Ancient Cement

“An ancient Egyptian formula for a stone-like concrete is being revived.”

“The way the ancient Egyptians made a cement mortar that has lasted thousands of years was recently deduced by a French chemist, Joseph Davidovits… Cement in the ruins of Jericho has lasted 9,000 years and in the pyramids of Egypt 5,000 years”, says Margie Morris, an archaeologist at the Detroit branch of Mr. Davidovits's Institute for Applied Archaeological Sciences. “Modern Portland cement erodes away in a century or two.”

"Specifically… the ancient Egyptians mixed lime and natron (sodium carbonate) to make caustic soda. The caustic soda as mixed with silicate minerals mined in the Sinai Desert to make a soluble silica which, in turn, was mixed with the aluminum-rich Nile river silt. Other ingredients such as arsenic minerals were tossed in to produce a fast-setting silica aluminate cement. Such cements stick together by 'molecular’ bonds--the way Nature makes stone--rather than by mechanical bonding as in Portland cement.”

"Lone Star Industries Inc., Greenwich Conn., is developing a modern formulation—dubbed 'Pyrament'--of the Egyptian cement. Its fast-setting properties may be useful for pothole and road repairs. Mr. Davidovits, meanwhile, is stirring controversy with assertions that the stones for the pyramids were poured in place rather than quarried and hauled to the sites.”

Source: The Wall Street Journal, l7 June l987

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