Five University of Balamand students have received 2nd place award (Most Innovative Design/Developmental Use of Concrete Category) at the ACI Spring 2021 Concrete Solutions Competition. Organized by the American Concrete Institute (ACI) as part of the ACI Virtual Concrete Convention, the competition aimed to encourage students to use creative means to present and explain their concrete approach or solution to a broad audience, including why it should interest the public at large. Each team submitted a seven-minute video prior to the convention and were later interviewed by a panel of expert judges via Zoom during the convention.
Devastated by the horrific Beirut Blast on August 4th, 2020, and by the loss of their beautiful country nature due to hundreds of quarries, UOB students presented the novel idea of recycling concrete from debris aiming to break the continuous pollution generation cycle from manufacturing to demolition which contributes to remarkable side effects on our environment. Recycling concrete wastes into aggregates, treating them, and introducing them into a cement-free geopolymer concrete mix that can be re-recycled was presented as the ultimate alternative cycle towards sustainable construction.
The winning team consisted of Lara AbdulKhalek, Rawan Ghanem, Carla Hamdan, Gaby Dawra, Ziad Moubayed, and Gayth Nasr. The team was supported by graduate student Ralph Jabbour and supervised by Dr. Nariman Khalil, ACI UOB Student Chapter Advisor. Dr. Khalil stated that she is very proud of the team’s achievement especially as they stood out amongst 30 submissions from ACI Student Chapters from around the world. She commended the team work and the effort put into this great achievement.
In turn, Vice President for Internationalization and Engagement and Dean of the Faculty of Engineering Prof. Rami Abboud met with the winning team, their advisor, and department chair Prof. Joseph Assaad to personally congratulate the team on a job very well done Prof Abboud emphasized his belief in the role of such competitions in sparking creativity, encouraging teamwork, and catalyzing innovation. “It is a great feat to be inspired from the tragedy of the Beirut Blast to make a positive difference in the world” he stated. The team received a plaque of appreciation from ACI International, Certificates of Recognition and cash award.