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NRMCA Research Laboratory

Since 1928, NRMCA's Research Laboratory has been a forerunner in testing and research by establishing technical standards for the industry. Now located in College Park, MD, near the campus of the University of Maryland, the lab has been involved with a number of leading industry research projects.

Laboratory Goals

  • Conduct applied research, training for concrete industry
  • Partner with qualified research organizations to leverage resources and expertise
  • Provide a site for concrete promotional events and demonstrate innovative concrete technologies
  • For a list of tests conducted at the lab, click here.

External Funding Agencies

  • RMC Research Foundation
  • Portland Cement Association
  • Federal Highway Administration
  • US Department of Energy

How can you participate?

  • Utilize NRMCA research reports and articles
  • Suggest research ideas through RES Committee
  • Utilize laboratory for technical advice and services

Recent Projects (2004~2007)

  • Advantages of Performance Specifications - Lab Study
  • Effect of Continuous (well-graded) Aggregate Grading
  • Crushed Returned Concrete as Aggregates
  • Higher Fly Ash Concrete with Acceptable Performance
  • New Permeability Tests and Criteria as Alternatives to Durability Provisions of Codes, Specifications
  • Concrete Setting Times Using Thermal Signatures
  • Non Standard Curing and Concrete Performance

Past Achievements

  • ASTM C 94 criteria on batching, mixing, delivery time
  • ASTM C 94 criteria on reuse of mixer wash water
  • Use of 4 x 8" cylinders for strength testing (ASTM C 39)
  • Modified moisture conditioning of cores in the Code
  • 1998 - Arthur R. Anderson Award, by ACI

Research Partners

  • University of Maryland, College Park
  • Middle Tennessee State University
  • Concrete Industry Management Schools
  • Purdue University
  • Auburn University
  • Dr. Nick Carino, NIST (retired)
  • CTLGroup, Skokie, IL

Contact Us

  • Karthik Obla, Managing Director, Research and Materials, Engineering: (240)485-1163; kobla@nrmca.org
  • Colin Lobo, Senior Vice President, Engineering: (240)485-1160; clobo@nrmca.org
  • Haejin Kim, Laboratory Manager, Engineering: (240)485-1170; hkim@nrmca.org

Research reports:

1. New Technology-Based Approach to Advance Higher Volume Fly Ash Concrete with Acceptable Performance - Guide for the Construction Team - 2008

2. New Technology-Based Approach to Advance Higher Volume Fly Ash Concrete with Acceptable Performance - 2008

3. Crushed Returned Concrete as Aggregates for New Concrete, Report to the RMC Research & Education Foundation, September 2007

4. Obla, K., Kim, H., and Lobo, C., (2007), “Effect of Continuous (Well-Graded) Combined Aggregate Grading on Concrete Performance Phase A: Aggregate Voids Content (Packing Density)”, National Ready Mixed Concrete Association, Silver Spring, MD, May 2007, 29 pp.

5. Obla, K., Kim, H., and Lobo, C., (2007), “Effect of Continuous (Well-Graded) Combined Aggregate Grading on Concrete Performance Phase B: Concrete Performance”, National Ready Mixed Concrete Association, Silver Spring, MD, May 2007, 42 pp.

6. Obla, Karthik, and Lobo, Colin, “Experimental Case Study Demonstrating the Advantages of Performance Specifications”, Report to the RMC Research Foundation, Project 04-02, January 2006, 34 pgs.

7. Establishing a Center for Concrete Research, Concrete InFocus - click here.

Research articles:

1.       Obla, Karthik, “Does Well Graded Aggregates Aid Concrete Performance?”, Concrete International (in preparation).

2.   Obla, Karthik, Lobo, Colin, and Kim, Haejin, “Experimental Case Study Demonstrating Advantages of Performance Specifications”, NCBC Conference, May 2006.

3.   Obla, Karthik and Lobo, Colin, “Laboratory Demonstration of Advantages of Performance Specifications”, Indian Concrete Journal, Vol. 17, No. 12, December 2005, pp. 22-26.

4.   Obla, Karthik, "Experimental Case Study Demonstrating Advantages of Performance Specifications", Concrete inFocus, Summer 2005, Vol. 4, No. 2, pp. 32-42.

5.   Obla, Karthik, Rodriguez, Fernando, and Ben-Barka, Soliman, "Effects on Non-Standard Curing on Strength of Concrete - A Research Project at the NRMCA Research Laboratory", Concrete infocus, Winter 2005, Vol. 3, No. 4, pp. 57-59.

6.   Lobo, C., and Mullings, G.M., “Recycled Water in Ready Mixed Concrete Operations," Concrete inFocus, National Ready Mixed Concrete Association, Spring 2003, pp. 17-26.

7.   Lobo, C. and Gaynor, R.D., "Reusing Non-Admixtured Returned Concrete," The Concrete Producer, September 1998, pp. 621 – 623

8.   Lobo, C., “Challenging ASR Predictive Testing”, The Concrete Producer, March 1998.

9.   Lobo, C., Guthrie, W.F., and Kacker, R.,"A Study on the Reuse of Plastic Concrete Using Extended Set Retarding Admixtures" Journal of Research of the National Institute of Standards and Technology, September – October 1995, pp 575-589

10.  Lobo, C.L., Mullings, G.M., and Gaynor, R.D., “Effects of Capping Materials and Procedures on the Measured Compressive Strength of High-Strength Concrete”, Cement Concrete and Aggregates, ASTM International, Vol. 16, No. 2, Dec 1994, pp. 173-180.

11. Gaynor, R.D. and Lobo, C., “Current Research at NRMCA,” Concrete Products magazine, April 1992, pp. 5-7.

 Conference Presentations:

1.  Obla, Karthik, “Well graded Aggregates and Concrete Performance”, Concrete Technology Forum, Dallas, TX, May 2007.

2.  Obla, Karthik, “Research in Support of Performance Specifications”, CTF, Dallas, TX, May 2007.

3.  Obla, Karthik, “Optimizing Aggregate Gradation”, Texas Aggregates and Concrete Association Annual Meeting – Invited Speaker and Panel Discussion, Austin, TX, March 2007.

4.  Obla, Karthik, “Crushed Returned Concrete as Aggregates for New Concrete”, ACI Spring Convention, Atlanta, 2007.

5.  Obla, Karthik, “Well graded Aggregates – Does it help?”, ACI Fall Convention, Denver, 2006 (in Preparation)

6.  Obla, Karthik, “Effect of Continuous Combined Aggregate Grading on Concrete Performance”, ACI Spring Convention, Charlotte, 2006

7.  Obla, Karthik, “Performance-Based Specifications: Laboratory Study Demonstrating the Advantages”, Transportation Research Board, 85th Annual Meeting, Washington DC, January 2006.



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