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Using Beet Juice to Keep Streets Healthy and Clear of Ice

A Viable Alternative to Corrosion Causing Road Salt

In Canada and other parts of the world with colder climates, road salt has been used for decades to ease the effects of ice on roads and prevent slipping and traffic collisions. Although salt is effective for melting ice and absorbing moisture similarly to how a towel or sponge would, it is just as effective at damaging concrete roads.

Road Salt and Concrete Corrosion

Sodium chloride for deicing roads is used in granular form or in a brine spray and is extremely damaging to roads made of concrete. It works by lowering the freezing/melting point of water, which results in leaving roads covered in the salty slush we are all too familiar with here in Canada. Although de-icing with salt is effective on most days, it becomes almost completely ineffective as temperatures drop below -20 C as it turns back into ice.

The buildup from ice not only makes it harder to store removed snow since it contains a high amount of sodium chloride and can’t be as easily discarded, it is also damaging to equipment, vehicles, road surfaces, concrete, and aquifers.

Because the salt does not evaporate like moisture, it gets dispersed through melted water, turns into airborne droplets as it gets kicked up by traffic, or remains on the roads after spring has come and snow and ice are no longer a problem. The salt that has been dispersed continues to cause damage to the environment just as the salt that remains continues to cause damage to roads and concrete structures.

As corrosive chloride ions penetrate into the pores of concrete and reach the metal reinforcement, they start the process of corrosion which lasts months or years and worsens with time until the structure is rebuilt. Although this process is nearly unavoidable, salt brine seeping into the concrete is responsible for dramatically speeding up the process. In Canada alone, the use of road salt is responsible for many bridge and structure failures including the collapse of the De La Concorde Bridge in Laval, Quebec and the Algo Center Mall in Elliot Lake, Ontario.

The Introduction of Beet Juice

For years engineers have been working to find ways to counteract the reaction caused by road salt on concrete and have developed new recipes for concrete that contain less calcium hydroxide meaning they produce less of a damaging chemical reaction. They have also been working to find alternatives to road salt which cause less damage to the environment, population, and infrastructure. One of the newer ingredients they’ve started using is beet juice—yes, like the root vegetable.

In December 2017, the city of Calgary started using a mixture of salt and beet juice to de-ice roads. Other cities such as Laval and Cowansville in Quebec, and Toronto in Ontario have used their own mixtures of beet juice and salt. This mixture is not only more eco-friendly, causing less damage to the environment, infrastructure, and personal property, but is also more cost effective.

How it Works

As mentioned above, salt is used as a de-icer due to its ability to lower the freezing point of water surrounding it. As ice has a thin film of liquid water on its surface, when salt comes into contact and mixes with that liquid, it raises the temperature by lowering its freezing point and causes surrounding ice to melt, then creating a chain effect. Increasing the salt concentration causes this process to become even more effective as a higher concentration of salt reduces the water molecules’ ability to come together and form ice.

Salt, or sodium chloride, isn’t the only molecule capable of causing such a disruption that ice crystals can’t form. The sugar molecules from beet juice cause a similar reaction. When beet juice is mixed with the salt solution used for de-icing, it can lower the melting point even further. The Canadian cities mentioned above have started to mix a waste byproduct of the beet sugar refining process called beet molasses with traditional de-icing solutions mainly containing salt. This has allowed them to reproduce the same effects of ice melting while drastically cutting down on the concentration of salt necessary for doing so. The use of the beet molasses is not only more effective than the use of beet juice as the stickiness helps bond the salt to the road surface, but the fact that beet molasses is generally discarded after the sugar production process means this method could also be beneficial for waste reduction.

A Viable Solution?

It would be impossible to find a solution to road salt that comes with zero downsides. In 2014, National Geographic reported that run off from this sugary beet solution can end up in streams where it attracts higher levels of bacteria, which in turn depletes the oxygen supply in the water and is problematic to the animals that rely on it.

Another downside is one you might have asked yourself about while reading this article. Yes, the beet juice solution does leave the roads stained with red and brown, which can be unappealing to many. That being said, Laval, one of the earlier adopters of this solution, have started to use the juice from white beets to avoid the mess and others have decided to turn a blind eye in favor of the many benefits of this new de-icing solution.

What are your thoughts? Would the pros outweigh the cons and would you consider using beet juice as an alternative to road salt? Comment below!

Photo credit: deeproot

The post Using Beet Juice to Keep Streets Healthy and Clear of Ice appeared first on Giatec Scientific Inc.

