Comment 72298

By Undustrial (registered) - website | Posted December 15, 2011 at 12:26:27 in reply to Comment 72291

This kind of cement is indeed ancient and very well known. Even Thoreau talks about making his mortar this way in Walden, while building his hut near the pond. Without something like this for mortar, stone construction is much more complicated.

The genius of brick or stone construction of this type is that it uses relatively little cement to produce very strong structures. It even works with bottles or cans. The mortar can be anything from simple cements like quicklime to sand/clay mixes like cob, as it doesn't need to be strong enough to make up the whole wall.

Cement is handy for construction, but over-using it leads to fairly fragile and short-lived construction in most cases. Steel re-enforcement helps, but even that crumbles before too long. It's a marvel of modern science that we can build skyscrapers, bridges and foundations out of something which was once only mortar, but we have a long way to go if we're going to achieve structures which compare to the architectural legacy left by those who came before us. 1800s stone buildings were very well designed because at that point masonry was a few thousand years old, and had the chance to watch structures weather over centuries.

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