All Posts By

Dylan Berkley

Surface Tech welcomes John McConahy as Corporate Sales Director for Concrete Products

By | Concrete | No Comments

Surface Tech is pleased to announce the addition of John McConahy to our team as the Corporate Sales Director for the Concrete Products Division. He brings a vast knowledge and expertise in delivering thought-provoking, innovative, and proven solutions to the construction industry.

After earning a B.S. in Civil Engineering from Pennsylvania State University, John learned the construction industry from the ground up by leading projects for both The Whiting-Turner Contracting Company and Turner Construction Company. This experience laid the foundation for John to deliver performance-based solutions to owners, engineers, contractors, and concrete manufacturers

John continued to build on this foundation while at BASF Admixtures, Inc. (Master Builders) while serving in a variety of roles. He possesses a thorough understanding of the concrete industry, mix design optimization, materials, operations, and customer needs. During his last role as Market Development Manager, he played an integral part in developing and launching many innovative, performance-based concrete product solutions in use today.

 

 

Looking for Improved Asphalt Solutions? Go to BATT

By | Asphalt | No Comments

Asphalt Pavement SolutionIf you face a challenging future asphalt paving job, let Blankenship Asphalt Tech and Training (BATT) go to bat for you. Phil Blankenship, P.E., has created a company that offers a wide variety of services, including testing, training, engineering and product development.

As a strategic advisor to Surface Tech, Phil has applied his considerable depth of knowledge and 26 years of experience to a wide range of asphalt applications. Phil recently helped us design a revolutionary new asphalt mixture and provided field support for the placement of this innovative, crack-resistant, one-inch layer of asphalt. Applied on top of a general aviation airport runway that was plagued with microcracks, it allowed the airport to reopen in short order. (See our blog post for photos + project details.)

It’s the kind of forward-thinking service you can expect from Phil, and the BATT-men team, which includes Zack McKay who joined the company to lead the laboratory testing and training. Coming from the Asphalt Institute in the asphalt mixtures lab, Zack has nearly eight years of asphalt design and performance testing experience.

“I’m committed to our asphalt paving industry and the technology of asphalt pavements,” said Phil. “I work with contractors and suppliers on customized lab test training, product evaluations, new product trials, general project support, custom designs, such as balanced mix designs and performance testing designs.”

As a member of the Association of Asphalt Paving Technologists, TRB committees, PAIKY, and chair of ASTM 04.26, he stays abreast of the latest asphalt technologies and invites you to go to BATT with your next asphalt challenge. Learn more at https://www.blankenshipasphalttech.com/

ASCM — Upcoming webinars will define, describe and detail

By | Concrete | No Comments

JUNO XPAlternative Supplementary Cementitious Material — if this term, or the acronym —ASCM — isn’t clear to you, plan to tune in to our series of three upcoming webinars.

Dr. Jon Belkowitz, Director of Research and Development at Intelligent Concrete, will take you on a one-hour deep dive into ASCMs. You’ll emerge with a good understanding of how this high-tech material holds great promise for making concrete stronger and last longer.

 

September 24 – 9am PST

JUNO XP BannerWebinar 1:  Exploring the creation of ASCMs

  • Material composition & engineering properties
    • Impact on concrete
    • Benefits to the concrete and construction industry
    • ASTM C 1709 connection
    • Field testing
    • Status of industry adoption

Click here to Register Now

JUNO XP to challenge brutal Colorado winters

By | Concrete | No Comments

Field test on residential mix paves the way for improved cold weather resistance

Ready-mix providers throughout Colorado face daunting challenges when creating residential concrete placements. Damage caused by freeze-thaw cycles, de-icing salts and excessive use can spell big trouble if the concrete fails to hold up under Colorado’s brutal winters. Homeowners generally hold concrete providers responsible if slabs, driveways, sidewalks and other residential placements don’t last through the first winter without change from shrinkage, cracking or surface deterioration.

JUNO XP’s reputation for increasing toughness and durability convinced one Colorado ready-mix provider to put it to a test. The residential mix specifications, shown in Table 1, required a designed compressive strength of 4,000 psi and 4.5 to 6.5 percent entrained air for freeze-thaw mitigation. It also needed to achieve a slump of four to six inches.

