IIT Madras hosts Online International Workshop on ‘Recent Trends in Science & Technology of Concrete’

Chennai: Indian Institute of Technology Madras collaborated with International and Indian associations to host an online workshop on ‘Recent Trends in Science and Technology of Concrete.’ IIT-M Construction Materials Group joined hands with the Réunion Internationale des Laboratoires et Experts des Matériaux, systèmes de construction et ouvrages (RILEM) and Indian Concrete Institute for the workshop.

Among the major issues deliberated during this workshop was ‘3D printing of concrete,’ which, with more development, could offer innovative solutions to meet future infrastructure demands including high construction speed, reduce material wastage and creative designs.

The online workshop, which was held on 2nd May 2020, attracted widespread attention including not only from India but from countries such as the UK, U.S., Afghanistan, Australia, Bangladesh, Belgium, Canada, DR Congo, Ethiopia, France, Germany, Ghana, Italy, Kenya, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Lebanon, Lithuania, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Nepal, Nigeria, Pakistan, Philippines, S. Sudan, Saudi Arabia, Somalia, Singapore and U.A.E.

Speaking about leveraging Online and Social Media tools for international Research collaborations, Prof. Ravindra Gettu, Dean (Industrial Consultancy and Sponsored Research), IIT Madras, said, “We have developed the resources at IIT Madras to help disseminate research findings and transfer knowhow to a large number of interested people across the globe, which is being appreciated specially during this period with restrictions on travel and meetings. ”

IIT Madras Civil Engineering Department Faculty who addressed the sessions include Prof. Manu Santhanam, Head of the Department, Dr. Piyush Chaunsali, and Dr. Radhakrishna G. Pillai, besides two other speakers from USA and an IITM research scholar. Each lecture was for 20 minutes with 10 minutes for responding to online questions.

RILEM, based in Paris, was founded in June 1947 to promote scientific cooperation in construction materials and structures. Today, the new meaning of the acronym RILEM emphasises its dominant focus on people as well as its worldwide activities, covering 70 countries. Prof. Ravindra Gettu is currently the President of RILEM.

The main technical points discussed during the online workshop include:

Ø The possibility of using a wide range of natural materials and industrial by-products in concrete necessitates the use of rapid screening tests for assessing their suitability for ensuring performance and sustainability.

Ø Chemical activation has been developed and validated as a means for high volume waste utilization in construction materials.

Ø New binders are promising alternatives to cement with respect to their superior durability in specific applications.

Ø It is evident that the construction industry needs to adopt an application-specific binder approach rather than one binder-fits-all approach.

Ø There needs to be a paradigm shift from design based only on strength to criteria considering strength, durability and crack resistance in order to enhance the service lives of concrete structures.

The announcements of the workshop were done through National Programme for Technology Enhanced Learning (NPTEL), and the network of IIT-M Construction Materials Group, IIT Madras and RILEM Social Media. The workshop was run with a Video Conferencing Software and linked to YouTube with help from RILEM and IIT Madras web studio staff.

The event featured lively chats both on Video Conferencing and YouTube. The questions ranged from basic issues to pointed scientific aspects that were answered in real-time by IITM researchers, while others were posed to the speakers or answered by them in the chats. The video recording on YouTube had 7,780 views in just about one day. The chat record reflects the tremendous interest, and also the eagerness for certification from IIT Madras.