100 Year Concrete Study

A 100-year scientific study of the properties of concrete recently concluded at the University of Wisconsin.  (http://www.ncptt.nps.gov/2010/university-concludes-100-year-concrete-study) The project was begun by a visionary professor of mechanics who understood the value longterm scientific research on a material that was, then, just beginning to gain the prominence it now holds in the world of construction.

Throughout most of the 20th century, while concrete was becoming the most widely used construction material on the planet, samples cast by Prof. Owen Withey and his students in 1910, 1923, and 1937 were aging in various storage conditions, accumulating valuable information about the nature of 1910 concrete and the nature of aging concrete.  About 2500 cylinders were cast in all.  Cylinders were tested at 20 years and again at 50 years, and results published.  100-year tests were recently done on the 1910 samples, and results will be published, although they have not been yet.

This study underscores the importance, when marketing construction products, of thinking in the long term and investing in it.  Endurance is one of the primary values of the built environment.  And slow change is one of the hallmarks of the construction industry.