Cement shortage worsens
While it's still unclear what the long-term impact of Hurricane Katrina will be on the construction industry, one major result will be a tighter market for many building materials, including cement.
According to a new report by the Portland Cement Association, there are several potential problems. Last year, about 10 percent of imported cement came through New Orleans. Some of the import terminals in New Orleans were damaged and will need significant repairs. Others will take some time to get back online due to power failures and other problems. Debris clogging the Mississippi River and damage to railroad tracks in the area will also cause problems with moving the cement once the imports resume.
In the short term, there will be a decrease in the need for cement as recovery work goes on in the affected areas, but within six months demand will drastically increase as rebuilding ramps up. Over the next five years, the PCA predicts that rebuilding efforts in New Orleans alone could require almost 10 million metric tons of cement.
Bendable concrete on the horizon
A new type of flexible concrete designed to handle harsh winters is being used for some repair projects in Michigan.
University of Michigan scientists have spent 10 years developing Engineered Cement Composites (ECC), a new concrete that uses fibers and other components designed for maximum flexibility.
ECC is 500 times more resistant to cracking and 40 percent lighter, according to the researchers.
A patch of ECC that was used to repair a bridge in Ann Arbor, Mich., in 2002 has survived three winters. Another test project is planned for a lakefront pedestrian walkway in Madison, Wis. The path will be implanted with sensors to monitor the performance of the material as it is exposed to the elements.
The National Ready Mixed Concrete Association has announced a new certification program for pervious concrete installers. For more information, visit www.nrmca.org.
VIC International has named Allen E. Slater as general manager of the company's concrete surface preparation industry division.
Kover Krete Systems has added PoolCorp as a national distributor. PoolCorp is the world's largest wholesale distributor in the swimming pool industry with more than 200 locations.
Engrave-A-Crete Inc. has introduced "Simulated Artistic Layout Engraving Software," or "S.A.L.E.S.," a proprietary Windows-based software that allows decorative concrete contractors to simulate a decorative concrete finish on a digital photo in order to show potential clients what their finished project will look like.