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Smart Concrete™ Passes South Dakota DOT Test with Flying Colours | A Smart Concrete™ Case Study

Mobile Sensor-based Technology to be a ‘Standard’ on Major Concrete Projects for Leading Ready-Mix Supplier and Major Contractor

Industry Leader

Established in 1952, Concrete Materials prides itself on setting the quality and innovation benchmark that other suppliers to the heavy/highway construction industry follow. The company is quick to examine and implement new methods, materials, and technologies for delivering quality solutions and materials. While cost is always a consideration, the need for solutions that improve operational efficiency by reducing dependence on skilled labor has become a significant driver.

We had to start looking outside-the-box and find ways to help our customers do things more efficiently.

Completed concrete highway

Skills Shortage creates challenges

According to the Sioux Falls Development Corporation, there aren’t enough workers to meet the demands of the fast-growing city. With an unemployment rate below 3%, many businesses including construction companies are struggling to find skilled labor.

A challenging employment climate, coupled with a large interstate project that had a particularly demanding paving schedule roughly two years ago, motivated Concrete Materials to look for innovative new methods.

For ready-mix suppliers, Smart Concrete provides a proven way of differentiating their business while introducing an important, value-added upsell opportunity with attractive margins.

“We had to start looking outside-the-box and find ways to help our customers do things more efficiently,” confirms Jim Simunek, Ready Mix Sales, Concrete Materials. “By luck, we just happened to come across wireless sensors from Giatec at a major convention [in January 2017],” he adds.
Transformational concrete solution

Specifically, waterproof sensors are used in an industry transforming, mobile-based technology product called Smart Concrete™ that’s offered by Giatec to ready-mix suppliers. Called “the next wave in concrete maturity” by some users, sensors are installed on the concrete formwork before pouring. A downloadable app from the ready-mix producer gives the contractor real-time temperature and maturity monitoring from the jobsite.

The primary appeal to contractors is the opportunity to reduce or eliminate the need for field cure cylinders; and in so doing lower their labor costs while accelerating a pour schedule to realize important schedule efficiencies. For ready-mix suppliers, Smart Concrete provides a proven way of differentiating their business while introducing an important, value-added upsell opportunity with attractive margins.

You may be able to save days on some jobs and weeks on others

Highway 100 Test Project

In July 2017, Concrete Materials approached one of its primary customers, T&R Contracting with a proposal to test, Smart Concrete on a large scale divided highway project. The test also needed the direct involvement of the Department of Transportation (DOT) because the wireless sensor technology had never been used before in the state of South Dakota. The objective was to use the Highway 100 project to verify whether the Smart Concrete sensors were accurate.

Brad Tiede, Project Engineer with DOT confirms that the test involved casting four concrete cylinders and placing a wireless sensor in one. “When the sensor reported a compression strength of 4,000 psi, we would break open the other cylinders to get an average strength,” says Tiede. The test confirmed that the Smart Concrete sensor was within ten percent of what the average psi reading was, indicating the concrete had reached “good strength”.

Going forward, Smart Concrete will be a standard in our big paving projects.

Time and Labor Savings

Obtain and share temperature and strength results in real-time with the Smart Concrete™ mobile app.

Normally, on a project of this scale, DOT’s inspectors would make four cylinders and break one at seven days, fourteen days, and again at twenty-eight days – with a back-up cylinder available for the last break. The Smart Concrete test resulted in a decision by DOT to reduce cylinder testing to one per month. While it’s hard to quantify the time and labor savings from eliminating these traditional tests Tiede confirms, that “not having to do those cylinder breaks freed up our inspectors for other tasks.”

T&R Contracting also observed significant value from the use of Smart Concrete on the test project. “It’s definitely a benefit eliminating the need for a DOT inspector to come out and check strength,” says T&R’s Ryan Gulbrandson. “If we’re paving on a Monday, I can buzz out there myself on a Sunday and confirm whether the strength is good to go on Monday, update the info which is shared immediately to our field team thorough the app – instead of waiting for DOT to give us approval,” he adds.

I believe it [Smart Concrete] gives us a competitive advantage over our competitors in this market by giving our customers firsthand, real-time information

Gulbrandson also believes that during the prime construction season, “when it’s hotter outside”, the sensor technology will “carry that heat and get to strength faster than it will in a traditional seventy-degree lab.” Depending on how many phases, and the number of pours, he says “you may be able to save days on some jobs and weeks on others” – recognizing that every job will be different.

Smart Concrete Becomes a ‘New Standard’

Having passed the DOT of South Dakota’s inspection test with flying colours, Concrete Materials and T&R Contracting are excited about the prospect of using Smart Concrete on other state road and infrastructure projects. “Going forward, Smart Concrete will be a standard in our big paving projects,” says Simunek.

