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NCMA gauges thermal loading effect on CMU structural integrity

National Concrete Masonry Association staff is working on simplified fire loading finite element models, capturing the thermal effects of applied heat to concrete masonry units. The rudimentary models are being used to calibrate modeling/results to accurately capture the expected heat transfer response through individual units. Results will be extrapolated to larger wall assemblies, where simulated full-scale fire testing will be modeled and compared against existing physical test reports.


The research will attempt to investigate degradation of structural integrity, if any, of wall assemblies under the effects of the temperature gradient resulting from thermal loading. The ultimate goal is to produce better methods of predicting fire resistance of new masonry shapes and systems in a cost effective manner.

The National Concrete Masonry Association Foundation has approved a $200,000 grant to continue the Building Information Modeling for Masonry Project in 2014, as researchers eye development of a unit model definition comparable to other material interests’ structural databases. The BIM for Masonry database will delineate physical characteristics of commonly produced concrete masonry units, and potentially other qualities encompassing—but not limited to—aesthetics, energy and fire resistance. With a unit model definition established, focus will be on a benchmark model of a typical masonry building to be submitted to BIM software vendors for review. BIM for Masonry supporters ultimately envision seamless integration of masonry systems into vendors’ BIM software.

Jefferson City, Mo.-based Midwest Block & Brick closed on the Southern Concrete Products Masonry Division last month, naming (Midwest) veteran Mike Stone as general manager responsible for acquired Oakland and Lexington, Tenn., and Sardis, Miss., production facilities. 

The transaction strengthens one of the top regional independents in concrete masonry production and block & brick distribution. Midwest Block & Brick has divisions throughout Missouri, Arkansas, Illinois, Kansas, Oklahoma and Tennessee, and will offer Southern Concrete customers a broader product range, expanded support from a seasoned sales staff, and showroom facilities. The acquired properties will operate as Southern Block & Brick, LLC DBA Midwest Block & Brick.

Lexington-based Southern Concrete Products Inc. maintains seven ready mixed plants, plus mobile production, serving markets along the Interstate 40 corridor between Nashville and Memphis.