A Conversation with Joshua Sletten, Bridge Management Engineer with Utah DOT

Josh-and-Panama-Ninos
Joshua with the kids of Panama

Author: Lorella Angelini, Angelini Consulting Services, LLC

Some time ago I published a post about the initiative taken by Joshua Sletten, Utah DOT, who traveled to Lura, Panama to help build a pedestrian suspension bridge with the “Bridges to Prosperity” organization.

I met Joshua at the recent AASHTO Subcommittee on Bridges and Structures (SCOBS) annual meeting in Minneapolis, MN, where I live. Joshua, an expert on bridge preservation, sits on the AASHTO SCOBS technical committee T-9 “Bridge Preservation” that is chaired by Bruce Johnson with Oregon DOT.

I had a brief conversation with Joshua about his experience in Panama.

Was the goal accomplished? Did the construction of the suspended pedestrian bridge in Panama go as planned? 

Yes, the goal was fully accomplished. We actually completed the bridge a little faster than we had scheduled.  We had planned to complete the project in 12 days, and we finished after 8. We also finished under budget. I think everybody was pretty happy with it.

We worked well together as a team. We brought in local community members that helped us build the entire bridge. We had translators to help with language differences. Everybody played their part well.

At-Work

What was your role in the project?

I was the logistic manager, in charge of getting everybody to the bridge at the scheduled time. I also managed transportation, arranging meals and lodging in Panama City.

 What stands out in your memory about this experience?

The biggest thing for me was connecting with people, the volunteers that traveled to Lura, Panama to help build the bridge and the local community. I also had a great time playing with the local children. After work, we played kickball, softball and football. I even taught the kids how to throw a Frisbee.

I will surely remember the inauguration day, when we played music during a traditional jam.

The other big thing that stands out to me is having been able to build a bridge that was desperately needed by the community. The bridge will serve the community for generations to come. This is what makes me proud to be an engineer. I am definitively going to remember this.

Helping-Hand

Would you recommend this experience to other engineers?

I learned a lot from this experience. I arrived to the bridge location, deep in the Panamanian jungle, got unplugged from all the technology and started working with a team that was motivated and like-minded to build a 150 ft. long suspension bridge  in a short amount of time.

It was a memorable, once in a lifetime experience that I highly recommend to anyone.

Obviously, one has to overcome some challenges, like staying in a tent, doing hard work and labor with your hands, and not being afraid of sun exposure or getting attacked by mosquitoes.

How long did you stay in Panama?

I was there for two weeks. When I got there the local community had already completed the foundation. The entire bridge, from inception to inauguration, took approximately three months to build.

Will there be any preservation activity for the bridge that you helped build?

We spoke at length with the local people, who are very proud of the bridge, about the importance of proper bridge maintenance.  We wanted to reinforce the concept that in order to keep the bridge in a state they can be proud of for years to come, it has to be well maintained. We talked to them about how to replace the planks when they begin to wear out. We showed them how to maintain or replace other critical elements of the bridge.

Lura-Panama---Suspension-Bridge-Construction-Team

 

The ECC Bendable Concrete

Author: Lorella Angelini, Angelini Consulting Services, LLClorella

Recently, CNN aired a report about America’s crumbling infrastructures. One of the topics was the so-called “bendable concrete” that was presented as an innovative solution that could extend the service life of US bridges.

Bendable concrete, officially called Engineering Cement Composite (ECC), has been developed over the last 10 years by Prof Victor Li, Civil and Environmental Engineer at Michigan University, Ann Arbor, MI. ECC is designed to overcome the inherent brittleness of concrete by having high tensile ductility and the ability to self-heal tight cracks. Its ductility allows constructing safer concrete structures that bend under extreme loads but do not break.  Crack control and self-healing provide higher concrete durability in a variety of environmental conditions.

ECC has been applied in Japan for a bridge deck that it is expected to last 100 years despite severe cold weather environmental conditions and limited thickness (2 inch) of the slab. The properties of ECC concrete allow structural elements to be designed with reduced dimensions and thus can provide significant cost savings to the owners by offsetting current ECC cost by volume, which is approximately 3 times higher than ordinary concrete.

