More than 2,000 years ago, the Romans began making concrete, although it differed significantly from modern concrete. Experts in jobs in construction believe they utilized a different formulation, which resulted in a chemical that was not as potent as the present version. However, the Pantheon and the Colosseum have endured for millennia with little to no upkeep. Geologists, archaeologists, and engineers are investigating the qualities of ancient Roman concrete to decipher its endurance.
According to construction experts from Kilgore Companies, Roman concrete is far more brittle than contemporary concretes. It is also around ten times weaker. It is claimed that this substance possesses exceptional durability throughout time.
The resilience or endurance against the weather may be attributable to one of the concrete’s primary components: volcanic ash. Modern concrete consists of lime-based cement, water, sand, and so-called aggregates such as gravel. The recipe for Roman concrete begins with the combustion of limestone to make quicklime, which is then mixed with water to form a paste. According to the writings of Vitruvius, a first-century B.C. architect, and engineer, they then mixed in volcanic ash—typically three parts volcanic ash to one part lime. The volcanic ash interacted with the lime paste to produce a mortar used to build constructions like walls and vaults.
Experts who deal with jobs in construction believe that by the beginning of the second century B.C., the Romans were already employing this concrete in large-scale construction projects, indicating that they began experimenting with the material much earlier. Other ancient cultures, such as the Greeks, undoubtedly also employed mortars composed of lime. Mixing a mortar with an ingredient such as brick to create concrete was likely a Roman innovation.
The Romans extracted ash from a number of old volcanic deposits to produce the first concretes. But about the time Augustus became the first Roman emperor in 27 B.C., builders grew more selective. At that time, Augustus started a large citywide program to restore ancient monuments and create new ones, and builders utilized only volcanic ash from a deposit known as Pozzolane Rosse.