Leaders of cement and concrete industry organizations from 11 countries and U.S. regions met with researchers from the MIT Concrete Sustainability Hub (CSHub) to discuss cement and sustainability research and collaborate on opportunities to advance further research.
The Portland Cement Association (PCA) organized the global meeting, and along with the Ready Mixed Concrete Research and Education Foundation, provides funding to the CSHub. With attendees hailing from Belgium, Columbia, Germany, Switzerland, the Netherlands, Australia, South Africa, China, India and Canada, along with U.S. regions, the meeting represented a widening of the circle of leaders worldwide who can contribute to future research breakthroughs.
“We see the MIT CSHub as a hub of knowledge – a forum where the brightest minds from the academic world and private industry can connect to plan and conduct important industry research,” said PCA President and CEO James G. Toscas. “This meeting was about inviting ideas and creating new connections on the international scale.”
The meeting gave the industry leaders an opportunity to present information about sustainability trends in their regions and countries, to learn about current work at the CSHub, and to see where there might be opportunities for cooperation.
Among the current projects discussed was one in which the CSHub has teamed up with researchers at Oregon State University (OSU) and the University of New Brunswick (UNB), Canada, to gain scientific understanding to improve the durability of concrete, including potential means to mitigate freeze-thaw and alkali-silica reaction (ASR). MIT is providing atomic and meso-scale modeling expertise and applications for the durability project, while OSU and UNB are contributing micro- and material macro-scale empirical expertise.
Jeremy Gregory, CSHub executive director and research scientist in the MIT Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering told attendees, “The interesting thing about the collaboration with OSU and UNB is that it was facilitated by our industry partners. Our partners knew that we had certain pieces to this puzzle and that the researchers at these other schools had some important pieces as well.”
Toscas concluded, “As vocal advocates for sustainability, cement manufacturers are acutely aware of the role that concrete has had – and will continue to have – in building a resilient, sustainable world. We believe that the connections made during this meeting will result in research partnerships and revolutionary ideas that lead to even more durable and sustainable homes, buildings, and infrastructure across the globe.”