Since the Highway 100 test project, Concrete Materials has used Giatec’s sensors on a hospital project, and they have many other commercial contractors that are using the Smart Concrete product.

Finally, “I believe it [Smart Concrete] gives us a competitive advantage over our competitors in this market by giving our customers firsthand, real-time information,” says Simunek. For contractors, he says that using the product will enable them to achieve better profitability by reducing their schedules. “We will definitely be using Smart Concrete going forward,” he concludes.

We will definitely be using Smart Concrete going forward.

Challenge

  • Shortage of skilled construction workers driving the need for superior efficiencies on large projects

Solution

  • Test the use of Smart Concrete™ on a major highway project with South Dakota’s Department of Transportation (DOT) and T&R Inc., a major contractor

Results

  • Test verified accuracy of Smart Concrete sensors
  • Reduced number of traditional cylinder tests by DOT
  • Contractor realized important new efficiencies
  • Smart Concrete will be a standard product on future big projects by Concrete Materials and T&R

About Concrete Materials

Concrete Materials is the largest ready-mix supplier in Sioux Falls with a commitment to providing the highest quality materials to construction companies in eastern South Dakota and surrounding states.

About Giatec

Giatec Scientific Inc. is a leading provider of advanced concrete testing solutions to the global construction industry. By combining trwireless concrete sensors and mobile apps, Giatec’s unique smart monitoring solutions provide invaluable real-time information on concrete properties.

Our knowledge-based solutions include laboratory devices, Non-Destructive Testing equipment, and wireless sensors for the accurate assessment of various parameters including concrete electrical resistivity, permeability, rebar corrosion potential and corrosion rate, as well as wireless monitoring of concrete temperature, maturity and humidity.

Contractors, builders, and ready-mix providers in over 70 countries use Giatec’s smart monitoring solutions to save time, reduce their labour investment, energy and material costs while measurably increasing the profitability of their building projects.

The post Smart Concrete™ Passes South Dakota DOT Test with Flying Colours | A Smart Concrete™ Case Study appeared first on Giatec Scientific Inc.

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Dallas’ Margaret McDermott Bridge Eliminates Testing to Save Money

Value Engineering Results in Project Cost Increase

The new Margaret McDermott Bridge over the Trinity River in Dallas, Texas was intended to replace the I-30 bridge built in the late 50s to early 60s. Now, the opening of the bridge, which cost $115 million to build,—much of which was covered by taxpayer money,—and features a design resembling a suspension bridge, 10 main lanes with one reversible high occupancy vehicle (HOV) lane, four frontage road lanes, as well as cycling and walking facilities, is facing major delays, not to mention cost increases.

In order to cut project costs earlier on, the Texas Department of Transportation and the contractors working on the project were pushed to accept value engineering—a method for improving the value of goods or products and services, but which generally amounts to cutting corners. Due to VE, the new bridge system designed by architect, structural engineer, painter, and sculptor Santiago Calatrava never underwent proper cable fatigue testing, despite Calatrava’s wishes.

Less than a year after the final arch of the bridge was lifted into place, one of the cables used to secure the bridge’s pedestrian deck cracked as it was vibrated and twisted by strong winds. Within a period of five weeks following the first cable break, two other cable rods cracked and failed.

Despite the fact that strong winds are predominant in this locale, proper testing to see if the cable rods would be able to withstand these levels of wind was disregarded. Although there is a lot of finger pointing when it comes to who is to blame for putting off proper testing, recently released documents attest that Calatrava pushed the city of Dallas to undergo testing to see if the cables would be able to withstand the region’s strong winds before they were installed. Calatrava even offered front the money to cover the costs of testing until the city was able to pay it back. Despite his efforts, it was decided that the cable fatigue testing would be eliminated in favor of cost savings.

According to a letter sent out by the Texas Department of Transportation on January 30th, the bill for repairs and delays will cost about $1 million per month and will be the city’s responsibility. The original savings due to value engineering for this project amounted to a total of $30,000—considerably less than the cost of repairs they are now facing.

For now, the two cable-stayed structures of the Margaret McDermott Bridge system remain closed as no one is willing to certify that they are safe for use. In fact, the city official that has been overseeing the project, reported last week that the only problem was “a long-range maintenance issue.” As it stands, the city is unwilling to admit that human safety is a problem and continues to state that the bridge has passed key tests and will not remain closed for much longer.

Read more about the project on The Dallas Observer.

Learn about bridge inspection technology on the Giatec blog.

The post Dallas’ Margaret McDermott Bridge Eliminates Testing to Save Money appeared first on Giatec Scientific Inc.

