Notes from Greg

Greg Schwietz, Publisher, L&M Concrete News

I have been looking forward to an issue of Concrete News devoted the most important man-made building material for a long time.

Some years ago I took a picture of a street sign that captured the corner of Portland Avenue and Cement Street. One in a million. I don't have a house on that corner, but my home has been in Portland cement concrete all my working career— 4 decades long this year. Now, I am very happy to bring the subject up front and personal to you, our faithful and interested readers with this issue.

On the surface, like many complex things, this magical gray powder looks common enough. But when you add water the party begins. And when that happens you better be ready because, like the tides, hydrating Portland cement waits for no one.

There are many misperceptions about Portland cement in the building industry. It is a victim of many unanswered accusations. But, here are a few things I have come to know about Portland cement, the world's “most popular building material.”

  • It's complicated.
  • The water cement ratio is the MOST important thing you can learn about its predictable long term strength and durability.
  • The control of the hydration of Portland cement (curing) has the second most dramatic effect on its long term strength and durability.
  • Thomas Edison was very important in the development of today's cement industry.
  • As soon as you add water to it, it changes.
  • It has NOT changed a lot over the past 100 years, but how it is used has changed a lot.
  • It works well with other complimentary cementing materials.
  • It uses a lot of energy to create, but provides one of the longest lasting, most durable building materials ever created.
  • With care, today's modern concrete structures can outlast the Pantheon in Rome.

As always, I hope you find this new edition of Concrete News informative and useful. We appreciate your business and interest.

Best regards,
Greg Schwietz

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© 2014 L&M Construction Chemicals, Inc. | ConcreteNews Winter 2014.

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