William Hime
William Hime

Over a span of almost four years, we: have completed more than 40 column articles, and now find another year's end approaching.

During this time we asked if you are weighing your concrete; talked about the two most misused words (“lime” and “alkalies”); discussed cement (concrete) burns not once but twice; presented a different view of Sophia Loren; took you to lost Atlantis, and to the island of romance, Santorini; got you face to face with the many faces of astonishing ettringite—sometimes the salvation of cement hydration, or the means of concrete destruction; twice took a trip along some inroads into various aspects of strength; sermonized about a fusing near-apocalypse; embarked on why Arnold Palmer prefers golfing to sailing; took you to a beer bust on the moon; twice discussed lesser known evils of the concrete world; reviewed the soul of water—but in concrete; introduced you to another measuring system: a four-foot yardstick; and touched on many other aspects of concrete that include chemical sulfate attack, physical salt attack, fire resistance, concrete costs, chlorides, carbonation, color, greening, cement minerals, hydration, and some others. There are several other articles in progress, which brings us to the end of 2008.

Bernard Erlin
Bernard Erlin

The past few years, we cast a net to harvest a variety of things for you to pick from that would: provide new information; strengthen your understanding of cement and concrete; increase your understanding of the things you do or may encounter in your work; help get you more familiar with cement jargon and chemistry; fill in whatever your interest; help you avoid misunderstandings; provide future reference material; and even threw in a little levity, of sorts, to make life in our complicated concrete world a little more interesting. We have tried to do our part in getting information to you, and somewhere along the way we figured there was something that would be of interest.

If we failed, or let you down somehow, give us the works by letting Concrete Construction editor in chief Tim Gregorskiuxrqqcrsxeybwdzwucufxsrfqxwttece know. As we said in the column “Giving Something More,” we don't do this because we have to, but because “we want to give a little more.” If we helped you understand what you don't fully understand, and want to skip the editor in chief and contact us more directly, please do so by letter, fax, e-mail, telephone, pigeon, or whatever other communication means you can devise.

It seems like 2009 is here before 2008 exits. During the year, Bill, the “last concrete wet-chemist standing,” sat down and officially, partly retired—he still is available for consulting. Several years ago, Bernie got a telephone call from a “friend” who said after Bernie answered, “Bernie, I heard you were dead. Thank God … you're alive.” Bernie, figuring there was a conspiracy said, “Wow, my future, hopefully some years hence, correctly prophesied. But for now I am alive and kicking.” More recently, and from numerous sources we heard Bernie was retired. If retirement means cutting your workload down to 40 hours per week, then he has retired.

To the editorial staff of Concrete Construction, we give our appreciation for their noninterference to our columns—truly freedom of expression. We will continue the column in 2009 and delve into subjects of interest that we can handle. To our readers, we wish the best for 2009 and thereafter. We defer getting new pictures for the column because the current ones remind us of our more youthful years; that Bill still has some golf courses to conquer; and Bernie is still alive. Best wishes for 2009, and swamp us with your comments at whime@wje.com and be5023@aol.com.

Bernard Erlin is president of The Erlin Co. (TEC), Latrobe, Pa., and has been involved with all aspects of concrete for more than 48 years.

William Hime was a principal with Wiss, Janney, Elstner Associates and began working as a chemist at PCA more than 54 years ago.