Concrete is a one of the most widely used construction materials and there is a very good reason for this. The invention of concrete material has allowed humanity to greatly advance its building techniques and produce really amazing structures. Massive dams, long bridges, tallest buildings are all possible because of the modern concrete.
Concrete is not a new invention. There has been historical evidence of concrete dwelling structures, underground cisterns and storage containers dating over six thousand years ago. Ancient Romans have built impressive structures out of concrete that survived even until the present day.
Modern concrete production become widespread in the 19th century when portland cement has been developed. The invention of reinforced concrete has further popularized concrete as a go-to material for large structures.
There are three basic components in the concrete: water, aggregate (stone and sand) and cement. Cement is a grey powder and is an essential ingredient because of the chemical reaction it provides when mixed with water. The chemical reaction is called a cement hydration and it creates a solid material when the reaction is complete.
Liquid and solid states of concrete are tremendously useful. The liquid state, when the concrete is mixed, allows the material to be formed and shaped. Once the cement reaction with water has progressed the material solidifies and becomes a solid.
Concrete is widely used in almost all types of construction. The most common applications are foundations, walls/columns, slabs, road work and many others. It can be cast in place or precast at the factory and delivered to the site. Concrete is used for small houses and the tallest buildings. It so wide spread that it is difficult to find a modern construction site where no concrete is used.
There are many other less commonly known applications for concrete. It is used in man made countertop production, 3D printing, soil reinforcement and even for the dental work. The advancements in the concrete technology are constantly in development and new properties are being discovered. Concrete is without a doubt one of the most important technologies we have at our disposal.