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(Berkeley)   2,000yo Roman concrete is more durable and environmentally friendly than today's concrete. Now we know why   (newscenter.berkeley.edu) divider line 42
    More: Interesting, environmentally friendly, environmental engineering, scanning electron microscopes, ancient Romans, Office of Science, civil engineers, silicates, calcium carbonate  
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8986 clicks; posted to Geek » on 06 Jun 2013 at 7:35 AM (1 year ago)   |  Favorite    |   share:  Share on Twitter share via Email Share on Facebook   more»



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2013-06-06 07:32:11 AM
They used Viagra to keep it stiffy?
 
2013-06-06 07:43:16 AM
I've read this same article, and seen film documentaries discussing this, every year, since... forever.

No, its not new nor is it a mystery.  Was the knowledge lost during the dark ages?  Yes.

Does it matter to modern materials development?  No, it doesnt.
 
2013-06-06 07:44:57 AM
This is somehow depressing as fark.

On one hand, the knowledge could have been lost. On the other hand, we don't want to build stuff to last. Where is the profit in that?

And I am thinking it is the latter.
 
2013-06-06 07:52:29 AM
Ya, but what else have the Romans given us?
 
2013-06-06 07:52:51 AM

lucksi: This is somehow depressing as fark.

On one hand, the knowledge could have been lost. On the other hand, we don't want to build stuff to last. Where is the profit in that?

And I am thinking it is the latter.


You nailed it.  We can mix materials and techniques to get any properties we want.  We just purposely choose a trade off between cost, durability, usability, etc etc.  Can we make a building that lasts 2000 years?  Of course... are people still going to use the building 2000 years from now?  Probably not.  So we dont waste the effort.

Its like ancient castles.  Most castles, forts, homes, etc were all made of wood, because it made the most economical sense.  They've all been lost to the ravages of time.... only leaving behind the few exceptions where people used stone.  But I bet you if you polled the populace, the average person would believe most castles were made of stone.
 
2013-06-06 07:59:15 AM

lucksi: This is somehow depressing as fark.

On one hand, the knowledge could have been lost. On the other hand, we don't want to build stuff to last. Where is the profit in that?

And I am thinking it is the latter.


Oh it's totally possible to make concrete pavement as durable as the Roman version. Just build a 5' deep subpavement structure below it, prohibit any vehicle larger than a passenger truck from driving on it, and use expensive and quality-controlled materials in the mixture. Of course, the cost of a mile of concrete pavement would increase at least 10x over current costs, but it's possible.

/just not cost effective
 
2013-06-06 08:09:19 AM
and where are the Romans now after all this eco-friendly construction?
 
2013-06-06 08:11:09 AM

Bendal: lucksi: This is somehow depressing as fark.

On one hand, the knowledge could have been lost. On the other hand, we don't want to build stuff to last. Where is the profit in that?

And I am thinking it is the latter.

Oh it's totally possible to make concrete pavement as durable as the Roman version. Just build a 5' deep subpavement structure below it, prohibit any vehicle larger than a passenger truck from driving on it, and use expensive and quality-controlled materials in the mixture. Of course, the cost of a mile of concrete pavement would increase at least 10x over current costs, but it's possible.

/just not cost effective

And don't forget "going straight ahead unless there's just no way through the obstacle", adding to the cost of earth moving.  Roman engineers were stubborn like that.
 
2013-06-06 08:15:30 AM

Johnson: and where are the Romans now after all this eco-friendly construction?


And besides long-lasting concrete, what have the Romans ever done for us?
 
2013-06-06 08:20:55 AM

Johnson: and where are the Romans now after all this eco-friendly construction?


In Rome?
 
2013-06-06 08:21:46 AM

Alonjar:  But I bet you if you polled the populace, the average person would believe most castles were made of stone.


Castles generally were stone.  They're a defensive structure designed for siege warfare, so it had to take a bounding from catapults and such and be as impervious to fire as you could get.   Now most of the structures inside a castle?  Wood, with the exception of the keep obviously.  Same for structures outside the castle, defensive forts and such although they'd still have some stone used in the construction.

That's why castles even in their day were so god damn expensive to build and most of the less rich people had wood structures  lots of stone masons needed.  They were also cutting edge military technology of their day.
 
