Researchers Discover the Secret to the Strength of Roman Concrete

For years, scholars have been curious about why Roman constructions endured so well. According to a recent study, their concrete, a robust building material, exhibited unique qualities. The elements in the concrete, according to researchers, combined to strengthen it. There were three primary components: water, lime, and volcanic ash. The granular material known as lime is obtained by burning limestone. Admir Masic is a civil and environmental engineering professor at Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) who led the study and published the results in Science Advances. He added that the “self-healing” qualities of concrete came from the way the Romans used lime more than 2,000 years ago.

According to him, the discovery will enable modern builders to enhance their concrete “by means of a Roman-inspired approach.” Masic hopes to sell the new building product he is developing through a new company he founded. It is modeled after the Roman concrete. Masic and his colleagues were curious as to why, given that some contemporary concrete cracks after a few years, the Roman structures endured for such a long time. Furthermore, Roman concrete was suitable for submerged use. The Romans were able to construct harbors and other constructions that could contain the ocean thanks to this attribute.

According to the experts, some tiny pieces of lime that were not thoroughly incorporated into the concrete were not an error as previously believed. The lime fragments are referred to as clasts. Masic claimed that when the concrete breaks, the tiny bits of lime prevent the concrete from crumbling. A concrete fissure usually expands as a result of water seeping in. However, the tiny fragments of lime in the Roman concrete would disintegrate and release tiny pieces of calcium into the crevices. Masic said that the action fixed the fissures. Furthermore, he mentioned that the calcium combined with the volcanic ash to form a more robust framework.

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