Professor Denison Campbell-Allen

The Campbell-Allen Years
K. J. Kavanagh

Delivered at a seminar to mark the retirement of Professor Campbell- Allen
The University of Sydney
School of Civil and Mining Engineering
Civil and Mining Engineering Foundation
Campbell-Allen: Durable Concrete Structures for the Future
Monday 28th November 1983



"Professor D. Campbell-Allen, M.A.(Camb.) FICE, FIEAust, MRAeS, AMIArb., Challis Professor of Civil Engineering and Head School of Civil and Mining Engineering, University of Sydney, will retire on December 31st, 1983".

Prof Denison Campbell-Allen

This statement which prefaces the profile of Denison Campbell-Allen in the brochure announcing this seminar is the reason underlying this event, for we gather this afternoon only incidentally to discuss the durability of concrete structures. In reality we seek to honour a man who throughout his career has served well his colleagues and his community, who has made his mark on his profession, who has earned the undoubted respect of all who have dealt with him and whom quite a number of us are fortunate to call friend.

It is my privilege to introduce this seminar and to speak of the Campbell-Allen years, to flesh out the profile of his career which has already been published; in short to recall to your minds events and incidents from the past 30 or so years which have been associated with Denison Campbell-Allen but which were also, in their way, milestones in the development of concrete technology and practice in this country. My only qualification for doing so is that I seem to have been actively involved with at least some of those events and happenings.

However, I imagine that a gathering of this kind, on this subject and in this country was not even remotely within the ambit of Denison Campbell-Allen's aspirations when he graduated from the University of Cambridge in 1944, with Farst Class Honours in the Mechanical Tripos, and joined the Royal Aircraft Establishment at Farnborough.

There he worked on the analysis of aircraft structures and began the long series of papers and technical contributions with which his name is now associated.

During those first years he Worked on both military and civilian aircraft until, in 1947, he was confronted with a dilemma which must have confronted many engaged in military and defense research at that time and since.

"I was asked to become involved in the development of a plane for delivering atomic bombs. I thought at the time it was an abuse of engineering work to be involved in that sort of problem. I still believe that", he has said.

He resigned therefore his position at Farnborough and in 1948 migrated to New Zealand to become Lecturer in Engineering Mathematics at Auckland University.

In 1951 ke joined the Scientific Services Division of the Snowy Mountains Hydroelectric Authority as Engineer-in-Charge of the Materials Branch. The four years he spent with "The Snowy" were to mark the beginnings of a long and fruitful association with concrete technology and practice in this country. Indeed his first task with the Snowy Authority was to set up the concrete laboratories in Cooma and to begin to establish the quality control and other procedures for which the Authority became noted.

During this period he worked also on materials selection and quality control for Guthega Dam and the Upper Tumut Works; and to accumulate the practical experience and good sense which permeate his papers, teaching and advice on concrete construction.

During this period also he first made contact with Professor J.W. Roderick, then Professor of Civil Engineering at Sydney University. Professor Roderick was a consultant to SMHEA and in 1954 invited Denison to join the staff of the .School of Civil Engineering as a Senior Lecturer. In the 29 years which have since elapsed he has risen to succeed Professor Roderick as Challis Professor and Head of School.

Just prior to that time another event took place, which, in retrospect, was very significant to the Campbell-Allen years. It was the Symposium on Prestressed Concrete organised by the Cement & Concrete Association of Australia in June 1953, the first symposium on the topic to be held in Australia and which could be said to have marked the beginnings of the development of prestressed concrete in this country. Amongst the contributors was one

D. Campbell-Allen, at that time not very well known one suspects, but also beginning to develop the interests for which he is now widely recognised.

In passing, it is of interest to recall some others associated with that event, many of whom are still active and some of whom could well be at this seminar; Antill, Weller, Mahaffey, Blakey, Sneath, J.D. Harris, Isaacs, Goffin and the late Ray Priddle.

