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Construction Materials Fourth Edition by Peter Domone and John Illston
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Construction Materials Fourth Edition by Peter Domone and John Illston

PREFACE to Construction Materials Fourth Edition by Peter Domone and John Illston:

This book is an updated and extended version of the third edition, which was published in 2001. This has proved to be as popular and successful as the first two editions.

But the continuing advances in construction materials technology and uses, not least in the many factors and issues relating to the sustainability of construction, have resulted in the need for this new fourth edition.

The first edition was published under the title Concrete, Timber and Metals in 1979. Its scope, content and form were significantly changed for the second edition, published in 1994, with the addition of three further materials – bituminous materials, masonry and fibre composites – with a separate part of the book devoted to each material, following a general introductory part on ‘Fundamentals’.

This overall format was well received by both students and teachers, and was retained in the third edition, with a short section on polymers added. In this new edition, this format has again been retained; the principal modifications and extensions are: 

• the ‘Fundamentals’ section has been reformatted into chapters which can more readily be studied independently if required.

• a new section on glass has been added, reflecting its increasing use as a structural material;

• for each material the issues concerned with end of-life and recycling, now major considerations, have been discussed.

• a new section on ‘Selection, use and sustainability’ has been added, which compares the mechanical properties of all the materials and considers some of the factors relating to their selection for use and the consequences for society and the environment.

This brings together much of the property data presented in the individual sections, and leads on to issues of sustainability that will increasingly dominate the life and careers of many who read this book.

Three of the contributors to the third edition, John Dinwoodie (timber), Len Hollaway (polymers and polymer composites) and Bob de Vekey (masonry) were able and willing to contribute again.

Others were not due to changes in interests or retirement, but fortunately, Gordon Airey (bituminous materials) and Phil Purnell (fibre-reinforced cements and composites) have stepped in and taken over their respective sections.

Graham Dodd has contributed the new section on glass. The co-author of the first edition, editor of the second edition and inspiration for the third edition, John Illston, is still flourishing in his retirement and again provided encouragement for me to continue as editor.

Objectives and scope:

As with the previous editions, the book is addressed primarily to students taking courses in civil or structural engineering, where there is a continuing need for a unified treatment of the kind that we have again attempted.

We believe that the book provides most if not all of the information required by students for formal courses on materials throughout threeor four-year degree programmes, but more specialist project work in third or fourth years may require recourse to the more detailed texts that are listed in ‘Further reading’ at the end of each section.

We also believe that our approach will continue to provide a valuable source of interest and stimulation to both undergraduates and graduates in engineering generally, materials science, building, architecture and related disciplines.

The objective of developing an understanding of the behaviour of materials from a knowledge of their structure remains paramount.

Only in this way can information from mechanical testing, experience in processing, handling and placing, and materials science, i.e. empiricism, craft and science, be brought  together to give the sound foundation for materials technology required by the practitioner.

The ‘Fundamentals’ section provides the necessary basis for this. Within each of the subsequent sections on individual materials, their structure and composition from the molecular level upwards is discussed, and then the topics of manufacture and processing, deformation, strength and failure, durability and recycling are considered.

A completely unified treatment for each material is not possible owing to their different natures and the different requirements for manufacture, processing and handling, but a look at the contents list will show how each topic has been covered and how the materials can be compared and contrasted.

Cross-references are given throughout the text to aid this, from which it will also be apparent that there are several cases of overlap between materials, for example concrete and bituminous composites use similar aggregates, and Portland cement is a component of masonry, some fibre composites and concrete.

The final section enables comparison of mechanical properties of the materials, from which it is possible to get an idea of how each fits into the broad spectrum available to construction engineers, and then discusses some of the sustainability issues relating to all the materials.

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