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Long ago it was discovered that certain finely divided siliceous materials when mixed with lime produced cements having hydraulic properties. The use of such cements certainly dates back to the days of ancient Rome, when they were employed in the masonry construction of aqueducts, arch bridges, retaining walls, and buildings. One such material was a consolidated volcanic ash or tuff found near Pozzuoli, Italy. This came to be designated as Pozzuolana, a general term covering similar materials of volcanic origin found in other deposits in Italy, France, and Spain. Later the term was employed throughout Europe to designate any material, regardless of its geologic origin, which possessed similar properties. Though not to be found in the dictionary, among technical men in this country the present preferred spelling of the word is “pozzolan.” Until the development of natural cements, less than two centuries ago, the only hydraulic cements were those composed of a mixture of pozzolan and lime.
Professor of Civil Engineering and Director of the Engineering Materials Laboratory, University of California, Berkeley, Calif.