Concrete, cement, construction materials, science, engineering, and general construction engineering nerdery. Links to CV/Website are below.
I’m trying to decide whether I’ll submit an abstract to the airfield and highway pavements conference next year http://content.asce.org/conferences/pavements2013/index.htm. I think it could be a really easy way to bust out a paper on the survey we did this year of DOTs and their use of recycled concrete aggregates. I’d also have to present some results on like.. actual data. Which is basically a boring snoozefest for me at this point after 1..2..3..4..5 presentations on this work already.
This RCA project has gotten a lot of mileage, though. 5 conference presentations, 1 conference proceedings, 1 magazine article, and 2 technical journal articles. If I submit this one and focus on the survey and possible uses of RCA affected by ASR, that would be another presentation and proceeding. So I guess I should.
I worry that I’m burning the world out on this information though. I don’t want to go to conferences and present this stuff and have people look at me and go “Oh, this guy again, more RCA? Psh..” I suppose as long as I’m presenting new information, that’s all that will matter, right?… right?
-From “Report: State faces $21.4B in water, sewer needs”
Having worked on a lot of water/sewer projects in Massachusetts during my time there, I’m not surprised by this number. We were doing a lot of work in the field, and a lot of that just seemed like patch jobs. There are cities that need their entire sewer systems replaced.
I always found it amazing that even a place as populated as Massachusetts still had major cities that had combined sewage/rainwater systems. And that lead to a lot of over-capacity events. Not to mention how much wasted energy is spent doing up to tertiary levels of remediation on rainwater that really only needs primary treatment.
One of the big problems I always noticed on these projects, however, is how afraid municipalities and owners are of using innovative technologies. Heck, when I say innovative, I don’t even mean new, I just mean seldom used. One of the products we work with here in the lab, calcium aluminate cement, is great for lining sewer pipes and extending their life. Work done in South Africa 20 years ago proved that sewer pipes lined with a cover of Calcium Aluminate Cement Mortar worked great, less scour, less deterioration due to chemicals.
Unfortunately, this is an expensive material. The payoff in the longterm is good, but the way our systems are set up, they don’t allow municipalities to save up for a couple of years to do a repair job correctly. Instead you get systems that are covered in small patches, and small replacements. If these cities were given the opportunity to revamp the entire system in a single project, they’d get a much better product.
Here’s a teaser for my presentation at ICAAR (International Conference on Alkali-Aggregate Reaction) in Austin next week. I find myself making more and more presentations these days. This morning I was filling in for my adviser and taught cement chemistry and fresh properties to undergrads. Yesterday I presented some data to the lab group. And last week I was at the NRMCA Sustainability conference presenting. And I’m actually starting to enjoy it.
One of the things I feared most coming into this Ph.D. program was that I’d never be as comfortable teaching as those teachers that inspired me. But I can see myself moving towards that place of comfort. And it comes from getting comfortable with the material.
When I think about what I do, I think about the hours spent in the lab, or pouring over data, and cursing at Excel or Word. I don’t often think about how comfortable I’m getting with the science and engineering behind my work. But days like today, where I was explaining cement hydration to people who’d never heard the word before, I notice that I’ve learned a lot.
So advice I have to anyone that is having trouble presenting, just try to get more comfortable with what you’re talking about. Answer all of your own questions, and you’ll be ready to answer everyone else’s questions.
Concretius is Matthew P. Adams (Website)
Matthew P. Adams is a Graduate Research Assistant and the Kerneos Aluminate Technologies Graduate Fellow at Oregon State University, in Corvallis, OR. He received his B.S. in Civil Engineering from the University of New Hampshire in 2006, and his M.S. in Civil Engineering from Oregon State University in 2012. He is a registered EIT in the state of New Hampshire, and prior to his time at Oregon State University he worked as a structural engineer for a national civil engineering firm.
Matthew’s research interests include: sustainable and recycled construction materials, alternative cementitious systems, alkali-silica reaction, and early age properties. His master’s thesis focused on the alkali-silica reactivity (ASR) of recycled concrete aggregates, and mitigation of expansions due to that ASR. His masters dissertation can be found here. His Ph.D. research revolves around early-age properties of calcium aluminate and calcium sulfoaluminate cement systems. He is also involved in projects studying the performance of alternative cementitious systems including high-volume fly ash concrete, and alkali-activated fly ash concrete.
Matthew is an involved member of the American Concrete Institute (ACI). In 2011, he became the chair of the Young Professional Activities Committee, and has lead that group to developing a new essay contest for young professionals to showcase their talents on a national stage. More information on the contest will be posted in Fall 2012 on the ACI website, www.concrete.org. He’s also member of the Student and Young Professionals Activities Board Committee, which oversees all student and young member activities at ACI. Additionally, he’s an active associate member of the Recycled Materials in Concrete Committee (ACI 555).