Quo vadis, Opus Caementitium?

Dear ladies and gentlemen, dear readers:

The motto of the BetonTage congress “concretes of the future” brings up the exciting question, in which direction things will change. Based on the opus caementicium of the Romans, the building material concrete has progressed enormously. And modern concrete technology, in particular, can look back on outstanding innovations. Apart from high-performance and self-compacting concrete (HPC and SCC), manufacturers succeeded in developing ultra-high performance concrete (UHPC) as well as innovative textile-reinforced concrete. What will come next? Will it be the “super-ultra-high performance concrete” or the “smart concrete”, with totally discrete properties? Maybe both of them, but even as niche products. If considering, however, which of the progress made is eventually implemented in practice, the outcome is rather underwhelming.

Have the enormous development efforts therefore been in vain? The answer to this question is clearly no, because research carried out in the last few years is resulting in such profound knowledge as absolutely necessary for the upcoming tasks.

The key challenge, the entire world is facing when building with concrete, is the use of significantly sustainable concretes. We have to pursue two strategies: firstly, to force the development of environmentally-friendly cements/binders and secondly, to provide structural concrete with considerably reduced binder content. These developments will create a new type of normal concrete, which may also be called “green” concrete. This type of concrete will have to combine its ecological advantages with indispensable, technological characteristics, while it can be produced all over the world in an efficient way.

First research studies prove that this new concrete is not utopian. Relevant aspects in this respect have already been discussed previously, in particular, during the BetonTage congress. This year’s motto virtually asks for such product. With this in mind, I would like to thank the organizers of the BetonTage congress 2015, congratulating them at the same time on yet another extraordinarily excellent program. May the event become a complete success.

Univ.-Prof. Dr.-Ing. Harald S. Müller
President of the International Federation for Structural Concrete (fib)

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