Discovery of 'Lost Recipe' for Ancient Concrete Provides Foundation for Future Cities

Portland cement doesn't come close to matching the resiliency of the concrete created by ancient Romans. After years of research, scientists believe they've unraveled the ingredients and production techniques that made Roman concrete so superior.
June 17, 2013, 12pm PDT | Jonathan Nettler | @nettsj
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"After 2,000 years, a long-lost secret behind the creation of one of the world’s most durable man-made creations ever—Roman concrete—has finally been discovered by an international team of scientists, and it may have a significant impact on how we build cities of the future," writes Bernhard Warner.

After a decade of work, "[t]he researchers now know why ancient Roman concrete is so superior," he reports. "They extracted from the floor of Italy’s Pozzuoili Bay, in the northern tip of the Bay of Naples, a sample of concrete breakwater that dates back to 37 B.C. and analyzed its mineral components at research labs in Europe and the U.S., including at Berkeley Lab’s Advanced Light Source. The analysis, the scientists believe, reveals the lost recipe of Roman concrete, and it also points to how much more stable and less environmentally damaging it is than today’s blend."

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Published on Friday, June 14, 2013 in Bloomberg BusinessWeek
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