Mortar: How Building Blocks Are Held Together

Mortar has a long and complex history of being super useful in the construction of buildings.
Loukia Papadopoulos

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In all brick walls, you can find a whitish paste in between the building blocks. Have you ever wondered what this paste is, how it came to be and what purpose it serves today?

This paste is called mortar, it is the glue that holds building blocks together and it dates all the way back to Babylonian times. During those days, it was made of mud and clay as Babylonian constructions used baked bricks and lime or pitch mortars.

Lime mortar eventually evolved into gypsum mortar. Unlike the lime mortar used by the Babylonians, gypsum mortar required a lower firing temperature making it the mortar of choice in the Egyptian pyramids and other constructions.

Next, we head to Greece where pozzolanic mortar was introduced all the way back in 500 BCE. Pozzolanic mortar is a lime-based mortar with an additive of volcanic ash that allows it to be hardened underwater.

What came after pozzolanic mortar? How was each mortar type made and used? And how did we get to today's super-efficient mortars? We answer all these questions and more in this video.

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