V(otum) S(olvit) L(ibens) M(erito)

News and stories from the world of Archaeology and its related disciplines

The secret of the strength of the Great Wall of China

From Telegraph:

The Great Wall of China at Mutianyu

Workers built the Ming dynasty sections of the Great Wall about 600 years ago by mixing together a paste of sticky rice flour and slaked lime, the standard ingredient in mortar, said Dr Zhang Bingjian.

The sticky rice mortar bound the bricks together so tightly that in many places weeds still cannot grow. However, there was widespread resentment against the Wall in the south of China because the Ming emperors requisitioned the southern rice harvest both to feed the workers on the Wall and to make the mortar.

“The ancient mortar is a special kind of organic and inorganic mixture,” said Dr Zhang, a professor of chemistry at Zhejiang university in the city of Hangzhou in eastern China.

“The organic component is amylopectin, which comes from the porridge of sticky rice that was added to the mortar,” he said.

“The inorganic component is calcium carbonate, and the organic component is amylopectin, which comes from the sticky rice soup added to the mortar. This amylopectin helped create a compact microstructure, [giving the Great Wall] more stable physical properties and greater mechanical strength,” he reported in the journal of the American Chemical Society.

Dr Zhang said the use of sticky rice, a staple in East Asian food, was one of the greatest technical innovations of the time, and helped Ming dynasty tombs, pagodas and walls weather earthquakes and other disasters.

From Telegraph

Advertisements

Filed under: Archaeology, Heritage, , , , , , , ,

Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

Points of interest

CATEGORIES

Archives

%d bloggers like this: