The collaborative crush test

On a scorching day in July, representatives from multiple colleges at the University of Arkansas, as well as the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, gathered at the University of Arkansas Harvell Civil Engineering Research ...


Building the future with self-healing concrete and biocement

After water, concrete is the most widely used substance on Earth. With applications from housing and industry to coastal defense and infrastructure, concrete and cement are at the cornerstone of life, quite literally.

Energy & Green Tech

Reducing concrete in buildings to decarbonize construction

The Automating Concrete Construction project (ACORN), which aims to change the way concrete is used in buildings to decarbonize construction, features in the RIBA Journal, published by the Royal Institute of British Architects, ...


From ancient times to the space age, concrete has staying power

The earliest known use of concrete is a floor that dates back to Galilee, circa 7000 BCE, still sound when unearthed in 2007. After thousands of years as the go-to building material, it might seem like science surely could ...

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Concrete is a construction material composed of cement (commonly Portland cement) as well as other cementitious materials such as fly ash and slag cement, aggregate (generally a coarse aggregate such as gravel, limestone, or granite, plus a fine aggregate such as sand), water, and chemical admixtures. The word concrete comes from the Latin word "concretus" (meaning compact or condensed), the past participle of "concresco", from "com-" (together) and "cresco" (to grow).

Concrete solidifies and hardens after mixing with water and placement due to a chemical process known as hydration. The water reacts with the cement, which bonds the other components together, eventually creating a stone-like material. Concrete is used to make pavements, architectural structures, foundations, motorways/roads, bridges/overpasses, parking structures, brick/block walls and footings for gates, fences and poles.

Concrete is used more than any other man-made material in the world. As of 2006, about 7.5 cubic kilometres of concrete are made each year—more than one cubic metre for every person on Earth. Concrete powers a US $35-billion industry which employs more than two million workers in the United States alone.[citation needed] More than 55,000 miles (89,000 km) of highways in the United States are paved with this material. Reinforced concrete and prestressed concrete are the most widely used modern kinds of concrete functional extensions.

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