Concrete in construction has been in existence for centuries.
Roman concrete is one of the most impressive innovations in history, giving rise to some of the most iconic buildings, like the Pantheon, the largest un-reinforced concrete Dome in the World.
As a result of the industrialization of the 20th and 21st Century, seeking efficiency in construction, modern concretes developed.
This blog post will explore some critical differences between Roman and modern concrete.
Roman concrete is made from a mixture of volcanic ash with lime and seawater to make mortar. An aggregate, chunks of volcanic rock, are then incorporated into the concrete.
The use of seawater as a mixing and curing agent has proven to be a secret recipe for Roman concrete’s unique strength and durability that gets better with age.
Roman concrete is not only solid but durable due to the way it sets and cures. The hydration process of Roman concrete undergoes centuries. Roman concrete is also salt resistant, making it ideal for buildings in coastal areas.
Roman concrete is more environmentally friendly because production does not emit toxic gases.
This concrete is less likely to crack under stress due to less water in the concrete mixture with no reinforcement steels.
Cons of Roman Concrete
A significant setback on Roman concrete is that it takes longer to set and cure, which can be problematic for construction projects.
Due to the unavailability of materials around the world like volcanic ash, producing Roman concrete is difficult.
Modern concrete consists of Portland cement, stone aggregates, and sand mixed with fresh water.
The main advantage of modern concrete is that it sets and dries quickly compared to Roman concrete.
Modern concrete is also widely available and is accessible in mass production.
Reinforced steel in modern concrete is used to bear tension and compression, making it ideal for high-rise buildings.
Cons of Modern Concrete
Modern concrete is likely to crack because of the reinforcement steel used in the mixture. The steel corrosion inside concrete can cause the concrete to expand and crack.
Another disadvantage is that modern Portland cement production emits about 8% of Carbon dioxide into the atmosphere.
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