Concrete Performance Research

Research at the Infrastructure Materials Lab focuses on concrete durability, early-age properties of concrete and the pursuit of high-performance civil engineering materials. Concrete, the most widely used building material in the world, is a sustainable material when properly designed and constructed. While new materials may show promise, they are often made from natural resources that are simply not found in quantities abundant enough to compete with or even replace the most used construction material in the world, concrete. It is for this reason that concrete is the most advantageous for further development as an advanced material, and enhancements to concrete to generate special properties or to achieve superior performance may be a central path forward to ensure both long-term durability and sustainability.

A material that shows promise is calcium aluminate cement concrete (CACC), which exhibits superior performance to portland cement concrete (OPCC) in a variety of applications. Dr. Ideker's research group is focused on evaluation of early-age properties of CACC that can be enhanced to ensure better long-term durability in this material. The fundamental research and insight gained from these research efforts are directly applicable to a wide range of civil-engineering materials.

As part of their efforts to produce high performance concrete bridge decks, the Oregon Department of Transportation (ODOT), is currently supporting two research projects which will investigate and provide guidance to ensure these decks are crack-free and exceed their intended design lives. Dr. Ideker's group is investigating the use of saturated lightweight fine aggregate (LWFA) as an internal curing agent to reduce early-age autogenous deformation and drying shrinkage of high performance concrete. They are also developing shrinkage limits for performance standards so that ODOT can specificy and receive crack-free concrete bridge decks.

Dr. Ideker is an internationally recognized expert in alkali-silica reaction (ASR), a leading cause of premature concrete deterioration world-wide. His research group focuses on preventing ASR in new concrete and treating existing structures suffering from ASR. A passion area of the his team is the development of improved rapid testing methods to determine susceptibility to this type of concrete degradation. They also investigate mitigation strategies to limit ASR through the incorporation of by-products from industrial applications into fresh concrete. Incorporation of these types of supplementary cementing materials not only improves the durability of concrete susceptible to ASR but also represents a sustainable approach to concrete design by reducing the need to landfill unused waste products, increase service-life of concrete structures and reduce the energy input for concrete construction.

Most recently Dr. Ideker has started an international collaboration to investigate durability aspects of using recycled concrete aggregate (RCA) in new concrete. The team includes:

Dr. Jennifer Tanner - The University of Wyoming, Laramie, Wyoming, USA
Dr. Benoit Fournier - Universite Laval, Quebec City, Quebec, Canada
Dr. Medhat Shehata - Ryerson University, Toronto, Ontario, Canada

Research at Oregon State University and the University of Wyoming is funded through a grant by OTREC. The team is currently determining the efficacy of existing laboratory testing methods to assess durability of RCA and subsequent modifications to capture true field performance.