Almost everything about concrete… in just three days

Over 500 people took part in DNI BETONU 2006 organized on 9th October. “Such large number of participants proves that the idea raised 6 years ago was a good one and that there is a constant need of discussing the matter of concrete”, said Jan Deja, President of Polski Cement. The Polski Cement and the Polish Cement Association took up the organization of this three-day meeting between the world of science and the world of practice for the fourth time already.

The 4th conference “DNI BETONU – TRADITION AND MODERNITY” held on 9-11 October took place in the Gołębiowski Hotel in Wisla. It took two years to prepare the scientific and practical achievements which were later on presented within the three-day conference. The Programme Council of the conference composed of the science and industry representatives, acting on behalf of the spectrum of Polish Concrete Association, took good care of the preparations.
The conference was held under the patronage of the Minister of Transport and the Minister of Construction, Section on Building Materials and Section on Reinforced Constructions of the Committee on Civil Engineering and Hydro-engineering of the Polish Academy of Sciences.
Also expositions prepared by 24 companies were presented during the Conference.

The quests of the conference included persons from the United States, with Vilas Mujumdar at the head.(right)


Hosts welcomed all participants

“In 2000, we organized the first conference DNI BETONU under the name “Concrete on the eve of the new millennium”. With great satisfaction, on behalf of the organizers, I would like to inform you that 542 people decided to take part in the conference this year. Such large number proved that the idea which came up six years ago was a good one.”, said Jan Deja, the President of Polski Cement Sp. z o.o. “Both scientists and practitioners present here feel the need of organizing such meetings, a need of discussing common issues. Scientists dealing with concrete on daily basis are fully aware of its possible ways of use. However, there is also a large group of constructors. We are happy to see so many of them present at the conference; it enables information about ways of use of concrete to capture a wider audience. Also, the impressive printed materials included 96 papers on more than 1200 pages. “This conference would never come into existence if it was not for a huge amount of work done by members of the Programme Council. I would like to thank them all for their hard work”, added Jan Deja.
Andrzej Balcerek, the President of the Polish Cement Association, drew attention to the fact that the conference DNI BETONU is a unique conference which also has its own silent hero. Without it neither the conference would take place nor would concrete exist. Its name is cement. “On behalf of the organizers-Polish Cement Association- I would like to welcome everyone”, said the President Andrzej Balcerek and mentioned few information about cement industry. Cement industry in Poland was privatized in the mid 90s. This is a new generation industry which makes a new generation product, using the most up-to-date technologies available in the world. Our factories meet the most rigorous environmental standards. This was possible through the high investment in Polish cement industry in the last few years – 5bn zlotys. Nowadays we can observe a growth in cement consumption – now it reaches 2.1 billion tonnes per year. In connection with the growing demand, in China alone there are now 200 rolling ovens currently being built for burning out clinkers.

“In Poland, however, cement consumption is still at a low level – in the last year it reached 12.2 million of tonnes. In this year we can observe a revival in construction industry and we hope for the 13.8% growth of consumption”, forecasted Balcerek.
Prof. Andrzej Brandt from the Polish Academy of Sciences drew attention to the presence of guests from the United States, Hungary, Czech Republic and Germany at the conference. “There should be few days for talking about concrete. We can notice that concrete is widely discussed in nearly 100 papers during the conference”.-stated Prof. Brandt.
No future without concrete
On the opening of the Conference, several lectures were given. Generally, they were referring to the challenges of our civilization and Polish constructing industry. After listening to the lectures a conclusion was drawn: no future without concrete.
1) Prof. Lech Czarnecki, Prof. Wiesław Kurdowski – Trends which shape the future of concrete
2) Prof. Andrzej Ajdukiewicz – Directions of development in studies on concrete constructions
3) Prof. Jan Biliszczuk, Wojciech Barcik - Concrete bridges in Poland- condition and perspectives
4) Prof. Cezary Madryas - Concrete in the underground infrastructure in the cities of future.
“Concrete of the future will be concrete based on knowledge, and this knowledge should be developed. A conception of concrete engineering should be created which would refer to studies, practice and to education in this field. This would lead to the development of a national strategy for studies on concrete technology, which would fit into a worldwide strategy”, suggested Prof. Lech Czarnecki.

