Randolph Kirchain is the new co-director of the MIT-hosted Concrete Sustainability Hub.
He is an engineer who researches the environmental and economic implications of materials selection in the manufacture and lifespan of products and will work alongside Jeremy Gregory, executive director since August 2013.
Kirchain is a principal research scientist in the Material Systems Laboratory of the MIT Engineering System Division, whose faculty and students participate in Concrete Sustainability Hub research with Civil and Environmental Engineering, Chemical Engineering, Materials Science and Engineering and Nuclear Engineering department peers.
At Concrete Sustainability Hub, he has studied the economics of different pavement types in varied climate and traffic scenarios over decades of use, and on how to estimate the cost of damage from hazards such as hurricanes over the life cycle of a house or building.
“There is a lot of discussion about efficient and effective ways to manage infrastructure and sustainable cities-and our ongoing work in the Concrete Sustainability Hub aims to provide the tools needed to address that challenge,” notes Kirchain, who received a PhD in materials science and engineering from MIT in 1999.
“Randy has done important work that sheds light on how design, materials, and process work together over the lifespan of a product,” says Concrete Sustainability Hub Faculty Director Franz-Joseph Ulm. “His expertise, informed by strong connections with industry, has guided the CSHub’s findings about concrete’s impact on infrastructure.”
Under Kirchain and Gregory, Concrete Sustainability Hub will build on breakthroughs in concrete composition aimed at optimizing durability and minimizing carbon footprint, while promoting a) integration of life-cycle factors into building design, and b) research findings into the engineering of infrastructure.
Research and outreach activities will continue through fall 2019, thanks to a second five-year commitment from RMC Research and Education Foundation and Portland Cement Association.