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A concrete method: Standing the test of time

The Ancient Romans believed they’d found magic when they discovered that volcanic ash, also known as Pozzolana, forms a hard compound when mixed with water. This marks the beginning of a crucial compound we know as concrete, which continues to yield great structures and sturdy materials in communities worldwide.

Modern concrete involves a combination of aggravates—sand, gravel, or crushed stone—and a binding agent. A proper ratio of water is added, and then after the chemical process of hydration, the mixture dries, forming concrete.

The evolution of concrete has supported developing civilization since 6500 B.C. Even after more than 8,500 years, we’re still learning new ways this substance can improve the quality of our environment. While traditional concrete bears enormous weight without collapsing, it has low tensile strength. It also repels water, resulting in urban flooding. Recently developed pervious concrete, however, contains particles large enough for water to seep through them. This creates natural run-off, allowing ground absorption of water, which could improve the future of driving conditions.

Concrete’s strength and versatility sculpted the ancient world, today’s world, and continues to shape opportunities for our future. From Roman baths to modern highways, concrete might not be magic, but it is a fundamental element in most buildings. Click here to learn more about concrete’s history: