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Knowledge-Based Systems and Computational Tools for Concrete - Computer Integrated Knowledge Systems Combine Databases, Models, and Computing Tools to Address the Complex Nature of Concrete



Edward J. Garboczi, Dale P. Bentz, G J. Frohnsdorff


Within the Building Materials Division at the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), the Hypercon Partnership for High Performance Concrete Technology [(PHPCT)] program is working to develop the materials science knowledge necessary for making high-performance concrete a usable, well-understood, and durable material, thus enabling the reliable application of high-performance concrete in buildings and civil infrastructure. This work involves the combination of experimental and computational materials science research, that is needed to address the complex nature of concrete. The delivery of the output of this research is focused on developing computer-integrated knowledge systems (CIKS), that are a synergistic combination of databases, models, and computational tools. This article describes the current status of such systems presently available for use by concrete technologists. The NIST research that is going into the computational systems and tools to be described in this article is divided into six themes within HYPERCON: 1. Processing of HPC - addressing methods for selecting and proportioning ingredients, determining the rheological properties, and selecting the mixing, placing, and consolidation procedures and the curing conditions to ensure a product of the desired proformance and uniformity; 2. Characterization of concrete and concrete materials - providing techniques needed for characterizing the composition and properties of concrete materials, and the composition, structure, and uniformity of an HPC produced by any process or from any source; 3. Performance prediction - developing a suite of models for simulating and predicting transport and other durability-related properties of HPC; 4. Structural performance of high-strenght HPC in a fire - developing methods for predicting the effects of fire on the performance of high-strength HPC: 5. Structural performance - providing knowledge needed to allow for more rational use of HPC and taking account of its performance; and 6. Economics of HPC - developing models for calculating the life-cycle costs of HPC in civil infrastructure applications, beginning with bridge decks and then proceeding to other structures. Clearly, NIST research alone cannot generate all the knowledge that is needed to go into the CIKS systems. The remainder of the knowledge that is needed must be generated by partners from industry and government who have joined with NIST in HYPERCON. Partners include the Portland Cement Association; Holnam Inc.; Lafarge; Dyckerhoff; Cemex; the Federal Highway Administration; Fibermesh Co.; W.R. Grace and Co.; Master Builders Technology; and the National Ready-Mixed Concrete Association. New partners are always welcome and can contact: geoffrey.frohnsdorff [at] (geoffrey[dot]frohnsdorff[at]nist[dot]gov); edward.garboczi [at] (edward[dot]garboczi[at]nist[dot]gov); or dale.bentz [at] (dale[dot]bentz[at]nist[dot]gov). An early CIKS was designed to predict the chloride diffusivity and service life of plain portland cement concrete where corrosion of the steel reinforcement is the major degradation mechanism. This article describes new systems, such as the Virtual Cement and Concrete Testing Laboratory (VCCTL), which is a CIKS that integrates many NIST models into a seamless package for using computational models to hopefully replace much of the testing that is done to develop and verify new concrete mixtures. Other available computational tools are also described.
Concrete International
No. 12


computer integrated knowledge, concrete, concrete technology, high performance concrete, HYPERCON, materials science, modeling


Garboczi, E. , Bentz, D. and Frohnsdorff, G. (2000), Knowledge-Based Systems and Computational Tools for Concrete - Computer Integrated Knowledge Systems Combine Databases, Models, and Computing Tools to Address the Complex Nature of Concrete, Concrete International, [online], (Accessed April 14, 2024)
Created December 1, 2000, Updated February 19, 2017