CD Designs Blog

    The Cement Museum

    Exhibit at the museum

    Exhibit room at the museum

    Following on from our series on Spain, the city of San Sebastian in northern Spain is one of the country’s most popular tourist destinations. The picturesque coastline and hilly surroundings mean that the city is always full of holidaymakers, but many leave without seeing the main attraction, the cement museum!

    The Museum Cemento Rezola is Spain’s first and only museum dedicated to cement. It was opened in the year 2000 to celebrate the 150th anniversary of the Cementos Rezola company, one of Spain’s largest cement and concrete companies.  The museum aims to “Discover the important role cement has played in our civilisation”, and answer questions like “What actually goes on in a cement factory?”, “How is concrete utilised?” and “ Where do the raw materials come from?”

    Exhibitions at the museum include “the history of cement”, an audio-visual presentation which provides an overview from the discovery of cement in 1756, to the advent of Portland cement, to the use of reinforced concrete. Also “cement and the environment” underlines the contribution of cement factories in helping the environment, by using waste generated by other industries.

    The museum is free to enter, and a guided tour can be arranged for groups of 6 or more by booking ahead. Details can be found on their website.

    Removing Oil Stains From Your Driveway

    An oil stain; the last thing you want on your new (or old) concrete driveway

    An oil stain; the last thing you want on your new (or old) concrete driveway

    Pattern imprinted concrete driveways are ideal to park vehicles on, as they do not sag under heavy weight like brick driveways.  Parking vehicles on any driveway however, inevitably leads to oil stains.  Here are a few tips to remove those stains.

    Firstly you should try washing the drive with soapy water.  However as with clothes, oily stains will not be removed easily with standard washing.  For more stubborn stains the basic is to absorb the oil before removing the absorbing material.  Cat litter or sawdust are two common household materials that are very good at this job.  Sprinkle either of them over the stain and leave it for a couple of days, then simply brush the area.  This should get rid of any top surface stains.  However for deeper stains a different solution is needed.

    Check the weather report first to make sure it is not going to rain.  Sprinkle some dry cement over the affected area, and again leave for a couple of days before brushing the cement off.  This should dry up most oils in the deeper concrete, but make sure not to get the cement wet as it will permanently stick once set.

    Photo by Daniel Villar Onrubia.

    Review of the summer

    This summer has seen us unfold an interesting set of events, oddities and news items: never a dull moment in the world of concrete! Here we’d like to  share with you our favourites, looking at the highlights we’ve reported on in the last few months.

    • The coolest driveway in the world: a new contender? We love concrete driveways, and we love fast cars. What better way to combine the two than by having a concrete driveway that doubles as a racetrack? New Zealand Rally champ Rod Millen has done just that.
    • Concrete Speakers: Can Concrete Be Music To Our Ears? We love the very idea of combining the stark industrial look of concrete with high fidelity audio entertainment.
    • Green Concrete – The Future Five Years Down The Line? We are very passionate about environmentalism at CD Designs, and inspired by the idea of greener concrete.
    • Incredible Concrete Art – The Bohouse Cafe Floors In Dubai. Possibly the coolest pattern imprinted concrete design work you’ll ever see!
    • Win The Winter War, With Your Friendly Neighbourhood Robot Snow Shovel. this gadget brought out the inner Wallace and Gromit in all of us!
    • The SOFT Rocker: Making Some Noise on The Space Age Patio! This futuristic patio chair, developed at MIT, is a must have for the futurist’s patio of tomorrow (would that just be “today”, for the rest of us?).
    • A Set Of Concrete Tunes From The Pet Shop Boys: Take That! Loving the fact that concrete can even inspire an album of popular music.

    An Epi-DAM-ic? The Hoover Dam hasn’t been cured yet!

    One rather interesting piece of information that came to our attention this month is concerning curing.

    As many of you will know, curing is the process by which you can harden concrete by prolonging the reaction between the concrete surface and water. Concrete hardens by hydration anyway, but you can greatly increase its strength and durability by doing this over a longer period, usually between five and seven days and generally done up to a maximum of 28 days. During this time, the concrete is kept moist by constantly spraying it with sprinklers, covering it with wet burlap, or coating it with one of a range of commercially available curing compounds, which lock moisture in to the surface.

    The interesting fact is that the Hoover Dam over in good ‘ol USA still hasn’t finished curing yet, and has continued to gain strength at a slow and steady rate since it was built in the early to mid 1930’s. As you may imagine, the Hoover Dam is exposed to a significant amount of moisture every day, which continues to cure it. All concrete will continue to gain strength by curing if continually exposed to water, although this gain decreases exponentially as time goes on.

    Martial Arts Champions Wage War On Concrete

    Don’t try this on your pattern imprinted concrete driveway! Martial arts champions wage war on concrete

    Martial Arts Champions Wage War On Concrete

    Martial Arts Champions Wage War On Concrete

    I think it will be clear to most of you that the concrete suburbs of the North West of England are nothing like an archetypal martial arts setting such as feudal Japan, or ancient China. You are highly unlikely to witness a samurai honour battle in your backyard, have your house invaded by ninja assassins, or stumble across Bruce Lee defeating the bad guys atop your pattern imprinted concrete driveway as you take the dog for a walk in the morning. Shame, as it would be pretty cool if it happened.
    Bringing martial arts forward more into the modern day however, you’ll see that it has a lot to do with concrete these days. Many martial arts championships seem to be decided at least in part by a test to see who can break the most concrete blocks in one go. Take this year’s U.S. Capitol Classics Martial Arts Tournament. The winners — brothers Clinton and Seth Murphy — both showed off their concrete destruction prowess to take the title. Clinton — a 4th degree black belt in the Filipino art of Kun Tao — broke 10 blocks in one go to take first place in the Heavyweight Power Concrete Division, while Seth broke nine blocks using an overhand elbow strike to come up first in the Lightweight Division, which includes black belts under 200 pounds.

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