GETTING BACK TO THE BASICS IN TEACHING ENGINEERING: LET US START WITH PORTLAND CEMENT CONCRETE

The purpose of an undergraduate laboratory course in concrete should be to familiarize civil engineering and technology students with two of the most important materials on construction: portland cement (PC), and PC concrete (PCC). The aim is to assist students in gaining an understanding of PC and PCC through the physical handing and testing of these materials in the laboratory environment. This guest editorial outlines the six elements of instruction he believes should be included in an undergraduate concrete laboratory course: an understanding of the basic materials that go into a PCC mix (aggregates, various types of portland cement, and how it is tested and manufactured, water, and an explanation of additives); guidance for the students in developing the mix design that their work squad will use in the course; preparation of specimens for compression, flexure, methods of determining tensile strength, Young's modulus and Poisson's ratio, and the interaction of steel and concrete; an understanding of the importance of curing and proper methods for the handling of fresh concrete; an understanding of the relationship between concrete strength, time, and mixture ingredients, particularly the water-to-cement ratio; and the testing of the prepared specimens and the preparation of detailed reports based upon these tests. The author believes that today's problem with engineering education is not balancing engineering theory with design, but determining the appropriate sequence of instruction. He questions whether today's faculty, trained in engineering theory and largely lacking in industrial experience, as evidenced by the profuse lack of engineering licenses, can successfully impart the new engineering philosophy.

Language

  • English

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Filing Info

  • Accession Number: 00795695
  • Record Type: Publication
  • Files: TRIS
  • Created Date: Jul 18 2000 12:00AM