since its roots goesdeep in the past. The first reference to the material, which in a way remindsof a modern concrete, is a concrete floor in a little hut in a valley of DanubeRiver around 5600 B.C. This floor was made of mixing gravel, water and reddishlimestone, which was mined around that place.
Thenext significant appearance of concrete material was found around 3000 B.C.when Egyptian pyramids were built up. Egyptians used limestone, gypsum and mudto create materials similar to nowadays bricks, which were used to build famousEgyptian pyramids. Lateron, in 200 B.
C. a raw form of concrete, which was similar that used to cast afloor in the hut near Danube River, was used to build a famous China’s GreatWall. In200 A.D. concrete was relatively widely used by Romans. They developed a concretemix by adding volcanic ash and slaked lime to their mixtures.
Roman Colosseumand the Pantheon are two most incredible creatures of the Roman Empire, whichcan be observed nowadays. The Roman Empire did get all the opportunities todevelop, but the fall and Dark Ages led to the stagnation process for manycenturies ahead.Aswe can see, a concrete made a long way of development through centuries. Although,the history of concrete is tight together with the history of concrete. Thenext appearance of concrete in the world was approximately 200 years ago. The 19thshowed a rapid development through all over the world.
In 1824 an English bricklayer, Joseph Aspdin, created a concretewhich is still used in the industry – Portland cement. An important discovery he made, showed thatburning clay with ground chalk produces a cement, which appears much strongerthan cement made from crushed limestone. Name was given because of Portlandquarries, where stone was mined from. The mass production of cement appeared inRussia and France in 1840s, in Germany in 1850s and 1879s in the USA.
Thenext significant step in the concrete technology is dated at the end of the Industrialrevolution, when in 1849 a French gardener Joseph Monier put a steel mesh inconcrete. In 1867 J. Monier received a patient for the reinforced concrete,after the technology was presented at the Paris exposition. The reinforced concretetechnology, based on the Monier’s discovery, is still used, as the high tensilestrength of steel in combination with the great compressive strength ofconcrete gives various number of opportunities to use it. In20th century the concrete technology has increased its positions allaround the world and many significant events took place that century, such asthe first high-rise building in the world, the Ingalls Building (1903),delivery of ready mix concrete in 1913, building of the Hoover Dam in 1936, an investigationand development of fiber reinforcement in 1970s, inventing the polishedconcrete technology in 1999.
So,what is concrete in the 21st century? According to JSCE Committee(2010), concrete is a composite material, or its hardened form, consisting ofmaterials such as cement, water, fine aggregate, coarse aggregate, and mixturesadded if necessary, blended together by mixing or other methods. The mostcommon used cement these days is Portland Cement (OPC).Nowwe are just at the beginning of 21st century, but many innovativetechnologies are approaching and developing every single day, for instance,have you heard about the self-healing concrete, a graphic concrete, temperature-reactiveconcrete tiles, carbon nanotubes (Brownell, 2008)? There are so many innovativetechnologies, that the future hold for the construction technology, thereforewe do need to investigate it.