"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.
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).
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.
The UCM is interested in all aspects of construction materials, but the four main areas of the current focus is:
* Eco-friendly construction materials
* Fibre reinforced concrete
* Fresh and young concrete
* High performance concrete
More information about the UCM can be found at www.sun.ac.za/ucm or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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).