MSE Professor, Kendra Erk, and grad students complete a day of concrete casting for research


Prof. Kendra Erk and current and former CE and MSE graduate students (Mr. Chibueze Ajuonuma, Mr. Akul Seshadri, and Dr. Caitlin Adams) recently completed a full day of concrete casting down in Indianapolis, Indiana with Shelby Materials ( as part of Prof. Erk’s on-going research project with Prof. Jan Olek (Purdue Civil Engineering), INDOT ( , and the Joint Transportation Research Program (SPR-4727; Concrete slabs, beams, and cylinders containing superabsorbent polymer (SAP) internal curing agents were created and will remain on-site for the next 12 months. Prof. Erk has been studying SAP internal curing agents for the past decade at Purdue and has found that addition of these water-swollen hydrogel particles helps to fuel the cement curing reaction from inside the concrete, leading to increased strength and durability of concrete mixtures without the need for additional external curing ( ; . The current field trials will demonstrate how SAP internal curing agents perform in commercial-scale ready mixed concrete and how the properties of the internally cured concrete are influenced by environmental exposure.  Creating such giant samples was awesome for our MSE team (  and we look forward to seeing how our microscale SAP particles directly influence the concrete’s macroscale properties and performance.