We spend a lot of words and time on innovative materials, techniques, and products in Concrete Construction magazine and in our newsletter. But if you look at the keys to successful concrete buildings, floors, and pavements, innovation often has little to do with it—the fundamental things we've known for many years end up being the deciding factors. What do you think are the critical bits of knowledge that every person working with concrete should know? My list includes, in no particular order, cement, aggregates, water-cement ratio, air entrainment, slab finishing sequence, joints and joint spacing, placement, consolidation techniques, curing, reinforcement, admixtures, hydration, slump, compressive and tensile strength, unit weight, shrinkage, and cracking. What am I missing?
So then, if someone asks you the best way to learn these fundamentals, what do you recommend? I would probably tell them to get the ASCC/ACI Contractor’s Guide or perhaps ACI’s Concrete Primer, although these are sort of dry. We need something more visual, with better photos and video, but I don’t think that exists right now. Someone will have to create it!