Some eight years later, in 1961, a Second Symposium was organised, again by the C&CA but held at the University of Sydney. Campbell-Allen was again a contributor, this time, one suspects, rather better known. Other contributors included T.Y. Lin and

A.J. Harris the keynote speakers, Robson Scott, Hall, Brown, Welch, Brettle, Birkett, Cook and that doyen of the prestressed industry, Professor Jim Antill.

That Symposium saw the formation of the Australian Prestressed Concrete Development Group and from it, in 1970, grew the Concrete institute of Australia, an organisation with which the name Campbell-Allen will be associated for many years to come. He was one of the prime movers amongst the members of the APCG in expanding its somewhat narrow role to encompass all forms of concrete construction, and played a major part in the development of its constitution. He served on the Council of the Institute from its inception and was elected President in 1974/75, the years during which the highly successful FIP/CIA Symposia held in Sydney during 1976 were being planned.

The invitation by the CIA to him to present the keynote address at these Symposia is a measure of the high esteem in which he was, and is held by the Institute. He was made an Honorary Member in 1979 and he continues to take an active interest in its affairs.

During the 1950s and 60s, Denison pursued research into a number of areas of concrete technology and practice; the development of special concretes for radiation shielding including those for the HIFAR reactor at Lucas Heights; the thermal performance of concretes and the effect of elevated temperatures on stress levels and patterns in prestressed structures including nuclear reactors; and other topics related to the behaviour of both reinforced and prestressed concrete. A whole series of papers published during those years are testimony to the contributions which he made. Under his supervision the first PhD student in the School of Civil Engineering, Dr C.J. Bellamy, undertook his thesis.

During this time also, along with other members of School, he was engaged in studies on the Gladesville Bridge, the Commonwealth Avenue Bridge, the Wooloomooloo Viaduct and other structures, to the design of which some important contributions were made.

In 1962 he was appointed Associate Professor of Concrete Technology, the first such appointment in Australia. About that time also he took the initiative to invite CSIRO to establish a research group within the Civil Engineering School. Dr K. Alexander transferred from Melbourne and was joined subsequently by Mr L. Taplin and Dr H. Roper, now himself an Associate Professor within the School.

This Group made a number of important contributions to the development of our knowledge of cement and concrete behaviour, particularly on the influence of material properties on the shrinkage and creep of concrete.

One recalls for example the furore which greeted the work by Dr Roper which successfully identified the underlying causes of some of the problems with concrete shrinkage then being experienced in the Sydney area. One recalls also the important contribution to our understanding of creep which Dr Ken Alexander made and is continuing to make.

Whilst the CSIRO Group did not remain in Sydney, returning after some years to Melbourne, it was a bold experiment which deserved a better fate. One cannot help but contrast the excellent research done by such specialist research groups attached to University

Schools in other disciplines, with the almost complete absence of such groups within the civil engineering schools of this country; and reflect that, with some notable exceptions, the lack of such centres of excellence may well be contributing to the general disinterest in Civil engineering research which seems to pervade the construction industry in Australia.

In 1968 Denison was appointed Professor of Civil Engineering (Concrete Technology) and somewhere about this time also became a member of the National Committee on Concrete Research and Engineering of the Institution of Engineers, Australia.

This involvement led directly to what is perhaps one of his better known contributions to the development of concrete construction in Australia. Arising from concern expressed by many consulting engineers for unexplained cracking in reinforced concrete structures, and consequent proposals for further research on the topic, a project was developed under the aegis of the National Committee to survey cracking in structures and to identify (as far as possible) their causes. With the support of the Post-Graduate Civil Engineering Foundation, the Australian Road Research Board, the C&CA and the National Ready Mixed Concrete Association, the survey was conducted and analysed in a number of reports and finally, by a project team under his leadership, summarised in a monograph produced in 1975. It is fair to say that the work was a major contribution and went a long way to dispel many of the misconceptions then common about the causes of cracking in concrete structures, and to highlight the importance, not only of material properties, but also of correct detailing and construction practices.