All participants spent the first day at the highlander’s feast, in spite of the autumnal chill


Prof. Andrzej Ajdukiewicz, took as an example the latest Congress in Naples to discuss the main trends of the concrete constructions development between 2000-2005. ‘Every year more than ten thousand publications on the study of constructional concrete, ready-mixed and prestressed constructions, and related problems come out. Despite the constant improvement in information exchange and its availability, it is not possible to constantly follow the development of studies, even in the selected fields. – explained Prof. Adjukiewicz.
Prof. Jan Biliszczuk: there are about 2500 bridges to build connected with modernization and expansion of our road network,. In Poland 80% of bridges are made of concrete. But I have to ask: is there in Poland any bridge which is known by at least 20% of the world’s population? The answer is: NO. Until now no one can see such a major infrastructure project which brings a ray of hope. We have to give our engineers a chance to design infrastructure project which are architecturally interesting. Thank to that there is a strong possibility that we will be able to convince the young to stay in our country.
Prof. Cezary Madryas: With a few minor exceptions, concrete makes up practically 100% of the underground construction. Poland finds itself considerably delayed in its improvement of the quality of its urban living standards – particularly those improvements which can be achieved through the process of “stereoization”, which results in the multifunctional maximization of underground space. Execution of this process requires complex underground projects; before further construction, further studies on necessary adjustments to underground infrastructure should be conducted. In the process of “stereoization”, the basic technology is trenchless infrastructure, and the basic building material, concrete.

Architect Czesław Bielecki


The nature of concrete – stool
The first day of conference was finished with an open-air premiere of works created by students from the Architecture Department and the Krakow Academy of Fine Arts (ASP) during the workshops called: “Stool- the nature of concreter”. the young had an opportunity to use concrete in their art for one week in September. Prof. Jerzy Nowakowski from ASP and Prof. Dariusz Kozłowski from the Architecture Department of the Krakow Technical University supervised their work.
The stools made by students were uncovered and presented in the artificial light on grassy mountains’ slopes. “We called the symposium: “The Nature of Concrete”. Concrete is used here not only to create architectonic projects, but also as a material to create sculpture and artistic works”, said Prof. Jerzy Nowakowski. “Nowadays, we can even make jewellery, small, beautiful works of art of concrete. We can now see results of students work during workshops. A stool doesn’t have to be something which has to be seated on but a form, on which one may seat. These are new-generation form, in my opinion very interesting ones. What you can see here shows our ways of perceiving and reacting to environment. In this place, surrounded by nature, those works come to life and show their own unique form”.
Most of the stools were bought on the spot by representatives of companies present at the display.

The premiere of stools created by the students of architecture and sculpture during workshops took place at a highlander’s feast. Their works were uncovered and presented in the artificial light on grassy mountains’ slopes


The second day of the DNI BETONU conference was devoted to the properties of concrete, ready-mixed concrete, pre-casting, and small-size concrete elements, as well as to the utility and aesthetics of concrete (i.e. the function of concrete in architecture.)
The session devoted to ready-mixed concrete was opened by Witold Kozłowski, the President of Polish Association of Ready Mixed Concrete Producers (SPBT). SPBT currently consists of 184 ready-mixed concrete manufacturers in Poland.
In 2005, 11 million cubic metres of ready-mixed concrete was produced by Polish manufacturers. “In 2006, we hope for 11-12% growth,” said Kozłowski. “Concrete consumption per inhabitant in our country in large urban areas – for example, in Warsaw or Wrocław – reaches 0.5 cubic metre. We expect that this number will increase by 0.7-0.8 cubic metres over the next few years.”
Concrete – a modern product
Until now, ready-mixed concrete, produced in concrete batching plants and brought to building sites for completion there, was treated as a simple product not worthy of greater attention. Production of the concrete mixture consisted of the simple mixing of aggregates, cement and water in inexact amounts.
“The construction practice has shown that such production results in construction of very low quality and durability,” said Robert Czołgosz of Sika Poland in a lecture entitled ‘The New generation of ready-mixed concrete”. Czołgosz went on, “That is why more parameters have been specified for concrete. At the same time, in order to enhance the production of concrete, contractors who use concrete therefore expect a higher standard of supplied concrete mixtures. In response to logistical and market demands, concrete producers also impose additional restrictions concerning the duration of the bonding process and the maintenance of constant consistencies and temperatures. The rapid development of construction chemicals which modify the parameters of both concrete mixtures and concrete helps to solve these problems.”
During a break between the sessions, promotion of the book “Reinforced concrete construction” by Prof. Włodzimiesz Starosolski took place. This is a three-volume textbook on calculating and constructing popularly-used elements and reinforced construction both monolithic and precasted.

