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Cements 2012 Della Roy Lecture

Cements 2012


The Computational Materials Science of Concrete: Past – Present – Future


Abstract: The computational materials science of concrete began in the mid-1980s. However, some of its intellectual roots go farther back, in the computational condensed matter physics of amorphous semiconductors. Dr. Garboczi will briefly trace the history of the computational materials science of concrete to the present day and try to set this development in context with what is being done in other materials. He will try to project what this field could/should/may become in order to help answer unsolved scientific questions and in order to respond to the needs of industrial users.


Dr. Edward J. Garboczi is a Fellow in the Inorganic Materials Group of the Materials and Structural Systems Division of the Engineering Laboratory (EL) at the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST). Dr. Garboczi joined the Inorganic Building Materials Group in October 1988, was the Group Leader from 1999 to 2009, and was promoted to Fellow in April 2009.


Dr. Garboczi’s main research has been on the computational materials science of cement-based materials. This involves exploring relationships between microstructure and transport properties in cement-based materials using realistic computer-based microstructural models and exact property calculation algorithms. Electrical, diffusion, and elastic properties, as well as fluid permeability and shrinkage, have been studied and found to be in quantitative agreement with experimental results. He has also used percolation and composite theory to understand the pore-space-dependent properties of cement-based materials. Dr. Garboczi has applied finite element techniques to 3-D microstructure models of ceramics and foams to accurately compute their linear elastic properties. More recently, he has used a novel combination of X-ray microcomputed tomography and spherical harmonic analysis to build quantitative mathematical models of random-shaped particles of cement, sand, gravel, fly ash, and slag, with applications by himself and others to simulated lunar soil, chemical explosives, and tumors. Much of his research is being built into the Virtual Cement and Concrete Testing Laboratory, a software package being developed with the direct collaboration of industry and government that will be used to optimize concrete using the power of the computational materials science of concrete.


Dr. Garboczi is a member of the American Physical Society, The American Ceramic Society, the American Concrete Institute, and RILEM. He received the Robert L’ Hermite Medal from RILEM in 1992, became a Fellow of The American Ceramic Society in 2000, became a Fellow of the American Concrete Institute in 2007, received a Silver Medal from the Department of Commerce in 2009, and shared the 2009 Edward C. Henry award from the American Ceramic Society.



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