Foam concrete has a long history, the first know mix was made by the romans, they realized that by adding animal blood into a mix of small gravel and coarse sand with hot lime and water and agitating it, small air bubbles were formed making the mix more workable and durable.
However a mix made with Portland cement was patented in 1923, mainly for use as an insulation material.
Around the same time another method to make Foam concrete, Cellular concrete, was developed and this used an chemical process to create a gas to form the voids. This mortar is poured in moulds to set, taken out of the moulds when set and heat treated in an autoclave to cure. The process is called ACC. This product is used in the building industry, mainly in block form. It has reasonable strength, up to 8 MPa and good thermal insulation.
Due to Foamed concrete improving in characteristics and easy of production no new Cellular concrete factories are being build. (2018).
The first comprehensive review on foamed concrete was presented by Valore in 1954 and a detailed treatment by Rudnai and Short and Kinniburgh in 1963, summarising the composition, and properties.
Significant improvements over the past 20 years in production equipment and better quality surfactants (foaming agents) and the use of ‘additives” has enabled the use of foamed concrete on a larger scale.
The most recent discoveries to make FC a better construction are:
The addition of cellulose based fibers to the mortar.
The addition of nano – carbon material / fibers to the mortar.
A very large number of universities, companies and other organisations are investigating new mixtures, and when they found a promising mix they apply for a patient.
Foamed Concrete is also used in the Oil industry to stabilise the oil well pipe / hole. For this purpose, cost is not a issue, as long it does a good job.
( please contribute your FC history knowledge to our site)