2020 TCA Research

TCA’s research efforts for 2020 saw the continuation of some earlier research projects undertaken with Tennessee universities (see below) and the initiation of what we like to call Practical Research. With the addition of John Pearson, PE as TCA’s Director of Technical Services our goal is to utilize Mr. Pearson’s expertise and TCA’s new campus to perform research with immediate, practical utilization for ready mix producers.

In addition to our in-house research efforts, TCA has submitted a research proposal to the RMC Foundation to measure how quickly concrete carbonates when exposed to atmospheric CO2. TCA is proposing to take measurements of actual concrete placements utilized in the construction on our new office building that will take place in 2021, with these measurements continuing over the next decade. Carbonation of existing concrete in the built environment is a “hot button” issue in sustainable construction and could give concrete another significant advantage over competing construction products.

Our first Practical Research project focused on the proper storage of acceptance cylinders under field conditions. The required conditions for storage of acceptance cylinders is well known but rarely achieved in the real world. Responsibility for achieving and maintaining those conditions in the field is slippery in spite of being well-defined in the testing standards, much to the frustration of ready mix producers everywhere. The goal of our research was to document whether or not some common field practices could actually maintain compliance with the testing standards during the heat of Tennessee summer weather.

Mr. Pearson explains how we conducted the research in the video below and the chart summarizes the findings of our initial tests. Click here to see the full report. We plan to further validate our data by working with undergraduate engineering programs across Tennessee to have them conduct similar testing protocols and then collect that data. In addition to gathering more data, we feel this will be a powerful lesson about what works (and what doesn’t!) when it comes to meeting specification requirements for acceptance cylinders.

For engineers and specifiers who are currently practicing, Mr. Pearson has put together a presentation using this data to reinforce the importance of meeting the specification requirements. The presentation was presented at two virtual conferences in 2020.