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Concrete Laboratories Assessment Summary Report

DATE: July 25 - 28, 2005
PANEL CHAIRMAN: Cecil Jones, P.E.
State Materials Engineer
North Carolina DOT

EXPERT/PEER REVIEW PANEL MEMBERS:

Neal s. Berke, PhD
Research & Development Fellow
W. R. Grace & Co
Ken Hover, PhD
Professor
Cornell University
James S. Pierce
Supervisory Hydraulic Engineer
Bureau of Reclamation
Billy Connor, P.E.
Director
University of Alaska Fairbanks

Facilitator:

Barbara Harder
Principal
B. T. Harder, Inc

Overview of Concrete Laboratories

Richard Meininger Concrete Lab Manager 202-493-3191 Richard.Meininger@fhwa.dot.gov

PURPOSE

The Concrete Laboratories provide support in the following areas: Investigating the properties and performance of Portland Cement Concrete (PCC) and its component materials (cement, aggregate, admixtures, etc.); evaluating and developing new or improved equipment and procedures for assessing properties and performance of PCC, and practices for materials selection, mixture proportioning, and construction of PCC; mixing, casting, and testing of PCC test specimens in support of other researchers at the Turner-Fairbank Highway Research Center (TFHRC); specialized testing and forensic investigations on PCC to assist State DOTs in research and troubleshooting problems with existing pavements and structures.

DESCRIPTION

The Concrete Laboratories consist of several laboratories that are equipped with standard laboratory equipment (ovens, scales, etc.), as well as specialized equipment for concrete testing. The laboratories function as a unit to provide facilities for research on PCC and its constituent materials.

  • The Aggregate and Sample Preparation Laboratory provides facilities for the preparation of aggregate samples for concrete and the preparation of hardened cement paste, mortar, or concrete specimens for testing and analysis. Equipment includes two rock crushers, a pulverizer, a vibrating screen, a Gilson TestMaster, standard sieves, a Videograder (for automated sizing and shape analysis of aggregate), two water-cooled saws, lapping wheels, a lathe for profile grinding, and a muffle furnace.

  • The Concrete Curing/Maturity Laboratory provides facilities for curing of concrete specimens under standard or other controlled conditions and assessment of curing-related properties, such as degree of hydration, maturity, and shrinkage. Equipment includes three heated curing tanks, two walk-in environmental chambers (2.4-m [8 ft by 8 ft]), and a 189.3-l (50-gallon) water bath.

  • The Concrete Durability Laboratory provides facilities for investigating the effects of chemical and environmental exposure on concrete. The laboratory is equipped to assess alkali-aggregate reaction; sulfate attack; chloride penetration; freezing, thawing, and thermal effects. Equipment includes an automated freeze-thaw, chamber with the capacity for 60 specimens, thermal coefficient test frames (developed in-house) and bath, and computer-controlled chloride penetration test equipment.
  • The Mechanical Properties Laboratory provides facilities for testing the mechanical properties of concrete, steel, and composites. Equipment includes three servo-controlled universal testing machines with capacities ranging from 267 KN to 1,780 KN (60,000 lbs. to 400,000 lbs.), a 4,448 KN (1,000,000-lb.) compression testing machine, a compressometer/extensometer, and four creep frames.

  • The Plastic Concrete Laboratory provides facilities for batching and mixing cement paste, mortar, and concrete; and for performing tests on fresh (plastic) cement paste, mortar, and concrete. Two drum mixers and a two-cubic-foot pan mixer is available for mixing.

  • The Petrographic Laboratory provides facilities for preparing for and conducting petrographic and microscopic investigations of aggregate, PCC, and asphalt concrete. Equipment includes several types of microscopes (including an epi-fluorescent polarizing microscope), a semi-automated air void analysis system, image analysis hardware/ software, and thin-section preparation equipment.

