Intelligent concrete

The urban heat island (UHI) effect can result in greatly elevated temperatures in urban areas, especially with dark pavement surfaces that act as a heat sink absorbing radiation from the sun. To overcome this, Emerald Cities, working with Intelligent Concrete LLC, has used nanotechnology approaches to create an ultra-high-performing concrete overlay material for asphalt. Not only does the new Cool Pavement reflect the heat from the sun, but it has high flexural strength and excellent slip resistance. Recently installed at a school in Phoenix, surface temperatures were decreased by more than 50° F and ambient air temperatures more than 30° F. Read the web exclusive article.

Safety card quiz

A clever approach to safety meetings has been developed by Clement Communications. The Safety Pocket Guide is a small trifold card that covers the basics of a safety topic, such as earplugs or back safety. Each guide includes a five-question quiz with rub-off answers that the employee signs, dates, and turns in to prove that safety training took place. When the OSHA inspector arrives, don’t be left without backup on your safety program. To see a list of topics, go to

Sensing skin for concrete

MIT News reports that researchers at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and the University of Potsdam in Germany have developed a skin-like material from a thermoplastic elastomer. Little patches of this skin can be placed onto concrete structures and connected to a computer to indicate even tiny movements in the concrete—in other words, cracks. Patches would be painted onto structures, such as bridges or dams, at critical locations and the condition monitored daily without human intervention. Simon Laflamme, one of the researchers at MIT who recently moved to Iowa State University, says that the automation of this approach will save money and allow the industry to greatly improve the safety of concrete structures. This material is not yet commercially available but watch for patches on bridges and parking structures in the near future.