One cannot help but contrast the concern in the 1960s for unexplained' cracking with the concern today for the durability of concrete structures or lack thereof; and the tendency to again attribute the prime causes of these problems to materials whereas attention to detailing and supervision might again pay greater dividends.

Another initiative from that period which merits special mention was the establishment of the course, for final-year students, on design studies conducted by a practicing consultant. Together with Professor D.H. Clyde he was the architect of the course which has flourished since 1970 when Mr J.E. Corlett was appointed "Consultant for Design Studies" and so successfully developed the framework on which the course has since been built.

In 1975 Denison became Dean of the Faculty of Engineering and held that position until 1977.

In 1978 he was elected Chairman of the Academic Board at the University and in 1979, upon the retirement of Professor Roderick, became Challis Professor of Civil Engineering, an appointment shared initially with the late Professor Davis.

His election, by his University colleagues, as Chairman of the Academic Board, a position he held for a four-year term, can only be regarded as an accolade bestowed by them. It is a demanding position. Along with the Vice Chancellor, who is responsible for the administration of this $100 million per annum undertaking, the Chairman of the Academic Board guides the academic affairs of the University. It is a position which calls therefore, not merely for a detailed knowledge of the workings of a University, but for qualities of leadership and, one suspects, diplomacy of a very high order. The fact that Denison was outstandingly successful in the role is a testimony to both his intellect and to his personality, his intellect for his ability to summarise and clarify the most complex situations; his personality for his ability to bring together and to reconcile opposing points of view.

And so from December 31st, 1983, Denison Campbell-Allen retires from the University, retiring early, as he says "because in terms of engineering, at this stage, I would much rather be involved in activity as a consultant. I don't want to waste what I know and I'll be a lot more use to people now than ! was 20 years ago" .

The Campbell-Allen years, and who knows what they may yet bring forth, were coincident therefore with the period in which concrete and concrete construction in Australia, and indeed elsewhere, made tremendous technological advances. The papers which he produced over a span of almost thirty years indicate clearly his technical leadership in his chosen field; the positions which he has attained within the University and elsewhere are testimony to his standing in academic circles and the engineering community at large; and the respect, esteem and affection in which he is held by those who know him are a tribute to his personality.

This paper remains unfinished, however, for the Campbell-Allen years are themselves not yet complete. Hopefully one day I may list his further achievements as a consultant.

