Unit for Construction Materials
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UCM visits PPC De Hoek Planthttp://www.sun.ac.za/english/Lists/news/DispForm.aspx?ID=3622UCM visits PPC De Hoek PlantRiaan Combrinck<p>​​​UCM member, Riaan Combrinck, and 10 undergraduate Civil Engineering students from Stellenbosch University, visited industry partner PPC at their De Hoek cement plant near Piketberg. The visit started with a presentation to give an overview of both PPC as well as the De Hoek plant. This was followed by a 3 hour guided tour of the plant, including the limestone mining area as well as the production, storage, packing, sales and laboratory areas.  The tour ended with a great lunch before heading back to Stellenbosch. A big thank you to PPC De Hoek for being a tremendous host and for creating a truly memorable visit. </p>
Collaboration between SU’s UCM and Bath University’s BRE CICMhttp://www.sun.ac.za/english/Lists/news/DispForm.aspx?ID=3657Collaboration between SU’s UCM and Bath University’s BRE CICMWibke de Villiers<p>The Unit for Construction Materials (UCM) recently hosted colleagues from Bath University's BRE Centre for Innovative Construction Materials (BRE CICM) for a workshop at STIAS, with the purpose of identifying possible areas of research collaboration within innovative construction materials. Bath University is one of Stellenbosch University's Key Partners and future collaboration would be of great value to both institutions. BRE CICM was represented by Prof Andrew Heath, Dr Bhavna Sharma and Dr Kevin Paine, whereas UCM was represented by Prof Billy Boshoff, Dr Riaan Combrinck, Wibke de Villiers and Algurnon van Rooyen.</p><p>Many common interests between the two research units were discovered and possible areas of collaboration that were identified include the self-healing of plastic settlement and shrinkage cracking, developing appropriate standards for alternative masonry units, fibre reinforced concrete and structural applications of alkali activated materials. Initial plans have been made to exchange more information on these topics and collaborate on a number of publications to pave the way for further expansion of the research partnership.</p>
Launch of the Unit for Construction Materialshttp://www.sun.ac.za/english/Lists/news/DispForm.aspx?ID=3829Launch of the Unit for Construction MaterialsLiesel Koch<p style="color:#333333;font-family:'noto sans', helvetica, sans-serif;font-size:12px;line-height:20px;background-color:#ffffff;">"We are like concrete," said Prof Billy Boshoff at the official launch of the Unit for Construction Materials in the Department of Civil Engineering, Stellenbosch University. "Concrete consists of different materials, some more expensive, some unpredictable, but together they make concrete. No ingredient is more important than the other one, because if you take one ingredient out, the concrete will not work." Hereafter he acknowledged all present - individuals, institutes and industry - for their important roles in the Unit.</p><p style="color:#333333;font-family:'noto sans', helvetica, sans-serif;font-size:12px;line-height:20px;background-color:#ffffff;">The Unit for Construction Materials (UCM) was officially launched on 13 April 2016 at a dinner held appropriately in the new concrete laboratory. The event was well attended and numerous prominent figures in the construction industry were present, including Hanli Turner and John Sheath, the President and the CEO of the Concrete Society of Southern Africa (CSSA) respectively, and Bryan Perrie, the Managing Director of The Concrete Institute (TCI).</p><p style="color:#333333;font-family:'noto sans', helvetica, sans-serif;font-size:12px;line-height:20px;background-color:#ffffff;">The UCM strives to be a centre of excellence and a top institute for construction materials in South Africa for teaching, research and consulting. Research and student training are at the core of the UCM. During his speech, Prof Boshoff highlighted the importance of industry collaboration and partnership. Special emphasis was put on the fact that research must have both academic value and relevance for the industry on the short or long term. Providing a consultation service to the industry, especially where these services at not available at commercial laboratories, is also a high priority the UCM.</p><p style="color:#333333;font-family:'noto sans', helvetica, sans-serif;font-size:12px;line-height:20px;background-color:#ffffff;">The UCM is interested in all aspects of construction materials, but the four main areas of the current focus is:</p><p style="color:#333333;font-family:'noto sans', helvetica, sans-serif;font-size:12px;line-height:20px;background-color:#ffffff;">* Eco-friendly construction materials</p><p style="color:#333333;font-family:'noto sans', helvetica, sans-serif;font-size:12px;line-height:20px;background-color:#ffffff;">* Fibre reinforced concrete</p><p style="color:#333333;font-family:'noto sans', helvetica, sans-serif;font-size:12px;line-height:20px;background-color:#ffffff;">* Fresh and young concrete</p><p style="color:#333333;font-family:'noto sans', helvetica, sans-serif;font-size:12px;line-height:20px;background-color:#ffffff;">* High performance concrete</p><p style="color:#333333;font-family:'noto sans', helvetica, sans-serif;font-size:12px;line-height:20px;background-color:#ffffff;">More information about the UCM can be found at <a href="/ucm" style="color:#666666;">www.sun.ac.za/ucm</a> or <a href="mailto:bboshoff@sun.ac.za" style="color:#666666;">bboshoff@sun.ac.za</a>.</p><p style="color:#333333;font-family:'noto sans', helvetica, sans-serif;font-size:12px;line-height:20px;background-color:#ffffff;">Caption: From the left: Dr Riaan Combrinck (UCM), Prof Eugene Cloete (Vice-Rector Research), Prof Billy Boshoff (Head UCM), Ms Wibke de Villiers (UCM) and Prof Hansie Knoetze (Dean: Engineering).</p>
