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Defects Actually Strengthen Roman-era Concrete

Posted January 23, 2017 12:00 AM by Engineering360 eNewsletter

Small defects known as screw dislocations help account for the superiority of the Roman Empire's concrete. These defects provide small-scale plasticity that allows hardened concrete to adjust to stress over time. Researchers say that this new knowledge paves the way for designing stronger concrete and other complex materials.


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Guru

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#1

Re: Defects Actually Strengthen Roman-era Concrete

01/23/2017 8:04 PM

It's amazing how the Romans were smart enough to put those defects in there!

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Guru

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#2

Re: Defects Actually Strengthen Roman-era Concrete

01/24/2017 5:41 AM

You call them 'defects'! Are you so sure of this finding to be a defect? Perhaps admitting modern man got it wrong and the ancient Romans got it right is more creditworthy. What makes you so sure they got it wrong? They built huge doorways that did not need lintels, and the doorways still stand today, because of their defective concrete. A feat that cannot be done today without the use of mechanical support.

Get your researchers together and give credit where it is due. The Romans knew what they were doing 95% of the time.

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Guru

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#5
In reply to #2

Re: Defects Actually Strengthen Roman-era Concrete

01/24/2017 9:54 AM

"Defect" in this context doesn't mean inferior, but a dislocation in a crystal structure. The Romans, by trial and error, figured out how to make good concrete, but they did not have the technology to figure out why it was good. Figuring out "why" leads to being able to make it even better.

The Romans, by trial and error, figured out how to make good concrete, but they did not have the technology to figure out why it was good. Figuring out "why" leads to being able to make it even better.

Understanding defects has led to the modern electronics we have today, made from silicon so pure that in the early part of the twentieth century no impurities could have been detected. But these minute amount of impurities in the form of "defects" in the crystal structure permit forming billions of transistors on a tiny silicon chip wired together to form a huge memory or a microprocessor.

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Guru

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#6
In reply to #5

Re: Defects Actually Strengthen Roman-era Concrete

01/24/2017 11:39 AM

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2879870/They-came-saw-concreted-Scientists-uncover-secret-ingredient-means-Roman-buildings-standing-1960s-towerblocks-crumbling.html

No, I would have to disagree with you here. The Roman cement as been analyzed many times for its lack of deterioration and the basis for all concrete/cement has not changed. However, the sourcing of a less effective ingredient to lessen costs has increased.

Rome was built using Roman concrete, so the source of ingredients, I assume was somewhere in Italy. Britain on the other hand has many still standing structures built by Romans, i.e. Bath town for example.

I doubt the Romans imported vast quantities of lime, volcanic ash and clay to make cement in Britain is so the secret then lies in the purity of the ingredients and the water used. They did not chlorinate water or flood it with fluorides and other pollutants we have today, so, maybe they did not have the technology as you suggest, but they had better quality materials and some test regime to work to, so they must have had some plan and ideas of what they were doing. I seriously doubt they worked on hit and miss premise and understood what they were doing. Perhaps the answer lies in the water purity and the current chemical effects on crystalisation, or in the heating process during cement powder firing. (To high a heat).

Perhaps modern man is avoiding the obvious information. Perhaps the Romans knew about this, perhaps modern man did not and forgot about water pollution. Just my take on it.

https://chillopedia.com/interesting/6-ancient-roman-buildings-that-still-stand/

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#3

Re: Defects Actually Strengthen Roman-era Concrete

01/24/2017 8:20 AM

defects to concrete like carbon is to iron.

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phoenix911
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#4
In reply to #3

Re: Defects Actually Strengthen Roman-era Concrete

01/24/2017 9:16 AM

I am seriously of the opinion modern man has a serious defect. I am deeply concerned.

I think Eric Idle was right.

So remember when you're feeling very small and insecure
How amazingly unlikely it is your birth
And pray that there's intelligent life somewhere up in space,
Because there's bugger all down here on Earth.
source: http://www.lyricsondemand.com/e/ericidlelyrics/galaxysonglyrics.html

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#7

Re: Defects Actually Strengthen Roman-era Concrete

01/25/2017 12:03 PM

The official ACS paper covering the ''screw dislocation'' (toberomite) research at Rice U.

http://pubs.acs.org/doi/abs/10.1021/acsami.6b13107

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