International Conference in Fatherland of Concrete Pavers
The international concrete block paving industry affirms its technological development by conferencing every three years. The technical conferences support the continued growth of the global concrete paver industry, which manufactures one square foot (0.1 m²) of segmental concrete paving for every person on Earth every year.
With over 400 attendees and exhibitors, the 11th International Conference on Concrete Block Paving (ICCBP) held Sept. 9–11, 2015, in Dresden, Germany, was a declaration on the advanced state-of-the-art technology from the industry Fatherland. Germany earned this moniker by having the highest per capita use of segmental concrete paving. Annual sales are somewhere past 15 sf/person or a total of around 1.2 to 1.5 billion sf (120 to 150 million m²). For the record, the industry Motherland is the Netherlands, where the concrete block paving industry was born in the 1950s.
The Dresden conference included 2½ days of presentations and social events organized by Dr. Frohmut Weller, Dr. Sabine Leischner and Juliane Kraft with the Technical University of Dresden. Additional support was provided by Susanne Brachthäuser-Berg from conference sponsor FGSV, the German acronym for the Research Association for Roads and Transportation. The conference included a technical tour to a paver production mold factory hosted by Kobra Molds.
Of the 37 technical papers from 15 countries presented over 2½ days, 13 were on permeable interlocking concrete pavements (PICP). One of the most significant papers was presented by Dr. David Jones with the University of California (Davis) Pavement Research Center on full-scale PICP accelerated load testing. The research produced pavement thickness design charts adopted by the Interlocking Concrete Pavement Institute and included in a draft standard on PICP design, construction and maintenance now nearing completion by the American Society of Civil Engineers.
Among several significant papers from Germany, one covered the extent of crown required in an interlocking concrete pavement road surface to maximize progressive stiffening (interlock) and increased load-distribution across the pavement. A paper from Dr. Anne Beeldens with the Belgium Road Research Centre illustrated how stormwater runoff restrictions in Belgium have stimulated deployment of PICP there, in a manner not unlike the United States. A paper presented by Alessandra Smolek, doctoral candidate with North Carolina State University, demonstrated substantial pollutant and volume reductions by PICP over clay soils with infiltration rates at 0.01 in/hour (0.0254 cm/hr).
Another significant paper from Germany explained how paving slabs can be used to reduce road noise, as well as another by environmental consultants, PE International, comparing the environmental impacts of interlocking concrete pavements to other pavement systems, and demonstrating that impacts from the former are lowest. The Germans continued their environmental-friendliness theme with papers on solar reflectance and how it can help reduce the urban heat island, and photocatalytic surfaces on concrete pavers to reduce nitrous oxides and photochemical smog.
Slotted for spring 2018, the next conference in Seoul, South Korea, will be sponsored by the Seoul Metropolitan Government. Having a regional government as a sponsor is a first for the series of international conferences as they are typically hosted by universities and industry. An interesting aspect is that the Seoul sidewalk department is participating to affirm and expand the role of concrete paver sidewalks in the Seoul region. This magazine will keep readers informed of developments on this conference.