Concrete blocks expanding the notion of ancient construction

Original author: Andrew Liszewski
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How, centuries before the invention of cranes and trucks, were ancient structures like Stonehenge or Moai statues on Easter Island created? In their new experiment, researchers from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) created concrete structures weighing about 25 tons, which, despite their weight, can be moved manually. Thus, a new argument appeared in favor of the theory that the ancient builders were masters of balance and skillfully used leverage.

Matter Design Studio (co-founded by Brandon Clifford, an associate professor at MIT), together with CEMEX, a company specializing in the development of building materials, has developed a batch of impressive monoliths from which, as from giant building blocks, larger structures can be built. Despite the multi-ton weight and age-old strength, concrete blocks have a unique composition and shape, which allows even one person to move them relatively easily.

There are several different approaches to the appearance of elements, which were called massive stone blocks ( English - massive masonry units ). They were created from concrete of various densities: in order to fully control the center of gravity, adding stability and balance. Despite the fact that the shape of each of the blocks seems random, they are created with specially arranged bevels, rounded edges, pivot points, handles and connecting protrusions. The resulting blocks are still too heavy for a person to lift. At the same time, they can be swung, turned around its axis, tilted, moved and even rolled from place to place - with outstanding ease and accuracy.

So yes, the assumption that the 82-ton statues of Moai were manually moved through Easter Island to their final sites is plausible. However, an experiment is more important than the fact that it supports the hypothesis. Considering current advances in 3D printing, especially large-scale, the described approach can be used to create durable structures in places where the use of trucks and construction cranes is too expensive or not available at all. Where there is a threat of flooding or where water has already risen, concrete walls can easily be built by local residents. Heavy, impenetrable barriers can be quickly moved to where there is a threat and there is no time for the construction of more sophisticated structures. Maybe someday you yourself will assemble your new home like a giant Lego. Just throw a couple of rugs and the concrete walls will not seem so cold.

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