As I write this it is currently 70o F outside. It is hard to believe a few weeks ago most of the southeast was shut down by a few inches of ice that resulted in the Great Atlanta Traffic Jam. What is amazing to me is that if this happened just a few hundred miles to the north; this would have just been another winter day. Humans are very adaptable and with experience can adapt to most any environment. This made me think of concrete and how it is an adaptable building material.
A form of concrete was used to build the Roman aqueducts over 2000 years ago. Today concrete is still used in the construction of massive wind farms, nuclear power plants and particle accelerators. Concrete has stood the test of time. Everywhere we look we can see concrete construction. Concrete is used for runways in Iceland and for structures built on permafrost in Prudhoe Bay. This same material has been used to raise a city out of a desert in Dubai. You can even snow ski in Dubai because of concrete.
Even the source materials of concrete are adaptable. Sands we might never use here Georgia are used to construct concrete homes in jungles. The granite we all know and love would be a hated concrete material in other areas due to its high water demand. If we ever build a structure on the moon I am sure a form of concrete with lunar aggregates will be used. We are lucky to have such an adaptable material to work with.
I hope my concrete analogies do not bore you. After 30 years of working with this simple but amazing product I am use to the groans of my family as a normal everyday discussion turns to a discussion about concrete. I hope to see you at our luncheon on February 28 to hear Kurt Heinrichs discuss the latest in Forensic Engineering. Also, remember that the 2013 Dan R. Brown Awards Banquet that was postponed due to the Great Atlanta Traffic Jam will be held March 6, 2014.
Georgia Chapter ACI, President