History of cement
The earliest reports about the history of cement, or Caementu in Latin, date from approximately 4,500 B.C., in Ancient Egypt. At that time, a mortar composed of a calcinated plaster mixture was used to join together stones that lent support to the construction of monuments.
But over the years the cement underwent an evolutionary process, and structures such as the Pantheon and the Coliseum were built using volcanic soils which, upon coming into contact with water, reacted in a manner that caused them to harden. However, testing to find the perfect cement did not end and, in 1756, Englishman John Smeaton managed to develop, through the calcination of soft limestone with clay minerals, a product of high resistance.
In 1791, James Parker experimented with a mixture of rock sediments from Sheppel island and in 1796 patented a type of cement with the name “Roman Cement”. This experiment motivated Frenchman Louis Vicat to invent artificial cement in 1818 using a mixture of clay and limestone components.
However, it was Englishman Joseph Aspdin, in 1824, who revolutionized these experiments with cement. Aspdin came up with the idea of heating limestone rocks and clay and then grinding them in order to produce a fine powder. This product, after drying, and in contact with water, became as solid as a rock and remained strong in humid environments. This, then, was “Portland Cement”, which was patented by Joseph Aspdin, in honor of the rocks on the British island of Portland, which presented unique characteristics, such as color, durability and resistance.
However, it was Isaac Charles Johnson, in 1845, that managed to perfect Portland Cement. After making many observations, Johnson raised the heating temperature to 1400¡C and ground the clinker that results from the heating process, in order to obtain a finer powder with superior quality.
Over the years, various cement production companies were founded and they began to conduct research into the process of producing Portland Cement.
In Brazil, the first experiments relating to the production of Portland Cement were conducted around 1888 by Comendador Antônio Proost Rodovalho, who built the first plant on his farm in Santo Antônio (SP). Next was the installation, in 1892, of a new plant on Tiriri island (PB). In 1912, the Espírito Santo State Government founded its own plant in the city of Cachoeiro do Itapemirim.
But the production of Portland Cement in Brazil started in 1924, with the installation of a plant in Perus (SP) by Companhia Brasileira de Cimento Portland.
However, the demand for cement in the country was high and importation was inevitable. That was when Liz cements imported from Portugal entered the Brazilian market in the 1930s and in 1969 the company first plant was built in the city of Lagoa Santa/Vespasiano (MG).
Today, Empresa de Cimentos Liz is one of the main producers of cement in Brazil.