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Building materials The first buildings were made by, needy, from available construction materials which can

be chopped in shaped with primitive tools, such as wood hatches and knives made by sharp bones. Among this construction materials there are branches, peat, stone and clay. Buildings, manually shaped by clay and dried in the sunlight, were used for construction in Eastern Mediterranean region approximately by the year 2000 BC: this was an important progress. Tools in Bronze Age Around the year 4000 BC, the introducing of metal tools, such as hatches, saws, and chisels, allowed the builders to maximize better the potential of the construction materials. Now they can knock down big trees and cut them with the saw in planks and beams, which can be used instead of branches. Also the metal tools allowed the builders to cut, to shape and to polish stone. This fact had the powerful effect among the development of the ancient civilizations. Besides permanent residences, now they can build palaces, temples and impressive moments and decorated with decorative stone. Another important progress in the year 2500 before Christ was the production of bricks in a combustion furnace. This one heated the bricks to a higher temperature and produced stronger and more resistant bricks than those which were dried in the sunlight. Also the bricks were shaped in wood matrices, so they can be easily produced in series of identical sizes which can be used with higher advantages. Different construction materials were used as masonry for binding the bricks together. In Mesopotamia, todays Iraq, builders used a substance similar to tar called bitumen. Egyptians used gypsum (calcium sulfate), and Greeks and Romans used at the beginning quicklime (calcium oxide). But, the lime mortar had been wearing out because of the rain. This is why, later, Greeks and Romans started to use a more resistant cement mortar made by a mixture of quicklime, sand and volcanic ash. Then, Romans started to add pebble to the new mortar in order to obtain concrete. And, unlike the Greeks, who carried on building blocks of solid rock or marble, Romans used thin layers made of these materials to cover the concrete structures. Modern construction materials Most of todays bricks are made by modeling the clay and by burning them into a burning furnace. Bricks are available in a wide range of colors and patterns. The three main types are ordinary bricks, construction bricks and decorative bricks.

Ordinary bricks are used for general construction works where the aspect is not that important. Construction bricks, highly strong and resistant, are used where the ordinary ones would be too weak, such as, supporting bearing walls. Decorative bricks are colored and patterned in order to give to the exterior masonry a better look, for example, the private buildings. The wall mortar consists of mixture of cement and sand, plus water. Sometimes, quicklime can be added to increase the resistance capacity of the mortar and, also, to prevent its too fast drying. Pigments are used sometimes to color the mortar and to improve the aspect of the masonry. Cement was used to obtain concrete a mixture of cement, little rocks or pebble, sand and water. The usage of iron as construction material had been increasing constantly during the 19 century. It had a large usage for bridges and railway stations. Then, steel as construction material appeared, and in 1900, it already replaced iron almost completely. But, steel was more than just a simple replacement of the iron. It could be used even to reinforce concrete, which, itself, it was resistant to compression, but it could brake easily if it was subjected to compressive stress. The reinforcement of concrete with steel made it resistant to stress, too, so now it could be used to structures in which unstressed concrete would not fit.

Nowadays, concrete and steel are the most important construction materials, although brick and timber are, also, still important, especially for particular houses.