Most concrete technologists are aware that concrete quality depends on the quality of the materials used, manufacturing, and testing. However, it is hard to find a book that is focused on the subject of improving concrete quality. In addition, quality measurement is not prevalent in the concrete industry, and, as a result, quality investment is not seen as generating a positive return. Over the last few years I have written a series of articles on concrete quality in the National Ready Mixed Concrete Association’s Concrete InFocus magazine to address these issues.
The positive comments that I received for those articles, many from strangers, encouraged me to develop this book. The first chapter of this book discusses concrete quality measurement as well as the tangible and intangible benefits due to improved quality. Subsequent chapters discuss concrete variability due to material, manufacturing, and testing and suggest techniques to reduce them and thereby improve concrete quality. The chapter on basic statistics should provide all the background needed to understand the data analysis required for quality monitoring. Data analysis of test results and subsequent corrective action are essential for improving quality; doing a test by itself is of little value.
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Improving Concrete Quality will be of significant value to the quality personnel in the concrete industry. By reading this book, they will come away with practices or tools that can be immediately employed in their operation. This book will be of substantial benefit to architects and engineers as well. As owners’ representatives, quality is very important for them, and this book provides suggestions for ensuring good concrete quality. Sections of this book will interest contractors and testing laboratories as well. I hope the book creates an interest among researchers and innovators because the potential value of consistent high-quality concrete cannot be understated, and major strides still need to be made in this area.
Even though this book was written with a U.S. audience in mind, the practices suggested can be easily understood and are universally applicable. Metric units are provided. This book wouldn’t have been possible without the support provided by the National Ready Mixed Concrete Association (NRMCA). Much of the reference material is based on past research conducted at the association’s research laboratory. I thank the members of the NRMCA’s Research Engineering and Standards Committee, which is composed of technical personnel from the concrete industry. My interactions with them over the past 10 years have helped shape my views. I thank Ken Day for the several interactions I have had with him, particularly on the CUSUM approach. I also thank my colleague Colin Lobo for reviewing my articles, and I thank Nicholas Carino for his assistance with Appendix B. I thank ACI and ASTM for allowing the use of some of the figures and my publisher Taylor & Francis/CRC Press.
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Karthik Obla, PhD, PE, FACI, is vice president, Technical Services, National Ready Mixed Concrete Association (NRMCA). He has over 20 years of experience in concrete materials technology and has interests in quality control/assurance, mixture optimization, specifications, use of recycled materials, durability, and new technology. He is a fellow of the American Concrete Institute and a winner of ACI’s Young Professional Achievement Award. Dr. Obla is an active member of various ACI, ASTM, and TRB technical committees and served as chair for ASTM C09.49—Pervious Concrete and is the current chair of ACI 232—Fly Ash and Natural Pozzolans.
He served as a member of ACI’s Concrete Research Council. He has published over 75 technical articles in journals and has presented in several international conferences. Dr. Obla earned a PhD in civil engineering from the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, and is a licensed professional engineer in the state of Maryland. He served as vice-president and president for the ACI San Antonio Chapter. Prior to joining NRMCA he was technical manager at Boral Material Technologies.