LafargeHolcim, Lehigh White join ACI, PCI behind inaugural UHPC Symposium

The First International Interactive Symposium on Ultra High Performance Concrete, July 18-20 at the Des Moines (Iowa) Marriott Downtown Hotel, will assemble material science and concrete professionals, structural and bridge engineers, students, producers and building enthusiasts. More than 75 papers from internationally renowned experts on concrete will be presented, and interactive panels and thematic workshops will offer insight on UHPC basics; latest developments in material design and characterization; architectural, bridge and infrastructure applications; structural design and component modeling; and, rehabilitation and retrofit.

Themed “UHPC Unites,” the symposium is sponsored by LafargeHolcim, Lehigh White Cement, American Concrete Institute, Precast/Prestressed Concrete Institute, Federal Highway Administration, and Iowa State University. Co-chairing the event are Iowa State’s Sri Sritharan, University of Connecticut’s Kay Willie and FHWA’s Ben Graybeal. Lehigh White’s Larry Rowland is symposium secretary, while LafargeHolcim’s Dominque Corvez and Kelly Henry are international liaison and Architectural Design panel chair, respectively. The July 18 and 20 programs will feature keynote presentations by EPFL (Switzertland) Professor Eugen Brühwiller and FWHA Office of Bridges and Structures Director Joseph Hartmann. A full-day laboratory and site tour is set for July 19.

Program content centers on a material typically achieving 20,000-psi or higher compressive strength, plus previously unattainable engineering properties—among them superior durability and tensile strength. UHPC is increasingly specified for large-scale structural or architectural elements such as slabs, beams, and columns, and as a repair or joint material to bind cast-in-place or precast elements. The material has the potential to significantly change how the building industry approaches sustainable high-performance structures, symposium organizers contend.


The July 19 tour will provide participants up-close exposure to UHPC testing and commercial prospects. Half of the day will consist of a visit to the Iowa State Structural Research Laboratory, Ames. Staff will present on-going research into UHPC materials and applications, including wind turbines, bridge elements, field cast connections, and thin bonded overlays.

Plans for the second half of the tour call for visits to two of the following UHPC installations in Iowa:

  • Mars Hill Bridge. Completed in 2006 as the first UHPC highway bridge in North America, its bears precast/prestressed girders with no shear stirrups.
  • Little Cedar Creek Bridge. The five-year-old structure has a deck composed of precast UHPC waffle panels, plus UHPC panel-to-panel and panel-to-conventional precast/prestressed concrete girder connections.
  • Jakway Park Bridge. Unique pi-shaped girders, fabricated entirely from UHPC and exhibiting a cross-section of double-web deck bulb tees, support the 2008 structure.
  • Hawkeye Bridge. Completed in September 2015, this crossing uses a variation of the precast UHPC Pi girder, and is the only U.S. installation of a concrete member cast from a new UHPC mix developed in Korea.

Eight national and international university finalist teams will participate in the UHPC Student Competition, centered on developing and testing an aesthetically attractive and structurally efficient flexural beam. The competition will evaluate how well teams accurately model beams’ structural performance and balance the competing goals of maximizing flexural strength while minimizing units’ mass. Invitations have been extended to teams from Iowa State; Missouri University of Science and Technology; State University of New York, Buffalo; University of Alabama, Tuscaloosa; University of Nebraska; University of Ottawa; University of Texas, Arlington; and, Xi’an Jiaotong-Liverpool University.

Registration for the First Interactive Symposium on Ultra-High Performance Concrete can be obtained at or through Iowa State Registration Services, 1601 Golden Aspen Dr., Ste 110, Ames, IA 50010; 800/262-0015. Additional information on the symposium can be obtained from Sri Sritharan at [email protected].