The newsLINK Group - The Evolution of Concrete and Cement

Editorial Library Category: Mining Topics: Concrete, Cement Title: The Evolution of Concrete and Cement Author: newsLINK Staff Synopsis: For the average person, it’s easy to underestimate the use and importance of concrete in our modern world, not realizing the vital role concrete plays in our daily lives and functioning societies. Editorial: The Evolution of Concrete and Cement 4064 South Highland Drive, Millcreek, Utah 84124 │ │ (v) 801.676.9722 │ (tf) 855.747.4003 │ (f) 801.742.5803 Editorial Library | © The newsLINK Group LLC 1 For the average person, it’s easy to underestimate the use and importance of concrete in our modern world, not realizing the vital role concrete plays in our daily lives and functioning societies. Without concrete, our schools, hospitals, apartment blocks, bridges, tunnels, dams, sewerage systems, pavements, airport runways, roads and much more would be impacted dramatically. Few people realize that concrete is in fact the most used man-made material in the world, with nearly three tons used annually for each man, woman and child. As the world continues to evolve, and developing countries advance economically, concrete plays a large part. For instance, China's cement consumption alone reached over 1.8 billion tons, and industry sources show that China used more cement in the last three years than the U.S. used in the entire 20 th century. According to a recent comment made by Bill Gates in his blog, referencing his favorite historian Vaclav Smil, concrete has been the foundation for the massive expansion of urban areas of the past several decades, which has been a big factor in cutting the rate of extreme poverty in half since 1990. In 1950, the world made roughly as much steel as cement (a key ingredient in concrete); by 2010, steel production had grown by a factor of 8, but cement had gone up by a factor of 25. Today, twice as much concrete is used around the world than the total of all other building materials, including wood, steel, plastic and aluminium. And according to industry experts, none of these other materials can replace concrete in terms of effectiveness, price and performance for most purposes. The manufacturing of concrete requires cement, which is actually the main ingredient of concrete. Cement and concrete are often used synonymously, but by nature are different. Cement, an ultra-fine gray powder, binds sand and rocks into a mass, reacting in concrete, like flour reacts in a cake. Cement is critical to the construction industry – mixed with water, and gravel it forms concrete, one of the key construction materials in the world today. Cement is a direct derivative of the mining industry and is produced by heating lime, silica, alumina, iron, and other materials at high temperature. The resulting substance is a marble-like ball called clinker that is ground, mixed with limestone and gypsum, and used to create concrete. Varying the mix of cement, sand and aggregate enables concrete to be used in a range of applications. Products can be designed, colored and shaped to accommodate a variety of environmental conditions, architectural requirements and to withstand a wide range of loads, stresses and impacts. Famous concrete structures include th e Hoover Dam , th e Panama Canal a nd, incredibly the Roman Pantheon. The ancient Romans are considered the earliest large-scale users of concrete technology which was widely used in the Roman Empire, as early as 300 B.C. Th e Colosseum i n Rome was built largely of concrete, and the concrete dome of the Pantheon is the world's largest unreinforced concrete dome. However, use of concrete can be traced back to ancient Egypt and China. For example, Egyptians mixed mud and straw to create dried bricks in 3000 B.C., and made a mortar combining lime and gypsum for use in building the Pyramids. About the same time, the Chinese combined materials that had the same characteristics as cement with bamboo, then used the combination to build the Great Wall, as well as boats. The most widely used forms of cement in the world today is Portland cement. Portland cement is a generic term for nearly all modern cement, owing its name and origin to a British stone mason named Joseph Aspdin. Portland cement was developed from natural cements made i n Britain beginning in the middle of the 18th century. Its name is derived from its similarity t o Portland stone , a type of building stone quarried on th e Isle of Portland i n Dorset , England. In the 1820s, Aspdin’s quest for a manufactured counterpart to natural or Roman cement (derived from