UCM graduates three PhD Studentshttp://www.sun.ac.za/english/Lists/news/DispForm.aspx?ID=3854UCM graduates three PhD StudentsRiaan Combrinck<p>​​The UCM proudly graduated three PhD students at the recent 2016 March graduation ceremony. The students are James Olawuyi, Pieter Nieuwoudt and Riaan Combrinck. James conducted work on the mechanical properties of high-performance concrete with superabsorbent polymers, while Pieter worked on the time-dependent behaviour of cracked steel fibre reinforced concrete and Riaan on the cracking of plastic concrete in slab-like elements. All three students were supervised by Prof Billy Boshoff over the past four to five years. The ceremony was made even more special with the graduation of another eight fellow PhD Civil Engineering students, setting a new record of eleven PhDs for Civil Engineering at one graduation ceremony.  </p><p><br></p><p>From left to right: Dr James Olawuyi, Dr Riaan Combrinck, Prof Billy Boshoff, Dr Pieter Nieuwoudt</p>
Workshop on the Creep of Cracked FRChttp://www.sun.ac.za/english/Lists/news/DispForm.aspx?ID=3855Workshop on the Creep of Cracked FRCBilly Boshoff<p>During March 2016, Prof Billy Boshoff attended a Rilem workshop on the creep of cracked fibre reinforced concrete (FRC) in Valencia, Spain. This is an important research field for the Unit for Construction Materials (UCM) as Prof Boshoff was the first to publish about the phenomenon in tension. The workshop consisted of 20 presentations with participants from 16 different countries. Prof Boshoff's contributions were two papers about the mechanisms causing this additional creep on the single fibre level, for both steel and synthetic fibres respectively. </p><p>A Rilem Technical Committee 261-CCF named <em>Creep behaviour in Cracked Sections of Fibre Reinforced Concrete</em> was created two years ago and most of the participants of the workshop are also members of this committee. The aim of the committee is to create a State-of-the-Art Report and also produce some guidelines on how the creep should be included in the design of structural concrete containing fibres. To reach this goal an inter-laboratory study is currently underway where flexural and tensile creep tests are done on cracked FRC in laboratories across the world. UCM is also taking part in this study.</p><p>The next meeting of the Rilem technical committee will be at the Befib Conference in September 2016 in Vancouver, Canada and UCM will be represented.</p>
UCM 2016 Vacation Traininghttp://www.sun.ac.za/english/Lists/news/DispForm.aspx?ID=4196UCM 2016 Vacation TrainingWibke de Villiers<p style="text-align:justify;">An integral part of the B.Eng Civil degree at Stellenbosch University, is the vacation training that the undergraduate students have to undertake over the course of their studies. To this end, the UCM announced a call for applications earlier this year for vacation training amongst the Civil undergraduate students, for the 2016 winter recess, to be conducted in the Structural Laboratory at Stellenbosch University. After an overwhelming number of applications, the following 6 students were selected (from left to right): Seung Cho (3<sup>rd</sup> year), Veronica Mwamfupe (3<sup>rd</sup>), Michael Colclough (2<sup>nd</sup>), Hanro Muller (2<sup>nd</sup>), Louis Botha (4<sup>th</sup>) and Gerard Maleke (2<sup>nd</sup>). </p><p style="text-align:justify;">Following a safety induction, the students spent four weeks in the laboratory, under the supervision of the UCM staff, expanding their skill set in design, construction and experimentation. The tasks included:</p><ul><li>designing and constructing backdrops for experimental setups, to improve the quality of the photographing and documenting of common experiments </li><li>determining the precision of the "strain gun" instrument and also writing a <em>best practice</em> document for the use of it</li><li>setting up the laboratory to do drying shrinkage tests on cement-based masonry units </li><li>conducting tensile tests and cracking tests on plastic concrete</li><li>researching the composition of sunlight, as well as the use of bacteria to heal cracks in hardened concrete </li></ul><p style="text-align:justify;">The students were not only exposed to the practicalities of working in an active laboratory, but the tasks they completed also made a meaningful contribution to the laboratory and current UCM research projects. Hopefully the students were also inspired to consider postgraduate studies in their future!  </p>
