Explaining concrete while getting buried in it

Explaining concrete while getting buried in it

Concrete = cement + sand + gravel. Cement is the most important man-made material on Earth. Offset your carbon footprint on Wren: https://wren.co/veritasium . For the first 100 people who sign up, I will personally pay for the first month of your subscription!

A huge thank you to Nevada Ready Mix for being willing to bury me in concrete, especially Elu Chavez and Mike Sherwood. https://www.nevadareadymix.com

And to Brandon Birchak of Six Foot Productions for providing the big fish bowl, safety equipment, planning and filming: https://www.sixfootcreations.com

Instant stone (just add water), Roots of Progress, https://rootsofprogress.org/instant-stone-just-add-water

Cement Chemistry and Sustainable Cementitious Materials

Ahmad, S., Lawan, A., & Al-Osta, M. (2020). Effect of sugar dosage on setting time, microstructure and strength of Type I and Type V Portland cements. Case Studies in Construction Materials, 13, e00364. – https://ve42.co/Ahmad2020

Seymour, L. M., Maragh, J., Sabatini, P., Di Tommaso, M., Weaver, J. C., & Masic, A. (2023). Hot mixing: Mechanistic insights into the durability of ancient Roman concrete. Science advances, 9(1), eadd1602. — https://ve42.co/Seymour2023

Special thanks to our Patreon supporters:
Emil Abu Milad, Tj Steyn, meg noah, Bernard McGee, KeyWestr, Amadeo Bee, TTST, Balkrishna Heroor, John H. Austin, Jr., Eric Sexton, john kiehl, Anton Ragin, Benedikt Heinen, Diffbot, Gnare, Dave Kircher, Burt Humburg, Blake Byers, Evgeny Skvortsov, Meekay, Bill Linder, Paul Peijzel, Josh Hibschman, Mac Malkawi, Juan Benet, Ubiquity Ventures, Richard Sundvall, Lee Redden, Stephen Wilcox, Marinus Kuivenhoven, Michael Krugman, Cy ‘kkm’ K’Nelson, Sam Lutfi.

Written by Derek Muller
Edited by Trenton Oliver
Filmed by Raquel Nuno, Austin Bradley and Bryson
Animated by Ivy Tello & Mike Radjabov
Additional video/photos supplied by Getty Images & Pond5
Music from Epidemic Sound & Jonny Hyman: the Bill Wurtz inspired ‘Skyscrapers are made of sea shells’
Produced by Derek Muller, Petr Lebedev, & Emily Zhang

You may also like...

32 Responses

  1. Veritasium says:

    For the first 100 people who sign up, I will personally offset the first month of your carbon footprint on Wren: https://wren.co/veritasium

    • shadow turtle yinyang says:

      so since limestone is made out of ancient sealife is there research into making cement without on other planets without ancient sealife?

    • Timooooo says:

      If it’s 3 times as dense as water, then how come 500 kg is 2 cubic meters? You probably meant 5000 kg

    • Matthew Arnold says:

      Concrete density ranges between 2.3 to 2.4 ton per meter cube depending on the mix designation and workability. 500kg of concrete would make approximately 0.22m3 filling up that ball just shy of a quarter of the way up. (Fun guy I know, that’s what you get when you’re a civil engineer).

    • colorado841 says:

      (Also only sign up first if you have an extremely heavy carbon footprint…j/k)

    • colorado841 says:

      Veritassium is typed the above comment while being halfway stuck in a concrete sphere because he waited too long and it hardened.

  2. Awolraven says:

    As someone who has worked in the construction industry for a long time, but knowing nothing about concrete, the bottle of pop being mixed into the cement 100% sounds like something you’d tell a new guy to do lmao

    • Awolraven says:

      @Phillypop “This 2×4 is a little short, can you go ask the site manager for the wood stretcher? He has it.”

    • Dez says:

      grid square, sky hook… basically a snipe hunt

    • Phillypop says:

      No kidding, right up there with “Hew new guy, bring me the cordless extension cord”

    • Henry J. says:

      Supposedly, the French underground added sugar to German Atlantic wall fortifications so that the concrete would not be as strong when it hardened. Given the rationing, not much sugar was available. It may be apocryphal, but adding sugar to concrete to keep it from achieving its design strength is an oft-told WWII anecdote.

