The Versatility and Legendary Strength of Concrete

A major shopping center was being built close to where we live. I could look out our living room window at our condo and watch it being built. After the ground was graded to the suveyor’s specifications, a concrete baching plant was set up on the site to provide en endless stream of fresh concrete to poor the giant slabs that would be the footer, floors and pillars of the building. I watched the reinforcement bar being cut, welded and strapped into place inside molds that concrete would be poured into. Then the trucks began to deliver the concrete right to the forms.

All day and night you would hear the grinding slosh of concrete being rotated in the giant concrete truck drums. I would listen to the rhythm of the backup warning beepers on the trucks as they backed up to deliver their payloads of wet concrete. Each morning I would survey the progress they were making. It was interesting to watch the bare bones of the structure being developed into a usable space. There had to be a few thousand yards of concrete already poured. It is pretty amazing to see the actual building material being made on the site where the building is going up. The raw sand, gravel and Portland cement are mixed in various proportions to make a solid building.

I got permission to tour the construction site escorted by one of the architects. It was amazing to see the giant pillars that were just liquid cement, sand and aggregate the other day now being solid support structures that are capable of surviving far longer than me. Concrete and how it is used in our society is one of those things that interest me. It is so versatile in what it can do with it, and its strength is legendary.