Key Strengths and Observations

  • Tom Harman, Rick Meininger recognize needs
  • Exciting, relevant directions per CP Roadmap
  • Key Leadership
    • Expertise
    • Believes in, and is committed to vision
    • Committed to building a strong team
    • Customer service orientation
  • ALL Staff
    • Conscientious
    • Motivated people, willing to take on any project
    • Well qualified, breadth and depth of expertise
  • Movement towards AASHTO Accreditation Program

Recognition that you are approaching the threshold of the “Lab of the Future”

Key Recommendations and Status of Current Activities

  1. Panel Recommendation: Implement CP Mix Design Research track and provide leadership in data analysis and availability to all.
    Action to be taken: CP mix Leadership in managing data from the Mixture Design Research track collaboration – manage data and resources such as: LIMS, references, papers, State SPR reports and a pooled-fund studies, RIP entries, and publications.
    Status as of 10/18/05: FHWA CP Roadmap Publication, collaboration with concrete materials committees and leaders, and meetings to plan Mix Design Track. March ’06, Target Completion Date.
    Status as of 04/21/06: The concept of TFHRC taking a leadership or secretariat position in the new CP Road Map Mixture Design and Analysis Research Track [CP Mix, HIPER-Mix] has been vetted to the National CP Tech Center and to other groups. HCC Labs are collecting Data and Publications for Mix Procedures and Optimization Methods. FY ‘06 – Target Completion Date
    Status as of 10/19/06: Data management under the CP Mixture and Analysis Track will be provided through the TFHRC Concrete Laboratories (Richard Meininger, Laboratory Manager) in cooperation with the concrete pavement research database functions under the new Concrete Pavement (CP) Roadmap Administrative Support Contract (COTR Peter Kopac). 10/2006 Held CP Mix “STRATEGIC FORUM FOR MIX DESIGN AND ANALYSIS” at TFHRC. Target Completion Date - Completed
  2. Panel Recommendation: Limited awareness of recent research; more visibility, involvement, and accessibility for customers/partners; utilize/publicize literature search capabilities.
    Action to be taken: Information Brokering and Customer Access and Communication – Reinforce existing channels and establish new communication links to research partners, customers, peer reviewers, and to others needing and sharing information and data about concrete. Partner with HIPT, structures, advanced Research, NIST, PCA, ACPA, FAA, NRMCA, VTRC and the MN DOT and DOT Libraries to specifically have available the best references and resources pertaining to concrete.
    Status as of 10/18/05: – Policy Coordination, January ’06, Target Completion Date.
    Status as of 04/21/06: Library Services now available at TFHRC to reference and communicate the latest research. Ongoing relations with AASHTO, ACPA, CP Tech Center, Pooled Fund, ISCP, ASTM, ACI, TRB. Plan to join NIST VCCTL Consortium to collaborate on models for hydration reactions and aggregate structure in HCC for CP. Participated in AASHTO TIG and MoDOT Study on Air Voids in concrete. Need to add literature search capability in materials area, and to establish a CP Mix Literature and database. FY ‘06 – Target Completion Date.
    Status as of 10/19/06: Library Services now available at TFHRC to reference and communicate the latest published research. Ongoing relations with AASHTO, ACPA, CP TECH CENTER, Pooled Fund, ISCP, ASTM, ACI, TRB. Plan to join NIST VCCTL Consortium to collaborate on models for hydration reactions and aggregate structure, with emphasis on Concrete Paving. Some of the Research tracking activities will be carried out through the CP Road Map Administrative Support Contract. Target Completion Date – Completed

  3. Panel Recommendation: Move toward AASHTO accreditation and provide the needed equipment and training to approach the “Lab of the Future”.
    Action to be taken: AASHTO Accreditation – Equipment quality, calibration of equipment, Labs QC/QA manual, SOPs, Practice, CCRL/AMRL inspection and reference sample programs. CP Mix and Detailed Lab Plans-Plan equipment and facilities needed for CP Mix, Structures, and forensics work and plan phasing, funding, and acquisition.
    Status as of 10/18/05: - Calibrated Equipment and Draft QC/AQ Manual; Participate in AMRL Concrete Reference Program; CCRL Inspection 12/2005. Detailed Lab Plans; Policy & Coordination. March ’06, Target Completion Date
    Status as of 04/21/06: Submitting request for inspection of HCC Labs concrete and aggregate testing by CCRL and submitting request for AASHTO accreditation as a concrete and aggregate laboratory. Participated in the CCRL Concrete Reference Mixture Program. Oct ’06, Target Completion Date.
    Status as of 10/19/06: Calibrated Equipment and Prepared QC/QA Manual; CCRL Inspection and AASHTO accreditation inspection as a concrete and aggregate laboratory has been requested. Participate in the CCRL Concrete Reference Mixture Program. New sieves and glassware have been obtained in anticipation of the CCRL and AMRL inspections. Review & Update Capital Improvement Plan. February ‘07, Target Completion Date.
    Status as of 4/19/07: Almost completed – CCRL Inspection Completed 2/2007 and 3/2007 all deficiencies reported by CCRL have been addressed. 4/2007 all documentation will be sent to AASHTO for Accreditation and the Capital Improvement Plan will be reviewed in light of the completed AASHTO Accreditation.06/30/2007 (for AMRL to Complete AASHTO Paperwork) – Target Completion Date