Table 2 details the fresh properties of the mix. Preliminary results show that JUNO XP maintained strength as well as slump and air entrainment properties, even though it reduced the amount of traditional cement in the mix. Moreover, JUNO XP also reduced the ready-mix provider’s cost for the mix, while still meeting specifications for compressive strength of C39 -3, -7, for 28-days. (See Figure 2 for Comparative Strengths.)

“With JUNO XP, we succeeded in setting up a concrete surface that we believe will maintain durability against freeze-thaw and de-icing salt attack,” said Jon Belkowitz, Surface Tech’s chief technical officer for concrete. “JUNO XP also delivered an enhanced concrete finish and improved roadside appeal.” (See Figures 1 and 4 for photo results of shrinkage and moisture loss on the test slabs.)

JUNO XP is an alternative supplementary cementitious material (ASCM) developed by Surface Tech to increase the toughness and durability of concrete, making it stronger and last longer. The Colorado residential test will continue to be monitored over the coming year. Find more information about JUNO XP here. 

Table 1 – Concrete Mix Designs Evaluated

 

Materials

 

3000, EXT, FLT WORK
REF JUNO XP RPL 22% JUNO XP RPL 35%
Lb Per C. Yard

 

HOLCIM Type I-II 432 329 300
Fly Ash F 108 115 101
Juno XP 0 10 17
LGE # 57 / 67 1351 1377 1390
LGE #8 322 348 361
Concrete Sand 1366 1392 1405
Water 245 240 238
(gal Per C. Yard) (29) (29) (28)
Fl Oz Per C. Yard AEA 2.7 2.3 2.1
HRWR 22 18 16

 

Table 2 – Concrete Fresh Properties

 

Materials

4000, EXT, FLT WORK
REF JUNO XP RPL 22% JUNO XP RPL 35%
Unit Weight (pcf) 140.2 139.8 135.6
Air Content (%)  5.1% 5.2% 6.0%
Slump (inches) 4.25 4.50 4.25
Concrete Compressive Strength

Figure 2 – Concrete Compressive Strength

 

Plastic Shrinkage and Cracking from Moisture Loss on the REF Concrete Slab

Figure 1 – Plastic Shrinkage and Cracking from Moisture Loss on the REF Concrete Slab

 

Concrete slab Enhanced with JUNO XP and without Cracks

Figure 4 – Concrete slab Enhanced with JUNO XP and without Cracks

Lehigh Hanson puts JUNO XP to the test

By | Concrete | No Comments

JUNO XP-enhanced concrete
The folks at Lehigh Hanson know a thing or two about cement and ready-mix concrete. So when they learned about JUNO XP and its ability to partially replace traditional cement in ready mix, they were curious. Would JUNO XP concrete be as workable as a traditional mix? Would it provide the same finish characteristics?

JUNO XP®, is an advanced supplementary cementitious materialJustin Hill, Senior Sales Consultant with Lehigh Hanson, decided it was time to test JUNO XP to see if it could meet the challenge.

“We sponsored two separate field trials at our San Diego/Miramar plant,” he said, “one in November 2018 and another in May 2019.”

To maintain objectivity, he hired a third-party contractor that specialized in flatwork. The assignment:  Compare and analyze how well the JUNO XP mix could close the surface.

Five mixes were put to the test and the contractor found that, even with a 20 percent reduction in traditional cement, the JUNO XP-enhanced concrete maintained excellent workability and was easy to finish. Additionally, the JUNO XP-enhanced concrete maintained important hardened properties necessary for any concrete construction application.

“Both results were promising, and we are continuing our discovery,” said Hill.

As he found out, JUNO XP is an advanced supplementary cementitious material (ASCM) that not only yields a workable concrete, but also reduces the cost without sacrificing performance.

Click here for more information on JUNO XP.

JUNO XP for Concrete

A revolutionary ASCM technology

Balanced Mix Design — a move forward for asphalt performance testing

By | Asphalt | No Comments

Asphalt MixAt Surface Tech, our commitment to technology and innovative paving solutions underpins everything we do, so we’re embracing the newer approach to developing better performing asphalt mixes.

It’s called “balanced mix design” or BMD for short. The concept originated in Texas where it’s currently used to evaluate resistance to rutting and cracking. Other highway agencies, including Louisiana and California, have adopted some aspects of BMD, while still other state agencies have started to explore it.

