Concrete producers are very conservative, especially when it comes to adopting new concrete mix design theory. With concrete expected to have a service life of more than 50 years, no producer, specifying engineer, or building owner can afford to include an unproven element in the mix.
Thus, the length of time from the inception of a potential innovation to product acceptance in all applicable codes can take as long as a decade. Usually, a constraint to new product acceptance is the lead time required to provide supporting documentation of the product's performance.
A few years ago, many industry observers had concerns that contractor and engineer acceptance of self-consolidating concrete (SCC) would suffer from decades of delay. But thanks to a group of very focused researchers who have worked hard with industry practitioners, SCC is moving rapidly from labcrete to a valued-added product. SCC has become one of our industry's prime examples of concrete's ability to be a performance product.
Dr. Kamal Khayat is a member of this group of researchers who are helping the construction industry accept SCC. Currently on the faculty at the Université de Sherbrooke, Quebec, Khayat's selection as an Industry Influencer is not based on his talent as an educator or researcher. He has influenced SCC's growth by partnering with resources from around the globe.
Khayat has performed material research and has lectured on this topic all over North American and Europe. This international background has been important in uniting the North American and European design and testing approaches to this complex material. His efforts have hastened SCC acceptance on both continents.
A Fellow of the American Concrete Institute, Khayat serves on numerous committees, including Silica Fume in Concrete 234, Material Science of Concrete 236, Self-Consolidating Concrete 237, Workability of Fresh Concrete 238, Structural Concrete Building Code 318, and Cementitious Grouting 552. He, his staff, and students have been influential in helping to forge the way for new SCC test methods at ASTM.
So it was no surprise to the concrete industry that when it needed research to determine whether SCC could be used safely in vertical formwork, and thus in compliance with construction codes, the Strategic Development Council asked Khayat to serve as principal investigator. He coordinated research across North America and produced thorough documents in a timely manner. His team's efforts have resulted in documentation that removed the constraint of SCC on commercial construction.
Khayat continues to help influence SCC's growth and acceptance. In September 2010, he and his team at The Université de Sherbrooke, in collaboration with RILEM and the Advanced Center for Cement Based Materials, will host the combined Fourth North American Conference on the Design and Use of Self-Consolidating Concrete and the Sixth International RILEM Symposium on Self-Compacting Concrete. The event, known as SCC 2010, will feature more than 100 papers and presentations on this topic. To learn more about the conference, visit www.scc2010.org.