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Emphasizing Sustainability in a Course on Reinforced Concrete Design

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2014 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


Indianapolis, Indiana

Publication Date

June 15, 2014

Start Date

June 15, 2014

End Date

June 18, 2014



Conference Session

Civil Engineering Division Poster Session

Tagged Division

Civil Engineering

Page Count


Page Numbers

24.477.1 - 24.477.13



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Paper Authors


Fouad H. Fouad University of Alabama, Birmingham

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Dr. Fouad H. Fouad, Ph.D., P.E., is Professor and Chairman of the Civil, Construction, and Environmental Engineering Department at the University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB), and the Director of the UAB Sustainable Smart Cities Research Center. Dr. Fouad is a fellow of the American Concrete Institute (ACI) and the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE). Dr. Fouad’s research interest is in the area of infrastructure design, maintenance, and rehabilitation with a focus on sustainable green building design and construction.

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Mohamed Salah Gallow University of Alabama at Birmingham

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Mohamed Salah Gallow is a graduate research assistant in Structural Engineering at the University of Alabama at Birmingham, School of Engineering and a teaching assistant at Alexandria University (Egypt), Faculty of Engineering.
He holds a BS (2009) in Civil Engineering from Alexandria University.

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Emphasizing Sustainability in a Reinforced Concrete Design CourseConcrete is the single most widely used material in the world because of the simplicity of itsmanufacture, abundance of raw materials, and its economical method of construction. Invariablyall civil engineering programs in the United States offer courses in the design and construction ofreinforced concrete structures as well as the manufacture of the material. However, the studentsare rarely introduced to sustainability principles and practices that can result in reinforcedconcrete structures that are “green,” in that raw materials are used efficiently, byproducts areutilized, carbon footprint is reduced, and the resulting structures are energy efficient and durable.Knowledge of sustainability principles will result in graduating structural engineers who aremindful of the impact of their design on the environment and the society at large. This paperpresents the development of a new reinforced concrete design course that integratessustainability principles among all course topics.The major drawback of concrete is its environmental impact occurring along its four phases:production of materials, construction, lifecycle, and demolition. The common critical elementbetween these phases is polluting emissions resulting from embodied energy or chemicalreactions. Engineers must consider these issues when planning, designing and building astructure. The main objective of the newly redesigned reinforced concrete course is integratingsustainability into the planning, designing, and construction stages of reinforced concrete. Thecourse will emphasize strategies and practices for using concrete in intelligent and innovativeways to achieve sustainable green buildings. Sustainability principles applied to concrete will beaddressed from two perspectives –material and structural design.From the material stand point, production and use of ultra-high performance concrete will bepresented explaining the associated benefits of consuming fewer raw materials while providinghigher durability and longer service life. The emerging technologies for manufacturing and using“green” cements and their impact on future concrete construction will be addressed. Concretemixture design with less Portland cement content through the incorporation of by-products suchas fly ash, slag, rubber tire wastes, etc…will be covered illustrating the compounded benefit ofusing by products in eliminating wastes and enhancing concrete properties.Sustainability in structural design will be covered from various aspects. One example isshowing the benefits of using high performance concrete which is not explicitly addressed inACI 318 Building Code (compressive strength in excess of 10,000 psi). Design examples will beprepared to illustrate sustainability benefits of using high performance concrete.The numerous benefits of training our engineers on the incorporation of sustainability in designare needless to mention. This paper presents an effort to integrate sustainability in the traditionalconcrete design course. It is expected that the course will provide the fundamentals that willallow the students to build on the principles and come up with alternative concrete buildingstrategies for sustainable concrete construction. The course objectives will be met through anumber of classroom activities including lectures, technical literature, term papers, and casestudies that illustrate the benefits of sustainable concrete design.

Fouad, F. H., & Gallow, M. S. (2014, June), Emphasizing Sustainability in a Course on Reinforced Concrete Design Paper presented at 2014 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Indianapolis, Indiana. 10.18260/1-2--20368

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