A hard, strong construction material comprising a mixture of sand, gravel, crushed rock, or other aggregate, held together, typically by a hardened paste of cement and/or lime. Several types of aggregate are used such as crushed stone, slag, cinders or gravel. Ancient Romans developed pozzolan cement about the 3rd century BCE. Modern concretes use various cements such as portland or hydraulic. Concrete is durable and relatively inexpensive, used for foundations, bridges, dams, walls, and highways. Concrete is strong in compression but weak in tension so it is often reinforced with steel bars or wire netting. Once a concrete mixture is stirred with water and poured into a mold, it is allowed to cure slowly over about a week. Stresses, such as vibration, freezing, and rapid drying, will diminish the strength and durability of the concrete. As it ages, concrete is subject to erosion, spalling, and pollution. Poor mixing can cause erosion. Spalling can be due to freeze-thaw cycles of moisture and ice, salt crystallization, or corrosion of steel reinforcements. Acid rain can deplete the natural alkaline reserve of fresh concrete.

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