Mr. Matthew Krafcik
School of Materials Engineering
BS Physics, Truman State University
Project: New materials for increasing the durability and sustainability of concrete
Despite the widespread usage of concrete and significant increase in concrete technology (admixtures, batch design, supplementary materials, etc.), a consistent source of problems for the industry has been from cracking. Today, this cracking rarely manifests from failure under load, but instead durability issues from concrete-environment interactions. Matthew's first project saw the successful incorporation of phase change materials (PCM) into mortar as an alternative to potentially corrosive deicing salts and to reduce thermal stress from freeze/thaw cycling. His current project focuses on understanding the chemical interactions between superabsorbent polymers (SAP) and Portland cement to reduce the probability of early-age cracking in high performance concrete. SAP have shown excellent results when used as internal curing agents in high performance concrete, but as of current, the exact relationship between SAP chemical structure and bulk concrete performance is not entirely understood. Connecting mortar performance with known SAP design parameters would aid in mixture design, increase concrete durability, and better the economy of using SAP as admixtures for high performance concrete.
Matthew graduated from Truman State University in 2013 with a BS in Physics and Minor in Mathematics. While at Truman, Matt worked on two undergraduate research projects. The first project was an experimental analysis on CCD camera performance. The second project was extending the Clausius-Clapeyron relation to determine the second derivative of a first order phase transition line. Working with semiconductors inside CCD cameras and the theoretical examination of the Clausius-Capeyron relation drove Matthew to look for applications of physics and he is now eager to explore the physical aspects of materials engineering. Outside of research, Matthew plays the piano, enjoys swing dancing, biking, and reading.