ECC was also used for bridge deck construction in Michigan on Interstate 94. The application has been closely monitored by the University of Michigan and the Michigan Department of Transportation.

In 2015 ECC won the prestigious Construction Industry Council (CIC) Innovation Award with ECC.  CIC, which is based in Hong Kong, promotes sustainable innovation for the construction industry.

 

LINKAGE:

Read CNN news article: ”America’s infrastructure: Beams disintegrating under bridges”

http://www.cnn.com/2016/05/25/politics/infrastructure-roads-bridges-airports-railroads/

 

Watch ECC bendable concrete’s videos:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FW3U3-7Qr_I

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dHGrAVS6UUQ

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TUxXzjzan5k

 

Participate in LinkedIn discussion about “bendable concrete”

www.linkedin.com/hp/update/6143804673406042112

 

Participate in Twitter discussion about America’s crumbling infrastructures

https://twitter.com/cnnpolitics/status/735574215210979328

 

Read ECC Wiki page

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Engineered_cementitious_composite

 

Learn about CIC and its Innovation Award

http://cicinnovationaward2015.hkcic.org/en/home

 

Healer-Sealers for the Protection of Bridge Decks

lorellaAuthor: Lorella Angelini, Angelini Consulting Services, LLC

It is well-known that innovation represents one of the key elements for a successful bridge preservation strategy. An interesting innovation technology for bridge deck protection entails the so called healer-sealers. These are very low viscosity liquid-applied resins that penetrate by gravity into the hairline cracks and surface pores of concrete with the result of preventing infiltration of water and contamination by chlorides.

Different healer-sealer technologies are available, such as, Methyl Methacrylate (MMA), High Molecular Weight Methacrylate (HMWM ), epoxy and polyurethane. They all have in common an application method that consists in cleaning and opening the concrete surface, flooding it with the resin, and broadcasting aggregate (mainly sacrificial) before the resin starts setting. Performance properties vary between the different technologies as outlined in the snapshot information reported below. This information, which provides a general guideline about the technologies, is taken from technical data guides of a selection of brands that are present in the bridge preservation environment.

In comparison with other bridge deck protection solutions, healer-sealers are economical technologies both in terms of material and labor. This affordability should make it easy to apply healer-sealers over new decks. However, in the majority of cases, they are applied on an already contaminated deck after a few years following the completion of bridge deck construction, which in turn generally reduces their effectiveness.. For best performances, healer-sealers should also be re-applied periodically, on average every 5-10 years depending on the rate of of deck surface deterioration by traffic.

High Molecular Weight Methacrylate (HMWM)

  1. Viscosity: <25 cPs
  2. 100% solids
  3. Elongation: 5 – 30%
  4. Compressive strength: 3,000 – 8,000 psi
  5. Tensile strength:  500 – 1500 psi
  6. Aggregate should be placed within 15 – 20 minutes of resin application
  7. Application temperature (ambient):  50 – 100
  8. Traffic reopening:  4 – 8 hrs. after application (depending on ambient temperature)
  9. Flash Point > 200 °F

Methyl methacrylate (MMA)

  1. Viscosity: <5 – 10 cPs
  2. 100% solids
  3. Elongation: 4.5 – 5%
  4. Compressive strength: >12000 psi
  5. Tensile strength: > 8000 psi
  6. Aggregate should be placed within minutes of resin application
  7. Application temperature (ambient): 20 – 105 (with accelerator for low temperatures)
  8. Traffic reopening: 1 hr after application (depending on ambient temperature)
  9. Flash Point >50 °F

Very Low Viscosity Epoxy

  1. Viscosity: 100 cPs
  2. 100% solids
  3. Elongation: 10%
  4. Compressive strength: 8000 – 12000 psi
  5. Tensile strength: > 7000 psi
  6. Aggregate should be placed within 20 – 30 minutes of the resin application
  7. Application temperature (ambient): 40 – 90
  8. Traffic reopening: 6 hrs after application (depending on ambient temperature)
  9. Flash Point >200 °F

