Did you know? That concrete is the single most widely used building material in the world? Think about it-our entire infrastructure, everything from schools, houses, roads, bridges and skyscrapers are assembled with it. It is estimated that around three tons of concrete is used annually for each person on earth. This is twice as much as the total of all building materials like wood, steel, plastic and aluminum combined.
Why concrete? Well it’s a very low impact material. It is also superior in strength, durability, thermal mass, affordability and abundance. Societies’ necessity for concrete isn’t just developing now, throughout history some of the most famous formations were built out of concrete. Famous structures like the Hoover Dam, Panama Canal and the Roman Pantheon were all crafted out of concrete. In fact, almost two thousand years ago the Romans utilized their own recipe with a mixture of water, aggregate and cement to create a gravity defying 43.3-meter in diameter dome. It still holds its place as the world’s largest unreinforced concrete dome.
Roman’s aren’t the only people who found concrete to be useful, though they did come up with some interesting ingredients to incorporate into their mixture. Odd additives such as animal blood were used because it made concrete frost-resistant. Horsehair made the Roman construction material less liable to cracks. Egyptians too, like the Romans started adding volcanic ash so the mix set underwater.
The Chinese, when building the Great Wall, used sticky rice to improve the performance of concrete. Even now in 2014, the Burj Dubai skyscrapers though still under construction are already relying on a special mixture of concrete to overshadow the rest of the man-made structures in the world. This concrete concoction doesn’t harden before it can be pumped to the top of the tower, but will form a highly dependable structure.
So what is the future of concrete? It’s impossible to predict the impending face of construction, as it is an ever-evolving industry, which highlights a dichotomy between engineering and art. However, one thing remains certain- wherever the next cement castle is being erected, or the next bridge is needs to plunge and anywhere the next city is rising–Scan Plus will be there to scan the concrete before it gets cut, cored or excavated. Comment below on your experience with concrete.