Concrete is the most widely used construction materials that has been at the foundation of civilizations throughout time. The Roman Empire is credited with having some of the greatest and longest lasting concrete structures such as:
– The Roman Aqueducts were one of the greatest fetes of the Roman Empire designed and built to bring water from outside sources into cities and towns (The Roman Aqueducts of Toledo).
– The Roman Pantheon – the Roman Pantheon is over 2500 years and has survived 7 earthquakes with only minor cracks throughout the structure and still remains in serviceable condition to this day (The Roman Pantheon).
Fibre technology is one of the oldest technologies to enhance the composite that is concrete. Some of the earliest fibres used in concrete were of the bamboo form (Roman Concrete). Today, concrete with fibre is used in all manner of construction – particularly concrete slabs designed for buildings. Furthermore, Roman history documents that the bamboo was specifically used to reinforce the Roman Pantheon. The Roman Pantheon is the largest and oldest non-steel reinforced concrete structure in the world. While the fibres in the Roman Pantheon were not steel, the bamboo still offers high resiliency to tensile loads that would cause failure.
Like cellulose fibres that are currently used today, the bamboo fibres mechanically and chemically bind to the cementitious matrix. This additional chemical binding is due to the ability for the bamboo fibres to imbibe the plastic cementitious matrix that makes up the fluid concrete. In doing so, the bamboo fibre would engage the tensile forces that would cause the concrete to fail.
Like the Romans, the concrete and construction industries are employing fibre technology in concrete to increase the durability to cracking and ultimately create concrete structures that have a longer service-life.