Modern cement-based concrete might be pretty durable and long lasting, but it’s got nothing on the concrete used to build piers, sea walls and harbors in ancient Rome. Despite being partially submerged in corrosive saltwater for more than two thousand years, many of these structures remain standing to this day. Scientists have long wondered why the Romans’ blend of volcanic ash, rocks and lime has been able to stand the test of time, and after a new round of analysis they finally have their answer.
The researchers used a combination of X-rays, spectroscopy and electron microscope analysis to study the distribution of elements in samples of the ancient concrete. After taking a closer look at the concrete, the researchers were able to identify a rare mineral called aluminous tobermorite that had formed powerful interlocking crystals throughout the concrete mix. As they grew, these crystals caused the concrete to get stronger with time, allowing it to retain its structural integrity for thousands of years.
So what caused the strengthening tobermorite crystals to form?
In fact, it was prolonged exposure to seawater. Rather than corroding the Roman concrete, the seawater triggered a chemical reaction in the lime which caused the crystals to grow and spread through the concrete. Simply by chance, the unique combination of volcanic ash, lime and seawater caused the ancient Roman concrete to grow stronger with time.
“Contrary to the principles of modern cement-based concrete, the Romans created a rock-like concrete that thrives in open chemical exchange with seawater,” explained lead study author Marie Jackson in an interview with BBC.
Now, the researchers are looking for ways to implement the unique chemical properties of ancient Roman concrete into new structures such as the Swansea Bay Tidal Lagoon in Wales. This may be easier said than done, however, as the type of volcanic rock present in Roman concrete is hard to come by in many parts of the world. The Romans were lucky enough to be situated in a place where all the elements for their super-strong concrete just happened to be readily available.
3D printers are useful for more than just making small plastic parts. Recently, a team of researchers at the Eindhoven University of Technology in the Netherlands began 3D printing reinforced concrete components for a cycling bridge in an effort to test out new applications for 3D printing technologies.
In fact, this isn’t the first time engineers have 3D printed a concrete structure. Last year, the city of Madrid unveiled a 3D-printed concrete pedestrian bridge that was hailed as an engineering milestone. The cycling bridge in the Netherlands will take things a step further, however, by incorporating steel reinforcement cables into the design.
These steel cables will also be printed in conjunction with the concrete components. This process will provide the bridge with added stability, because the steel and concrete parts will be “pre-stressed” together. The bridge will also require far less concrete than a conventional bridge, because 3D-printing is less resource-intensive than pouring concrete into a mold.
As a proof of concept for their design, the researchers built a 1:2 scale model of the bridge that was able to hold a load of more than 4,400 pounds. The next step is to complete the full-scale construction and put the 3D-printed bridge to work.
It’s not clear whether this bridge-building technique could be adapted to accommodate vehicle traffic, but with additional research and development 3D-printed structures could become much stronger in the future. Someday, architects may even be able to design full-blown buildings with 3D-printed concrete.
Need a load of concrete for your next big project? Our all-wheel-drive buggy can bring the concrete right to you. Give us a call at (201) 797-7550 today to get started.
NASA is hoping to send humans to Mars by the time 2030 rolls around. SpaceX CEO Elon Musk is hoping to send them to the “Red Planet” even sooner than that. But will humans actually be able to survive and settle on Mars?
There are a number of important developments and innovations humans will need to successfully settle on Mars in the future. For starters, scientists need to figure out a way to create thousands of tons of concrete on the surface of a distant planet so that astronauts can make their homes in space. Mars is frequently subjected to lethal doses of radiation and micrometeorites that are capable of doing significant damage to fragile structures. With these dangers in mind, humans will need a great deal of concrete to protect structures on mars, the moon and other planetary bodies.
Now, in an attempt to make concrete in space, NASA is collaborating with Stanford School of Engineering professor Michael Lepech. It would be impossible for NASA to ship the products necessary to create concrete to Mars, so Lepech and NASA researcher David Loftus have come up with a possible solution. They have discovered a way to combine animal proteins with the type of extraterrestrial soil commonly found on Mars to create concrete that is, thus far, as strong as the concrete used to make sidewalks and patios here in the U.S.
Researchers are still testing it out—it appears to be strong enough to withstand micrometorite impacts and protect astronauts from radiation—but the hope is that this type of concrete could eventually be used on Mars and also incorporated into buildings, roads, and more on Earth. It’s exciting to hear about the progress Lepech and Loftus have made in such a short amount of time.
