Foundation, Concrete and Earthquake Engineering

Historical development of Admixtures

Admixture is a material other than water, aggregates, hydraulic cement, and fiber reinforcement, used as an ingredient of a cementitious mixture to modify its freshly mixed, setting, or hardened properties and that is added to the batch before or during its mixing. 

Admixtures have long been recognized as important components of concrete used to improve its performance. The original use of admixtures in cementitious mixtures is not well documented. It is known that cement mixed with organic matter was applied as a surface coat for water resistance or tinting purposes. It would be a logical step to use such materials, which imparted desired qualities to the surface, as integral parts of the mixture. The use of natural admixtures in concrete was a logical progression. Materials used as admixtures included milk and lard by the Romans; eggs during the middle ages in Europe; polished glutinous rice paste, lacquer, tung oil, blackstrap molasses, and extracts from elm soaked in water and boiled bananas by the Chinese; and in Mesoamerica and Peru, cactus juice and latex from rubber plants. The Mayans also used bark extracts and other substances as set retarders to keep stucco workable for a long period of time.

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