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July/August 2010
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Erlin & Hime/Hime & Erlin

New Book Highlights the Professional Results of a Five-Decade Friendship

Bernard Erlin (upper photo) and William Hime (lower photo) have co-written a column for Concrete Construction Magazine since 2004.

The Concrete Intrigue is just what it claims to be — ”a learning and reference book.” But it is also the culmination of a professional relationship and personal friendship that spans more than 50 years.

The new book represents the individual and joint knowledge of longtime ASTM members Bernard Erlin and William G. Hime. Both are members of ASTM International Committee C09 on Concrete, though Hime is now retired.

“Bill and I have been associated with each other since 1956, when I started working at the research and development laboratories of the Portland Cement Association,” says Erlin.Eventually the two men formed Erlin Hime Associates, which ultimately became a division of Wiss, Janney, Elstner Associates.

Later, Hime stayed with Wiss, Janney, Elstner, while his friend formed The Erlin Co. But their collaboration was destined to continue through joint authorship of a magazine column on concrete.

In 2004, Erlin, a hands-on concrete petrographer, was asked to contribute a monthly article to Concrete Construction Magazine. Although hesitant at first, Erlin spoke to Hime, who is a concrete chemist, about the opportunity, and they agreed to jointly write it.

Throughout the run of the column, the collaborators’ names have alternated in the title to signify the equality of their partnership: one month, it’s titled “Erlin & Hime on Concrete,” while the next it is “Hime & Erlin on Concrete.”

The purpose of the column has been to cover aspects of concrete and concrete-making materials in an engaging format that could potentially have interest to the layman as well as to concrete industry and non-industry professionals such as architects, engineers, contractors, testing laboratories, attorneys and cement, aggregate and admixture suppliers. Erlin and Hime keep the writing style light and breezy, managing to work into the conversation such seemingly non-concrete-oriented icons such as Thomas Edison, Frank Lloyd Wright, Sophia Loren and Arnold Palmer.

The Concrete Intrigue compiles the entire collection of columns, as well as papers written by Erlin and Hime separately and jointly, as well as tributes to several titans of the concrete industry. Other useful reference material includes a glossary of compounds, mineral names and formulas and, as an appendix, the complete lexicon, “Concrete Terminology” of the American Concrete Institute.

“The Concrete Intrigue is our legacy to the industry that supported and sustained us through our livelihood,” says Erlin. “And it’s a way to get information to people who may have trouble finding it. Here we have in one place a great diversity of information about concrete, cement and aggregates, along with problems that are incidental to them and legal issues involved in the industry. From our book, you can dig deeper elsewhere into the literature.”

In addition to their work as authors, Erlin and Hime have worked together as ASTM members as well, particularly on ASTM standard C1324, Test Method for Examination and Analysis of Hardened Masonry Mortar. C1324 is under the jurisdiction of ASTM International Committee C12 on Mortars and Grouts for Unit Masonry.

Erlin notes that standards such as C1324 and the concrete standards developed by C09 are used around the world and that ASTM standards are integral to the production of concrete.

“ASTM standards provide recognition that there is uniformity throughout the concrete industry and throughout other industries,” says Erlin. “ASTM publications and symposia educate people to what’s going on throughout industry and helps make manufacturers, consumers and others aware of current developments for the betterment of the industries they represent.”