Out of the Lab...and into the Field?

by Paul Tarricone, Asst. Editor; Civil Engineering Magazine, ASCE World Headquarters, 345 East 47th Street, New York City, NY.,

Serial Information: Civil Engineering—ASCE, 1991, Vol. 61, Issue 7, Pg. 60-63

Document Type: Feature article


Materials experts know very little about concrete's basic structure. Now, though, engineers at a research center sponsored by the National Science Foundation are working on a series of projects that could lead to new cement materials and better ways to predict longterm performance. The immediate task is to better understand the properties and microstructure of cement-based materials. In the long run, ACBM Center research—and the efforts of other organizations such as Penn State's Materials Research Group, the Precast/Prestressed Concrete Institute and the American Concrete Institute—may help rescue trillions of dollars in infrastructure. Specifically, engineers at the ACBM Center are studying ways to measure longterm durability and strength; experimenting with fibers to test fracture resistance; and developing sophisticated computer models to synthesize a currently scattered body of knowledge. No new materials will come directly out of the center. Instead, technology transfer to industry is the main objective. Developing new cement-based products may be easier said than done in a market that is fragmented and conservative in applying research. So center officials are keenly aware of the importance of cultivating industry contacts, through joint ventures, for example, and an industry outreach program.

Subject Headings: Cement | Material properties | Computer models | Industries | Construction materials | Federal government | Microstructure | Precast concrete

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