  4. Panel Recommendation: Maintenance plans & contracts; replace old equipment; funding stability for upkeep and improvement of labs; look for collaboration in funding for equipment.
    Action to be taken: Maintenance, Calibration and Innovative Contracting – Keeping equipment working properly and innovative contracting to maintain or replace equipment on a timely basis. Consider alternatives to provide funding stability for upkeep and improvement of labs; look for collaboration in funding and gaining access to equipment.
    Status as of 10/18/05: Policy Coordination, March ’06, Target Completion Date.
    Status as of 04/21/06: Lab capital improvements are being made. Equipment and computer data collection is being upgraded and calibrated. Submitting requests for new equipment as capital improvement (Saw, Sieves, Gilson CTE). Received other automated CTE devices under FHWA contract. Equipment and AASHTO Test is being evaluated. FY ‘06 – Target Completion Date.
    Status as of 10/19/06: New Equipment added (CTE, Freeze-Thaw, Concrete Saw, Sieves, Micro-Deval, and AIMS Aggregate Shape). Review/Update Concrete Lab Maintenance Procedures and Capital Improvement Plan at start of new concrete support contract. Dec ‘06 – Target Completion Date.
    Status as of 4/19/07: Urgent equipment needs addressed; continue to update equipment as needed. Some Concrete Laboratory capital improvements have been made. New equipment added (CTE, Freeze-Thaw, Concrete Saw, Sieves, Micro-Deval, and AIMS Aggregate Shape). Concrete Lab Maintenance Procedures and Capital Improvement Plan will be reviewed in light of the completed AASHTO Accreditation. Target Completion Date - Completed

  5. Panel Recommendation: Policy needed on the mix of service vs. research, pavement vs. structures. Budget / funding process not clear.
    Action to be taken: Service vs. Research and Pavement vs. Structures and Conventional vs. Advanced Research – Through peer review in TFHRC and collaboration with concrete customers take lead in developing policy to sustain a healthy balance and develop and explain sustainable plan for funding of the concrete laboratories.
    Status as of 10/18/05: Policy Coordination, Feb ’06, Target Completion Date.
    Status as of 04/21/06: Lab capital improvement funding allocated and funding for contract support staff and supplies is available. An on-going discussion and tracking is needed to develop policy on Service vs. Research and Pavement vs. Structures and Conventional vs. Advanced Research. Contract some services. FY ‘06 – Target Completion Date.
    Status as of 10/19/06: Through CP Road Map Activities working with partners to collaborate on research and funding. Able to draw some FHWA research funding, and the prospect exists for a pooled-fund help with some CP Mix activities. We cooperate and help as time allows with other labs at TFHRC and with the Divisions and State DOTs. Lab capital improvements made or planned. Funding for contract support available. Target Completion Date – Completed

  6. Panel Recommendation: Plan staffing for research continuity; find innovative contracting methods to meet long-term research need; transition loss of experienced personnel.
    Action to be taken: Innovative Contracting – Find ways to contract for qualified and motivated support staff in the concrete laboratories and research program, contract(s) of sufficient duration and/or that provide quality services in transition of personnel or management. Staff involved in experiment design and data evaluation.
    Status as of 10/18/05: Policy, Coordination; Regular Lab Staff meetings and Participation in Planning. March ’06, Target Completion Date.
    Status as of 04/21/06: Lab contracting for services will continue as before through an FHWA 8a set-aside contract. Regular staff involvement in research planning, proper operation of equipment, conduct of testing procedures, and materials and data logging and recording procedures. Completed.
    Status as of 4/19/07: Our Support contract ends next month (11/2006), and awarding of the new FHWA 8a set-aside contract is expected then. With the start of new contract, plan regular staff involvement in research planning, proper operation of equipment, conduct of testing procedures, and materials and data logging and recording procedures in accordance with SOPs and the Lab QA/AC Manual. Completed.

