Why is concrete fire resistant?

Author's Note: Why is concrete fire resistant?

When I received the assignment to write about the fire resistance of concrete, I immediately recalled the many conversations I've had on the subject with my husband, who is both an engineer and builder. Being from Mexico, where most homes are made of concrete, he often comments on Americans' fascination with wood as a building material. As we've pointed out in the article, concrete is much stronger and more hazard-resistant than wood. But the fact is that many Americans cling to wood in an emotional way, perhaps because it was once a living thing...a tree standing proudly in a forest somewhere. It's also quite beautiful, and sometimes that trumps practicality.

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  • Chemistry World. "The concrete conundrum." (March 29, 2012) http://www.rsc.org/images/Construction_tcm18-114530.pdf
  • Garcia, O. Soga Construction. Personal interview. (March 29, 2012)
  • International Association of Certified Home Builders. "Concrete for Exterior and Structural Walls." (March29, 2012) http://www.nachi.org/concrete-exterior-walls.htm
  • Portland Cement Association. "High Strength Concrete and Fire." (March 29, 2012) http://www.cement.org/buildings/high_strength_fire.asp
  • Portland Cement Association. "The Quality of Concrete Cost a Little More." (April 5, 2012). http://www.cement.org/homes/brief05.asp
  • Scientific American. "When the Twin Towers Fell." Oct 9, 2001 (March 29, 2012) http://www.public-action.com/911/jmcm/sciam/
  • The Concrete Center. "Fire Resistance." (March 29, 2012) http://www.concretecentre.com/technical_information/performance_and_benefits/fire_resistance.aspx