Roman concrete outlasts modern mix (Guardian)

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Why Roman concrete still stands strong while modern version decays: Scientists have cracked the secret to Roman water-based structures’ strength – and findings could help today’s builders.

Their structures are still standing more than 1,500 years after the last centurion snuffed it: now the Romans’ secret of durable marine concrete has finally been cracked. The Roman recipe – a mix of volcanic ash, lime (calcium oxide), seawater and lumps of volcanic rock – held together piers, breakwaters and harbours. Moreover, in contrast to modern materials, the ancient water-based structures became stronger over time.

Scientists say this is the result of seawater reacting with the volcanic material in the cement and creating new minerals that reinforced the concrete…

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Written by Long Branch Mike