Ultra-Low Viscosity Epoxy

  1. Viscosity: 40 cPs
  2. 75% solids
  3. Elongation: 50%
  4. Tensile strength: 2500 psi
  5. Aggregate should be placed within 15 minutes of resin application
  6. Application temperature (ambient): > 50
  7. Traffic reopening: 4 hrs. after application (depending on ambient temperature)
  8. Flash Point:  > 100

Polyurethane / Polyurethane- hybrid

  1. Viscosity: 12-16 cPs
  2. Elongation: < 10%
  3. Compressive strength: 3000 psi
  4. Tensile strength: 4500 psi
  5. Aggregate should be placed immediately after resin application
  6. Traffic reopening: 10 – 90 minutes after application (depending on ambient temperature)
  7. Application temperature (ambient):  20 – 100
  8. Flash Point : >200°F

There a number of publications and research reports about healer-sealers. Some of them include a comparison with silane sealers.  A few links are reported below.

From Minnesota DOT:

http://www.dot.state.mn.us/research/TS/2014/201434.pdf

From Oregon DOT:

https://www.oregon.gov/ODOT/TD/TP_RES/docs/reports/2010/crack_sealer.pdf

From Colorado DOT:

https://www.codot.gov/programs/research/pdfs/2014/sealers.pdf/

From Kansas DOT:

http://ntl.bts.gov/data/letter_ak/KS-98-4.pdf

From Utah to Panama Following a Humanitarian Call

Author: Lorella Angelini, Angelini Consulting Services, LLC

Do engineers have a warm heart? Yes and a generous one!
Behind their notoriously serious face, engineers have a generous attitude, which responds to their social call. At the core of their work there is a dedication to servicing the communities by designing sound structures that are safe and last long, even in difficult environmental conditions.

A story that underlines engineers’ generous attitude is being written by Joshua Sletten, bridge management engineer with Utah DOT. Leaving temporarily aside his responsibility of managing bridges across the state, Joshua has taken the commitment of building a 150-foot suspension bridge in Luna, Panama, thus replacing the rickety, life-threatening bridge that is currently used by the local population.

Joshua will lead a 10-person volunteer team with “Bridges to Prosperity”. This non-profit organization based in Colorado has an inspiring mission, which entails providing isolated communities with access to essential health care, education and economic opportunities by building footbridges over impassable rivers.

LINKAGE
Information and a video about Joshua Sletten project in Panama can be seen here:
http://www.ksl.com/?sid=38846775&nid=148
Information about Bridges to Prosperity non-profit organization can be found here:
http://bridgestoprosperity.org/
https://www.facebook.com/BridgestoProsperity
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bridges_to_Prosperity

A Conversation with Jeff Pouliotte about Coating Steel Bridges

Jeff Pouliotte picAuthor: Lorella Angelini, Angelini Consulting Services, LLC
Coating steel bridges is a key technical topic with bridge preservation. It comes as no surprise that there are ten TSP2 Working Groups addressing the different aspects of this practice, from spot painting to surface preparation.

One of the experts in this field is Jeff Pouliotte, State’s Structure Maintenance Engineer with Florida DOT (FDOT). Jeff is the chair of TSP2 “National Bridge Preservation Coatings” Working Group.

Where does your interest for protective coatings for steel bridges come from?
Having worked for FDOT in design, construction and maintenance for many years, I realized that steel bridges often require repaint after as little as 12 years, while these applications should last 20-25 years. For this reason, bridge owners have to repaint their steel bridges many more times than they should have to over their service life. I also realized that there is ample room for improvement with this technology, for example, using high performance coating systems or weathering steel.

In Florida, as default systems, we have adopted the use of weathering steel for environmentally suitable locations and an inorganic zinc single-coat paint system for more severe environments. For aesthetically sensitive locations, we opted to retain a 3-coat inorganic paint system with a clear top coat for color retention and gloss.

How did you take the lead in the national effort to improve the practice of steel bridge coating?
It started with sharing my experience with the protection of steel bridges in aggressive environment at the South East Bridge Preservation Partnership (SEBPP) in 2012 in Atlanta, where I gave a presentation.

