Proceedings Pro 121 : SynerCrete’18: Interdisciplinary Approaches for Cement-based Materials and Structural Concrete: Synergizing Expertise and Bridging Scales of Space and Time Vol. 1 & 2
The focus of the conference is set to communicating, discussing and arousing progress in research,
development and application of Cement-based Materials and Structural Concrete,
which have been attained through combination of expertise from distinct fields of knowledge.
Indeed, in the words of Federico Capasso, a renowned Physicist who was one of the inventors
of the quantum cascade laser:
“... we must not think of science in a disciplinary way, by making boxes. Nature does
not know what physics, chemistry or biology is! It is a question of putting an end to the
positivist philosophy of Auguste Comte, fortunately in decline of speed, which classified
the disciplines and despised the experimental activity.”
The intent of this conference was therefore to provide added value through collaboration and
by bringing together researchers and practitioners with similar views in regard to interdisciplinary
approaches in the fields of Cement-based Materials and Structural Concrete: it is about
Synergizing expertise on the ultimate goal of Structural ConcCrete, hence the acronym
SynerCrete, was chosen for the conference. Exciting fields of research such as performance-
based design, 3D modelling for analysis/design, Building Information Modelling and
even robotics (e.g. digital fabrication or robotics design) were included, while retaining focus
on multi-scale approaches at time and spatial levels.
SynerCrete’18 also marks the end of COST Action TU1404 “Towards the next generation of
standards for service life of cement-based materials and structures” (www.tu1404.eu), offering
a final forum to the discussions raised during the funded period of the Action, that started 4
years ago in 2014. The conference is an opportunity for the 304 COST Action members to
deepen their collaboration and to focus on activities that allow the continuation of the networking
which was established by the Action. A sense of accomplishment is felt by all the
members of the Action, in the view of the important achievements of networking tools that
were brought about by the extended Round Robin Testing Programme (RRT+), the Numerical
Benchmarking Activities and 24 Short Term Scientific Missions (STSMs). Indeed, a remarkable
number of papers that have been published in the two volumes of these Conference Proceedings
are directly a result of one of the aforementioned networking tools.
The conference has consisted of 8 key-note speakers and 180 regular papers presented over 3
days. It is also relevant to emphasize the collaboration of another COST Action in SynerCrete:
COST Action CA15202 “Self-healing As preventive Repair of COncrete Structures –
SARCOS”, which has an important contribution to the purposes of COST TU1404.
A further remark in regard to the wide international institutional support that this conference
attained, is about the direct support of RILEM, fib, JCI and ACI. Specifically, with regard to
the Japanese Concrete Institute, a mention is given to the special session dedicated to the most
recent version of “JCI Guidelines for Control of Cracking of Mass Concrete”, as it was indeed
one of the most inspiring documents that influenced the genesis of COST Action TU1404.
A final word is given in regard to the location of the conference which combines implicit
symbolisms. Firstly, this is the only event of COST Action TU1404 taking place in Portugal,
which is the home country of the Grant Holder and Chairman of the Action. Secondly, the
conference venue is the island of Madeira, therefore not in mainland Portugal, putting attention
to one of the remotest regions of Europe, officially classified as one of the eight ultraperipheral
regions of the European Union.