Humans have searched for shelter from ancient ages. As we started living in homes, we started innovating. A lot of changes have come in building construction down the centuries. The art of mixing cement was first presented by the Greeks. They taught humanity to mix water with asphalt and some other materials. Now, we have evolved into a stage where we can build homes that last ages.
We cannot mention construction without invoking cement and concrete. These are primary building materials in this day and age. While the materials themselves are not new, the technology involved in formulating them has not changed. Many people think concrete and cement is the same thing. They’re not.
Concrete is used to create foundations for buildings and sidewalks. Cement is a material that is used to make concrete. It is mixed with gravel, sand, water etc in a spinning container to maintain uniformity. When people say cement mixers, many times they mean concrete mixers!
The history of modern cement can be traced back to a bricklayer named Joseph Aspdin. He noticed that cement changed color when mixed with asphalt to produce a whitish grey color. This color was also similar to the color found in Portland limestone hence the name “Portland cement”. He also heated clay and mixed it with limestone until the two merged. The mixture was then dried. When it was crushed, it formed a powder-like substance which is the basis for modern cement.
Water was very essential to this whole process. Other important materials were aluminum, silicon, iron and calcium. When processed, this created a firm substance ideal for construction. After it dried, it became remarkably strong. Aspdin received a patent for his work back in 1824.
There is no hassle and work gets done faster. But this becomes a hindrance when we need strength. But this problem is taken care of with steel rods. These reinforcements are like a strong root of the tree, they support and fortify concrete.
Steel rods are made use of when making roads. The steel rods are put in to prevent untimely cracks in the concrete. This process is called ‘re-barring’. They keep the cracks to a minimum. This measure stops a structure made of concrete from collapsing altogether.
Cement can also be fortified using fibers. These fibers are thin and almost like threads. But they consist of steel, polypropylene, and poly-olefin particles. Again, these strengthen the building or any other structure. The fibers have an added advantage that they melt in extreme heat and they create small valves that are like outlet for pressure of steam With time both cement and concrete have evolved to make life safer.