After the presentation, I was asked to put together a list of recommendations for how owners could achieve improved service life for their steel bridges. I subsequently put together a group of volunteers from the SEBPP and the AASHTO National Transportation Product Evaluation Program (NTPEP), which was comprised of a few State employees and Industry representatives, which became the SEBPP Paint Group.

The group’s first products were a Report entitled “A Rational Approach for Planning Bridge Repainting Projects”, a calculation methodology to compare recoating options, and the SEBPP survey to determine Best Practices for Coating Structural Steel. The Calculator focused on cost comparisons between spot painting, overcoating and the removal and replacement of the entire existing coating system. It also included a methodology to compare mobilization and construction costs, life-cycle costs, as well as maintenance and protection costs.

The Report identifies the significant aspects of recoating operations that affect quality, such as: engineering evaluations for in situ coating systems, surface preparation, coating application, specifications, contractor, CEI and owner training and qualifications. At the urging of the AASHTO Subcommittee on Maintenance (SCOM) we modified the Calculator and the Report to include user costs for people sitting in traffic awaiting construction to clear up. I presented results of both at National Bridge Preservation Partnership (NBPP) in Orlando in 2014.

After the meeting in Orlando a consensus was reached to take the program to the national level. The Group has been renamed the NBPP Coatings Group, to acknowledge our national status and to formally acknowledge our interest in coating systems other than paint. The makeup of the Group currently includes experts from other State DOTs, NTPEP, Consultants, Suppliers, Delegates to the AASHTO Subcommittees for Bridges and Structures, Maintenance and Materials, TRB, SSPC, NACE and Researchers. We focused on promoting an AASHTO Domestic Scan “Bridge Recoating Best Practices”, which got support and endorsement from AASHTO Subcommittee on Bridges and Structures (SCOBS), SCOM, all four TSP-2 National Bridge Preservation Partnerships, and the Transportation Research Board (TRB). The goal of the Domestic Scan is to gather knowledge from DOTs across country on best practices for steel bridge coating protection. The Domestic Scan was subsequently accepted and is scheduled for completion in October 2016.

What is the short term goal for the NBPP Coating Group?
The goal is to promote knowledge that will allow Owners to improve the durability of coatings for steel bridge coatings. The report “A Rational Approach for Planning Bridge Repainting Projects” identifies the following as key aspects for having a successful bridge recoating project: performing an engineering evaluation of the existing coating system to determine if the substrate is suitable for overcoating; proper surface preparation; proper coating application; proper training for Contractors, Inspectors and Owners; and good specifications.

The Group is advocating the adoption of the Report’s conclusions, is focusing on finding ways to promote NACE or SSPC coatings training for inspectors and contractors, and is trying to involve the contracting community in our activities for their insight and knowledge.

And what is the long term goal for the Group?
The primary goal is to promote long lasting cost effective coating systems. In accordance with this goal, the Group recently endorsed a research project to collect technical data and develop design guidelines and specifications for duplex coating systems, consisting of a galvanized and/or metalized bottom coat with a high performance paint system top coat. We have already received support from SCOM for this research project. I also raised this issue during the midyear meeting of the AASHTO Subcommittee on Bridges and Structures’ T-9 Technical Subcommittee for Bridge Preservation where I am the Vice Chair. As a result, T-9 will be asking SCOBS to also endorse this research project.

How does the Group plan to promote awareness of the financial benefits of supporting the use of best practices in steel bridge coatings?
We are planning to start a research project to help Owners develop methods to convince Legislators of the benefits of bridge preservation activities, and to free up more funding in this area. In parallel we should find a way of supporting those Owners who specify longer lasting more durable coating systems and have the courage to hold contractors accountable and reject insufficient work. Decision makers need to understand that longer lasting coating systems save money over time.

What challenges are the Group currently facing?
We need to create a liaison with all the stakeholders involved in the coating of structural steel bridges. We have reached out to the AASHTO Subcommittee on Maintenance, Construction and Materials, NTPEP, and the National Steel Bridge Alliance (NSBA). The more people are involved, the more we can identify and address problems to achieve better results.

There is a great need to assemble and transfer knowledge. For example DOT structural and maintenance engineers as well as design engineers are not necessarily steel coating experts, so a liaison with other stakeholders is essential to achieve better results.

