Merry Christmas and an exciting New year!
As we approach the end of the year, this is a time for contemplation and a time for looking ahead (and for over-indulging on cookies), so we will do a little of each of these things.
When we started our UHPC blog with our first blog-entry “World Leaders in UHPC?” in March 2017, we had a number of motivating factors. Some of these were:
Make ourselves more visible in the UHPC community (with a vague idea that this could perhaps lead to more business opportunities)!
Looking back, it is a little difficult to measure whether we have accomplished this, but our blog has certainly been well received with visitors from more than 50 countries and a lot of appreciative comments.
Spark more of a debate on some of the UHPC topics of interest!
This has actually been quite difficult, as we have received very few comments to our blog-posts – people have been more likely to discuss and comment by e-mail. But we have seen more UHPC blogs which is – in my opinion – a good thing, as they provide more casual, less technical information that compliments the abundance of technical literature quite well.
Create a “library” with the topics that we are frequently asked about or short commentaries that we feel could provide new information – or just a different viewpoint!
This has pretty much been achieved. We have covered a lot of different topics and this is the reason why new blog-entries are coming less frequently – we don’t have a lot of new things to say, so if you think there are some topics that we have missed and that you would like our opinion on, please let us know. We still have some new topics that we would like to cover in the future – new façade projects, UHPC joints in housing etc. – but they will be posted as suitable projects come up. As we have become less active on the blog, we have become a bit more active on LinkedIn showing pictures from current projects.
So new entries to our UHPC blog are coming less frequently, but the world of UHPC is as exciting as ever. We have new players in the field of UHPC, new markets and new applications. I won’t go in much detail regarding this, just mention one market that I have recently become more aware of.
I have described UHPC applications in Europe and North America in some of my blog entries – and some very impressive projects in the Middle East have featured UHPC over the last 5-6 years. Central and South America have not been very active, but UHPC projects have been carried out in countries such as Mexico and Columbia. Asia has performed extensive research on UHPC over the years and we have also seen a number of applications with Japan as one of the first countries to carry out projects and to publish guidelines for UHPC. DURA has produced a huge number of UHPC bridges since 2006 (mostly in Malaysia) and KICT in Korea has carried out impressive projects for both bridges and buildings. But until recently I had not really seen a lot of projects from India or China. I knew China had done a number of bridge projects with UHPC, but as I had not participated in any of the UHPC conferences held in China I had not seen many pictures of projects. That changed when I got a chance to discuss projects after I made a presentation to a group of Chinese colleagues in early November.
Picture taken after a presentation in Aalborg.
A year ago – in December 2018 – a special UHPC group was formed under the Chinese Concrete Association. The group currently has more than 60 members (companies, universities, research institutes) and this autumn they had arranged a trip to Europe – with emphasis on seeing projects in France and Denmark. The group, headed by Zhao Jun, whom I have known for many years, also visited Aalborg, where I showed them around before I gave a presentation on UHPC applications. Afterwards, I got a chance to discuss some of their projects, and it was apparent that UHPC applications are relatively new and the approach is a little different than when we started with UHPC applications in the mid-nineties in Denmark. Rao Jun from Beilida explained how they had recently completed a large facade project in UHPC, and I asked about why UHPC was chosen for the project – were the elements larger or lighter than the alternative or with a nicer finish? Actually, in this case the architect had just decided that he wanted UHPC! I can see how things would have been much easier when we started up, if building owners had this approach. But this also means, that it is bit more difficult for us to use these projects as arguments for doing new projects in UHPC. But I like the attitude of architects and building owners being very open to try new things and there are certainly some very nice projects being carried out. Beilida produces both GRC and UHPC (with Ductal) and it can be difficult to discern between the two products on a project – similar to the projects by TAKTL that have some resemblance to GRC.
So it will certainly be interesting to follow the developments in China – and I will just have to wait a little longer for projects in India.
HPC project by Beilida using Ductal – Nanjing Zhonghai Zuoan Lanting by Beilida
GRC project by Beilida – Changsha Meixi Lake Center
I would also like to mention, that Peter Buitelaar – a pioneer in UHPC applications and one of the few who actually has a longer history with UHPC than me – has made two of his recent presentations available on LinkedIn. The presentations were given in August at a conference in Malaysia and they give an excellent overview of the development of UHPC and some of the early applications – and they include a lot of great pictures from a variety of projects by different UHPC producers. So have a look, if you haven’t already.
I will finish my post by showing a few pictures from a type of project that we will be focusing on going forward. The pictures show the mould and the finished casting of a mock-up for the project – where we ultimately ended up not getting the contract. But we are convinced there is a potential for us in these projects also, so at Hi-Con we look forward to what will be a very busy 2020. We wish you a Merry Christmas and what we are sure will be an exciting New Year.