10 Details You Didn’t Know About Concrete

1. Concrete was first used in Ancient Greece and Ancient Rome

The earliest time period that cement was used by mankind took place in Greece, Crete, and Cyprus in 800 BC while the Romans relied on concrete from 300 BC to 476 AD. This type of concrete was made from quicklime, pumice and pozzolana (a form of volcanic ash) materials. Roman structures such as domes, vaults, and arches were built from concrete.

2. Concrete is one of the most widely used materials worldwide

Concrete is used twice as much as steel, aluminium, plastics and wood combined on a global scale. In fact, the concrete production industry within the United States makes $30 billion annually.

3. Materials scientists still unsure of the specific reactions behind cement production

Cement is one of the most complex topics being studied within materials science. The specifics behind the reactions that happen when cement powder and water are mixed are still unknown and only theorized. Kenneth Snyder, a cement expert at the US National Institute of Standards and Technology, told a Nature journal reporter that “the details of what is happening once water touches cement powder are a matter of lively debate.”

4. Environmental scientists developing safer alternatives for concrete creation

The organization CSHub holds the leading environmental scientists working on the carbon dioxide and greenhouse gases problem that ensues concrete production. One of the main line of attacks includes lowering the roasting temperature at which cement is created and therefore burning less fuel.

The cement company Ceretech has begun using fly ash – small substances filtered from combustion gases at coal-burning electricity plants – as a more environmentally-sound material to make into cement. Fly ash is usually disposed of in landfills.

Concrete recycling has also grown in popularity due to the rise in environmental awareness. This encompasses the collection of the material from demolition sites and putting it through a crushing machine.

5. Portland cement named after Portland limestone

Portland cement is the most standard kind of cement utilized worldwide. It consists of mortar, plaster, and concrete. The first patent taken out on this type of cement took place in 1824. It was named after Portland limestone because it is of a similar color. Portland cement is first made by heating limestone and clay before grinding the material with sulfate.

6. Concrete expansion joints vital during designing process

Concrete expansion joints or isolation joints are necessary for reducing the effects of cracking. Installing expansion joints allows for independent horizontal and vertical movement between different parts of the structure when the material shrinks. It also minimizes cracking.

7. The average concrete weighs 145 pounds per cubic foot

Concrete weight is dependent upon its air and water/moisture content and cement density varies between 52 to 103 pounds per cubic foot. The average slab of concrete weighs approximately 145 pounds per cubic foot. The density of lightweight cement is 116 pounds per cubic foot.

8. The construction industry must test concrete material to determine its strength

Construction managers, utility companies and others using concrete during their workday need to test their materials according to ASTM C39, ASTM C78, ASTM C109, ASTM C469 and ASTM C1609 specifications. This sector is searching for materials testing machines that are capable of performing compressive, flexural and static modulus of elasticity testing. Many are choosing universal testing machines to meet their needs.

9. ADMET offers a line of automatically controlled testing machines for measuring the compressive strength of concrete cylinders according to ASTM C39

ADMET offers servo controlled concrete compression testing machines from 20,000 to 600,000 Lb in capacity.  Powered by the MegaForce Pump, these machines provide a low cost solution for error free automatic testing of concrete cylinders, beams and cubes. For those that already have a concrete compression testing machine and want to save some money, we can retrofit MegaForce to existing concrete compression testing machines.

10. ADMET is a leader in supplying testing systems for measuring the flexural performance of fiber reinforced concrete according to ASTM C1609

First-peak strength characterizes the flexural behavior of fiber-reinforced concrete up to the onset of cracking. Residual strengths at specified deflections characterize the residual capacity after cracking. Specimen toughness is a measure of the energy absorption capacity of the test specimen.  The importance of each of these mechanical properties is dependent on the application.   When conducting an ASTM C1609 test, great care must be taken in the setup and execution of the test to ensure the accuracy of first-peak strength, residual strength and toughness.

ADMET offers eXpert 2600 Series Dual Column Testing Machines equipped with the MTESTQuattro Materials Testing Software for performing ASTM C1609 tests.  Information on running an ASTM C1609 test can be viewed here.

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