It would also be helpful to solicit advice from contractors, who can assist in setting up contract requirements and specifications. If contracts and owners hold contractors accountable, good contractors will thrive, while contractors who perform subpar work will see a need to improve which should help avoid the financial strain of redoing work.

And so, are contractors going to be part of the Group?
I would love to have contractors in the Group, but unfortunately we have not been able to attract them. Contractors could greatly help the Group shape an innovative bid process that awards contracts based on the best value and not the lowest cost. In Florida we have experimented with warranties as a first attempt to try to achieve this goal.

What is your experience with product Manufacturers?
Since Owners are in general reluctant to try new products, a major challenge faced by Manufacturers is the release of new products that do not have a track record. Accelerated testing is good way to prove the durability of coatings as an alternative to the track record. However not all Owners have the same Lab capabilities as FDOT in carrying out this challenging test.

Any closing thoughts?
A steel bridge coating system that lasts longer saves money over time and extends the overall service life of the infrastructure. Future generations will reap the financial benefits of long lasting coating systems, due to reduced maintenance costs. The commitment of our Group is to raise awareness of different solutions and provide tools to help Owners make correct choices.

Links:
TSP2 Bridge Preservation Coating Working Groups:
https://tsp2bridge.pavementpreservation.org/technical/coatings/

Jeff Pouliotte’s Presentation at TSP2 National Meeting in Atlanta in 2012
https://pavementvideo.s3.amazonaws.com/2012_SEBPP/PDF/10%20-%20FDOT%20New%20Directions%20in%20FDOT%20Steel%20Corrosion%20Protection%20-%20Jeff%20Pouliotte.pdf

Jeff Pouliotte’s Presentation at TSP2 National Meeting in Orlando 2014
http://nbppc2014.org/opening-a- rational-approach- for-planning- bridge-repainting- projects-pouliotte/
https://pavementvideo.s3.amazonaws.com/2014_NBPPC/PDF/4A%20-%20SEBPP%20Paint%20Report%20Presentation%20-%20POULIOTTE.pdf

Paint & Coating TSP2 Video Library:
https://www.pavementpreservation.org/video_library/bridge/Paint_Coatings.html
SEBPP Paint Report Presentation – Pouliotte
Report – A Rational Approach for Planning Steel Bridge Repainting Projects
Bridge Cost Analysis – Calculator

Current and Futuristic Methods to Seal Concrete Cracks

Lorella Angelini
Author: Lorella Angelini, Angelini Consulting Services, LLC

There are many ways to design concrete mixes. Different types of ingredients and dosages can be used in various combinations so as to respond to construction and specification requirements. However all concrete mixes share one basic, common denominator: they should not develop cracks, even under stress conditions.

Not only are cracks aesthetically unpleasant, they are also very detrimental since they provide a way of entry for contaminants, such as chlorides and sulphates, into concrete. Once it penetrates into the cracks, water alone can cause concrete spalling by freeze-thaw cycles.

Between the technologies for permanently sealing cracks in concrete, epoxy resins are widely used, especially for structural cracks. Epoxies have great adhesion to concrete, high compressive and tensile strength, volume stability, and are available in a variety of formulations for different types of applications. For example, wall cracks can be sealed by injecting epoxies at low or high pressure, preferably moving from the bottom to the top of the wall. Other types of epoxies with low or ultra-low viscosity can be used to seal cracks in concrete decks or pavements. In this case the material is fed into the cracks by gravity. This application method is also used with HMWM (High Molecular Weight Methacrylate) or MMA (Methyl Methacrylate) resins that have a level of viscosity so low that can be compared to water.

In the future these proven technologies may have to confront with a new, experimental method to seal concrete cracks that is based on the use of natural bacteria. By introducing bacteria into concrete cracks, simply using a garden sprayer, long, thin cracks can be sealed in a relatively short time with the limestone compound produced by the bacteria, when these organisms come in contact with water. More information about the sealing mechanism is reported in the links. The Netherlands and the UK appear to be on the leading edge of this exciting development program.

