The world of concrete is an interesting one

“ROADS, REPAIRS, sidewalks, curbs, slabs, foundations, walls, driveways, paving and pavers, and more. Team Tucker Paving knows concrete. Call 863-299-2262.”

That’s the message that was delivered to Central Florida — and well beyond — in a recent post to the Tucker Paving Facebook site. Excellent concrete work, something we take pride in here at Tucker Paving, requires considerable of knowledge and skill, and we’re fortunate that our team members have a lot of both.

Speaking of knowledge, the world of concrete has produced enough interesting facts — some useful; some trivial — to fill several blog posts like this one. We’ll offer a dozen concrete “fast facts” today and then perhaps revisit the topic in another blog article down the road.

A DOZEN CONCRETE “FAST FACTS”

  1. Though the two words often are used interchangeably, “cement” and “concrete” are two different things. Concrete is more the finished product, with cement — Portland cement — as a key “ingredient” or component. Other elements of concrete are aggregates, such as sand, gravel, or crushed stone, and water.

  2. Concrete-like materials were used since 6500 B.C. by the Nabataea traders, or Bedouins, who occupied and controlled a series of oases in the area of modern-day southern Syria and northern Jordan. They discovered the advantages of hydraulic lime, with some self-cementing properties, by 700 B.C.

  3. In the ancient Egyptian and later Roman eras, builders found that the addition of volcanic ash to the concrete mix allowed it to set underwater.

  4. German archaeologist Heinrich Schliemann found concrete floors, which were made of lime and pebbles, in the royal palace of Tiryns, Greece, which dates from about 1400 B.C. to 1200 B.C.

  5. The Romans used concrete extensively from 300 B.C. to 476 A.D, a span of more than seven hundred years. Roman concrete (or opus caementicium) was made from quicklime, pozzolana (a natural siliceous or siliceous and aluminous material) and pumice as the aggregate of pumice. The use of concrete enabled revolutionary new designs in terms of both structural complexity and dimension. The widespread use of concrete in many Roman structures ensured that many survive to the present day.

  6. The use of Roman-type concrete was greatly reduced during the Middle Ages, but the 150-mile-long Canal du Midi in southern France was built using concrete in 1670.

  7. The modern use of concrete was driven by the construction of Smeaton’s Tower, the third Eddystone Lighthouse in Devon, England. To create this structure, between 1756 and 1759, British engineer John Smeaton pioneered the use of hydraulic lime in concrete, using pebbles and powdered brick as aggregate.

  8. Developed in England in the 19th century, a method for producing Portland cement was patented by Joseph Aspdin in 1824. Aspdin named it due to its similarity to Portland stone, which was quarried on the Isle of Portland in Dorset, England. His son, William Aspdin, is regarded as the inventor of “modern” Portland cement due to his developments in the 1840s.

  9. Joseph Monier of France invented reinforced concrete in 1849. The first concrete reinforced bridge was built in 1889, and the first large concrete dams were built in 1936. Those are the Hoover Dam, on the border between Nevada and Arizona, and the Grand Coulee Dam on the Columbia River, west of Spokane, Wash.

  10. Before the development of radar in World War II, the British army erected parabolic acoustic mirrors‚ commonly called “listening ears‚” to detect incoming enemy aircraft. A network of these enormous concrete sound reflectors was constructed along England’s coast during the early days of the war and still can be seen today.

  11. The first concrete road in the United States was built in 1909 on Woodward Avenue between Six Mile and Seven Mile roads in Greenfield Township, now part of northwest Detroit. Almost 30 per cent of the U.S. interstate highways are built using concrete.

  12. The Three Gorges Dam on China’s Yangtze River is the largest concrete structure in the world. Built between 1994 and 2006, the dam is 185 meters (607 feet) high and 2,309 meters (1.43 miles) long.

Sources: Concrete Contractors Association of Greater Chicago [www.ccagc.org]; Wikipedia [https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Concrete]; and TiltWall Inc. [https://tiltwall.ca]