The FHWA’s Mobile Concrete Technology Center (MCTC) rolling lab may be sidelined because of the pandemic, but the staff is as busy as ever with many activities aimed at advancing concrete technologies in our constrained operating environment. Mike Praul, P.E., FHWA Senior Concrete Engineer, points to a number of activities. Here are some recent examples, according to Mike:

  • We just finished equipping the MCTC with cameras and the technology necessary to host internet meetings and webinars.
  • We are developing a brochure to announce a new technician training effort that we will be offering to states and industry technicians. Our idea is to have the audience pick the technology and we will do a short presentation, demo the equipment, and have a very informal open Q&A where my technicians can share their lessons learned with other technicians and address any topics of audience interest. We have no idea how much interest we will get so we will be putting it out as an open announcement on a first-come-first-served basis. We are shooting for audiences of around 6 but can go up to 10, he says, adding this is intended to be a very interactive session. A flyer will be available soon.
  • We continue to provide technical assistance upon request. We trained a North Carolina contractor’s QC personnel in the operation of the MIT Scan T3; we are in the process of reviewing Vermont’s new PEM-type draft specification; and we continue to work with Caltrans and the FHWA California Division Office to implement the spec changes we worked with them to develop.
  • We are conducting an evaluation of the new Phoenix testing device that Dr. (Tyler) Ley has developed to measure water content of fresh concrete.
  • We are developing and publishing a paper on our data analysis of all the performance engineered mixtures (PEM) testing we have done with the MCTC.
  • We are also supporting a number of ongoing and new research initiatives at the FHWA’s Turner-Fairbank Highway Research Center.

Mike also shares some good news about the FHWA’s equipment loan program. “Our equipment loan program is operational,” he says. “We are still actively providing loans to states, industry, and academia.” Click here to see a list of equipment and other information about the MCTC.