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Building breakwaters with precast concrete blocks (1834-67)

Medium: Tagungsbeitrag
Sprache(n): en 
Tagung: 6th International Congress on Construction History (6ICCH 2018), July 9-13, 2018, Brussels, Belgium
Veröffentlicht in:
Seite(n): 123-130
Abstrakt: Until the early nineteenth century, jetties and breakwaters protecting harbours and roadsteads were typically constructed submerging blocks of natural rock. However, the breakwaters constructed this way suffered from exceeding consumption of material, due to very gentle slopes required to resist the action of the surf, and from frequent damage and repair. The only way out of this dilemma was the application of blocks considerably larger than the natural rocks typically available in a quarry. Such blocks could be created artificially by precast concrete technology. When, in the early 1830s, the properties of hydraulic lime and cements had been studied in detail, and experiences with concrete technology had been collected in the construction of locks for inland waterways, France was ready for the large-scale application of this idea, the origins of which can be traced far into history. The most notable projects carried out with the new technology include the ports of Algiers and the breakwater at the new harbour of Marseille, whereas the jetty at Cherbourg demonstrated the limits of the new technology. The present contribution gives a brief account of these projects.



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