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Book

German Concrete. The Science of Cement from Trass to Portland, 1819-1877.

This book describes for the first time ever, the rise of the modern art of building with concrete in the different German territories stretching from Friesland to Pomerania and southwards from Bavaria to Baden during the first three quarters of the 19th century. Based on careful analyses of historic documents and literature, the book traces an engaging history of master builders, engineers, architects, theoreticians, chemists and inventors tracking the evolution of different building techniques, materials, studies and experiments concerning concrete. It analyses German master builders' consideration for classical building culture and for contemporaneous constructions observed in neighbouring countries. This narration starts at the turn of the 19th century with early scientific studies on cement, examples of rudimentary concrete used as filling material in small hydraulic foundations and attempts at producing mortar-based artificial stones and moulded objects. The account then follows the progression of cement and the abilities of master builders who worked with concrete until crucial evolutionary stages were reached in the 1870s. Early scientific theories about the chemical reactions in the production and hardening of cement were developed; concrete was finally used to build huge underwater foundations as well as entire houses; the production of mortar-based artificial stones and moulded objects became an important manufacturing branch; the first standards for the production and sale of Portland cement were defined and officially implemented.

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