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You Need to Follow These Top 20 Construction Influencers on LinkedIn in 2018

The Who’s Who of Construction on LinkedIn

There are many companies, people and groups that share valuable information, knowledge-based content and updates about construction industry, and promote innovations and advancements in science and technology on LinkedIn. Obviously, we are biased and encourage you to follow Giatec. But, here is our pick from top 20 influencers in the construction industry that you need to follow in 2018:

Companies to follow:

Construction News

LinkedIn|Website
Construction News is a weekly newsletter dedicated to providing the latest and top construction-related news within the UK. A subscription to Construction News will give you detailed stories, industry trends, high profile interviews, expert analysis, forecasts, and will ultimately keep you up to date on UK construction.

Associated General Contractors of America

LinkedIn|Website
The Associated General Contractors of America (or AGC) is a leading association for the construction industry. The AGC represents more than 26,000 firms, over 6,500 general contractors, and over 9,000 specialty contracting firms. The AGC is a nationwide networking platform dedicated to educating members of the latest in construction technologies while connecting professionals through the platform.

RICS

LinkedIn|Website
RICS seeks to influence governments and international organizations to achieve the highest professional standards & qualifications in the industries of construction, infrastructure, and real estate. By using member expertise, RICS demonstrates professionalism, technical knowledge & standards, while continuing to follow a research agenda in order to promote their beliefs and practices.

Construction Dive

LinkedIn|Website
Construction Dive is an online & mobile dashboard that features the latest construction news, trends, & insights on a variety of topics. Newsletter topics include commercial, infrastructure, residential, design, green, technological advancements, and more.

Concrete Decor Magazine

LinkedIn|Website
Concrete Decor magazine seeks to share decorative concrete in all forms. The magazine features valuable information, ideas, and new products in decorative concrete and related specialties. Concrete Décor reaches more than 40,000 professionals in the concrete industry.

Construction Junkie

LinkedIn|Website
Construction Junkie is a newsletter dedicated to supplying a convenient platform for the latest and most interesting news, technology, products, and more.

The Construction Index

LinkedIn|Website
The Construction Index is UK’s largest construction search engine which provides products and services from thousands of construction companies across the UK. The website attracts more than 14 million global visitors!

ConstructConnect

LinkedIn|Website
ConstructConnect connects many industry professionals including general contractors, subcontractors, building product manufacturers, designers, architects, and project owners. The network gives access to relevant data and information through easy-to-use technology.

People to Follow

Jon Belkowitz

Director of Research and Development at Intelligent Concrete, LLC specializing in Concrete Research, Development and Education with a focus on Nanotechnology.

Jay Shilstone

In his words, “Concrete quality is my passion, not only in terms of performance, but also specification, construction and appearance.”

Marco Rosignoli

Marco has an extensive experience in designing hundreds of bridges including 14 cable-stayed and 9 arch bridges. He works as a forensic engineer, has published several books and teaches various courses to civil engineers.

Martin Kruger

Managing Director at All4Concrete Ltd. Ready Mix Concrete solutions and supply. Training, coaching, and mentoring.

Heather Brown

For the past 15 years, Heather Brown has been churning out those leaders as director of the Concrete Industry Management program at Middle Tennessee State University.

Mike Murray

Mike has been involved in Concrete Construction for over 57 years. As Concrete Finisher foreman and owner of Murray Decorative Concrete Supply. Much of Mike’s attention is now focused on efforts to use concrete to fight cancer and help families and children facing the daily challenges of cancer in their lives.

Groups to join

Engineering News-Record

Engineering News-Record provides the news, analysis, commentary and data that construction industry professionals need to do their jobs more effectively.

American Concrete Institute

Connecting members of the American Concrete Institute and those who are interested in concrete production, design, and construction to each other for networking, discussions, and ACI updates.

Concrete Construction Magazine

The Concrete Construction Magazine group provides concrete construction and repair contractors with the information they need to improve quality, reduce costs, and increase profitability.

Building Magazine

Reaching over 125,000 professionals every week, Building provides an unrivalled combination of award winning editorial, news, interviews, analysis and hard industry data and leads the way in journalism for the construction industry.

The Concrete Producer

This group is focused on the women and men who work in the sales, marketing, quality control, production, mix design and delivery of ready-mixed concrete, precast concrete, prestressed concrete, and concrete block.

For Construction Pros

The ForConstructionPros.com group on LinkedIn is a place where construction professionals can network, share tips and insights, and help each other run their construction businesses more profitably.

The post You Need to Follow These Top 20 Construction Influencers on LinkedIn in 2018 appeared first on Giatec Scientific Inc.

