Concrete is a durable and flexible material that is used in everything from kitchen countertops to roadways. Check this interesting facts about concrete:
1. Surprising Concrete Use
Concrete, behind water, is the most consumed material in the world, with about 10 billion tons produced annually. Concrete is utilized twice as much as all other building materials, with three tons per person worldwide.
The US alone produces about 500 million tons. The US concrete business employs over two million people and is worth over $37 billion. Its principal constituent, cement, accounts for 8% of global CO2 emissions.
2. Since 600 B.C., concrete has evolved.
The Romans weren't the first to use mud and straw to make mortar, but they were the first to use concrete in most of their buildings. They put the mix into wooden molds using volcanic ash from Mount Vesuvius, lime, and seawater.
Vitruvius described four sorts of “pozzolana”: black, grey, red, and white. The Romans used this new waterproof material to create their harbor at Cosa.
Even more stunning is the Roman Pantheon, which was built entirely of concrete with no structural steel reinforcement. Its 142-foot-high dome still exists. An earthquake and other natural disasters have not deterred this gigantic concrete structure.
3. Concrete Won WWII
During WWII, concrete “sound mirrors” were employed to alert oncoming planes. The British used parabolic acoustic mirrors or listening ears to identify planes before radar. The British could detect approaching German aircraft via a network of sound reflectors around the English shoreline.
By detecting enemy aircraft's sound waves, the concrete structures allowed ground forces to better prepare British defenses.
4. China's Biggest Concrete Structure
The Three Gorges Dam on the Yangtze River in China is the world's largest concrete dam. The project took 17 years to complete, costing $37 billion. The structure required a world record 21 million cubic yards of concrete.
The dam's reservoir holds as much water as Lake Superior and can generate 22,500 MW of power.
Concrete Furniture? No Lightbulb Moments
Did you know Thomas Edison had 49 concrete patents? Edison also patented cement processing equipment, waterproofing cement paint, and a mold for single-pour concrete building.
Edison also envisioned concrete dwellings, furniture, pianos, and refrigerators. He founded the Edison Portland Cement Company after noticing his ore milling company's sand waste. He sold the fine sand to cement producers for concrete.
There's more to learn about this powerful and adaptable material than these physical facts and history.