Published On: Tue, Aug 30th, 2022

Does Concrete Turn to Dust in a Vacuum Chamber? (Video)

There is a popular and never-ending discussion on the internet about what would happen to concrete if it was placed in a vacuum.

The origins of this story are quite simple. Someone asked a scientist one interesting question: what would happen on Earth if all the oxygen disappeared for a few seconds? Ant the scientist explained, that this is a purely theoretical situation, but if it were to happen, the consequences would be enormous.

Image credit: The Action Lab via YouTube

Image credit: The Action Lab via YouTube

For example, everyone would get sunburns, because ozone – a molecular form of oxygen – blocks the majority of UV light. The daytime sky would get darker because oxygen scatters the sunlight. Everyone’s inner ear would explode due to a rapid change in atmospheric pressure.

And there was a comment about concrete, too – that all the buildings made of concrete and similar products would turn to dust. Of course, atomic oxygen is a part of many construction materials, including concrete, and without oxygen, this strong material would lose most of its binding properties, and would simply turn to different chemical elements.

But lots of people took this discussion further, and in a quite different direction – if there is no oxygen in space, would concrete turn to dust if it was placed in a vacuum?

The following video demonstrates a practical experiment illustrating what happens with concrete in the vacuum chamber and also explaining why:

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