  3. Jordan L says:

    I work for a small company that sells bricks and masonry supplies and I will be forwarding this video to all the salesmen I work with. I knew a lot of this info, but I’ve yet to see it presented in such an understandable way!

  4. Bryan Lee says:

    Love how fun it looks to float that high in wet concrete!

    You’re also perfectly demonstrating why if you were ever actually in quicksand, you’re not gonna sink under, you’ll just float cuz of the extremely high density of the fluid.

  5. Flavius Flav says:

    I’ve worked around concrete my whole life, and I’ve heard and had myself so many misconceptions about it. Derek explaining it visually like this is so effective. The Veritasium team really has this method of science education figured out.

  6. Jeffrey Okun says:

    I have first hand experience how concrete is caustic and dissolves skin cells. I had once a hellish concrete job in pouring rain, the pump truck was swimming in mud and the moulds were filling up with water, long story short, due to an almost biblical flooding that day (pump trucks have to empty or the concrete dries) we had no choice than fill up the molds even if we knew it was gonna be trouble. Due to the mud, the concrete started to burst through the groud from underneath the molds, and I had to get in there with a showel.. During the day I every now and then felt a tingling sensation on my hands while showeling, my gloves covered in slur.. Once the day was done and I removed the gloves, I saw that due to being soaking wet, concrete had turned into a soup, went inside my gloves and then marinade my hands in a caustic porridge through the whole day. As a result my fingers had turned black and had received 3rd degree burns. Turns out, unlike acids that cause a burning sensation, caustic attacks and numbs the nerves, so you hardly feel any pain, especially when frantically working to save the pour.

    The fat and skin from my hands had basically dissolved away, and the chemical burns kept worsening due to the concrete causticity deeply penetrate my flesh. In the end I even had pockets to the bone in some places.. Recovery took an entire year with fixing the fingers, but today I have good mobility close to what it normally was. Be careful not to let concrete on your skin for long periods of time, it will eat through.

    • thatn1ssan says:

      Thats wild. Ive worked with concrete here and there barehanded for projects at home simply becsuse i hate gloves, everytime i got some slight chemical burns and irratation from it.

      I figured it was just silica burns. Washing periodically and directly after helped but the skin took a couple days to return to normal feeling without the tingling and constant dry sensation.
      I never realized it was such a serious thing or could progress to the point you described here. That sounds horrific.

      Thanks for sharing that story. Im sorry that happened to you while you were just trying to save a pour at your job.

  7. arpir says:

    studying material scientist here. great video. what amazed me when studying concrete, and that the engineers started to touch on, is that concrete is never “hard” and it will keep hardening indefinitely but engineers decided that ~30 days is “hard enough”. pretty wild to think about, and is especially funny when you realize something being “concrete” is generally a term for being unchanging

    • Justin Robertson says:

      28 days is when you get diminishing returns on strength over time. Prestressed concrete have their strands cut a day or two after casting to stress the concrete then they’re moved to sit for a month before shipping out. Concrete is already strong just after a couple of days.

    • Mark Knight says:

      ​@Josh Olson which is one reason we have high early strength mix designs.

    • Josh Olson says:

      “Strong enough” is normally driven by how quickly the next step of construction is needed. You don’t want a concrete bridge deck to wait half a year to get to the point where it is strong enough for vehicles to drive on it. Timely strength gain is driven by constructability requirements.

  8. Aetherial says:

    He’s becoming the physics version of Steve Irwin.

    “I’m gonna explain concrete, FROM THE INSIDE!”

    • Michael Paust says:

      @Phelan he said cement, the concrete number is way higher

    • Jacob Shirley says:

      @loxxxton poxxxton Not quite it, but he made a video about anti-aging.

    • HiddenWindshield says:

      @Mateusz Gajewski Except it *does* sting. He explained it in the video, and that’s why he’s wearing that protective clothing.

    • Michael Charlton says:

      I was initially triggered by this as Steve was a childhood hero over mine, then I realised that “no, they’re right, Derek is amazing”

    • You want My name? says:

      ​​@North Star Kenet’s ignore the fact that he also educated us, but talk about “soulless” corporation

  9. Dustin Brauer says:

    I test concrete for a living so this made me SO happy to see represented. You did great!

  10. Matt B. says:

    One of your best videos in recent memory. I would love to see more of this kind of format where you go and scientifically explain the chain of manufacturing things commonly used in modern society that the average person hardly thinks about.

    Also, love the unexpected Bill Wurtz reference.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *