On This Day
1824 – Portland cement is patented.
Portland cement is the most common type of cement in general use around the world as a basic ingredient of concrete, mortar, stucco, and non-specialty grout. It was developed from other types of hydraulic lime in England in the early 19th century by Joseph Aspdin, and is usually made from limestone. It is a fine powder, produced by heating limestone and clay minerals in a kiln to form clinker, grinding the clinker, and adding 2 to 3 percent of gypsum. Several types of portland cement are available. The most common, called ordinary portland cement (OPC), is grey, but white portland cement is also available. Its name is derived from its resemblance to Portland stone which was quarried on the Isle of Portland in Dorset, England. It was named by Joseph Aspdin who obtained a patent for it in 1824. However, his son William Aspdin is regarded as the inventor of “modern” portland cement due to his developments in the 1840s.
Portland cement is caustic, so it can cause chemical burns. The powder can cause irritation or, with severe exposure, lung cancer, and can contain a number of hazardous components, including crystalline silica and hexavalent chromium. Environmental concerns are the high energy consumption required to mine, manufacture, and transport the cement, and the related air pollution, including the release of the greenhouse gas carbon dioxide, dioxin, NOx, SO2, and particulates. Production of portland cement contributes about 10% of world carbon dioxide emissions. The International Energy Agency has estimated that cement production will increase by between 12 and 23% by 2050 to meet the needs of the world’s growing population. There are several ongoing researches targeting a suitable replacement of portland cement by supplementary cementitious materials.
The low cost and widespread availability of the limestone, shales, and other naturally-occurring materials used in portland cement make it one of the lowest-cost materials widely used over the last century. Concrete produced from Portland cement is one of the world’s most versatile construction materials.
Born On This Day
1922 – Liliane Bettencourt, French businesswoman and philanthropist (d. 2017)
Liliane Henriette Charlotte Bettencourt (French pronunciation: [lil.jan be.tɑ̃.kuːʁ]; née Schueller; 21 October 1922 – 21 September 2017) was a French heiress, socialite and businesswoman. She was one of the principal shareholders of L’Oréal. At the time of her death, she was the richest woman, and the 14th richest person in the world, with a net worth of US$44.3 billion.
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