The concrete built by the ancient Romans are very durable. In fact, it’s getting stronger as time passes by. Now, scientists have found the secret to the concrete’s robust nature.
About two thousand years ago, the ancient Romans have created the world’s strongest concrete. In fact, it’s so strong, it’s still standing and can hold back the rising oceans.
Ancient Roman sea barriers are durable and strong.
Is this the solution to the worries of people living in coastal areas? Can this new cement recipe prevent the rising water to create floods?
Modern engineers have long been wondering about the exact mixture of ancient cement that the Romans used in the past. This mixture could be the answer to the long-lasting problem of flooding in some countries. If this concrete can be replicated today, sea walls and barriers can be stronger than ever.
In the study published in the journal American Mineralogist, scientists have discovered the Roman recipe – a mix of volcanic ash, seawater, lumps of volcanic rock and lime (carbon oxide). A chemical reaction also made these barriers and sea walls stronger in time.
The scientists analyzed the chemical makeup of pier pieces across Italy and examined historical writings about ancient Roman sea structures to know more about the strong material. As a result, they found that the materials actually go through a rare chemical reaction.
The concrete barriers contain calcium oxide and volcanic ash. As the seawater gets into the cracks of the barrier, it leads to a reaction that makes the concrete stronger than when it was built. The minerals called phillipsite and Al-tobermorite form as the material leaches mineral-rich fluid that becomes solid, making the concrete stronger.
In a press release by the University of Utah, the scientists reported that one problem they are facing is, the recipe for the concrete has been lost and no one knows the precise methods of mixing the materials to fully recreate the cement.
Marie Jackson, a Utah geologist and author of the study, said:
“Romans were fortunate in the type of rock they had to work with. They observed that volcanic ash grew cements to produce the tuff. We don’t have those rocks in a lot of the world, so there would have to be substitutions made.”
If this cement will be replicated today, it could save many lives from floods and the dangers of rising sea waters.
What do you think? Share your thoughts in the comments section below.
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