Media Releases

UofT professor awarded new chair in concrete durability and sustainability

April 6, 2010

TORONTO, ON – With infra­struc­ture spend­ing a big part of gov­ern­ment eco­nom­ic stim­u­lus plans across North Amer­i­ca, con­crete is sud­den­ly look­ing like a hot com­mod­i­ty. The Uni­ver­si­ty of Toronto’s Fac­ul­ty of Applied Sci­ence and Engi­neer­ing is at the fore­front of inno­va­tion when it comes to con­crete, sus­tain­abil­i­ty and engi­neer­ing solu­tions to some of the world’s most press­ing issues. Now, one of our top pro­fes­sors has received recog­ni­tion from the indus­try and the fed­er­al gov­ern­ment.

R. Doug Hooton was appoint­ed today Chairhold­er of the Nat­ur­al Sci­ences and Engi­neer­ing Research Coun­cil (NSERC) of Canada/ Cement Asso­ci­a­tion of Cana­da Indus­tri­al Research Chair in Con­crete Dura­bil­i­ty and Sus­tain­abil­i­ty.

“Indus­tri­al Research Chairhold­ers have to be out­stand­ing researchers, able to build and nur­ture suc­cess­ful rela­tion­ships with their indus­tri­al part­ners,” says Suzanne Forti­er, pres­i­dent of NSERC. “Dr. Hooton is an excel­lent exam­ple of this blend of tal­ent and skills. The Cana­di­an cement and con­crete indus­tries will ben­e­fit great­ly from his research goal to pro­duce stronger, high­er qual­i­ty build­ing mate­ri­als.”

The Chair’s fund­ing is val­ued at $1.8 mil­lion over five years with con­tri­bu­tions from the Uni­ver­si­ty of Toron­to, NSERC, the Cement Asso­ci­a­tion of Cana­da, Hol­cim Cana­da and White­mud Resources. The finan­cial award will cre­ate a new tenure-track fac­ul­ty posi­tion in this area and also allow for fund­ing grad­u­ate stu­dent and research asso­ciate posi­tions.

The goal of the Research Chair is to pro­vide inno­v­a­tive and effec­tive approach­es to improve both the envi­ron­men­tal sus­tain­abil­i­ty and dura­bil­i­ty of con­crete, as well as to pro­vide lead­er­ship in devel­op­ment of spec­i­fi­ca­tions and indus­try stan­dards. Enhanc­ing the dura­bil­i­ty of con­crete, while incor­po­rat­ing recy­cled local mate­ri­als, improves the sus­tain­abil­i­ty of build­ings and infra­struc­ture.

“This Chair will help focus research and teach­ing in an area that is crit­i­cal to mak­ing informed choic­es in infra­struc­ture renew­al and address­ing the envi­ron­men­tal and ener­gy sus­tain­abil­i­ty chal­lenges fac­ing the cement, con­crete and con­struc­tion indus­tries,” said Dr. Hooton. “This area is of utmost impor­tance to the Cana­di­an cement indus­try and to Cana­di­an indus­try and infra­struc­ture as a whole, and I want to thank NSERC and the indus­tri­al part­ners for their com­mit­ment, even in tough eco­nom­ic times.”

Some of Pro­fes­sor Hooton’s dis­cov­er­ies in the chem­i­cal degra­da­tion of con­crete by alka­li-sil­i­ca reac­tion and in the rate of pen­e­tra­tion of de-icing salts lead­ing to cor­ro­sion of steel in con­crete bridges have been adopt­ed by the Ontario Min­istry of Trans­porta­tion as well as in Cana­di­an (CSA) and US (ASTM) stan­dards. He is also using sophis­ti­cat­ed nan­otech­nol­o­gy lev­el tools to exam­ine the chem­istry and min­er­al­o­gy of con­crete and to inves­ti­gate its dura­bil­i­ty. He also hopes to use ‘par­ti­cle pack­ing’ down to the nano lev­el to make what he calls “quan­tum leaps” in the prop­er­ties and dura­bil­i­ty of con­crete.

“Pro­fes­sor Hooton is a lead­ing inno­va­tor in the impor­tant field of sus­tain­able con­crete engi­neer­ing and cement research,” said Cristi­na Amon, Dean, Fac­ul­ty of Applied Sci­ence and Engi­neer­ing. “We are grate­ful to NSERC and our indus­tri­al part­ners for enhanc­ing our efforts to address con­crete sus­tain­abil­i­ty and its envi­ron­men­tal impli­ca­tions in the infra­struc­ture renew­al.”

About Engi­neer­ing at the Uni­ver­si­ty of Toron­to
The Fac­ul­ty of Applied Sci­ence and Engi­neer­ing at the Uni­ver­si­ty of Toron­to is a cen­tre of immense inspi­ra­tion, remark­able inno­va­tion and end­less pos­si­bil­i­ties. The Fac­ul­ty of Applied Sci­ence and Engi­neer­ing ranked #1 in Cana­da and #8 in the world in the Times High­er Education–QS World Uni­ver­si­ty Rank­ings and by the US News and World Report. With approx­i­mate­ly 4,500 under­grad­u­ate stu­dents, 1,500 grad­u­ate stu­dents, 220 pro­fes­sors, 300 staff and 40,000 alum­ni, it is the pre-emi­nent engi­neer­ing school in Cana­da.