In short, BMD is simply testing the end result mixture by incorporating two or more mechanical tests, such as a rutting test and a cracking test, to gauge how well an asphalt mixture will resist common types of distress. There are two main approaches to designing asphalt mixtures in the US:

1. Volumetric Design with Performance Verification

This involves a Superpave volumetric (only) mix design where samples are made and optimized based on the volume of aggregate, asphalt binder and air. If the mixture doesn’t pass volumetric limits, the mix design process repeats.

2. Performance-Modified Volumetric Mix Design

This Superpave mix design method establishes an initial aggregate blend and asphalt content based on Superpave volumetric design as mentioned above with adjustments permitted to meet performance tests. These performance tests typically check for rutting and cracking and are part of the BMD process. Final design may not meet all traditional Superpave volumetric criteria, but the mixture is designed so that the more improved crack resistant mixture will not rut; thus the term “balanced”

The time is right for the adoption of BMD., Performance tests as part of the mix design procedure can help ensure the pavement meets its desired lifespan at a time when the US pavement infrastructure is in a decline.

Numerous performance tests have been developed over the past decades, including thermal cracking, reflection cracking,  flexural fatigue cracking, , rutting and moisture susceptibility tests. In order to include any of these mixture performance tests in the BMD procedure, the test result criteria must be based on the desired field performance.

It appears the move is on toward the widespread adoption of BMD, and Surface Tech applauds the advancement of any testing that holds the promise to improve asphalt mix properties. However, we also adhere to the philosophy that improvements in asphalt mix design need to be understood scientifically.

BMD applies a scientific approach to mix design by performing tests around rutting and cracking properties so that the mix is more balanced and not prone to immediate cracking (too brittle) or rutting (too soft). And as in all things in life, a balanced approach generally yields the best results.

To learn more about BMD, visit http://www.eng.auburn.edu/research/centers/ncat/newsroom/2017-spring/balanced-mix.html

Concrete ordering and tracking made easy!

By | Concrete | No Comments

E-tools from Surface Tech benefit both Contractors and RMX/Logistics suppliers

Concrete ordering and trackingTake one look at the user-friendly interface, and you’ll be sold on how e-tools from Surface Tech can make future ready-mix ordering and delivery so effortless.

For Contractors, TRKR and TRKR Mobile provide a direct link to RMX/Logistics suppliers, allowing you to shop mix designs and customize the perfect concrete for your specific project. You can then schedule, pay and track the order from truck start to placement completion. Press Done and relax.

When your order completes, you’ll receive a comprehensive report on a daily or project-end basis that you can e-share with clients or subcontractors. Simply put, TRKR and TRKR Mobile take the guesswork out of ordering.

The software also works well if you’re a ready-mix supplier, because you’ll gain an invaluable logistics tool. It allows you to approve orders and schedule dispatches, including the assignment of drivers.

For your drivers, TRKR Mobile is a dream come true. It provides auto-capture of comprehensive weather conditions that may affect pick-up, delivery or completion of the load on a project-by-project basis. Drivers especially appreciate the auto-routing feature, and the Safety Check List at each point of delivery.

TRKR MobileThey also appreciate the media capture ability, which allows them to grab live or camera roll photos and video, then dictate notes to add to the images. A variety of forms and testing reports can also provide feedback. Best of all, the data captured relays back in real time and is shareable. And like the Contractor, you’ll receive comprehensive progress reports on a daily or project-end basis.

“Contractors and RMX/Logistics now have an online and transparent means to track orders and save all pertinent data to a single project repository that is shareable and will integrate with any software capture system,” said Steve Santa Cruz, Surface Tech president.

To learn more about the comprehensive capabilities of TRKR and TRKR Mobile, visit https://surface-tech.com/etools/trkr/

 

Extreme conditions put JUNO XP to the ultimate test

By | Concrete | No Comments

JUNO XP Concrete crack testYou want crack resistance? We got it!

Fly ash, slag, silica fume — stand back. You’ve got extreme competition as an alternative supplementary cementitious material (ASCM).

If you’re looking for a product that can partially replace traditional cement in your next project, and you want a finished placement that can go the distance through all types of punishment, look to JUNO XP.

In a recent cracking test, we put JUNO XP to extreme conditions. Imagine 100°F and 32° relative humidity for 48 hours.