The Publications of Prof Campbell-Allen

  1. 'The distribution of shear in a tapered fuselage' Aeronautical Research Council, R. and M. 2163, 1945.
  2. 'An analysis of strain-gauge measurements on Barracuda rear fuselage', R. and M. 2390, 1945.
  3. 'Stresses in a stiffened circular cylinder under concentrated axial loads', R. and M. 2405, 1946.
  4. 'Load diffusion at an interspar opening - Theoretical methods of analysis compared with measurements on a large wing', R. and M. 2664, 1948.
  5. 'The theory of sampling applied to concrete control' Civil Engineering and Public Works Review, Vol. 50, No. 587, May 1955 pp.525-528.
  6. 'A laboratory examination of an electrical pore pressure gauge for use in earth dams' (with H. Muhs). Journal of Inst. of Eng. Aust. Vol. 29, No. 9, Sept. 1955, pp.241-245.
  7. 'Variable cement and its effect on concrete control' Journal of Inst. of Eng. Aust. Vol. 29, No. 4-5, Apr.-May, 1957 pp.109-112.
  8. 'High density concrete for radiation shielding in Australia'. Proc. Australian Atomic Energy Symposium, 1958, pp.717-725.
  9. 'Control of concrete quality'. Building and Decorating Materials, Vol.2, No.i, Sept.-Oct.1960.
  10. 'Structural design problems in concrete shieldinq for reactors' (with C.J. Bellamy) Civ. Eng. Transactions, Inst. of Eng. Aust., Vol. CE3, No. 1, March 1961, pp.34-38.
  11. 'Non-destructive testing of concrete' Cement and Concrete (New Delhi) Vol. 2, No. 1, Apr.-June 1961.
  12. 'A note on the use of point loading in the simulation of distributed loading in beam tests' (with H.B.Harrison). Civil Engineering and Public Works Review, Vol. 56, No.658, May 1961.
  13. 'Strength of concrete under combined stresses' Symposium on prestressed concrete, Cement and Concrete Association of Australia, Aug. 1961.
  14. 'The movement of moisture in concrete' Australian Building Research Congress, Aug. 1961.
  15. Discussion of a paper by K. Billig on Prestressed Concrete Pressure Vessels. ACI Journal, Part 2 June 1963, pp. 2057-2058.
  16. 'The thermal conductivity of concrete' (with C.P. Thorne) Magazine of Concrete Research, March 1963, pp.39-48.
  17. 'Creep and shrinkage in concrete as influenced by concrete practice and environment'. Constructional Review (Sydney), Vol. 36, No. 12, 1963, pp.23-28.
  18. 'Concrete in the nuclear age' Journ. of the Institution of Engineers, Australia, Oct.-Nov. 1964, pp.279-284.
  19. 'Thermal stresses in slabs of linear rheological materials'. Proc. of the Conference on Thermal Loading and Creep, Instn. of Mech. Engineers, London, 1964, Paper 5.
  20. 'An investigation on the effect of elevated temperatures on concrete for reactor vessels' (with E.W.E. Low and H. Roper). Nuclear Structural Engineering, Vol. 2, 1965, pp.382-388.
  21. 'Pressure vessel for a high temperature gas-cooled reactor' (with J. E. Hayes, E.W.E. Low and A. Spencer) Conference on Prestressed Concrete Pressure Vessels, Instn. of Civil Engineers, London, March 1967, Paper 4-5.
  22. 'The influence of aggregate on the behaviour of concrete at elevated temperature' (with P.M. Desai). Nuclear Engineering and Design, Vol. 6, No. 2, 1967 pp.65-67.
  23. 'Pressure tests on end slabs for prestressed concrete pressure vessels' (with E.W.E. Low) Nuclear Engineering and Design, Vol. 6, No. 4, Nov. 1967, pp. 345-359.
  24. 'The influence of diaphragms on the behaviour of concrete box girders' (with H.C. Lee). Civil Engineering Transactions, Instn. of Engineers, Australia, Vol. CE9, No.2, Oct. 1967.
  25. 'Prestressed concrete pressure vessels'. Constructional Review (Sydney) Vol. 41, No.41, 1968.
  26. 'Concrete in nuclear power'. Atomic Energy in Australia, Vol. 11, No. 3, July 1968.
  27. 'Interrelations between losses occurring in prestressed beams' (with R.H. Aitken and R.J.L. Wedgwood) Constructional Review (Sydney) Vol. 41, No.8, 1968.
  28. 'The use of simplified models for the design of end slabs' (with E.W.E. Low) Proc. of the Conference on Model Techniques for Prestressed Concrete Pressure Vessels, British Nuclear Engineering Soc. London, 1969, pp.43-52.