2013-06-06 08:22:22 AM

UNC_Samurai: Bendal: lucksi: This is somehow depressing as fark.

On one hand, the knowledge could have been lost. On the other hand, we don't want to build stuff to last. Where is the profit in that?

And I am thinking it is the latter.

Oh it's totally possible to make concrete pavement as durable as the Roman version. Just build a 5' deep subpavement structure below it, prohibit any vehicle larger than a passenger truck from driving on it, and use expensive and quality-controlled materials in the mixture. Of course, the cost of a mile of concrete pavement would increase at least 10x over current costs, but it's possible.

/just not cost effective
And don't forget "going straight ahead unless there's just no way through the obstacle", adding to the cost of earth moving.  Roman engineers were stubborn like that.


Interestingly, slave and contracted labor was rarely used on things considered important such as road construction.  The soldiers themselves built all the roads etc, it kept them fit  and occupied with truly useful duties, ensured quality control (in those days the army and republic itself's survival depended on roads, so you're not going to short change yourself), and offered a variety of skilled labor tasks (tool making, masonry, engineering, surveying, the list goes on and on) so you would have a career when your fighting days were behind you.

Honestly its a shame we dont adopt similar policies for our military.
 
2013-06-06 08:23:57 AM
"There is not enough fly ash in this world to replace half of the Portland cement being used,"

And yet, the EPA wants it all hauled to a landfill instead of being put to good use.
 
2013-06-06 08:25:25 AM
My uncle is a concrete engineer.....or whatever the title is for the guy who researchers concrete mixes for concrete companies. And I, being the nerd that I am, actually asked him about Roman concrete formulas......and yeah, he said it's just cheaper and easier to make what we make, and the need to constantly repair it kind of keeps his job going.
 
2013-06-06 08:28:58 AM
Italians good with cement?  Who woulda thunk it?
 
2013-06-06 08:31:40 AM

Mr. Shabooboo: Ya, but what else have the Romans given us?


Well, apart from the sanitation, medicine, education, wine, public order, irrigation, roads, the fresh water system, and public health, what have the Romans ever given us?


/People's Front of Judea forever, biatches.
 
2013-06-06 08:32:28 AM
This is news? You had to make a sacrifice to Concretus for every batch made.  A goat's blood is preferred, but for an inferior product you can use a lamb.
 
2013-06-06 08:55:38 AM

Alonjar: UNC_Samurai: Bendal: lucksi: This is somehow depressing as fark.

On one hand, the knowledge could have been lost. On the other hand, we don't want to build stuff to last. Where is the profit in that?

And I am thinking it is the latter.

Oh it's totally possible to make concrete pavement as durable as the Roman version. Just build a 5' deep subpavement structure below it, prohibit any vehicle larger than a passenger truck from driving on it, and use expensive and quality-controlled materials in the mixture. Of course, the cost of a mile of concrete pavement would increase at least 10x over current costs, but it's possible.

/just not cost effective
And don't forget "going straight ahead unless there's just no way through the obstacle", adding to the cost of earth moving.  Roman engineers were stubborn like that.

Interestingly, slave and contracted labor was rarely used on things considered important such as road construction.  The soldiers themselves built all the roads etc, it kept them fit  and occupied with truly useful duties, ensured quality control (in those days the army and republic itself's survival depended on roads, so you're not going to short change yourself), and offered a variety of skilled labor tasks (tool making, masonry, engineering, surveying, the list goes on and on) so you would have a career when your fighting days were behind you.

Honestly its a shame we dont adopt similar policies for our military.


I thought that's what the Army Corps of Engineers did? Or do you wantthe military to be corvee labor?
 
2013-06-06 08:56:37 AM

genepool lifeboat: Italians good with cement?  Who woulda thunk it?


Well, yeah, but you see them more as cordwainers in modern times.
 
2013-06-06 09:07:01 AM

Fano: I thought that's what the Army Corps of Engineers did? Or do you wantthe military to be corvee labor?


Yes, I want them to be slave laborers.  Mexicans cost too much.

/I lack the energy to respond to trolltastic generalizations which completely missed the point in any other way.
 
2013-06-06 09:13:07 AM
It takes a good Christian to make good concrete.
 
