Who Invented Cement?
Concrete is a material used in building construction, consisting of a hard, chemically inert substance, known as an aggregate (usually made from different types of sand and gravel), that is bonded together by cement and water.
The Assyrians and Babylonians used clay as the bonding substance or cement. The Egyptians used lime and gypsum cement. In 1756, British engineer, John Smeaton made the first modern concrete by adding pebbles as a coarse aggregate and mixing powdered brick into the cement.
In 1824, English inventor, William Aspdin invented Portland cement, which has remained the dominant cement used in concrete production. William Aspdin created the first true artificial cement by burning ground lime stone and clay together. The burning process changed the chemical properties of the materials and William Aspdin created stronger cement than what using plain crushed lime stone would produce.
Setting time and “early strength” are important characteristics of cements. Hydraulic limes, “natural” cements, and “artificial” cements all rely upon their belite content for strength development. Belite develops strength slowly. Because they were burned at temperatures below 1,250 °C (2,280 °F), they contained no alite, which is responsible for early strength in modern cements.
In the US the first large-scale use of cement was Rosendale cement, a natural cement mined from a massive deposit of a large dolostone rock deposit discovered in the early 19th century near Rosendale, New York. Rosendale cement was extremely popular for the foundation of buildings (e.g., Statue of Liberty, Capitol Building, Brooklyn Bridge) and lining water pipes.
Sorel cement was patented in 1867 by Frenchman Stanislas Sorel and was stronger than Portland cement but its poor water restive and corrosive qualities limited its use in building construction. The next development with the manufacture of Portland cement was the introduction of the rotary kiln which allowed a stronger, more homogeneous mixture and a continuous manufacturing process.