Architect Stefan Jan Scholz


Concrete – architectural feature
The session on the place of concrete in architecture aroused considerable interest in the audience. It was started by Sabina Kuc from the Faculty of Architecture at The Cracow University of Technology (CUT), who presented ‘Discussions about the floor: Kitsch or originality – concrete cobblestones in modern architecture’.
Very useful hints for constructors of architectural concrete were presented by Krzysztof Kuniczuk, a process engineer from Cemex Polska in his lecture ‘Architectural concrete – practical comments’
The architect Czesław Bielecki presented ‘The monument commemorating the victims of the Holocaust from Litzmannstaadt Ghetto Station Radegast’, a project he designed in which concrete is not only the basic building material but also the most distinct architectural feature. In turn, the architect Andrzej Chołdzyński talked about concrete and the challenges its represents in architecture. Finally, the architect Stefan Jan Scholz invited all participants of the session on a trip to visit the concrete architectural landmarks of Berlin – including the Tower of Einstein, the residence of German Chancellor and the shelter Tierheim Berlin.
’The sessions on architecture has become a certain tradition during DNI BETONU. Looking at the programme of the session, when it comes to technology and technical details, we want to remind contractors that what architects are later able to achieve is only possible through the contractors’ initial efforts.’ explained Ryszard Jurkowaski from the Union of Polish Architects.
‘Today we outlined those objects which, thanks to concrete, have gained some spiritual value. In these cases the architects took decisions to use concrete in order to convey certain ideas and achieve a particular atmosphere. We would like to draw contractors’ attention not only to bold high concrete constructions or large spans but also on something which has spirit and generates a certain mood.’ Mood is the most difficult architectural aspect to achieve, and often it is only possible through the use of concrete.

Architect Andrzej Chołdzyński


The concrete Oscars
During the evening gala which was the conclusion of the second day of the conference the Concrete Oscars were presented. This award is presented to those who contributed in some significant way to the development of concrete technology. They were awarded for the first time during DNI BETONU in 2004. The awardees were: - Prof. Lech Czarnecki, Prof. Andrzej Adjukiewicz and Prof. Kazimierz Flaga – created (belong) the top of the honoured.
The concrete Oscars were won by:
– Prof. Jan Bliszczuk, ditector of the Institute of Civil Engineering and Bridge Engineering of the Wroclaw University of Technology
– Prof. Wiesłam Kurdowski, an eminent academic who is well-recognised as an international expert on concrete chemicals
– Prof. Stefan Kuryłowicz, an architect who is renowned for many infrastructure projects using concrete as building material.

The awardees of the concrete Oscars 2006 (from right): Prof. Jan Biliszczuk, Prof. Wiesław Kurdowski, Prof. Stefan Kuryłowicz


The last day of the conference will be devoted to the topics: “Concrete in the Transport Infrastructure Engineering” and “Repairs to Concrete Structures and Legal Issues”.
Prof. Kazimierz Flaga talked about “Contemporary Concrete Deck Arch Bridges”, and dr Zbigniew Giergiczny spoke from his experience about building a local concrete road in the Ujazd district (Opole province). Next, Danuta Bebłacz gave a lecture on small-size concrete elements which “allow the ground to breathe through concrete”.
Did the Conference come up to the participants’ expectations?
Prof. Andrzej Ajdukiewicz, The Silesian University of Technology: ”When I look back on the first conference I have to say that DNI BETONU developed really nicely. There are more lectures prepared than we are able to give within those three days, which is why less than half of them are presented. Probably, before the next conference we would need to make some modifications. We have some plans and ideas to create more lectures which would be given at the same time. Such solution allows to give more presentations; however, it would be impossible to listen to all of them. Also, it brings logistical problems, particularly finding more conference rooms. We will discuss such problems during the meeting of the Programme Council of the conference. What we need is to improve the process of choosing and preparing the papers and lectures; great changes are not necessary in my opinion”.
Andrzej Balcerek, the President of the Polish Cement Association, the President of the Gorazdze Group:”The conference comprised of a huge amount of information and knowledge which were conveyed through lectures and the conference materials. I would like to thank people who conducted particular sessions of topics, and the lecturers for presenting materials in a professional way. I firmly believe that we managed to keep a balance between practical experience and theoretical discussion. Practically speaking, the conference did not start on the 9th October; it began just after the third edition had finished, two years ago. Those two years were full of systematic and hard work of the Programme Council and I would like to thank them for that. I hope that all the participants will make use of the materials presented during the conference.

