What is concrete? The answer, quite simply, is that it is a material used to build roads, sidewalks, fencing, slabs for patios, and pool decks, among many other things. Concrete, essentially, is a material comprised of a dense, fine aggregate material, composed primarily of sand and water, which are bonded together through cement and steel by pressure and weight. The resiliency of concrete allows it to be used in various architectural styles, from simple to intricate designs, though concrete seems to be most famous for its use as the material of choice for skyscrapers and retaining walls.
As you may imagine, concrete is quite expensive, as it is made of heavy clay or rock aggregates (concrete salts) mixed with water and ground limestone. This mixture is stirred or poured into molds, each of which yields different concrete designs, from simple slab designs to elaborate retaining walls. While concrete may sound like a complex process, it actually uses a basic set of chemistry principles to create these diverse designs. Concrete construction is an ancient art form dating back to the time of the Egyptian civilization.
A breakthrough in concrete innovations came about during the Second World War, when engineers developed synthetic marbles called Armicrafters (or ARMs), which were much less chemically inert than conventionally produced aggregate materials, making them highly appropriate in the war effort. With the increased use of synthetic materials during the war, many questions remained about what would become of old methods of constructing concrete homes and concrete floors in major urban areas – what would become of Portland cement, for example? The U.S. military, after all, had just begun building its ships out of synthetic materials, so concrete, and specifically concrete floors seemed inevitable.
In the 1950s, however, engineers found that placing concrete plates directly into clouds gave off very little heat but made the clouds water vapor and highly reflective. Water vapor makes clouds water, and reflecting it makes the clouds look bright – but it also makes the clouds heavy and sluggish, and therefore less attractive to insects and birds. Engineers experimented with placing the floating plates on top of flatbed semisubs, which have long since been used to transport cement, and discovered that when the cement was sprayed directly on the top of the semisubs, clouds of sulfur dioxide, water vapor, and chemicals called alkyls, became airborne. In fact, the scientist who developed this technique called it all warfare, and the technique soon became known as alkyl warfare.
The name is misleading because alkyls are really heavy, cold gases. When the heavy gases come into contact with the hot moisture in the cumulus clouds, they condense to create cumulus clouds. Cloud formation is a chemical process, and this is true of the formation of cumulus clouds too. However, because cumulus clouds are relatively light, it is not much of a problem to make them heavier. The cumulus clouds are heavy enough to fall as rain. In fact, if they were made to rain on a flat plain, they would still rain, even though their base temperature would be relatively cool.
The actual physical composition of the clouds is important to understand the question of what is concrete. The typical size of cumulus clouds is approximately 5 miles wide. They are typically grey, with some black areas. When cumulonimbus clouds are large, they can look dark blue or purple. Occasionally, cumulonimbus clouds can appear with white dots scattered throughout their center. When there are a lot of white dots in the cloud, this is a good indication that the cumulus cloud is being pumped with water vapor, and the cloud is likely fairly cold as well.
The question is important to engineers, architects, and anyone who wants to know what concrete is since the construction of roads, buildings, dams, and other structures is primarily associated with the use of concrete. If you have ever watched a road construction project, you may notice that the road is built upon what is concrete most of the time. Roads are constructed with concrete for a particular purpose: to keep people from getting hurt while walking or driving on the road. Without concrete, you would have something like a garden lawn, with many different types of weeds growing upon it, and eventually, the road would collapse.
The question of what is concrete construction? It is extremely important to any engineer, architect, contractor, or anyone else who needs to know what concrete construction is. Still, it is also essential for the public to learn about it. Without concrete, you would not be able to build the Hoover Dam, and you certainly wouldn’t be able to put a dam in the middle of the ocean. Learning about concrete and what it can do can help prevent future problems, like collapses of bridges and the falling down of skyscrapers, which can be extremely devastating. Just remember what concrete construction is, and you will be a much better person to ask these questions.