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SmartRock2™ on the Job | A SmartRock2™ Case Study

DIVCON Inc. Uses SmartRock2 for Accurate Real-Time Monitoring of Concrete Maturity, Strength, & Temperature

When DIVCON Inc. underwent the build of a 40,000 square foot elevated post tension podium slab deck, they reached for Giatec Scientific’s SmartRock2 concrete monitoring technology. Using wireless real-time reads of the concrete’s maturity, strength, and temperatures, the team was able to reduce liability and make fast, accurate decisions to ensure the complete safety and integrity of the concrete they were delivering.

The Situation

Prior to using SmartRock2, DIVCON Inc., like many other construction companies, was using wired sensors for monitoring the temperature and maturity of poured concrete. For decades, these wired sensors were the only option available and site crews had to work around the many challenges of the physical wires poking out of the concrete; including, easily mis-labelled wires, accidental cutting or damage of the sensors, and reading errors caused by wire cross-over. Working in Washington State with varying ambient temperatures that can affect the maturing of concrete, DIVCON Inc. wanted a better, more accurate way to monitor the strength of the materials.

Using the easy-to-read SmartRock report that automatically generates, we were able to show that the temperature of the ready-mix concrete never dropped.

DIVCON Inc. site Project Manager, Jeremy Kinney, learned about SmartRock2 through an article in Concrete Construction Magazine and decided to adopt the technology for the build of a 40,000 square foot elevated post tension podium slab deck in a lower retail area below a hotel.

Construction workers setting up the formwork for the elevated slab.

Getting Started with SmartRock2

Kinney’s team got started with SmartRock2 by tagging 18 sensors and tying them directly onto the rebar throughout the perimeter of the slab’s frame. Once the sensors were connected, Kinney and his team used their smartphones’ Bluetooth to pick up the sensor reads instantly. “It popped right up on my phone, it was that easy,” said Kinney.

Kinney worked with Giatec’s support team to ensure calibration designs were inputted correctly the first time around, and now has concrete maturity curves he can reuse going forward. “Now we have a few mix designs that we always use on post tension and tilt- walls so that they can develop the maturity curves to allow us to use this going forward,” said Kinney.

The Results

Using SmartRock2, DIVCON Inc. realized several benefits for not only ensuring quality, but also increasing project efficiencies.

Using SmartRock2, DIVCON Inc. was able to:

  • Enable real-time collaboration & information sharing
  • Monitor concrete maturity from anywhere
  • Ensure the safety of the concrete
  • Reduce liability & avoid unexpected costs

Construction workers collecting concrete temperature strength data after pouring.

Remote Monitoring & Collaboration: The ability to share data instantly across the site team was a big time-saver for Kinney. “When I was 400+ miles away from the jobsite and not able to be there all the time, I was able to get the Foreman and Superintendent to adopt the technology and share with me remotely for real-time information sharing and decision-making.”

Reduced Liability: SmartRock2 monitoring offered DIVCON Inc. a layer of validation for showing consistent temperature control, which can reduce liabilities if disputes ever arise. “Using the easy-to-read SmartRock report that automatically generates, we were able to show that the temperature of the ready-mix concrete never dropped.”

SmartRock2 offers a much more accurate version of the strength in concrete.

Accurate Reads for Safety & Reduced Costs: Kinney also noticed a significant variance in the accuracy of break tests. By comparing the test results from the field-cured cylinders taken from the interior versus the readings from the SmartRock2 sensors, Kinney realized that the break- tests were off, which could have resulted in injury or unexpected costs.

DIVCON Inc. had a very successful experience with SmartRock2 and plans to use the sensors for future projects involving post tension concrete and tilt walls.

About DIVCON Inc.

Located in Spokane Valley Washington, DIVCON, Inc. is a full-service general contractor. Since 1976, the company’s mission has been to deliver professional construction services utilizing innovative solutions in response to customer needs and operations.

About Giatec

Giatec Scientific Inc. is a leading provider of advanced concrete testing solutions to the global construction industry. By combining trwireless concrete sensors and mobile apps, Giatec’s unique smart monitoring solutions provide invaluable real-time information on concrete properties.

Our knowledge-based solutions include laboratory devices, Non-Destructive Testing equipment, and wireless sensors for the accurate assessment of various parameters including concrete electrical resistivity, permeability, rebar corrosion potential and corrosion rate, as well as wireless monitoring of concrete temperature, maturity and humidity.

Contractors, builders, and ready-mix providers in over 70 countries use Giatec’s smart monitoring solutions to save time, reduce their labour investment, energy and material costs while measurably increasing the profitability of their building projects.

The post SmartRock2™ on the Job | A SmartRock2™ Case Study appeared first on Giatec Scientific Inc.

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