The Building Industry Consultative Council (BICC), together with Philip A. Tabone Ltd., today organised a conference on Concrete, held at the Westin Dragonara Resort. The conference was held under the patronage of the Faculty for the Built Environment and supported by Kamra tal-Periti and BASF.
The Hon. Censu Galea, Chairman of the BICC, opened the conference and spoke about the importance of the collaboration between industry and the professionals in the field, where knowledge sharing is essential in achieving better performance, new ideas and cutting edge technologies.
Vince Cassar, President of Kamra tal-Periti and Alex Torpiano, Dean of the Faculty for the Built Environment, both stated that the collaboration between the Industry and the professionals is an integral part of the evolution of the profession. Having a number of students or graduates working in close collaboration with key suppliers of materials and technologies should be further strengthened in order for the students to have a more holistic learning experience.
The speakers of the Concrete conference were a mix between graduates presenting their research work as well as foreign speakers who have shared their experience on.
Mr. Clint Camilleri, a graduate from the Faculty for the Built Environment, dealt with the concerns of the disposal of construction and demolition waste and explored his assessment of the performance of ceramic tiles as a replacement for crushed local aggregate.
Mr. Steve Scicluna, also a graduate from the Faculty for the Built Environment, investigated the possibility of exploiting the shredded or crumb rubber obtained from waste tyres in the production of concrete, in order to address waste management.
Ms. Adriana Zammit, who is a fresh graduate from the Faculty for the Built Environment, explained her findings when lower coralline limestone and globigerina limestone waste were considered in the production of aerated concrete. The aim of her project was to achieve a lower density concrete with sufficient strength meaning lighter materials for lighter constructions.
Guest foreign speakers were Dr. Ivan Torresan, Ing. Giovanni Borsa and Ing. Christian Prilhofer. Dr. Torresan presented a lecture on zero energy construction and the sustainability in buildings. The use of mixtures and certain materials in the use of concrete enabled manufacturers and architects to optimise the carbon footprint when producing cement by reducing the quantity of clinker used in cement and in concrete. In this regard concrete admixtures help in giving an important positive contribution.
Ing. Prilhofer discussed the success that precast technology is achieving at the international level. He explained that this is due to a variety of reasons including the lack of skilled labour and large demands in terms of time and resources, which make traditional building methods not feasible. The answer to these problems, he explained, was in the industrial production and hollow core systems have an important role in this scenario.
Ing. Giovanni Borsa from BASF Construction Chemicals, Italy, has explored the concept of using composite materials with polymeric matrix FRP (Fiber Reinforced Polymers) for the reinforcement of structures. The design of reinforced concrete structures with FRP materials needed to be addressed through an integrated approach, Ing. Borsa said, where each problem is associated with the application of specific solutions / products. It was explained that FRP products can also be used in combination with lime-based mortars in masonry structures.
James Schembri, a graduate from the Faculty for the Built Environment, spoke about how Recycled Pet fibres can be used effectively in the production of concrete. The research concerned the investigation of the use of locally processed fibres manufactured from recycled PET, to enhance the ductility and crack resistance of the concrete. The use of recycled PET in concrete locally not only improves the performance of the material, but also helps reduce the energy demands associated with transportation and recycling of the current local PET waste procedure.
Lara Mifsud, another graduate, discussed the combination of precast, prestressed concrete elements and in-situ topping as becoming an increasingly popular structural system of choice. However, for this structural system to be fully effective a sufficient bond between the two elements must be ensured. The study presented focused on how the surface treatment affects the overall behaviour of such elements when subjected to a bending action.
Michela Francalanza, also a graduate, explored the use of textiles as replacement to steel rebars as the main reinforcement in concrete being considered to be an innovative concept. The study addressed the performance of panels composed of a fine-grained concrete matrix, reinforced with three different materials; An alkali-resistant glass fibre mesh, a high density polyethylene mesh, and a wire mesh. The study also briefly examines the microscopic relationship resulting between the fine-grained concrete and the textile reinforcing materials.
The Hon, George Pullicino, Minister for Resources and Rural Affairs, who closed the seminar noted that there were two of the papers today which proposed the use of recycled material in the production of concrete namely crushed ceramic tiles and waste tyre rubber. He welcomed initiatives which seek to utilise recycled materials by integrating them in the material used for construction. Minister Pullicino also announced that in the coming weeks the new regulations aimed at reducing the possibility of damage to third party property from construction will be introduced.