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Prof Riaan Combrinck

Inaugural lecture:

May 23, 2023 @ 17:3018:30

Concrete: The journey and the destination

Concrete is the most-used manufactured material in the world by volume and is argued by many to be the most essential construction material for any infrastructure development.

Society has depended on concrete for centuries and will continue to do so for many years to come. Given its success, questions regarding where the journey of concrete started and whether there is a final destination can be asked. This presentation provides background into the journey of concrete to date as well as the major challenges it faced and the milestones or breakthroughs achieved. Next, the final destination of concrete is considered as well as the remaining challenges and possible solutions, which also steer most international and local research. A case for concrete is made as the only foreseeable material that can satisfy current and future infrastructure development needs. Finally, details are given on the research undertaken thus far and how this fits into the bigger aim of improving the concrete of the future.


Short biography

Prof Riaan Combrinck obtained his BEng, MScEng and PhD at Stellenbosch University between 2005 and 2016. He was appointed as full-time lecturer at the Department of Civil Engineering in 2013. He has published internationally and also locally and leads the Unit of Construction Materials (UCM) at Stellenbosch University. The UCM supports postgraduate students and also provides specialist consultant services to industry, especially related to the testing and development of construction materials. His teaching and research interests are construction materials with a special focus on concrete, the second-most used material in the world, next to water. Currently, his research involves the improvement and better utilisation of each of the material constituents used in concrete, namely water, cement, sand, stone and admixtures. Furthermore, research on defects in concrete as well as the aesthetics of concrete is conducted. The main aim of the research is to facilitate higher-quality and longer-lasting concrete structures.



May 23, 2023

Organizer (event)

Olivia Adams


Reitz Hall, Engineering Faculty
156 Banghoek Road, Stellenbosch Central
Stellenbosch, Western Cape 7605 South Africa
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