2013-06-06 09:26:23 AM
This is just like how roads are constructed. We could spend more up front and they'd last 50 years, but then there's no job security.

A company doing road construction can pay a fee to use lower quality materials.
 
2013-06-06 09:42:08 AM

Fano: Alonjar: UNC_Samurai: Bendal: lucksi: This is somehow depressing as fark.

On one hand, the knowledge could have been lost. On the other hand, we don't want to build stuff to last. Where is the profit in that?

And I am thinking it is the latter.

Oh it's totally possible to make concrete pavement as durable as the Roman version. Just build a 5' deep subpavement structure below it, prohibit any vehicle larger than a passenger truck from driving on it, and use expensive and quality-controlled materials in the mixture. Of course, the cost of a mile of concrete pavement would increase at least 10x over current costs, but it's possible.

/just not cost effective
And don't forget "going straight ahead unless there's just no way through the obstacle", adding to the cost of earth moving.  Roman engineers were stubborn like that.

Interestingly, slave and contracted labor was rarely used on things considered important such as road construction.  The soldiers themselves built all the roads etc, it kept them fit  and occupied with truly useful duties, ensured quality control (in those days the army and republic itself's survival depended on roads, so you're not going to short change yourself), and offered a variety of skilled labor tasks (tool making, masonry, engineering, surveying, the list goes on and on) so you would have a career when your fighting days were behind you.

Honestly its a shame we dont adopt similar policies for our military.

I thought that's what the Army Corps of Engineers did? Or do you wantthe military to be corvee labor?


I'd prefer a massive redux of the WPA and CCC, but that ain't happening in this day and age, not with the mouth breathers living in the echo chamber.
 
2013-06-06 09:47:55 AM
It described for the first time how the extraordinarily stable compound - calcium-aluminum-silicate-hydrate (C-A-S-H) - binds the material used to build some of the most enduring structures in Western civilization.

So C-A-S-H really does rule everything around us.
 
2013-06-06 09:56:18 AM
I'm busy on a project repairing spalled concrete from rusty rebar in a 30 year old condo on the beach. If they had only built it with unreinforced concrete with a series of graceful arches, then it probably would still be in pretty good condition. Presuming they used about 10-20x as much concrete and the pilings would still be adequate for all that extra weight, which they wouldn't.

My point is that if the Romans had figured out steel rebar and prestressing and all sorts of other methods of concrete construction that they use today, I bet they would have used them. They probably would have had better quality control than a beach condo in Florida built on the cheap in the early 80s, though.
 
2013-06-06 10:34:23 AM

Alonjar: lucksi: This is somehow depressing as fark.

On one hand, the knowledge could have been lost. On the other hand, we don't want to build stuff to last. Where is the profit in that?

And I am thinking it is the latter.

You nailed it.  We can mix materials and techniques to get any properties we want.  We just purposely choose a trade off between cost, durability, usability, etc etc.  Can we make a building that lasts 2000 years?  Of course... are people still going to use the building 2000 years from now?  Probably not.  So we dont waste the effort.

Its like ancient castles.  Most castles, forts, homes, etc were all made of wood, because it made the most economical sense.  They've all been lost to the ravages of time.... only leaving behind the few exceptions where people used stone.  But I bet you if you polled the populace, the average person would believe most castles were made of stone.


making stronger concrete is something that benefits immediately tho

sure 2000 year concrete is a waste of time, nobody is going to covet some 2000 year old interstate overpass like they do roman architecture... but that's besides the point, the people who foot the bill for materials in the end will want better solutions all the time
 
2013-06-06 10:56:55 AM

mjbok: This is just like how roads are constructed. We could spend more up front and they'd last 50 years, but then there's no job security.

A company doing road construction can pay a fee to use lower quality materials.


As I have discussed in other threads this is the difference between how houses are built in the US and in the UK.
In the UK I do not know anyone who has ever had to replace a roof, for example. The house I grew up in was over 200 years old and still had the original roof and I know people with houses 400+ years old still with the original roof. My house built thirty years ago is constructed the exact same way, with proper tiles. The whole structure is brick with wood only used for internal stuff like floors. In the twenty years I have lived here I have spent maybe £500 on maintenance, not including purely cosmetic stuff like decorating and putting a nicer kitchen in.
Yet I have read American articles that say you should budget on spending 5% of the price of the house on maintenance each year.
 