“Concrete has to crack under these conditions. It has no choice,” says Jon Belkowitz, PhD, Surface Tech’s Chief Technology Officer for concrete. “But we found JUNO XP dramatically restrained the amount of cracking that occurred.”

In a wide range of applications, JUNO XP is a proven ASCM that can partially substitute traditional cement binders without sacrificing performance. More importantly, JUNO XP can reduce the cost of the mix and it’s easy to adopt. It’s a powder that you easily incorporate into any conventional dispersion system — silo, hopper, supersacks, bags and dissolvable bags. Ease-of-use is one more feature that separates JUNO XP from other new technologies. But the big difference can be seen in performance over time and under a wide range of environmental conditions.

“With JUNO XP, we’re seeing much less or no cracking at all in real-world applications,” said Belkowitz. “In this recent test, we recreated an extremely tough environment, and we saw a dramatic difference between concrete made with JUNO XP and a traditional mix.”

For detailed information on JUNO XP’s Ultimate Cracking Test and other product information, contact us.

Surface Tech + Adventus Material Strategies = A Winning Combination

By | Asphalt, Concrete | No Comments

Asphalt roadAdventus Material Strategies, LLC offers a combination of marketing and technical strategies to the infrastructure industry, drawing on decades of experience and respected industry network. Surface Tech and Adventus have recently formed a business alliance to further the material advancement goals of each company.

As a group, the Adventus team can draw from a deep well of competence for the commercialization of technology in the chemicals, polymers, and road infrastructure segments. The team recognizes the need for new methods and proven technologies to make concrete and asphalt applications stronger and last longer.

The team includes Brian Majeska, principal, with more than 25 years of experience in sales, marketing, technology and innovation in the road chemicals industry. And, Joseph Lorenc, also a principal, with 20 years of knowledge and experience gained in new technologies and expansion of businesses through effective marketing strategies.

“The Adventus team is dedicated to providing new and proven technologies to the asphalt and concrete industries. Their dedication to applying science and technology to achieve breakthrough innovations for our served industries makes them a perfect match for Surface Tech’s core value of providing workable, forward-thinking solutions for infrastructure applications,” said Santa Cruz.

For more information on Adventus Material Strategies, LLC, visit https://adventusmaterialdotcom.wordpress.com/the-team/

JUNO XP — an “insurance policy” for Ultra-High Performance Concrete

By | Concrete | No Comments

Ultra-High Performance Concrete (UHPC) as defined by the American Concrete Institute (ACI) Concrete Terminology and ACI 239 stipulate calls for meeting a compressive strength between 17,000 psi up to 22,000 psi with specified durability, toughness and tensile requirements provided by the inclusion of fibers. However, because of it’s the materials employed high strength, UHPC can be difficult to create and can become brittle and prone to cracking.

Fortunately, recent UHPC testing and real-world applications by Surface Tech are demonstrating that JUNO XP, the company’s proprietary alternative supplementary cementitious material (ASCM), can provide an “insurance policy” against UHPC brittleness and sub-sequent cracking.

“UHPC has so much cement in it you have to go with a low water mix, and that’s where you run into the possibility of cracking at both early and later stages of the concrete,” said Jon Belkowitz, PhD, Surface Tech’s chief technology officer.

JUNO XP has a mechanical impact on fresh concrete that allows for a reduction of cementitious material, while still maintaining the cream needed to allow grey concrete to flow easily into the formwork. Moreover, JUNO XP has also proven it can increase strength and durability.

“It makes UHPC stronger, tougher and last longer at no additional cost,” said Belkowitz, who added the product is showing spectacular results in current UHPC application testing by one of the nation’s premier concrete precasters.

“JUNO XP is decreasing the binder content by 15 to 25 percent without sacrificing fresh or hardened properties.”

Those who specify and work with UPHC should welcome these results and the fact that JUNO XP is easily adoptable and improves standard, higher performance concrete mixes, in addition to UHPC.

“JUNO XP can be considered a ‘toughening agent’ for UHPC,” said Belkowitz, “meaning it can increase the strain on the concrete before failure, or increase the energy under stress. This positively affects the strain curve as opposed to other supplementary materials, which tends to make the concrete more brittle at high strengths.”

As numerous tests and real-world applications continue to demonstrate that JUNO XP delivers a revolutionary advancement in concrete solutions, it leads Belkowitz to issue his best advice:  “Start using Juno XP today! It’s flipping awesome!”