  29. 'Stress and cracking in concrete due to shrinkage' (with J.G. Holford) Civil Engineering Transactions, Instn. of Engineers, Australia, Vol. CE12, No.1, 1970, pp. 33-38.
  30. 'Ultimate pressure analysis of deep end-slabs for prestressed concrete pressure vessels' (with E.W.E.Low) Nuclear Engineering and Design, Vol. 12, 19 70, pp.69-79.
  31. 'Need for diaphragms in concrete box girders' (with R.J.L. Wedgwood) Journal of Structural Division, ASCE, Vol. 97, No. ST3, March 1971, pp.825-842.
  32. 'Wooloomooloo Viaduct structural model'. Proc. First Structural Models Conference, Sydney, May 1972. Contracting and Construction Engineer, Vol. 26, No.7, 1972, pp. 6-14.
  33. 'Precision of early shrinkage measurements' (with J.L.Kass) Materials and Structures Research and Testing, Vol.5, No. 27, May-June 1972, pp.169-170.
  34. 'Criteria for reinforced concrete nuclear power containment structures'. (As a member of ACI Committee 349) ACI Journal, Proc. Vol. 69, No. 1, Jan. 1972, pp.2-28.
  35. 'Size effects in drying and shrinkage of concrete' (with J.L. Kass and J.R. Booker) Materials and Structures Research and Testing, Vol. 6, No.32, 1973.
  36. 'The prediction of shrinkage of Australian concrete' Civil Engineering Transactions, Instn. of Engineers, Australia, Vo. CE15, No. 1, 1973.
  37. 'Precision of early shrinkage measurements' (with J.L.Kass) Journal of Testing and Evaluation, Vol.l, No.3, Jan. 1973, pp.24-30.
  38. 'Developments in understanding the behaviour and design of slab-column connections' (with D. Carmichael and D. H. Clyde) Civil Engineering Transactions, Instn. of Engineers, Australia, Vol. CE16, No. 1, 1974, pp.34-39.
  39. 'Shrinkage of concrete as affected by size' (with D.F. Rogers) Materiaux et Constructions, Vol. 8, No. 45, 1975, pp. 193-202.
  40. 'Cracking in concrete - its extent and causes' (with H.L. Helffenstein) Symposium on Serviceability of Concrete, Melbourne, Institution of Engineers, Australia, August 1975.
  41. 'Impact resistance of reinforced concrete as a problem of-containment' (with W.M. Burgess) Univ. of Sydney, School of Civil Engineering, Research Report R251, August 1974.
  42. 'Advances in concrete - the future'. Annual Conference of National Readymixed Concrete Association of Australasia, Brisbane, Sept. 1975.
  43. 'Complexity in concrete codes' Seminar on Complexity of Structural Codes, Assocn. of Consulting Struct. Engineers, Sydney, 1976.
  44. Discussion of a paper by C. Gordon et al, on Avoiding Cross Errors in Concrete Construction. ACI Journal, Vol. 73, No. 5, 1976, pp.300-301.
  45. Discussion of a paper by S. MacKey and T.K.C. Wan on Remedial Works to Cracked Reinforced Concrete Deep Beams (with R.G. Smith) The Structural Engineer, Vol. 54, No. 7, 1976, pp.264-265.
  46. 'Prestressed Concrete - A Remedy for Weaknesses' Keynote address, FIP-CIA Symposia on Short to Medium Span Bridges and Prestressing in Buildings, Proc. Sydney, 1976.
  47. 'Cracking in concrete' Seminar on Cracks, Codes and Creep, Concrete Institute of Australia, Sydney, 1977.
  48. 'Concrete Pressure and Storage Vessels and the work of the FIP Commission'. Concrete Institute of Australia, Biennial Conference, Brisbane, 1977.
  49. 'Cracking in Concrete', Engineer, Quarterly J. of the Institution of Engineers, Sri Lanka, 6: 3:27-32:1978.
  50. 'Repairs of Concrete Structures' , Concr. Inst. Aust. , Biennial Conf., 1979.
  51. 'Cracks in Concrete Bridge Decks', Civ. Engg. Trans., Instn. Engrs., Aust., CE21:1:1-9:1979 (with B. Lau) .
  52. 'The Reduction of Cracking in Concrete', University of Sydney/Cement & Concrete Association of Australia, 1979.
  53. 'The Profession of a Civil Engineer', Editors D.Campbell-Allen and E.H. Davis, Sydney University Press, 1979.
  54. 'Reinforcement to Control Thermal and Shrinkage Cracking', Civ. Engg. Trans., Inst. Engrs., Aust., CE23:3:158-165:1981 (with G.W. Hughes).
  55. 'Durability of precast facades', Inst. of Engrs. Aust., Symp. on Concrete: Toward Better Concrete, NCP/81/3, Adelaide 67-72:1981 (with H. Roper).
  56. 'Selection of Materials to Improve Performance of Concrete in Service', Handbook of Structural Concrete, Pitman, 1983, Chapter 4, (with H. Roper).