Governor Haley Barbour to Keynote 2016 Spring Congress

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PCA’s keynote speaker for the PCA Spring Congress in Chicago next month is Haley Barbour, former governor of Mississippi, former chairman of the Republican Governor’s Association, and twice head of the Republican National Committee.

Governor Barbour's remarks will reflect on the challenges posed by Hurricane Katrina and the Gulf Oil Spill, and the responses of systems, infrastructure, and people to those challenges, both immediate and long term. 

In the wake of Katrina, Barbour created the Governor’s Commission on Recovery, Rebuilding, and Renewal to develop opportunities for South Mississippi to rebuild bigger and better than ever. Barbour also effectively managed $24 billion in federal funding received after Katrina for housing, infrastructure, and a wide variety of other recovery work.

Please plan to attend a lunch on Monday, March 14, to welcome Governor Barbour and gain some insights into leadership, resilience, rebuilding, and perhaps a few "unofficial" comments on the American political scene.

For more information on PCA’s Spring Congress and centennial events, visit PCA’s web site.

Contact Jan Farnsworth


Congressional Briefing Focuses on Resilient Construction

Congressional_Briefing_0216_framedThe Portland Cement Association, Concrete Reinforcing Steel Institute, National Concrete Masonry Association and National Ready Mixed Concrete Association (NRMCA) held a Senate briefing titled, “Mitigating the Rising Costs of Natural Disasters,” on February 9. The briefing focused on resilient construction and drew over 55 congressional staff and industry leaders. A panel of speakers addressed the rising human, environmental, and economic costs of natural disasters throughout the United States. The presenters highlighted the important role resilient construction plays in reducing natural disaster recovery costs. They further addressed mitigation strategies and how the federal government can help reduce costs related to weather-related events.

PCA continues to incorporate resiliency concepts into appropriate legislation and educate legislators and regulators on these issues. Steve Szoke, PCA senior director of codes, moderated the briefing. Panelists included Cary Cohrs, American Cement Company president, Tom Chizmadia, Lehigh Hanson senior vice president of public relations and sustainability, Tim Ryan, City of Overland Park CBO, code administrator, Truland Homes President Tom Stokes, Leslie Chapman-Henderson, Federal Alliance for Safe Homes, Inc. President and CEO, and Lionel Lemay, NRMCA senior vice president of structure and sustainability.

Industry News

Insights into Cement Paste Structure

Cement molecule_framedNew findings on the structure of hydrated cement paste at the molecular level may guide development to make concrete even more durable and less CO2 intensive. The key component to hydrated cement’s structure is known as C-S-H – calcium silicate hydrate – but the question as to whether C-S-H was, at its heart, or at the nanoscale level, a continuous material or an aggregated material has remained open. Researchers at the MIT Concrete Sustainability Hub now say they believe cement is at its most fundamental an aggregated material. They obtained measurable results of the cement nanoscale structure through physics-based modeling and validated those results with physical comparisons.

The results provide insight into how the nanostructure developed during the early stages of hydration persist throughout the life of C–S–H and impact the mechanical performance of the hardened cement paste. Unraveling such links between cement hydrates and performance can be groundbreaking and controlling them can be the key to smarter mix designs of cementitious materials.

Read the article

Read the report, “Mesoscale Texture of Cement Hydrates" 

Contact Anne Wilson Yu, MIT

Market Intelligence

Survey Shows Third Quarter Cement Consumption Increase

According to the recently released Q3 2015 Survey of Portland Cement Consumption by User Group, cement consumption grew 2.7 percent in the third quarter 2015 against the same period in 2014, with gains driven by the ready-mixed concrete segment. 

Besides ready-mixed concrete, which grew at a healthy seven percent, other segments exhibiting robust expansion include the pre-stressed concrete market (27 percent year-to-date) and the non-traditional paving markets of soil-cement (SC), roller-compacted concrete (RCC), and full-depth reclamation (FDR) (35 percent year-to-date). The fiber-cement siding and waste stabilization and solidification segments have also recorded double-digit growth and are poised to finish the year with sizable gains. 

Constraining further growth is the dramatic reduction in oil and gas well cement consumption, a reflection of the collapse in oil prices. The oil and gas well drilling segment fell another 34 percent in the third quarter 2015. According to PCA’s latest analysis, this segment will weight on growth in 2016 as well.

Contact Brian Schmidt


Spring 2016 Shapes Up as Busy Season for University Outreach

Novak and Students framedExposing future construction industry professionals to performance aspects of concrete construction makes them likely to use it in practice. Through the PCA University Outreach program, Lawrence Novak, PCA director of structural engineering, travels to universities this spring to speak to students and faculty about concrete design and construction. Novak’s lively and informative presentation touches on the history of concrete construction, codes, concrete buildings, and MIT CS Hub research. He highlights the sustainability of concrete structures and the importance of resilience in design. PCA services and publications are detailed, ensuring that the students know what resources and support are available to them as practicing professionals in the construction industry. The schedule includes speaking engagements at: Auburn University, February 23; Illinois Institute of Technology, February 27; Penn State University, March 4; Oklahoma State University, March 10; Valparaiso University, March 22; ACI Spring Convention Student Luncheon, April 18, and University of Wisconsin, April 22.

Contact Lawrence Novak


New Design and Control of Concrete Mixtures Course Reflects Latest Technology

Design and Control 2_framedSpring’s Design and Control of Concrete Mixtures course reflects the latest advances in concrete technology. The newly updated PCA Design and Control of Concrete Mixtures is the foundation for the concrete industry course offered May 2-5 on the PCA Skokie, Illinois campus. Topics covered will include materials, properties of concrete, mix design, placement, and testing. The latest in industry standards will be discussed throughout the program. The course is especially useful for concrete industry personnel who need fundamental yet practical concrete knowledge and combines classroom instruction, lab demonstrations, and hands-on training to help employees meet customer needs.

For more information, go to the PCA website

Contact Michelle Wilson

Industry News

Register for the April National Concrete Consortium (NCC) Meetings

National Concrete Consortium logo_framedMaterials engineers from 26 state Departments of Transportation and industry representatives from around the U.S. join April 26-28 at the TTCC-National Concrete Consortium meetings in Columbus, Ohio. Performance engineered mixes, high performance concrete, shotcrete, and internal curing for bridges are among current topics under discussion. The consortium offers attendees an opportunity to network with industry colleagues and government decision makers on topics of mutual interest. Included is a technical tour of a high-level bridge replacement project on I-71 between Columbus and Cincinnati. The $88.1 million project replaces existing truss deck bridges concrete-cast-in-place segmental box structure using the balanced cantilever method of construction. Also, an optional visit is planned to Bellefontaine whose 125-year-old concrete pavement is recognized as the first in the United States.

Registration information

Contact Steve Kosmatka