ICRI 1999 Project Award Winner
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Award of Excellence: Municipal Category

Dittmer Chemistry Laboratory
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Tallahassee, Florida

Submitted by Sika Corporation

Dittmer Chemistry LaboratoryDittmer Chemistry Laboratory at Florida State University was built in 1970 as a research facility, where for nearly 30 years critical research and development has been carried out on the cancer fighting drug “Taxol.” The 4000 square feet (370 square meters) mechanical room, consisting of a series of one-way slabs supported by concrete beams and columns, is effectively a nerve center to the entire building. It houses all the equipment necessary to the sensitive, clean room conditions necessary for the research program.

From its original construction until early in 1981, sodium chloride was stored on the mechanical room floor. It was then clear from staining on the floor and the ceiling of the room below that serious corrosion of the rebar was ongoing in the supporting beams and floor slab. In addition, concentrated equipment and storage tank loading over the beams had caused flexural cracks in the ceiling of the room below.

A delamination survey of the floor indicated over 30% delamination, and destructive testing of several areas showed greater than 50% section loss of some reinforcing steel of the slab. Extensive top slab repairs were performed where possible, and full depth replacement took place where inspection from below was almost impossible, leaving an unacceptable unknown condition. Due to the unknown corrosion factor and the expected installation of further heavy equipment, the decision was made to install further flexural reinforcement. Because of the extremely limited room below the repaired slab, a preformed carbon fiber-reinforced polymer (CFRP) strip was chosen. In addition, a CFRP wrap system was used to strengthen a number of concrete beams in shear.

With University royalties from “Taxol” exceeding $25 million each year, and vital development work ongoing, it was absolutely imperative that the repair and strengthening contract did nothing to affect the research in the facility. This unique retrofit project was carried out on budget, on time, under the most difficult conditions, and was handed over to the University with pride.

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