The 10 Most Surprising Concrete Facts You’ve Never Heard Of

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We get excited about helping project managers, supervisors, and owners complete their concrete construction projects. Moreover, it is gratifying to see how very simple concrete walls can achieve so much.

Throughout this article, we are going to share 10 surprising facts that you’ve probably never heard before. By providing you with this information, we want to make you aware of the many benefits concrete provides that most people take for granted or do not realize at all.

Modern life would be impossible without concrete. Concrete is used in some way in all of the buildings we live and work in. Concrete construction is used for a wide range of purposes, including kitchen counters and skyscraper foundations. Moreover, concrete was used as a building material in antiquity as well. It has been estimated that some of these walls lasted over 2,000 years before going into decay. Concrete walls are strong and durable and can last for several decades if they are properly designed, manufactured, and engineered.

The 10 Surprising Facts about Concrete

After learning the historical importance of concrete, here are some facts you may not know:

#1. Reinforced concrete is fire- and water-proof

Concrete is one of the most widely used building materials today. Due to its slow thermal conductivity, concrete does not move heat well, so it serves as a good fire shield. Consider the image of a large building on fire. The foundation and concrete structure is mostly what’s leftover.

Aside from that, concrete is highly water-resistant. Certain types of concrete mixes and membranes can make concrete virtually waterproof. In light of this, concrete easily fits at the top of the list for being the best material for building.

#2. The best highway building material is concrete

Concrete is an effective material for building roads, highways, and thruways. It’s a strong, durable, and some might say flexible material that can be shaped and formed to fit almost any need. In the United States, nearly 30% of all highways are made from concrete. Concrete, though more expensive than most other materials, lasts a lot longer than asphalt and requires much less maintenance.

More importantly, concrete mixes can be customized to fit the needs of the project, making it a popular choice for building roads, highways, and thruways.

#3. Concrete highways were constructed for the first time in 1909

Construction began on the first mile of the concrete highway in Detroit, Michigan. Concrete was used to construct this part of the highway for the first time in the United States. Woodward Avenue now lies within northwest Detroit. Road construction for the mile-long road cost under $14,000, and it was built by the Wayne County Road Commission. Can you guess who was a part of this commission? It was Henry Ford who founded Ford Motor Company. Until this section of highway was built, roads were made of dirt, brick, cobblestone, or a mix of stone and tar.

#4. The history of concrete in Antiquity

Since ancient times, concrete has been used in a variety of building applications. Everything from roads to skyscrapers. An interesting fact is the Romans used a mix of concrete that allowed their buildings to stand for thousands of years. The interesting thing is that Vitruvius, a Roman civil engineer, described the different types of “pozzolana” as black, white, grey, and red. These were the types of concrete pastes used to bind the materials in concrete mixes. Greeks discovered this useful blend, but Romans are attributed with introducing it at scale.

#5. Concrete Listening Ears

The British Army designed, developed, and deployed what is called listening ears during World War II. As an alternative to radar, parabolic acoustic mirrors were used to locate incoming aircraft, before Sir Robert Watson-Watt invented radar. The British Army relied on these listening ears to prepare and respond to incoming aircraft so that they could do their best to deal with them.

#6. Cement and concrete are different

During the mixing process, 60-65 percent of the mixture will aggregate such as sand, gravel, and crushed stone, 15-20 percent of it will be water, and the remaining 10-15 percent will be cement. Cement and water harden, which binds the other ingredients, resulting in the concrete we know today. The idea that sidewalks are made of “cement” has been perpetuated for years. Realistically, cement represents only a small percentage of a mixture’s binding capabilities.

#7. The indoor use of concrete

You probably envision buildings, roads, and dams when you think of concrete. Structures are constructed primarily from concrete. In addition to all this, concrete can also be used for interior remodeling. Concrete can be used for countertops, sinks, fireplaces, and more to create a modern, sleek look. The surface can also be customized with texture, so you aren’t left with an uneven surface because of the texture.

#8. Reinforced Concrete Is Used Underwater

In addition to being virtually waterproof, concrete mixtures can also be powdered. Concrete with cement as an aggregate performs amazing things, such as not deteriorating underwater. As a result, piers, tunnels, sewer works, and more can be built. How does concrete come out on top of steel and wood underwater? Mixing pozzolanic concrete, similar to the way the Romans mixed cement. In this mixture, water is highly resistant (waterproof).

 #9. Concrete Is Impressively Strong In Compression

A concrete’s compression strength is impressive compared to that of other materials. As an example, wood has a PSI strength of approximately 1,000. Between 2,500 and 7,000 PSI are the strengths of concrete mixtures. That’s more than two to seven times stronger than the average wood. As high as 20,000 PSI can be achieved in some cases by concrete compression.

#10. The most popular material in the world is concrete

You might be surprised to learn concrete is the most commonly used material on the planet. Materials are available nearly everywhere for their simple mix. Globally, almost 20 billion tons are used annually.

Do you need a quote for a precast concrete wall project? Contact Concrete Contractor Greensboro NC today to start the conversation.