Concrete is arguably the most widely used construction material worldwide. There are a number of reasons for it:

  • it can be durable – structures built by the Romans have served for over 2000 years;
  • it is moldable – it can be given almost any shape or form;
  • its properties can be engineered to suit almost any purpose;
  • it can be esthetically attractive, whether appearing like conventional concrete, emulating natural stone, or having novel appearances, with a virtually unlimited range of possibilities to explore;
  • it provides an opportunity to recycle materials, thereby contributing to the conservation of natural resources.
Research in concrete materials has been conducted in Columbia University's Civil Engineering Department and its Carleton Strength of Materials Laboratory since the early 1990's, to advance the state of the art in concrete technology, specifically:
  • to study the basics of cement hydration and setting behavior to engineer new materials for specific applications;
  • to improve the mechanical and thermal properties of concrete products and to develop cost-effective production technologies;
  • to utilize recycled materials (e.g. waste glass, reprocessed carpet fibers, and dredged material) and by identifying and exploiting their inherent properties, add value to such materials;
  • to develop technologies for producing architectural concrete with unique esthetic properties;
  • to cooperate with industry to assure that the technologies developed here are practical and economically viable.
Covering the full spectrum of research activities from basic science to commercial production has the advantage of academia/industry feedback and its synergistic effects. Moreover, it offers all those involved, students and staff alike, fulfilling experiences.

The links to our project pages here are intended to illustrate the most important examples of our research and development.

Department of Civil Engineering
Columbia University