New Innovation Hub for Nonmetallic Materials in Construction

Image courtesy of ACI.

Aramco Americas (Houston, Texas, USA) and the American Concrete Institute (ACI) (Farmington Hills, Michigan, USA) recently announced the launch of NEx: A Center of Excellence for Nonmetallic Building Materials to develop and promote the use of nonmetallic materials in the construction sector.

Based at ACI’s headquarters in Farmington Hills, the NEx initiative will focus on accelerating the use of nonmetallic materials and products in construction, leveraging ACI’s role as a world-leading authority and resource for the development, dissemination, and adoption of consensus-based standards for concrete design, construction, and materials.

“The center’s mission will be to collaborate globally on using nonmetallic materials in the built environment by driving research, education, awareness and technology adoption,” says Jeffrey W. Coleman, president of ACI. “Expanding incorporation of nonmetallic materials and products in the built environment will improve sustainability, contribute to a lower carbon footprint, and enhance the durability and longevity of structures.”

Aramco has been developing and deploying nonmetallic solutions within its operations for more than 20 years. These solutions offer superior lifecycle cost, efficiency, and environmental advantages over their metal alternatives, according to Ahmad Al-Sa’adi, senior vice president of technical services. The potential for using nonmetallic advanced polymetric materials extends well beyond the oil and gas sector and includes the building and construction industries, where there is significant potential, the groups explain. “That is why this new Center of Excellence for Nonmetallic Building Materials offers enormous and exciting opportunities,” Al-Sa’adi says.

Aramco describes itself as a leader in the use of nonmetallic materials in oil and gas facilities to reduce corrosion, weight, and the cost of construction and operation. This initiative with ACI is part of the company’s broader strategy to enter new markets, leveraging its hydrocarbon resources and technology to deliver advanced polymeric materials solutions.

Nonmetallic materials are increasingly being deployed across multiple industries, including oil and gas, construction, automotive, packaging, and renewables, Aramco explains. Advantages over metallic materials often include corrosion resistance, reduced weight, increased durability, lower cost, and improved environmental efficiency.

Over the past four decades, ACI has been convening the industry’s brightest minds to advance nonmetallic technologies. With numerous published guides, reports, and specifications on nonmetallics in concrete, including fiber-reinforced polymers and fiber reinforced concrete, NEx will serve as a catalyst to incorporate more than 40 years of knowledge into the further acceleration of nonmetallic materials and technology.

“Our founding member, Aramco Americas, aligns with our vision to effectively meet the demands of a changing world by setting standards for the development and adoption of nonmetallic materials in building and construction,” Coleman says. “ACI is pleased to have Aramco’s support in leading this dialogue with industry stakeholders around the world.”

The center plans to expand its scope to include the use of nonmetallics in other construction materials, such as composite cladding, asphalt, and soil, while drawing on additional partners from leading academic institutions, industries, technical societies, standard bodies, manufacturers, and professionals.

For more information about NEx and to get involved, visit