A Parking Lot to Last 16,000 Years

Perhaps proof that J.G. Ballard didn't really die, he simply took an engineering job at MIT, scientists at that venerable Massachusetts institution have designed a new concrete that will last 16,000 years.
Called ultra-high-density concrete, or UHD, the material has so far proven rather strikingly resistant to deformation on the nano-scale – to what is commonly referred to as "creep."
This has the (under other circumstances, quite alarming) effect that "a containment vessel for nuclear waste built to last 100 years with today's concrete could last up to 16,000 years if made with an ultra-high-density (UHD) concrete." (Emphasis added).
So how long until we start building multistory car parks with this stuff? 16,000 years from now, architecture bloggers camped out for the summer in rented apartments in Houston – the new Rome – get to visit the still-standing remains of abandoned airfields, dead colosseums, and triumphal arches that once held highway flyovers?
16,000 years' worth of parking lots. 16,000 year's worth of building foundations.
Perhaps this simply means that we're one step closer to mastering urban fossilization.

(Thanks, Mike R.!)

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Blogger EC said...

Now that's Longnow concrete.

June 17, 2009 5:10 PM  
Anonymous Michael said...

Hasn't the concrete in the Pantheon already lasted for the better part of two millennia? If I wonder if this is a sign that they've figured out how Roman concrete works?

June 17, 2009 7:27 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Ancient Roman civilization was carved from stone/granite. And rocks have lasted for somewhat more than 2 millennia.

July 03, 2009 6:45 PM  
Blogger Geoff Manaugh said...

Anonymous, the Pantheon was made from concrete, which the ancient Romans invented. Look it up.

July 04, 2009 2:45 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

At last, something reliable to build those markers at the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant out of.

July 11, 2009 1:28 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Great, mabye our highways will last more than one freeze thaw season.

July 31, 2009 11:31 AM  

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