In November, the second BFT Technical Forum took place at the Borussia Park in Mönchengladbach, Germany. This year‘s topic: mixing technology. The industrial exchange under the heading „The perfect Mix – an update for the right mix“ attracted participants from all over Germany.
Qualitative technical presentations
The program presented in Mönchengladbach comprised five technical presentations, which were particularly characterized by their well-balanced mixture of research- and practice-oriented contents. The different approaches once again revealed how controversially the topic of mixing technology is discussed within the industry. The keynote speaker, Dr. Justus Lipowsky of IAB Weimar, fascinated the audience with not just one but two technical presentations.
In his speech on „Disintegration and blending – basic principles of a successful mixture“, he presented research findings on the subtasks in the mixing process. The classical concrete mixing process is usually realized as a single-step batching process. The equipment used in this process – whether these are drum mixers, pan type mixers or conical mixers – differ in geometry, dimensioning and motion of the mixing blades, but not in the principle of procedure. Hence, the process step of mixing integrates, on the one hand, the subtask of cement disintegration and, on the other hand, the mixing of paste and aggregates. This approach seems to be reasonable in many cases, in particular, in the light of time and cost pressure. However, the users should always consider the fact that the mixing process has to cope with two fundamentally different tasks and they should also call this into question in case of challenging mixing tasks.
The second presentation of the head of the IAB process engineering area of research addressed the topic of modeling of the material behavior of cement suspensions. Numerical simulations are often an appropriate tool for accelerating the development processes of machinery and plant components. Apart from a fast way of checking the design variations, numerical modeling of the relevant flow zones often leads to a deeper understanding of the process and thus allowing for adapting the equipment to be developed even better to the respective task. But the numerical simulation of technical suspensions frequently faces the user with great difficulties because the behavior of the materials examined deviate from that of a Newtonian liquid as well as from the behavior of a dry solid matter. An as detailed as possible representation of fluid and solid as well as the interactions taking place between these phases puts high requirements on the modeling depth and thus, it is hardly practicable for an industry-related application. In order to reduce the numerical effort, a new material model was developed for fresh concrete and the research project was introduced on the occasion of the BFT Technical Forum.
In addition to presentations from the field of research, speakers of the three premium partners, BASF, Eirich and Kniele, had their say too and commented on the manufacturing process in a practice-related and application-oriented way:
Harald and Felix Kniele, Kniele GmbH: Mixing technology for fine-grained, self-compacting concretes and UHPC;
Philipp Krötz and Bernhard König, Maschinenfabrik Gustav Eirich GmbH & Co. KG: New approaches regarding the modernization of mixing plants;
Ronald König and Sebastian Dittmar, BASF Construction Polymers GmbH: Advanced concrete admixtures and their influence on the mixing process.
The lecture program was accompanied by a small exhibition provided by the partners. Along with a lot of networking, the participants could enjoy a guided tour through Borussia Park at the end of the official part of the event.
The next BFT Technical Forum will take place in June of this year in the German city of Ulm and is dedicated to the topic of wet-cast.