2013-06-06 11:05:47 AM

Flint Ironstag: mjbok: This is just like how roads are constructed. We could spend more up front and they'd last 50 years, but then there's no job security.

A company doing road construction can pay a fee to use lower quality materials.

As I have discussed in other threads this is the difference between how houses are built in the US and in the UK.
In the UK I do not know anyone who has ever had to replace a roof, for example. The house I grew up in was over 200 years old and still had the original roof and I know people with houses 400+ years old still with the original roof. My house built thirty years ago is constructed the exact same way, with proper tiles. The whole structure is brick with wood only used for internal stuff like floors. In the twenty years I have lived here I have spent maybe £500 on maintenance, not including purely cosmetic stuff like decorating and putting a nicer kitchen in.
Yet I have read American articles that say you should budget on spending 5% of the price of the house on maintenance each year.


Air conditioners, insulation, yard work, etc. Makes sense.
 
2013-06-06 11:07:17 AM

mjbok: This is just like how roads are constructed. We could spend more up front and they'd last 50 years, but then there's no job security.


This is pretty much the foundation of our present social model. It will change in the future, just as our present social model is a change from Medieval times.
 
2013-06-06 11:29:11 AM

matthew_m_g: Mr. Shabooboo: Ya, but what else have the Romans given us?

Well, apart from the sanitation, medicine, education, wine, public order, irrigation, roads, the fresh water system, and public health, what have the Romans ever given us?


/People's Front of Judea forever, biatches.


Splitter.
 
2013-06-06 11:43:13 AM

there their theyre: Flint Ironstag: mjbok: This is just like how roads are constructed. We could spend more up front and they'd last 50 years, but then there's no job security.

A company doing road construction can pay a fee to use lower quality materials.

As I have discussed in other threads this is the difference between how houses are built in the US and in the UK.
In the UK I do not know anyone who has ever had to replace a roof, for example. The house I grew up in was over 200 years old and still had the original roof and I know people with houses 400+ years old still with the original roof. My house built thirty years ago is constructed the exact same way, with proper tiles. The whole structure is brick with wood only used for internal stuff like floors. In the twenty years I have lived here I have spent maybe £500 on maintenance, not including purely cosmetic stuff like decorating and putting a nicer kitchen in.
Yet I have read American articles that say you should budget on spending 5% of the price of the house on maintenance each year.

Air conditioners, insulation, yard work, etc. Makes sense.


I actually have ac in my home, which is quite unusual in the UK. If you include gardening, decorating etc then the costs could add up, but it's still a lot. The point is that replacing a roof every twenty years or so is seen as normal in the US while I do not know anyone who has ever had to replace a roof even on a 400 year old house. Not saying it never happens, but it's not at all common.
 
2013-06-06 11:57:42 AM
newscenter.berkeley.edu

Kinda hot, for a civil engineering professor.
 
2013-06-06 12:11:12 PM

Flint Ironstag: there their theyre: Flint Ironstag: mjbok: This is just like how roads are constructed. We could spend more up front and they'd last 50 years, but then there's no job security.

A company doing road construction can pay a fee to use lower quality materials.

As I have discussed in other threads this is the difference between how houses are built in the US and in the UK.
In the UK I do not know anyone who has ever had to replace a roof, for example. The house I grew up in was over 200 years old and still had the original roof and I know people with houses 400+ years old still with the original roof. My house built thirty years ago is constructed the exact same way, with proper tiles. The whole structure is brick with wood only used for internal stuff like floors. In the twenty years I have lived here I have spent maybe £500 on maintenance, not including purely cosmetic stuff like decorating and putting a nicer kitchen in.
Yet I have read American articles that say you should budget on spending 5% of the price of the house on maintenance each year.

Air conditioners, insulation, yard work, etc. Makes sense.

I actually have ac in my home, which is quite unusual in the UK. If you include gardening, decorating etc then the costs could add up, but it's still a lot. The point is that replacing a roof every twenty years or so is seen as normal in the US while I do not know anyone who has ever had to replace a roof even on a 400 year old house. Not saying it never happens, but it's not at all common.


