Concrete is the most used material on Earth. As materials expert Chris Cheeseman, from Imperial College London, explains: if you could put everything in the world made from concrete in one pile and everything made from other materials in a pile next to it, ‘the concrete pile would dwarf the other pile’.
It’s an unappreciated wonder material. Made from stones, sand and water, its key ingredient, cement, performs some chemical trickery that turns grey, runny slurry into solid rock, in whatever shape we choose. From plant pots to Ancient Rome’s Colosseum, it created the modern world.