Social Media and You

Many (perhaps most) of us in the construction industry have had little enthusiasm for social media, but a presentation at American Society of Concrete Contractors’s CEO Forum in June opened a lot of eyes and minds. Mario Garza and Dana Galvin from Barton Malow, a general contractor based in Detroit, described in detail how their company has used Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, and Flickr to increase communication with customers, vendors, and employees. This effort increased website traffic by 12% and they now have more than 1000 Twitter followers. Applications to their summer internship program increased 65% in one year. Check out a brief social media primer on our website at

Concrete Cloth

One of the winners of the Most Innovative Products at the 2011 World of Concrete was a clever combination of fibers and dry cement that rapidly hardens when sprayed with water. Originally developed for the British army in Afghanistan as a way to upgrade defensive positions, Concrete Canvas has found great applications in somewhat crude infrastructure work, such as erosion control and slope stabilization. Concrete Canvas shelters are air-inflated, rapidly deployable concrete buildings.

Saving Your Joints

Deflection of joints in concrete warehouse floors results in cracked edges, damaged forklifts, and a black eye for concrete floors. The biggest problem is inadequate underslab support and lack of shear transfer at the joint when a heavy load passes. The Somero Matson Group has an elegant solution in the Joint Saver. This little device installs quickly into a core hole that straddles the joint and locks together the slabs on either side, eliminating independent deflection and damage. It’s a big improvement over cutting grooves to install dowels across the joint. Once the stabilizer is installed, the floor immediately can be turned over to traffic.

100% Fly Ash

There are lots of interesting cement substitutes showing up these days—partially to offset the use of portland cement with its big carbon footprint, but also to produce low-permeability concrete. John Hyman with Ceratech says their Kemrok concrete is “green, yes, but it’s really a high-performance concrete that just happens to be green.” Ceratech uses waste byproducts, mostly fly ash, and proprietary admixtures to produce concrete with a very dense matrix that is highly resistant to chemical attack even without a coating (the photo shows a sulphur pit at a petrochemical plant in Texas). Ceratech has developed very reactive, rapidly setting mixes that can handle nearly any fly ash by varying the percentages of its five different admixtures. We’re going to continue to burn coal in this country, notes Hyman, so we might as well get some good concrete with the ash.