Epoxy injection:

http://www.concretenetwork.com/concrete/crack_injection/basicsteps.html

http://www.concreteconstruction.net/repair/epoxy-injection-for-cracked-concrete_o.aspx

https://www.concrete.org/store/productdetail.aspx?ItemID=503707&Format=DOWNLOAD

Gravity fed epoxies:

http://docslide.us/documents/crack-repair-by-gravity-feed-with-resin.html

Gravity-fed MMA:

http://trrjournalonline.trb.org/doi/10.3141/2202-10

Bacteria-healed cracks:

http://digg.com/video/concrete-bacteria-heals-cracks

http://www.nbcnews.com/id/40201539/ns/technology_and_science-green_innovation/t/designer-bacteria-can-heal-cracks-concrete-buildings/#.VujQVeYk3HA

The Effects of De-Icing Salts on Concrete Pavements

Lorella Angelini
Author: Lorella Angelini, Angelini Consulting Services, LLC

“…If you can meet with Triumph and Disaster
And treat those two impostors just the same…”

                                   From “If” by Rudyard Kipling

Can de-icing salts be regarded as “impostors”? On one end they keep bridge and road traffic surfaces clean from ice during the winter, while on the other they generally create serious deterioration of steel reinforced concrete.

Not all the de-icing salts perform the same. Between Sodium Chloride (NaCl), Calcium Chloride (CaCl2) and Magnesium Chloride (MgCl2), the last two are much more effective against ice than NaCl, but at the same time significantly more aggressive against concrete.

CaCl2 can decompose the Portland cement binder due to its reaction with calcium hydroxide (Ca(OH)2), which is generated by the reaction between water and cement.

MgCl2 can decompose the Portland cement binder at an even deeper level than CaCl2 because of its reactions with calcium silicate hydrates (C-S-H), which are the backbone of concrete giving it its structural framework.

Deicers containing ammonium nitrate and ammonium sulfate can also rapidly attack and disintegrate concrete.

Here are a few studies on the effect of different de-icing salts on concrete.

http://www2.udot.utah.gov/main/uconowner.gf?n=8081525197623431

http://www.ctre.iastate.edu/pubs/midcon/lee.pdf

http://www2.ku.edu/~iri/publications/SLR073.pdf

Spotlight – “Bridge Notes” Initiative by Oregon DOT

Lorella Angelini
Author: Lorella Angelini, Angelini Consulting Services, LLC

A new communication initiative comes from Oregon DOT (ODOT). It is the “Bridge Notes” released on the ODOT web site under the Spotlight banner. It started on January 2016.

http://www.oregon.gov/ODOT/HWY/BRIDGE/pages/index.aspx

ODOT Bridge Notes are stand-alone articles. They are part of a series addressing technical issues of great interest for bridge preservation. The first two articles focus on steel painting and bridge deck rehabilitation. Upcoming articles will provide information about cathodic protection and strengthening low capacity bridges.

While technical publications about bridge preservation are widely available, Bridge Notes stand out for their colloquial tone, relevant but accessible information. Their aim is to get the attention of the Oregon general public, as well as the Legislators and Transportation Commission, with the ultimate goal to help increase funding for preservation actions for State bridges.

Congratulations to ODOT and Bridge Notes editor Liz Hunt, for the initiative and the bold resolution to take a step outside the boundaries of our bridge preservation community.

Modern Trends for Concrete Repair – My Top Three

International Concrete Repair Institute Convention

Author: Lorella Angelini, Angelini Consulting Services, LLC

The upcoming International Concrete Repair Institute (ICRI) Convention in Fort Worth, TX, from October 14 to 16, is titled “Modern Trends in the Repair Industry”. The Convention will gather consulting engineers, contractors, owners and manufacturers, who are experts in the field of concrete repair and restoration. Here is the link to the program of the Convention.

http://www.icri.org/Events/2015_Fall/conv_home.asp

According to ICRI, the way we do business in the repair industry is changing from strategies to materials and from techniques to technology. Based on my education as a civil engineer specialized in construction materials, my top three trends for the repair industry are as follows.

  1. Use of materials that fully integrate with the structure to be restored, providing strength and durability but also the capacity to respond to stress and deformation consistently with the original structure.
  2. Give preference to materials that can be applied easily and successfully, even by unspecialized crews.
  3. Choice of materials that are safe for applicators, users and the environment.

