Construction Materials and Practices Over the Years
Since prehistoric times, humans have always felt the need to build homes or shelters for themselves and their families. With time, as civilizations expanded and people learnt about new techniques and materials to build their homes, the surroundings began to look different. Engineering and architecture flourished and masonry techniques evolved- the most marked changes were the durability of the construction materials used, increase in the scale of structures (both the height and span), the extent to which we could exert our control over the surroundings and lastly, the degree to which we could manipulate energy to modify and improve construction processes. We have developed so much and now we use tools to create what we once did with our hands, we can now get the best table saw, hammers and so many other things for us to use.
The New Stone Age was basically about the usage of stones and natural man-made tools of bone, wood, stones, and fibers to name a few. With time, wood began to be used along with stones to fortify shelters that protected the early inhabitants from the elements of nature and from wild animals.
Later on, metals like copper and iron came into use along with alloys like bronze and brass. Tools like axes, chisels, and saws for Band sawing, were made from bronze and brass. Steel came into being as iron was mixed with carbon, and we all know how indispensable these metals are for masonry practices.
Gradually, stones were replaced by bricks- these bricks were of different materials like mud (which was baked under the sun) as well as fired bricks. They were of varied shapes and sizes, depending on the type of structure being raised.
Lime mortar was being used by Romans in their structures. They were the earliest people to use the technology of concrete on a major scale. However, as the Roman Empire saw its downfall, so did the usage of concrete, until its revival in the middle of the 18th century.
It is quite interesting to trace how concrete masonry techniques have changed with time. The earliest known deposits of concrete date back to more than 12 million years ago. Today, concrete is produced and used extensively to create architectural wonders that inspire awe among all.