Man has been experimenting with a lot of stuffs to make his home strong and durable from the ancient times. Early man began to first live in caves in order to protect him from wild animals and inclement weather. Over time, he had to travel to various places in search of food and other materials. So he had to build homes with various durable materials. After the evolution of architecture, a lot of changes were brought in to the structure and design of the buildings. Though various materials have been used and still being experimented, five materials have stood the test of time and are being used today to build the strongest buildings in the world. Take a look at what makes these materials so special:
Wood has been used in construction for many years. Sometimes, it is also used as a primary construction material for building the log cabins that are blended with various other materials as well. Wood is also used for support or for decoration. When compared to stone, wood is lightweight. It is also strong and seasoned to remove the moisture.
Wood is easy to work with. There are some downsides of using wood for construction. It is easily prone to decaying and damages due to moisture and pest infestation. Fire can cause serious damage and destroy wood completely. Even though there are drawbacks wood buildings are known to survive for long periods. One of the oldest buildings existing today is found in Japan. The Horyu-ji temple dates back to the 8th century.
Bricks are made of clay. Many ancient buildings and structures are made of bricks. Some of the most popular structures include the Great Wall of China, the Pantheon and the Roman aqueducts. According to recorded history, Sumerians were one of the earliest people for making bricks. The bricks used in those days were uneven and crude. They were just sun-dried block of silt that was deposited due to the waters after a storm.
When the silt dried naturally, it became hard. It was dug out and broken into chunks and used for constructing various structures like huts and walls etc. Certain experiments led to the formation of molds that could make even bricks that were easy to use. Heating the brick made them durable and ended the problem of the melting bricks due to rain.
Stone is impressively tough and durable. But the challenge lies in quarrying and moving the stone to the required areas. If you have the right equipment to cut and use the stone for buildings, stone is extremely strong and natural. It can be stacked up easily to support heavy load. It is resistant to all kinds of natural elements too. There are numerous extraordinary structures made of stone that leave us spell bound.
Most of the materials used for building today are cheap and have taken the place of stone. Many people use concrete, steel and wood along with a decorative stone layer to stay within the budget. Some synthetic materials also mimic the look and feel of stone structures. They are light, inexpensive and do not require veneers. Stone has been around for ages and has a unique aesthetic value that can never be diminished by any other material.
Concrete is made of a number of things like sand, stone, binders and cement etc. The flexible mixture can be poured into any shape, hardened and transported. Concrete has been used for more than hundreds of years. But it was in 1860 that its tensile strength was realized and started gaining more popularity. Reinforced concrete is used for making various structures with narrow steel rods in the center for support.
The rebar enforcement makes it ideal for constructing beams, walls, foundations, slabs, frames and various other things. Using mesh and rods along with concrete has made it relatively a cheap, reliable and durable material for construction economically. 20th century reinforcements have made concrete even more sought after. Pre-cast concrete is manufactured under controlled conditions and is known for its water repelling features and resistance to expansion and contraction. Pre-stressed concrete is made by keeping steel strands in the concrete to increase the resistance and strength.
5. Iron and steel
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As man started building huge structures it became necessary for him to use stronger materials to support these structures. Tall buildings place a lot of weight on their walls. Therefore some kind of framework was necessary for holding the load. Steel has a dual role. It can be used along with concrete or can be used for the foundation.
Steel can be fabricated easily to make easy and fast installation. You can even rivet, weld and bolt it in any place. It is 100 percent recyclable too and hence an option for green buildings. Steel is economical too. Steel technology has enabled man to build and design tall structures that have completely changed the outlook of architecture.