This September, the Precast/Prestressed Concrete Institute (PCI) will hold its annual convention in Maryland, celebrating six decades of developing standards and methods for designing, fabricating, and constructing concrete structures.
The University of Missouri, located in Kansas City, boasts the country’s first terra cotta-clad insulated composite precast concrete panels assembly.
Before this installation, terra cotta had been clad into non-insulated panels in a few projects. At the Henry W. Bloch Executive Hall for Entrepreneurship and Innovation, however, terra cotta tile was clad onto 1783 m2 (19,200 sf) of 3.6-m (12-ft) wide insulated composite precast concrete sandwich panels.
Ultra-high performance concrete (UHPC) provides strength, ductility, durability, and aesthetic design flexibility while still being highly moldable and able to replicate texture, form, and shape. It is this combination of superior properties that also provides architects and engineers with a new kind of freedom—to design unique, unprecedented UHPC architectural elements that are also sustainable and extremely durable.
G8WAY DC is a new open-air, multi-use facility that demonstrates that precast ultra-high performance concrete (UHPC) is a suitable material choice for challenging architectural elements that require attributes ranging from light weight and imperviousness to complex shapes. Providing shelter below and a large, landscaped seating area above, the pavilion’s sculpture-like UHPC roof transcends this utilitarian facility into an artistic statement.
Recently, concrete contractors have started using a colloidal silica-based compound as a finishing (or ‘troweling’) aid for flatwork. It makes the surface denser, and increases the quality of cement paste. Additives in the compound help the surface slow evaporation though hydrophobic properties, protecting the concrete from a range of moisture loss-related defects. It also makes it unnecessary for contractors to add water to finish the concrete. The result has implications for buildings, pavements, roadways, bridges, and even precast structural and architectural concrete.