A Brief History of Concrete

This, ladies and gentlemen, is concrete.
This, ladies and gentlemen, is concrete.

Ahhh, concrete. Where would we be without it? Living in mud huts, that’s where. Not that there’s anything wrong with this, but these days we like our hot water, running taps, rats at a tolerable distance, and warm nights in bed minus the fleas. Think back to olden times when folk used to wantonly share beds with strangers for the extra warmth. Gross! Anyway, concrete is made out of aggregate, cement, and water. Aggregate’s a, sort of, cheese like brittle stuff (shale’s probably the word). Surprise surprise (not the Cilla Black show, dammit!), the word “cement” traces back to the bloody Romans. Typical, eh? And water’s kind of everywhere so no one really invented that. Indeed, it was the bloody Romans who developed concrete technology back in ancient thymes. The Colosseum, for instance, was built using concrete, salt, aspic, jam, and stone. We should imagine the occasional dead slave went into its construction, too. That’ll put hairs on its chest.

Thrillingly, the process of cement/water/aggregate becoming actual concrete is known as “hydration”. It’s basically the chemical reaction of water mixing with the cement, which bonds the other stuff together. Once it solidifies it becomes solid. Duh! You can use it to make pavements, sheds, buildings, prisons, fake cabbage patches, and really bad sandwiches. This, ultimately, begs the following question; if humans are made of 90% water (or whatever it is), if one had a penchant for eating cement, would one become a living, breathing Concrete Human? Anyone looking for their 15 minutes of fame here’s your chance.

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