At Bergen Mobile Concrete, We’ve been supplying businesses and individuals in Bergen County, New Jersey with concrete for almost 30 years now, and we can set you up with as much concrete as you need for your next project. Call us at 201-797-7550 today to schedule a concrete delivery.
When you think “concrete,” do you automatically picture a boring gray color? We have good news: gray isn’t the only option when it comes to concrete, so if you’re hoping to use it in an interior or exterior remodel, it’s time to reconsider your design plans and think about adding in some colored concrete.
Contractors started using colored concrete back in the 1950s, when synthetic iron oxide was mixed in with concrete powder to give it a colorful hue. In most cases, you can easily obtain an earthy color, like brown and red, by using regular gray concrete; but, if you want a brighter color, you can mix in white cement instead, which gives you a wider range of color possibility.
For DIY projects, most concrete colors can be purchased at your local hardware store; look for bottles of liquid cement color.
If you’re working on a larger project, there are a few different methods used by contractors to obtain a colored concrete look. First is integral coloring, where a liquid or powder color is added and mixed with the concrete inside the truck.
Shake-on coloring is the application of finely ground pigments and dry cement onto freshly-placed wet concrete. With this method, since the color is only mixed into the top layer of cement, grinding or polishing will damage the color.
Acid staining is another method for achieving a colored concrete, and it’s done after the concrete has been poured and dried. Acid is painted onto the concrete surface, and a chemical reaction results in a mottled color.
Acetone dyes are another option: an acetone dye would be applied once the concrete has set and been polished, but acetone is dangerous for indoor use.
Water-based dyes are a safer option. You can use this method to paint patterns into the concrete, so design-wise this could be the right choice for you. Using the other methods of concrete coloring may not give you the option of creating a detailed design in the finished product.
If you’re interested in working with concrete experts to install colored concrete in your home, call Bergen Mobile Concrete today at 201-797-7550 or click here for a quote.
In the wintertime, it’s important for airports to do whatever they can to keep snow and ice off runways and other concrete surfaces that are used on the perimeter of the property. Snow and ice can cause severe delays and, in some cases, it can even make it impossible for flights to take off and land at airports. It’s why a team of researchers at Iowa State University have come up with a possible solution for clearing snow and ice off concrete surfaces quickly and easily.
Iowa State professor Halil Ceylon and his team have created a new kind of electrically conductive concrete that is able to melt away snow and ice without any effort on the part of people. As New Atlas reports, Ceylon and his team have installed some of this concrete at Des Moines International Airport in an effort to test it out and see how it works.
The top layer of the concrete includes 1 percent carbon fiber and a mixture of cement, sand and rocks that is designed to house six electrodes that are connected to a power supply located in a hangar at the airport. When the electrodes are turned on through the use of an app, they generate an electrical current which heats the surface of the concrete up and makes it warm enough to melt away any snow or ice on top of it. Ceylon and his team have also tinkered with the concrete to ensure that it doesn’t get too hot and that the electrical current isn’t so high to lead to any electrocution hazard.
While the researchers aren’t yet sure if it would be practical to use their electrically conductive concrete on runways at airports, they are confident that it could be used in congested areas of the airport like aprons and sidewalks. This would help maintain common and high-traffic areas around the facility, reducing maintenance needs and improving overall efficiency and safety.
Ceylon isn’t the only one working on a special concrete that would be able to clear snow and ice, either. University of Nebraska-Lincoln professor Chris Tuan has also created a conductive concrete that has steel shavings and carbon particles in it. This allows it to conduct electricity and get warm enough to melt any snow and ice that lands on top of it. This material was tested last year as part of a series of ongoing testing conducted under an FAA program, reports New Atlas.
With snow now largely out of mind for the season, at Bergen Mobile Concrete, we’re thinking forward to concrete needs for the rest of the year ahead. If you have a project coming up, we can bring an exact amount of concrete to you whenever and wherever you need it. There’s no need to pay for more than you need when you work with us – we’ll arrive and mix on site the exact quantities that you need. Learn more or schedule a delivery today by calling us at 201-797-7550.
It’s March, which means that we’re nearly done with the winter and snow and can look forward to actually spending time outside and enjoying the nice spring weather. A big theme of spring is also spring cleaning, and it’s easy to forget about your concrete patio when it comes to spring cleaning. However, you want your concrete patio to look its best for the season of outdoor enjoyment, so now’s the time to remove any winter debris, clear away any mud or dirt and take care of any caked-on gunk or blemishes. Your patio is a social area, so it is important to make sure these areas are clean and clear of debris. But how should you go about cleaning your concrete patio? Here are two different ideas to consider.
