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Lethbridge Herald Newspaper Archives

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Lethbridge Herald, The (Newspaper) - August 1, 1973, Lethbridge, Alberta Revolutionary cement object ofUofL research project Afraid to pour that new side- walk because the eager feet of neighborhood dogs and children always turn your wet cement into a backyard Grauman's replete with tiny im- Fuming because the poured cement foundation of your house is and it's only a week Wait a while. Dr. Keith Mc- Curdy is working on it. But as a Univer- sity of Lethbridge chemistry would be the first to point out you might have a long wait. Obtaining results in cement research is as slow process. For more than 10 Dr. McCurdy has been studying the chemical reactions which occur during the setting of con- crete. Contrary to popular be- the formation of a con- crete sidewalk from gravel snd. water is not like making mud pies. More goes on than meets the a ser- ies of complex chemical- reac- not just a simple drying occurs. The chemical reactio-js taking place in your cement mixture determine whether your sidewalk will be lumpy or or cracked and buckling. Dr. McCurdy hopes to discover how cement solidification and ways of modifying the process to speed up the results. Dr. McCurdy describes his research' as a long range may require a great deal more work before practical results are available. the outcome of such research would have many im- portant implioations in areas of urban development and construction. With the per- fection of a fasty-dry- 1 ir.g construction sched- ules would be shortened and labor costs resulting in a cheaper finished product. Even the average home-own- er would says Dr. Mc- Curdy. Most do-it-yourselfers use too much raw cement a relatively expensive commo- dity to make backyard pat- ios -and sidewalks. If the handy- man had a reliable formula to hs would be able to build a more durable using far less cem- ent. Long interested Dr. McCurdy has long had an interest in cement research. As far back as when working on his master's degres at the University of he delved into the complexities of concrete. In he obtained a National Research Council grant to further his studies in the area. And just last the professor spent his sabbatical at the Netherlands' Technologi- cal University at working with well known ce- ment Dr. H. N. Stein. This summer on the U of L Dr. McCurdy and a student research Bryan Rittenhouse of Leth- are conducting addition- al research. In a way it's fitting thai Dr. McCurdy is on 'the faculty of a university where the major buildings are exceptional ex- amples of poured concrete con- struction. Although concrete in its var- ious forms has been known to man since 27 B.C. when it was used to construct the Roman builders do not really know much about the sub- stance. The now common port- land cement was first patented by a bricklayer named Joseph Aspdin in 1824. Aspdin was able to work out the correct por- tions of silicon iron and aluminum to form a con- crete of predictable quality. But neither nor genera- tions after learned what actually happsned to the chem- icals within the cement mix- to determine the finished product. recalls Dr. Mc- ''I was interested in the chemical equilibria involv- ed. I wanted to know what che- mical reactions occurred in tte formation of concrete. I also want to know how fast the reactions and the means of modifying Dr. McCurdy is investigating the effects of different addi- which may accelerate or retard the cemsnting process. we knew exactly what reactions and their we could write mathema- tical equations which would predict the strength of concrete at any given time during tht setting as well as the product's ultimate explains the chemist. Three stages He explains that in its hardening goes through three 'stages' an ini- tial rapid strength develop- a short dormant plus a time of final rapid set- ting. If a means to eliminate the middle stage were the process would be more quickly completed. The setting of cement Dr. McCurdy will is neither the beginning nor the end of the hardening process. Portland cement starts to react with water immediately upon contact. The hardening process continues for some- times even years. Freshly poured cement should not be allowed to dry too rapidly keeping it moist allows a long- er setting resulting in a strongly bonded cement. is a common misconcep- he drying is cause of the hardening pro- cess. Just the opposite is wilhout there is no reac- not with a large cement mixer as one might but with small and compact Dr. Mc- Curdy is able to control the temperature and measure the alkalinity present in a dilute suspension of concrete consti- tusivts. He thus obtains information on how fast the reaction is occurring. Such measurements allow him to determine the con- ditions necessary for a higher or lower rate of reaction. The more dissolved the cement con- the strongsr the re- sulting concrete. Canada's fdulL look-alike1 nciiALp Being lab assistant experience1 terrific more than just a summer is the way 19-year-old Brytn Rit- tenhouse described the two months he spent as U of L chemistry laboratory assistant. Mr. Rittenhouse has takan two years of pre-medicine stu- dies at the U of L and plans to transfer to the University of Alberta this fall. if I am not accepted in the faculty of 'he may specialize in chemistry. Working in the lab this summer has given me prac- tical training in ressarch work and has increased my interest in the he job was more than just a way to make some money between semesters it was a learning experience for and a very enjoyable one at Bryan Rittenhouse is one of over 100 students who have worked on ressarch projects with the U cf L chemistry de- partment during the past f i ve years. Although university research projects continue all year many professors find the sum- mer and mid-semester breaks provide additional time in which to conduct uninterrupted re- search. Whenever U of L students are employed to as- sist with such work. Students also gain research experience in connection with their regu- lar chemistry courses and thsir own independent study proj- ects. Chemistry professor L. G. says the number of studcUs hired at any given time is a or bust busi- depending on the num- ber of professors receiving re- search grants and whether the amount of the grant is large enough to afford the luring of student lab assistants. probably do 20 times more than larger institutions to involve undergraduate stu- dents in research says Dr. Hepler. nine pap- co-authored by U of L I chemistry faculty and students I have been published in several i internationally-circulated scien- tific The student authors of such papers include Helen Brian Jay Tompkins and John all of Leth- Jim Elder of Clares- Allen Herbst of Don Hurkot of Lyle Miller of Mike Peter- son of Taber and Richard Wil- ton of Foremost. Sears Baby week The best time to get the best values for baby LONDON A sort of liberalism per- meates the editorial attitudes of most Canadian says The Times in a special supplement on the world's and newspapers there to be dull and to look Written by an unnamed Times were similar reports on the press of 23 other article says editorial writers in Canada measure the pros tiously in favor of fence-sit- Although at times Canadian newspapers can be scathing about governments and policies it is in the manner of a headmasterly vituperation is al- most unknown and campaigning journalism it a newspapers tend to be dull and to look Another reason for was that in most cities and towns there is only one morning article says. 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