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Interesting facts about concrete / SurprizingFacts


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Interesting materials about concrete, its properties and application to SurprizingFacts written enough. For example, about the first house printed in Russia, I read here. I believe that my material here will be very appropriate.

Under the cut:

  • Who built the first monolithic house
  • Why in the United States the roads serve 30 years;
  • Ships of concrete;
  • Transparent concrete;
  • and other interesting facts.

The very first concrete

The earliest concrete is attributed to 5 600 BC. On the banks of the Danube, archaeologists have found a hut built of mixtures of gravel, sand, water and cement. And the thickness of the floor in it reached 25 cm. A good example of monolithic building without special equipment.

Pyramids were cast from concrete

Assumptions that the pyramids were built of concrete are not new. As late as the end of the last century, the Swiss professor of chemistry, Joseph Davidovitz, suggested that there was no special secret to the construction of the tombs of the pharaohs – they were erected thanks to concrete pouring. Not long ago, a human hair belonging to an ancient builder was found inside one of the blocks standing in the pyramid of Cheops.

All roads lead to Rome

Many roads built by the Roman Empire were built in marshy or water-rich areas. As it turned out, even in the III – II centuries BC. The ancient Romans already knew how to make concrete, solidified in water. It was based on lime and ash of volcanic origin.

The first monolithic house

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The first concrete house was built by the Edisson cement company in Portland. The inventor decided to rid the city of slums and help the family of every working person to get a solid fireproof house. Relatively inexpensive.

The price for a monolithic house with a pipeline, bathroom and other amenities was about $ 1,200. This is about three times less than the price for a brick house.

But, despite the fact that Edison's cement was used in the construction of many structures around New York during the construction boom in the early 1900s, concrete houses never got accustomed.

There were three reasons:

  • Molds and equipment required for construction required large financial resources at the start, and few companies could afford it.
  • Some families did not want to move to houses that were advertised as new homes for those who lived in slums.
  • The houses were just plain ugly.

As a result, Edison himself became the first inhabitant of this house.

Why in the United States does the road for 30 years serve

America is a country of roads. But 55,000 miles of US highways are not asphalt at all, but are flooded with high-quality concrete, not afraid of moisture and frost. Therefore, the cars that drive through them have a much longer service life than those that travel along the asphalt. The first concrete road was laid in the USA in 1930, in Indiana, and then in Illinois in 1940.

The US roads are classified from the most significant and passable to the less significant:

  • Interstate Highways (denoted by the index I),
  • US Highways (US),
  • State Highways (in this case TX),
  • FM roads (FM, meaning Farm to Market),
  • Local Roads (this group includes other roads, such as Road (Rd), Avenue (Ave), Junction (Jct), etc.

Roads with I and US indices are made of concrete. The largest traffic and cargo flows through them. But there is a small feature: some roads are covered with asphalt. But this is only an appearance: under the asphalt – concrete. This is done to prolong the life of the road and delay the repair after the wear of the concrete cover. To block the road with concrete is more difficult and more expensive than asphalt.

The choice in favor of concrete was made because of its strength, durability, unpretentiousness to long-term load and preponderance of long-range guns. Cons – the problematic styling and repair. In the case of asphalt, the road is ready for the flow of cars in 7-8 hours, and for a concrete road it takes several months of work.

Roadways and roads of concrete serve up to 30 years without major repairs, asphalt – up to 10 years, and Then, if they are properly laid.

Concrete climate control

Due to its light color, concrete reflects light by 33-50% more than asphalt. Thanks to this, the city authorities of Atlanta managed to lower the average daily temperature in the city by 4 ° C. Ten-year research of streets, conducted in the mid-1980s. In the state of Kansas, showed that the cost of maintaining asphalt pavements in comparison with concrete is nine times higher.

The champion on demand

Concrete is the most popular material in the world. Every year in the world they produce about 6 billion cubic meters of this building material. If we consider that the number of earthlings is about the same, then it turns out that every year there is about 1 m3 of produced concrete per inhabitant of the planet.

Floating Concrete

It sounds strange, but reinforced concrete was used to build boats and ships. The material was patented in 1848 by the Frenchman Joseph Monier. A few years later, at the World Exhibition in Paris, a rowing boat made of reinforced concrete was demonstrated. Also French inventor.

In 1917 the Norwegian engineer Nikolay Fegner created the first self-propelled sea ship "Namsenfijord" made of reinforced concrete. During the Second World War, 24 ferro-concrete vessels and 80 barges were built in the USA

Reinforced concrete barge on the Riga moorage. Photo source:

Tennis table made of concrete

A few days ago I came across a picture of a tennis table made of … concrete. The author of the creation was a design studio from Barnaul. You can read about how they did it here. The material has interesting details, for example, on how to make the surface of the tabletop smooth, which mesh and other details should be used.

Transparent concrete

A young inventor from Israel (Aron Losonczi) invented "transparent" concrete, adding fiberglass to the composition. As a result, the new material transmits light and looks much lighter, preserving its properties.


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