  7. Panel Recommendation: Training for skill levels and equipment available for the safe operation of the labs. Evaluate risk from aging equipment and facilities.
    Action to be taken: Safety, Chemical Hygiene – Excellence in safety and chemical hygiene. Evaluate current safety measures and provide training and equipment to upgrade as required.
    Status as of 10/18/05: Training Held; Monthly Sessions; Identify Chemicals and Assure MSDS On-Site; Proper Disposal if Needed. Assure MSDS sheets available. Dec ’05, Target Completion Date.
    Status as of 04/21/06: Safety and chemical hygiene are ongoing objectives for the laboratory and staff. On-going – Target Completion Date.
    Status as of 10/19/06: We have obtained new safety and first aid equipment, and with the start of the new contract will develop written safety policy for Concrete Labs and hold training to emphasize safety for old & new equipment and repairs. As a policy: safety will be included in concrete lab staff meetings; chemicals will be identified; and we will assure on-site MSDS. Dec ‘06 – Target Completion Date.

  8. Panel Recommendation: Support has CP Roadmap concept and calls for clarification to staff at all levels and communication about their rolls. Look for partners for collaboration and cost sharing.
    Action to be taken: Focus Area, CP Roadmap (Noted as a strength; it provides “exciting, relevant directions…”) Proceed to participate, and to clarify, and communicate the CP Roadmap to staff at all levels, and also communicate and clarify the CP Roadmap to stakeholders / customers.
    Status as of 10/18/05: Ongoing – CP Roadmap Publications and Meetings (1/2006); support contract for CP Roadmap; establish Executive Advisory committee; plans for open CP Mix meeting.
    Status as of 04/21/06: Four CP Roadmap Publications, booth at TRB, RFP for Support Contract has been issued for the Advisory Executive Committee and the Administrative Support. On-going, Target Completion Date FY 06.
    Status as of 10/18/05: CP Roadmap Publications and Meetings; support contract for CP Road Map in place. We have communicated the CP Mix track in a number of ways and reported both within and outside FHWA, and are working with our partners to move research activities forward. New concrete lab support contract includes the CP research vision. Target Completion Date – Completed

  9. Panel Recommendation: Implement Mix Design Track (CP Mix); leadership with stakeholders / customers. Detail lab program and plans.
    Action to be taken: Focus Area, CP Mix & Leadership (Noted strength – approaching threshold of the “Lab of the Future”); implement the Mix Design Research Track under the CP Roadmap, take the lead, coordinate with stakeholders, and prepare detailed plans concerning staff, equipment, and facilities needed. Develop ownership by CP Mix group, including many outside FHWA.
    Status as of 10/18/05: FHWA CP Roadmap Publication, collaboration with concrete materials committees and leaders, and meeting to plan Mix Design Track (2/2006).
    Status as of 04/21/06: Harman, Meininger, Kopac and Richter have attended committees and given presentations on CP Roadmap and concrete mixture research to come. Included are AASHTO, ACPA, CP Tech Center, Ternary Blending Pooled Fund, ISCP, ASTM, ACI, and TRB. A CP Mix workshop with potential research partners and customers is planned this FY to discuss needs and long range vision for the materials combinations and analysis tools for paving mixtures. This will help provided the market research and status of the technology needed as a platform for planning new research projects. On-going, Target Completion Date FY 06.
    Status as of 10/19/06: Held CP Mix “STRATEGIC FORUM FOR MIX DESIGN AND ANALYSIS” at TFHRC as a first big step in implementing the CP concrete mixture and analysis research track. Richter, Kopac, Meininger have attended committees and given presentations on CP Roadmap and concrete mixture research. CP Road Map support contract is mechanism for FHWA to provide leadership at the CP Mix level and in other areas. Target Completion Date – Completed

  10. Panel Recommendation: Possible confusion in multiple uses of “Roadmap” – dissemination, understanding, and buy-in at different levels unclear.
    Action to be taken: Clarify research Roadmaps – Differentiate FHWA Pavement Roadmap vs. National CP Roadmap and communicate for coordinate so that staff, partners, and stakeholders understand the vision and their role in the research as it is organized and moves forward.
    Status as of 10/18/05: Policy, Coordination, Article, Tech-Brief etc. March ’06, Target Completion Date.
    Status as of 04/21/06: We continue to use the "roadmap" term for different purposes. Through CP Road Map Publications, the booth at TRB, and presentations we plan to help "brand" the CP Road Map concept and the Mixture Design and Analysis Research Track as one of its most important parts. Completed

