Riddle solved: Why was Roman concrete so durable? | MIT News | Massachusetts Institute of Technology

MIT-Roman Concrete Photo of a building on the left, microscopic view of a piece of concrete on the right.
Riddle solved: Why was Roman concrete so durable? (MIT News | Massachusetts Institute of Technology)

Researchers have discovered ancient Roman concrete-manufacturing strategies that incorporated self-healing. Applying this knowledge toward modern cement production, they hope to improve the material’s environmental impact.

Previously disregarded as merely evidence of sloppy mixing practices, or poor-quality raw materials, the new study suggests that these tiny lime clasts gave the concrete a previously unrecognized self-healing capability. “The idea that the presence of these lime clasts was simply attributed to low quality control always bothered me,” says Masic. “If the Romans put…