Do you agree with my opinion?

 

A Conversation with Peter DeNicola about Life-Cycle Analysis

Peter DeNicola

Author: Lorella Angelini, Angelini Consulting Services, LLC

Perspective of: Peter DeNicola, Evonik Corporation

Peter DeNicola, Technical Marketing Manager with Evonik Corporation, is an expert with bridge preservation and maintenance, also having a deep expertise with concrete deck sealers.

Along with his many commitments, he chairs the International Concrete Repair Institute (ICRI) Committee 140 – “Life-Cycle Performance and Cost”.  I spoke with Peter about the activity of the Committee he chairs.

Could you tell us about yourself?

I graduated from Rutgers State University in New Jersey with a chemistry degree.  Shortly after graduation I started working for Evonik, which was Degussa at the time, based in New Jersey, where I live.

At first, I was part of the Research and Development team focusing on silane synthesis. I then moved to the application technology department where I put to use my R&D knowledge of silanes for the development of concrete protection applications. I have been in this position for 13 years.

I joined ICRI in 2005. I currently chair the ICRI Committee 140 – “Life-Cycle Performance and Cost”.

Can you introduce us to Committee 140?

We have a diverse group of professionals in the Committee. The group includes consulting engineers, manufacturers and contractors, who use products for repair and maintenance and also deal with the owners.  This diversity allows different perspectives and views of products and technologies, which are all taken into consideration in the Committee.

 What compelled you to take a leadership role with the Committee?

I had been working on several projects with Paul Tourney, who initiated the activity of this Committee in 2008. Like Paul, I strongly believe in the importance and the value of developing an analysis of products and technologies for concrete repair based on the criteria of cost and service life extension.

I wanted to help owners choose products and technologies based on an economic perspective including both cost of the application and its benefits over the years.

What is the mission of Committee 140?

To provide industry guidance for decisions that are based on service life extension of concrete structures as well the economic impact of the different repair strategies.

What are the Committee’s goals?

To develop a guideline document that will take a “cradle to grave” approach employing different maintenance and concrete repair strategies for extending service life of concrete structures. The document should allow an owner to formulate preventative maintenance plans, mapping out costs and actions to be taken in the short and long term with the objective of preventing major repairs.

Generally speaking, owners do not make a repair just because they have to fix something. They also take into consideration the long-term service life of their structures. For this reason they value tools that allow them to save money over time avoiding extensive repairs.

The guideline document that the Committee is preparing will include a net present value calculation tool that should allow owners to take the best repair decision for their budget. For example, by using the highest quality materials and best possible repair technologies an owner can spend additional $ 100 at the time of the repair to save $500 in 5 years. The guidelines will provide different net present value calculations related to different repair strategies.

You have mentioned repair strategies a number of times during this conversation. What about maintenance strategies?

Ultimately the guidelines will be focused on repair with a smaller section dedicated to maintenance.  It is true though that the guidelines reference existing codes, such as ACI (American Concrete institute), which include both inspection, repair and maintenance information.

When will the guidelines be competed?

We are planning to have a rough draft completed in one year.

There have been talks to combine the Life-Cycle Performance and Cost Committee with the ICRI Sustainability Committee to work on a joint document since the two Committees are working on a similar pathway.

What is your source of data for the guidelines?

For net present value calculation we basically rely on industry to provide service life data that are expected out of a certain product, technology and repair strategy.  For instance, repairs of delaminated and spalled areas of steel reinforced concrete usually have longer life expectancy when the repair material contains a corrosion inhibiting admixture.

The Committee also implements independent testing programs to verify statements from manufacturers. As an example, there are test data that allow predicting how long it will take for chloride to penetrate different types of concrete and start corroding the reinforcing steel.

Do you think the work of your Committee and the guidelines could be of interest to bridge preservation practitioners?

Yes, absolutely.  The ICRI guidelines will include a section dedicated to bridge decks and bridge substructures. Guidelines will cover several bridge preservation practices, such as deck washing.

I am looking forward to strengthening  the communication with DOTs and getting their feedback about the work of Committee 140.

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