Where is the secret? In the lime that makes up Roman concrete. Thus the monuments and ruins of the Roman Empire have survived for more than 2,000 years. Thanks to this material, Roman constructions repair themselves. Roads, monumental coliseums, amphitheaters and triumphal arches. All these buildings of the Roman Empire have one thing in common. The raw materials used by Roman engineers make their monuments durable.
Structures such as the Pantheon in Rome have been preserved intact since the 1st century AD. In fact, aqueducts are preserved in Italy that still carry water to the capital today. A study in Science Advances examines lime clasts formed over the centuries in Roman construction. It turns out that Roman concrete is an ‘ultra-strong’ material, they describe in a release.
Ancient roads, docks and jetties are still part of public infrastructure in Italy. It is because the structures were built with a quicklime. Samples were taken from the archaeological site of Priverum, which proved to be rich in this construction mixture.
On a millimeter scale, the quicklime is identified as. clastsor tiny white, shiny white blocks. Almost all Roman constructions preserved to this day have a high concentration of them. According to the research, these particles have the ability to self-repair. Admir Masic is one of the authors of the study. He talks about the Romans’ efforts to create resistant building materials.
“[…] the Romans put effort into making an exceptional building material-why would they put so little effort into ensuring the production of a well-mixed end product?” So he believed there had to be some reason.
Calcium oxide is the compound that constitutes quicklime. It extends the service life of materials for millennia. The specialist is confident that it can now also be used in construction. In fact, it could reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 8% by replacing cement production and its impact on the environment. Just as Roman buildings repair themselves, we can also repair our ecosystem, thanks to this old recipe.