Known and used by man for over two thousand years, concrete is the ideal solution for creating houses, infrastructures, small and large works destined to last over time and withstand natural adversities.
Constantly improved in its performance and versatility, reinforced concrete is today the safest, most durable and sustainable material in human hands to make any type of construction.
What is concrete
Concrete is the most used material in the world after water and is the main solution in construction thanks to its characteristics of resistance, reliability, durability. It is a “molten stone”, a conglomerate capable of adapting to the constantly evolving demands of designers, engineers and architects.
How concrete is produced
pantheon a work in calcis structusConcrete is produced in industrialized plants. The study of the mixture, the “mix-design”, allows the concrete manufacturer to identify the most suitable components and the right proportions to achieve the desired performance.
Cement, aggregates, water, air, additives and any additions, appropriately chosen and mixed in the right proportions, constitute the fresh concrete that, thanks to the plastic consistency, can be easily transported to the construction site and subsequently installed. The hydration reaction of the cement in contact with water determines the hardening of the material until the resistance required by the structure is reached.
work of concrete nervesThe continuous production control (Factory Production Control) – implemented through automation, material and plant verification, staff update – allows to guarantee not only the performance required of the material and determined through the study of the mixture, but also their constancy over time.
Among the performances that today the market requires from building materials great importance is also attached to those related to environmental sustainability. In this sense, concrete has enormous potential. In fact, the production of concrete is sustainable from an environmental point of view also due to the possibility of using recycled materials in the mixture. At the end of its life cycle, concrete can in turn be recycled to reduce its impact. In this way the exploitation of natural resources is reduced and the environmental impact caused by waste disposal and extraction, production and transport is avoided.
Concrete, thanks to its thermal mass, also contributes positively to today’s energy efficiency targets for buildings.
The origins: the “calcis structio”
Concrete is a material already known by the ancient Romans. “Calcis structio” was the definition used for structures made of a mixture of lime, pozzolanic sands, bricks and ground stones, water, which has evolved over the centuries to become today’s concrete. An emblematic example of structures made with techniques of this kind is the imposing dome of the Pantheon in Rome.
Between the end of the 18th century and the beginning of the 19th century, the first procedures to artificially recreate the behavior of natural binders (lime and pozzolan) were developed. Until the 1818 patent of the French engineer Louis-Joseph Vicat, which leads to the birth of cement, by far the most widely used binder for the production of concrete.
The birth of reinforced concrete dates back to the end of the nineteenth century, with Joseph Monier’s patents that provided for the use of metal reinforcement to reinforce different structures, including concrete works (so-called “Sistema Monier”).
His affirmation as a building material in our country dates back to the reconstruction following the devastating earthquake that struck Messina and other areas in 1908. The need to provide immediate and reliable answers will determine, for the first time, the large-scale use of construction technique of reinforced concrete. In the thirties of the twentieth century, reinforced concrete is definitely the most used material for construction and is the first choice of designers and architects.