With all the incredible technologies we have today, one question still remains, why do Roman buildings last longer? While our buildings endure for a few decades, the constructions of Ancient Rome have in some cases lasted for more than 2000 years, despite having faced several erosion factors.
But a new group of scientists now thinks they have discovered the reason why Roman cement has endured for so many years, this being its chemical composition, and not only that, but they are close to discovering the combination used in this composition, and more curious, the Roman cement not only lasts longer, but also becomes more resistant as time passes by.
The group of scientists at the University of Utah, led by the geologist Marie Jackson, has been trying to solve this puzzle for years, and they have now been able to map the concrete crystalline surface, which has allowed them to see how this material has solidified over time.
The cement we use today is Portland cement, which is composed of a mixture of sand silica, limestone and ash among other components that after melting at extremely high temperatures form the cement we know. This aggregate is inert to prevent cracks in the cement, which could lead to early erosion of the surfaces, and this is why the cement does not last as long as the stones.
But Roman cement is a totally different case, and was formulated using volcanic ash, seawater and pumice, which continued to interact with the material, making it much more resilient than it would seem at first.
In short, the Romans have succeeded in creating a stone-like cement that interacts chemically with sea water, making it become more and more solid, and it is extremely important, to come to the conclusion of which is the exact composition of this concrete, because in addition to being extremely useful for the creation of a more advanced cement for use in our cities, it is extremely important for the construction of all our coastal structures.