Using chemical cleaner is a common option for cleaning concrete areas, but there are a few different things to consider when it comes to selecting a solution for cleaning. If you have areas that do not have embedded dirt in them, use a pH-Neutral cleaner, suggests Concrete Network. If you have dirt or other more acidic stains, consider an acidic cleanser.
For grease staining – such as a section of your patio where your grill dripped grease – try using an alkaline cleaner. These types of cleaners essentially loosen the grease, and you should lift the stain off the concrete using rags or a wet-dry shop vacuum. Finally, Concrete Network notes that bacterial or enzymatic cleaners are very good at removing protein stains, like those caused by pet or animal wastes. If your pup has been using the back patio as a bathroom through the winter, this type of cleaner can lift any stains and restore the good look of your concrete.
A cleaner is great for targeting specific areas in need of a deep clean, but a power washer can quickly blast away dirt and mud from your whole patio or any other hard surfaces outside the home. Concrete Network says that you can choose either a cold-water or hot-water power washer. Although for most residential applications, a cold-water washer makes the most sense, hot-water units can help clean more quickly and are much better at rinsing away oil or grease.
In terms of water power, most power washers contain a fan-like nozzle, although there is also a rotary nozzle that can be used to increase pressure. The rotary nozzle forces the water out of the hose faster than a standard fan nozzle, says Concrete Network, so if you’re working with a heavy-duty stain, using the rotary nozzle can help clear away dirt, debris and stains much faster and more effectively.
This spring is the perfect time to get your patio ready for the warmer weather ahead, and that includes planning any new projects. Whether you’re building your first patio, adding on to extend your space or doing any other concrete pour, Bergen Mobile Concrete in New Jersey offers concrete delivery with mobile concrete mixer trucks available to come to your home that can mix exactly what you need. Check out the concrete calculator to determine exactly how much concrete you need or call us at 201-797-7550 today to learn more or to schedule a delivery.
Are you thinking about adding a patio to your backyard this spring? Now is the perfect time to start preparing for it so that you can get your concrete poured as soon as it starts to get a little bit warmer outside. By taking the right steps to prepare now, you can make sure your patio construction goes smoothly so that you can start enjoying your patio as soon as the springtime rolls around.
The first thing you’ll need to do when prepping for a patio, as Concrete Network points out, is determine exactly where you want to put it. The size of your patio will ultimately determine how much concrete you will need, so you are going to want to come up with some dimensions for it. You are also going to want to find out if there are any local codes that will prevent you from making your patio the size you want it. It’s always good to find that out before you get too deep into planning, since you might have to start from scratch if you wait until the end to learn about the codes and find out there are limitations to how large your patio can be.
Once you have settled on exactly where to put your patio and how large you want it to be, you should rope off the area with stakes and string and remove all of the weeds, roots and topsoil from the patio area. Make sure you check to see if there are any underground utility lines or septic tanks located in the area, since that could affect how deep you can dig and where you may be able to pour.
After that is finished, you should lay down a base by compacting the earth and adding a layer of either gravel or crushed rock on top of it. You should also cut wood to make a frame that will go around the perimeter of where your patio will go. This frame will be used to contain the concrete once it is poured.
At that point, you will be just about ready to complete your concrete patio pour – except having concrete, of course! Bergen Mobile Concrete can deliver the exact amount of concrete that you need to your home. We can handle night time and weekend deliveries, as well, and get you set up with the concrete you’ll need to finish off your patio project in time for the spring. Call us at 201-797-7550 today to schedule a delivery.
Even the casual onlooker knows how durable concrete is. After all, we have walked past concrete buildings that have lasted years and years – even millennia in the case of some structures from the Roman era. But why is concrete so durable and able to resist even centuries of weather and erosion, and is there anything we can do to help the process?
Resistance to Humidity
One factor that allows concrete to last in humid weather is its lack of organic components. Because there is nothing to rot or decompose, unlike wood and other materials, it is very difficult for moisture to penetrate concrete except through joints between sections. Concrete can also breathe, which means moisture can easily escape, as well, which helps prevent water from causing long-term damage to concrete structures.
Resistance to Cold Water Threats
Cold weather is another one of the biggest threats to concrete as the ice and freezing temperatures wage war on concrete surfaces every time winter rolls around. Concrete in generally warm climates tends to last much better. This is one of the biggest reasons that many Greco-Roman and other ancient structures have lasted in moderate areas where temperatures don’t typically create these cold weather cycles. However, in colder climates, it’s important to use a concrete mixture that can accommodate the freeze and thaw cycles of the winter months.