JENGA Project Meeting Hosted by UCM http://www.sun.ac.za/english/Lists/news/DispForm.aspx?ID=4197JENGA Project Meeting Hosted by UCM Wibke de Villiers<p style="text-align:justify;">The fifth JENGA project meeting was recently hosted by the Unit for Construction Materials (UCM), in the Civil Engineering Department of Stellenbosch University. JENGA (Joint development of courses for ENerGy-efficient and sustainable housing in Africa) is a university cooperation project funded by the European Commission and implemented by the ACP Secretariat within the ACP-EU cooperation programme EDULINK II. SU's partners in this project are the UN Habitat Energy Unit, Augsburg University of Applied Science (AUAS), University of Rwanda (RU), Uganda Martyrs University (UMU), Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Techhnology (JKUAT) and The American University in Cairo (AUC). </p><p style="text-align:justify;">UCM staff have been involved in this project since its start in October 2013, contributing in the knowledge areas of sustainable building materials and construction methods, assessing the JKUAT, RU and UMU materials laboratories to improve the contribution these facilities can make in design-build teaching, as well as performing environmental impact life cycle analyses on the proto-type buildings constructed by the East-African partners.</p><p style="text-align:justify;">The project's final event is the <em>Sustainable Futures Conference – Architecture and Construction in the Global South</em>, to be held at the UN Headquarters in Nairobi, Kenya, from 30 August to 2 September, 2016. The work of the JENGA partnership will also be published in the form of a teaching manual for design-build, applied to energy efficient and sustainable housing.</p><p style="text-align:justify;">Featured meeting participants are (from left to right): Ahmed Abouzeid (AUC), Astrid Weisel (AUAS), Prof Susanne Gampher (AUAS), Peter Mbewe (SU), Dr Mark Olweny (UMU) and Dr Stephen Diang'a (JKUAT). Also present at the meeting were Wibke de Villiers (SU), Michelle Stadelmann (RU), Stefan Unge (AUAS), Michael Sedlemeier (AUAS), Achilles Ahimbisibwe (UMU) and Martin Mbidhi (JKUAT).</p>
UCM Tests 8m Towershttp://www.sun.ac.za/english/Lists/news/DispForm.aspx?ID=4304UCM Tests 8m TowersRiaan Combrinck<p>The UCM was approached by Peri Formwork Scaffolding Engineering (Pty) Ltd, regarding tests on full-scale 8m high scaffolding towers. The towers are used during construction of, for example a bridge deck, and can temporarily support loads up to typical heights of just more than 8 meters. </p><p>The biggest challenge with these tests was height, since the top of the test setup was higher that the laboratory crane and therefore less than two meters from the ceiling. After the tower was erected, a compression load was applied by pulling down a steel bar from the basement of the laboratory. The top of the steel bar was connected to a beam setup at the top of the tower which evenly distributed the load to the four legs of the tower. </p><p>Tests were also conducted on towers with lower heights. All towers were tested up to failure, which typically occurred around 300 kN or 30 ton. </p>
UCM Assists with Tests for School Expohttp://www.sun.ac.za/english/Lists/news/DispForm.aspx?ID=4307UCM Assists with Tests for School ExpoRiaan Combrinck<p>Two Grade 10 school pupils from Parklands College, Stephan Cilliers (left on photo) and Frank Smuts (right on photo), developed an alternative building block material, made from used plastic bags, for the Eskom Expo for Young Scientists, held in Cape Town, from 29 to 31 August, 2016. Stephan and Frank approached the UCM (Unit for Construction Materials) regarding compression tests on cubes made from their used plastic bag material. </p><p>The results showed that the plastic cubes not only comply with the strength requirements for traditional masonry units, but also possess outstanding ductility. In addition, the cubes are lightweight and provide good insulation, although fire resistance is a concern. </p><p>There were more than five hundred projects at the Eskom Expo, competing in twenty four categories. Stephan and Frank were awarded the bronze medal in the category <em>'Repurposing of Material for Housing </em>Purposes'. Congratulations to Stephan and Frank on their achievement.  </p><p>More information about the UCM can be found at <a href="/ucm">www.sun.ac.za/ucm</a> and about the Eskom Expo for Young Scientists at <a href="http://www.exposcience.co.za/">www.exposcience.co.za</a>.   </p>
UCM Students Attend SFC2016, Kenya http://www.sun.ac.za/english/Lists/news/DispForm.aspx?ID=4315UCM Students Attend SFC2016, Kenya Wibke de Villiers<p>Three postgraduate students of the Civil Engineering Departments' Unit for Construction Materials (UCM) recently attended and presented four peer-reviewed papers at the <em>Sustainable Futures Conference - Architecture in the Global South</em> (SFC2016). The conference was held at the United Nations Headquarters in Nairobi, Kenya. This conference was also the final event of the JENGA Project (Joint development of courses for ENerGy-efficient and sustainable housing in Africa), which the UCM has been an active partner in since its inception in October 2013. </p><p>PhD candidate, Peter Mbewe, presented two papers entitled '<em>Environmental Sustainability Evaluation of Low-Cost Buildings: The Case of Buildings under the JENGA Project' </em>and '<em>Evaluation of Materials Laboratory Capacity for Promotion of Design-Build Teaching Approach in Architectural Courses'</em>. Masters students, Joachim Louw and Leo Pike, each presented a paper, entitled '<em>Mechanical Properties of Alkali Activated Materials for Construction</em>', and <em>'Processing Bagasse Ash for the South African Cement Industry'</em>, respectively. All four papers were well received.</p><p>More information about the UCM can be found at <a href="/ucm">www.sun.ac.za/ucm</a> and about SFC2016 at <a href="http://www.sfc2016.com/">www.sfc2016.com</a>.  </p>