How much hail do you get, regularly, in the UK?
 
2013-06-06 12:25:51 PM

eltejon: How much hail do you get, regularly, in the UK?


This

or...

On average how many freeze/thaw cycles do they have in one year in the UK?
 
2013-06-06 12:36:08 PM
Romanes eunt domus
 
2013-06-06 12:36:52 PM

Parthenogenetic: [newscenter.berkeley.edu image 410x275]

Kinda hot, for a civil engineering professor.


Yeah but you won't be able to lie to her about what is 6 inches long... and thick.
 
2013-06-06 12:38:20 PM

eltejon: Flint Ironstag: there their theyre: Flint Ironstag: mjbok: This is just like how roads are constructed. We could spend more up front and they'd last 50 years, but then there's no job security.

A company doing road construction can pay a fee to use lower quality materials.

As I have discussed in other threads this is the difference between how houses are built in the US and in the UK.
In the UK I do not know anyone who has ever had to replace a roof, for example. The house I grew up in was over 200 years old and still had the original roof and I know people with houses 400+ years old still with the original roof. My house built thirty years ago is constructed the exact same way, with proper tiles. The whole structure is brick with wood only used for internal stuff like floors. In the twenty years I have lived here I have spent maybe £500 on maintenance, not including purely cosmetic stuff like decorating and putting a nicer kitchen in.
Yet I have read American articles that say you should budget on spending 5% of the price of the house on maintenance each year.

Air conditioners, insulation, yard work, etc. Makes sense.

I actually have ac in my home, which is quite unusual in the UK. If you include gardening, decorating etc then the costs could add up, but it's still a lot. The point is that replacing a roof every twenty years or so is seen as normal in the US while I do not know anyone who has ever had to replace a roof even on a 400 year old house. Not saying it never happens, but it's not at all common.

How much hail do you get, regularly, in the UK?


Not as much as the UK. But if many roofs can last 400 years with the hail we do get then that suggests they can withstand a lot of wear and tear. In a very bad hailstorm it is also easy to replace just the individual damaged tiles.

Hail big enough to damage a tile roof would also write off cars and no one is saying Americans have to buy new cars every few years because they have all been written off by hail.
 
2013-06-06 01:10:17 PM
This REALLY isn't news; I read about this over 15 years ago.
 
2013-06-06 06:29:25 PM

Flint Ironstag: Hail big enough to damage a tile roof would also write off cars and no one is saying Americans have to buy new cars every few years because they have all been written off by hail.


Let me invite you to come to Kansas and count the hail dents in the cars. While you're here, you can climb up on the roofs of the houses and see what happens when 90% humidity and 90 degree heat and storms with 60 mph winds are followed up by hail the size of quarters and that's followed up by a winter with temps regularly around 12 degrees.

And do you know how many dead pigeons I've pulled out of my water heater?  zero.
 
2013-06-06 07:37:37 PM

Quantum Apostrophe: Parthenogenetic: [newscenter.berkeley.edu image 410x275]

Kinda hot, for a civil engineering professor.

Yeah but you won't be able to lie to her about what is 6 inches long... and thick.


And hard.  And durable.
 
2013-06-06 08:40:31 PM

Quantum Apostrophe: This is pretty much the foundation of our present social model. It will change in the future, just as our present social model is a change from Medieval times.


It's an American thing (I think).  The autobahn is made correctly.  They don't have nearly the construction that the US highway system does, because they build it to last.

//Local road has been redone three times in the last decade and still is crappy
 
2013-06-06 09:47:03 PM
As a Classicist with a big interest in Greco-Roman architecture, you learn a lot of little odd thinks along the way.  Roman concrete and mortar have some interesting bits.  For instance, in the early 20th century, there was a woman Classicist, rare for then as she was doing field work in Italy.  Her name was Esther Boze Van Deman (I may have the spelling wrong).  She was an expert of the time on Roman concrete and especially the mortar the romans used in brick work.  So expert that she could date any Roman mortar to within a bit less than a decade solely by taste.  Break off a piece, roll it around on her tongue and she knew how old it was.


/counting the minutes it takes the average Farker to make something sexual out of my last sentence and post it
 
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