As the Portland Cement Association notes, air-entrained concrete – that is concrete with small air bubbles throughout the final product – can better withstand freezing by providing small spaces for water to expand into ice. This can be achieved by using certain admixtures to help improve aeration.
Resistance to Sulfates and Salts
Concrete is also capable of long-lasting performance in areas where salt or sulfates are a concern. For example, sulfates and salts can react with matter in concrete, especially in locations that experience numerous cycles of wetness and dryness. However, as with ice, using admixtures and low water to cement ratios in the concrete can make it more able to resist this damage. In fact, concrete is often used for concrete in saltwater with great success due to the use of minimally permeable concrete poured with a low-water cement mix.
At Bergen Mobile Concrete, we offer rapid concrete delivery with our mobile concrete mixers that scale concrete mixing to meet your needs. When you use us, you can get the exact amount you need of any kind of concrete mix, whether it is low-water concrete or fast-setting mixes for use in busy areas. We offer delivery options on days, nights and weekends and can work with you to deliver your concrete on your schedule. Schedule a delivery today by calling 201-797-7550.
Home and business owners rely on concrete for all different kinds of things these days. Whether they are building a patio in a backyard or laying the foundation for a large building, concrete is a cost-effective material that can stand the test of time and provide strength and stability for a number of structures. But concrete is not some modern invention that people just discovered within the last century or so. It actually has a very long history and has been in use for more than 5,000 years.
According to Concrete Network, the earliest forms of concrete date back to 3,000 B.C. when the Egyptians mixed mud and straw to create bricks and combined gypsum and lime to make mortar. They used them to build the pyramids, which as you know, are still standing at this time, as strong as ever. Roman architecture spanning from 300 B.C. through 476 A.D. relied on concrete as well that contained animal products to serve as admixtures to make it more versatile in specific applications.
Modern cement that is made using limestone and clay and that hardens when you add water to it was invented in the early 1800s, and by the end of the 1800s, bridges and streets were first built using concrete. By the turn of the century, those living in the early 20th century were ready to experiment with concrete further by using it to erect buildings and build houses. That led to the development of ready mix concrete in 1913, which was concrete that could be mixed at a central plant and then delivered wherever it needed to go.
Since that time, concrete has continued to develop and evolve, and people have found new ways to use it. They’ve found ways to stamp it and turn it decorative. They’ve used it to build countertops inside of homes. They’ve even discovered ways to polish it, which has made it popular in retail stores and some homes due to its durability and aesthetic appeal. Concrete has certainly come a long way over the years and will likely continue to change and evolve as we find new and exciting uses for it.
If you are planning a project that requires concrete, Bergen Mobile Concrete offers on-site mix and delivery services. Evening and weekend deliveries are always available through us, as well, and we can also often accommodate last-minute delivery requests. Call us at 201-797-7550 today to schedule a concrete delivery for your next home renovation or construction project.
Laying down a brick or stone patio in your backyard will look fabulous, but it can also be quite expensive to install. That’s why many homeowners turn to a much simpler concrete patio. However, there is a solution that offers a balance between the great look of brick with the price and convenience of concrete: stamped concrete.
Using stamped concrete allows homeowners to make the patio in their backyard look like it is made out of stone or brick at a fraction of the cost or using the real stuff. Stamped concrete is often called textured concrete or imprinted concrete, and it is designed to replicate the appearance of expensive stone or brick. There are even some forms of stamped concrete that look just like tile or wood. If you work with a company that specializes in manipulating concrete, they will be able to use it to press different patterns into it to make it look like just about anything that you want.
Whether you desire a popular style like running bond brick or worn rock or you want to create your own pattern and work actual brick or rock into the design, your options are really limitless. You can press almost any pattern in concrete and, regardless of whether you want something complex or simple, you can transform any patio, pool deck, driveway, courtyard or entryway without breaking the bank to do it. Concrete Network reports that more and more homeowners are turning to stamped concrete because it gives off a very luxurious look and feel without costing a fortune. Since concrete is usually a lot less expensive than other materials, it’s a great, durable and affordable alternative for many homes.
Are you considering using stamped concrete for a new outdoor space at your home? Let Bergen Mobile Concrete handle the concrete delivery for you. Our on-demand, as-needed concrete mixing and delivery services offer quick and convenient service, and our metered mobile concrete mixers mean you only need to pay for the concrete that you need. Learn more about ordering concrete for your next project by giving us a call today at 201-797-7550.