When was Concrete Invented? – A Brief History

Civil Engineer / Content Writer

Nowadays concrete is widely used in construction industry. However, it has been used since way back to ancient time.

The linear age of concrete links way back to the Romans and ancient Egyptians. The history of cementing material is as old as the history of construction engineering. Egyptians, Romans and Indians used some kind of cementing materials in their ancient constructions.

It is believed that the early Egyptian mostly used cementing materials, obtained by burning gypsum. Afterwards ancient Egyptians started using calcined impure gypsum. The Greeks and Romans used calcined limestone and later learned to add sand and crushed stones, lime and water, or brick and broken tiles. This was the first concrete ever made by Greeks and Romans in the history of construction.

Also Read: What materials are used to make Concrete?

The Greeks and Romans later became aware of the fact that certain tuff and volcanic ash, when mixed with lime, sand and water, yielded mortar possessing superior strength and better durability.

It is also learnt that the Romans added blood, milk and lard(Fat from the abdomen of a pig that is rendered and clarified for use) to their mortar and concrete to achieve better workability. Hemoglobin is a powerful air-entraining agent and plasticizer, which perhaps is yet another reason for the durability of Roman Structure.

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Courtesy - 123rf

Modern Concrete:

British engineer John Smeaton discovered modern concrete (in fact is used by everyone today) in 1756 by adding pebbles, mixing bricks and hydraulic cement.Consider the last few centuries, during which there has certainly been progress: compared to the early 1900s, the present day concrete is much improved.

The origin of concrete is not exclusively based on Portland cement but is in fact a combination of a variety of constituents alongside coarse aggregate, fine aggregate(sand) and water, which is mixed together to create one of most essential materials used in construction. Basic concrete constituents are cement, coarse aggregate, fine aggregate, and water.

In modern concrete, Portland cement is mixed with water, Fine aggregates (Sand) and Coarse aggregates. In properly mixed concrete, each particle of Fine aggregate and coarse aggregate is completely surrounded and coated by cement paste, and all spaces between the particles are filled with it. As the cement paste sets and hardens, it binds the aggregates into a solid mass. Under normal conditions, concrete grows stronger as it grows older.

In answering the question “When was concrete invented?”, the concrete’s timeline is connected to the ancient world. Nowadays we used modern concrete with different types of modern chemical admixtures which imparts the properties of concrete for different situations.

Also Read:

All about the workability of Fresh Concrete
What is Compaction of Concrete?

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