  11. Panel Recommendation: Policy needed on the mix of service vs. research, pavement vs. structures. Budget / funding process not clear.
    Action to be taken: Service vs. Research and Pavement vs. Structures and Conventional vs. Advanced Research – Through peer review in TFHRC and collaboration with concrete customers take lead in developing policy to sustain a healthy balance and assure funding stability to support needed resources.
    Status as of 10/18/05: – Policy Coordination, Feb ’06, Target Completion Date.
    Status as of 04/21/06: An on-going discussion and tracking is needed to develop policy on Service vs. Research and Pavement vs. Structures and Conventional vs. Advanced Research. FY ‘06 – Target Completion Date

  12. Panel Recommendation: Establish peer-review process for research / reports including outside experts; publish in journals; advanced, cutting-edge topics; visibility as TFHRC; interagency cooperation.
    Action to be taken: Interagency Cooperation and Peer Review – DOT (FHWA, FRA, FAA, FTA, RITA) Other Federal (COE, Navy, AF, BuRec, NIST) States, AASHTO, ASTM, ACI, TRB, NCHRP Private Sector, ACPA, PCA, NRMCA Use CP Mix collaboration and leadership to establish cooperation with all concrete paving agencies to gain their insight and cooperation. Use of peer view opportunities to improve research and it’s reporting.
    Status as of 10/18/05: Policy, Coordination; Meininger talked with the FAA about Concrete Paving Research, Mixture Design, and Specification Review they have Underway and the FAA is interested in Coordination and Sharing of Data and Information. Feb ’06, Target Completion Date.
    Status as of 04/21/06: We have involved the FAA in a few or our meetings, talked with the Bureau of Reclamation, and plan to coordinate with NIST on their VCCTL. We meet regularly with HIPT and work closely with the MCL. An ASR workshop planned by HIPT in June will give an opportunity to coordinate with ASR researchers from the Navy, DOD, and Canada concerning their mixture design issues for CP. Dec ’06, Target Completion Date Developing.
    Status as of 10/19/06: Consider Coordination through TRB and/or the CP Roadmap Advisory Structure, and developing a scientific-based peer review procedure at the TFHRC level. Editing is thorough, but is really not a peer-review. We need to set up peer-review activities similar to other concrete research organizations—such as other CP Road Map partners, NIST, FAA, AASHTO & ACI Committees, various ETCs on some of our research programs, etc. Dec ’06, Target Completion Date.
    Status as of 04/17/07: A cross-cutting Pavement Technology committee has been established through TRB, and stakeholder groups have been established at both the Executive level and track level for the CP Roadmap and mix design track, respectively. Establishment of TFHRC-wide peer-review processes is on the agenda for the TFHRC R&D Coordinating Group. No lab specific action required.

  13. Panel Recommendation: Leadership and visibility important; benchmark TFHRC standing, research, facilities against other international and national labs.
    Action to be taken: Benchmark concrete Laboratories and Broker information - Through benchmarking and collaboration with other major concrete laboratories, both nationally and internationally, improve the standing and reputation of the concrete laboratories at TFHRC and compare programs, procedures and facilities with the objective of – collaborating with the best.
    Status as of 10/18/05: Policy, Coordination. March ’06, Target Completion Date.
    Status as of 04/21/06: The HCC Labs are cooperating in OECD work on premium pavement surfaces. Participated in OECD concrete TG meeting at TFHRC, provided follow-up technical information, and will evaluate the materials here. Evaluating a French aggregate grading model, and plan to participate in the international NIST Consortium. We have submitted papers to the peer review process for conferences and technical society publications and conduct frequent tours of the HCC Labs. April ’07, Target Completion Date.
    Status as of 10/19/06: Able to visit other US concrete labs, but have not attended overseas meetings or visited labs there, except by Youtcheff and presentations by contractor personnel. We are cooperating in OECD work on premium pavement surfaces. Participated in OECD meeting at TFHRC, provided follow-up technical information, and will evaluate the materials here. We have submitted papers to the peer review process for conferences and technical society publications, and conduct frequent tours of the Concrete Labs. April ’07, Target Completion Date

All Key Recommendations and Activities were completed April 14, 2007.

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