Concrete buildings from hundreds of years ago are still in use today. Some say concrete can last up to 2,000 years, and there are certainly many structures around that are well on their way to such a ripe old age. Why? Because it gets stronger every day!
Unlike most other materials, precast concrete increases in strength over time. Concrete is designed to provide a reliable structure for many years to come, it is not uncommon for designers to design concrete building for a 75 to 100-year life cycle.
- The Ancient Romans were the first to develop concrete as a building material. They accomplished this by mixing lime, water, and volcanic ash.
- Concrete is used more than any other man-made material on the planet.
- Six billion tons of concrete are produced every year.
- The world’s largest concrete structure, Three Gorges Dam in China, consumed over 35 million cubic yards of concrete. Hoover dam consumed 5 million cubic yards.
- Reinforced concrete is the only building material that is highly resistant to both water and fire.
- Concrete is the best material for road construction. The first concrete road was built in 1909, and 30% of interstate highways are built with concrete.
- The British Army used concrete to detect enemy aircrafts, and before radar, concrete was used to construct acoustic mirrors.
- Concrete and cement are not the same thing. Concrete is a mixture of cement, sand, gravel and water.
- Reinforced concrete is the only building material used for underwater structures such as damns, piers, and sewer works.
- Concrete has an incredibly high compressive strength: typical (psi) compressive strengths range from 3,000-7,000 psi.
- The statue of Christ the Redeemer in Brazil was constructed using concrete and soapstone. The entire project took nine years and 635 tons of concrete to finish.
- According to the Washington Post, China has used more cement during the years 2011-2013 than the United States has in the entire 20th century.