Concrete is an ancient building material tracings its origins back to the Roman Empire where the word “concretus” meant “growing together.” The early Romans mixed lime with cement and added a material called pozzolana, a volcanic ash from a source near Mt. Vesuvius. The resulting mixture was capable of hardening under water and the Romans were thus able to build complex aquaducts, bridges and foundations. Reinforced concrete made its appearance between 1850 and 1880, and the new era of construction began. What was once just an ordinary, unglamorous construction material is now being developed into a space age product capable of achieving compressive strengths that exceed 50,000 psi.


Compressive Strength Silica Fume Concrete Slab Asphalt Paving Slab Steel 
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© Van Nostrand Reinhold 1992

Authors and Affiliations

  • Sidney M. Levy

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