24 companies presented their offers during the conference DNI BETONU


Jacek Falkowski, business development manager, Unicon AS: ‘’This is the third time that I take part in the conference DNI BETONU. The publicity of the conference and the number of participants command respect. We can forever discuss whether there should be more theory or practice. Personally, I would prefer to get more information about the latest, and future, trends in the cement and concrete industry as well as about studies which are currently being conducted. I think that the conference should look forward on this industry”.
Mariusz Gil, Marketing and Sales Direktor from the Semmelrock Stein+Design:” DNI BETONU became so popular that you should not miss it now. This event became a very important one for all companies which deal with concrete on daily basis. It is definitely worth coming here as you can always find something interesting for you during the lectures. There is a wide range of topics so that everyone can choose from them what they consider useful and helpful in their work. What is more, there are very few such meetings which gather so many people from one business line. It means that the exchange of information which is extremely helpful in our work is possible during DNI BETONU. Finally – warm atmosphere. I have been here twice and I will definitely come again in the next year. DNI BETONU is full of reliable and vital information. It is worth being here, taking part in lectures but also meeting and talking to the people from the concrete industry”.
Józef Mokrzycki, the President of Mo-Bruk: “DNI BETONU is a great concrete celebration in Poland. The content of the Conference surprised me; there were many interesting lectures. Also, the participation of a widely respected quests from Poland and abroad proved the importance of the Conference. I attend this Conference with pleasure. It is helpful in the Road Engineering, Bridge Engineering and Cubature Buildings Construction. I have ten-year experience in Concrete Road Engineering but still, there is always something new that I learn from each conference. I fully appreciate the organizers’ work”.
Andrzej Ptak, the Vice-President of the Polish Cement Association, the President of Ozarow Group: „This was another new experience and yet another record. Such large number of participants is slowly outgrowing the new place of the conference in Wisla. However, we will deal with it. Again, we can see how many people are interested in the conference which shows how to use the theory in practice, and how to make use of the new trends so that they will generate high profits. I noticed that people need such meetings. They come here with pleasure. This is a perfect place for meeting people, getting to know the world of science, and exchanging experience. This year, the days of the conference were no too “hectic”; there was a time for chatting, strolling, and even swimming. This conference was a huge success and it definitely came up to our expectations”.
Prof. Janusz Szwabowski, The Silesian University of Technology: “ The conference lived up to all my expectations. As far as content is concerned, it was an interesting presentation of the scientific achievements of the past two years, since the last conference. During the conference, materials were plentiful and the presentations reflected current major trends. The content was indeed on a very high level. There were also few presentations given by quests from abroad which were very interesting. People dealing with concrete have certain expectations. We could ask whether it would not be better to have more sessions which would comprise of fewer topics. The Programme Council regulates an outline and a content of the conference, and it takes into consideration all opinions and remarks of participants. The organizational side of the conference was faultless; the place, the weather and Beskid Mountains were perfect – all of that was really satisfying. DNI BETONU is a highly respected conference in Poland and abroad.”
Andrzej Wojtecki, the President of the Association of Cobblestones Producers: “The conference came up to our expectations. We can observe great interest in this conference. It brings the scientific issues closer to the industry representatives. They make up the majority of the conference participants and they are interested in new solutions which could be used in practice. In the future, it would be a good idea to create the workshops which would accompany the scientific sessions. Then, practitioners would have the opportunity to discuss the problems and ask about some issues”.

The fifth Conference DNI BETONU will take place on 13-14 October 2008 in Wisla, Poland. On behalf of the organisers we have a pleasure to invite you to come.