You may not think about concrete frequently but some of these fun facts might not be know by some local concrete contractors. It is just always there, under the surface of every sidewalk and driveway that you ever see. However, it can be surprising how much information exists on this material. Concrete is a staple in many homes across the United States and around the world, so stay informed!
First of all, did you know that concrete was invented by the ancient Romans? They used ash and pozzolana to create their own version of limestone cement…which they called “pulvis puteolanus” (meaning “dust from the pit”). Italy is still one of the most active producers of concretes today; they use fly ash for instance, which comes out as a waste product in the production of electricity.
Another surprising fact: hardened cement paste is actually stronger than concrete. This is only because the chemical process was never finished in making concrete, and when it dries it hardens before all of the crystals can form. Concrete itself is not very flexible; however, with some clever engineering design this property is remedied by creating a steel “reinforcement cage.” The idea behind this reinforcement cage is that if we need to flex something, we do it near the steel where there’s plenty of room for movement. This makes our structure both strong and flexible and saves us from having to use another material like wood in order to create flexibility (which would add unnecessary weight and cost).
Concrete installer by our contractors is not great at maintaining high temperatures; it absorbs heat well, which means that you should probably use another material if your goal is to keep something warm. This makes it a poor choice for greenhouses, for instance. Though concrete can be painted or dyed to change its color, other materials are much better suited for the task of holding heat inside a building because they’re almost completely opaque.
Another interesting thing about concrete is that even though it looks solid enough to walk on top of, there are actually microscopic air pockets within the matrix of its structure. You can notice these tiny bubbles by looking closely at broken pieces of concrete…you may also see some plant roots growing through them!
Concrete is most frequently used in construction, and it’s good for this job because of its high compressive strength. This means that we can use a lot less steel to create the same amount of strength with concrete than we could with most other materials. It is actually estimated that about ten percent of all of the world’s steel supply goes towards reinforcing concrete! However, even though you’re saving money by using less steel than you would otherwise need, don’t forget that there are still costs associated with manufacturing and transporting cement.