The Pantheon: From Antiquity to the Present
We tend to believe that our ancestors were using archaic technologies, using either rocks or poor quality materials. This is certainly true for common people houses but most of the civilization let us incredible construction which are able to last for millennial. Romans are not the least: their most famous buildings are probably the Pantheon and Colosseum in Rome. It might be less famous that they’ve been using concrete to build it!
Yes, concrete, the mainstay of modern buildings. This composite material, made from cement mixed with sand and gravel, can be into whatever structure is required. Romans had a special ingredient to add in the mixture: fine volcanic ash, mixed with lime (calcium hydroxide) to make cement. The result is an alloy made of a network of crystals that resist propagation of cracks (the weakness of modern concrete), and is an incredibly enduring material that is superior to today’s concrete! A testament to this is the majestic roof of the Pantheon, which, at 43 meters across, is still the world’s largest unenforced concrete dome. Want to know the best? It is today’s even stronger than when it was built!