Concrete

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Concrete is a composite material used in construction, consisting essentially of a binder of particles or fragments of an aggregate to which water is added.

The history of concrete is a fundamental chapter in the history of construction. When it was decided to construct buildings using clay or stone materials, it became necessary to obtain pastes or mortars which allowed to join them forming stable structures

Initially they made the paste with clay, gypsum or lime were used, but it quickly deteriorated due to weather erosion. Various solutions were devised, mixing water with crushed rocks and minerals, to create not easily destroyed pulps. In ancient Egypt various pasta products made from mixtures of gypsum and limestone dissolved in water to solidly unite the stone blocks were used; like those that still exist between the limestone blocks of the lining of the Great Pyramid of Giza.

In Ancient Greece, towards 500 a.d., mixed compounds of calcined limestone with water and sand, adding crushed stone, broken tiles or bricks, became the first concrete in history.

The ancient Romans used lands or volcanic ash, also known as pozzolan; containing silica and aluminium, which, chemically combined with lime resulted in the so-called pozzolan cement, adding pieces of ceramic or other low density materials to its mass they obtained first lightweight concrete. In some cities and large structures built by Mayans and Aztecs in Mexico or Machu Picchu in Peru, they used concrete,

In the eighteenth century the desire for research revives. John Smeaton, an engineer from Leeds was commissioned to build a lighthouse on the cliff Edystone, on the coast of Cornwall, for the third time, using stones joined with lime mortar calcined to form a monolithic construction that would withstand the constant wave action and moist winds; It was completed in 1759 and the foundation still remains.

By José David Santomé.