Blowing Up Concrete for Science


Taylor Bowling, a junior from London, Kentucky, is a civil engineering major with a passion for construction, and he’s already started working in his field. Bowling tests the strength of concrete by breaking down cylinders in a compression machine.

Or, in simpler terms, Bowling gets paid to blow up concrete.


Companies contract the engineering department to make sure their concrete meets strength requirements. Bowling takes a cylinder of their concrete and sticks it into a machine that slowly crushes the cylinder until it breaks. The thing is, squeezing concrete until it breaks basically makes it explode.

“Doing this just gives me a lot of time to think, and the way I kind of looked at breaking this concrete is you never know what you’re made of until you test it,” Bowling said.

Here’s a better look at the concrete cylinder.