Sustainable construction materials and technologies

PhD in Structural Engineering (Moscow State University of Civil Engineering, 1986). Works at the Technion since 1991.

Research interests: high-performance building materials; non-destructive testing; durability; shrinkage and creep of concrete; early age concrete; internal curing of concrete, gypsum of improved water resistance; gypsum-cement interaction; supplementary cementitious materials; advanced and non-traditional chemical admixtures; fiber-reinforced materials; natural stone; recycling industrial residues in construction (incl. by means of mechano-chemistry); radioactivity of building materials and radon mitigation.

Editing two international journals (Materials & Structures, Cement & Concrete Composites). Edited Special Issues of Journal of Environmental Radioactivity, and of Construction and Building Materials. Fellow (2006) and Honorary Member (2022) of RILEM – International Union of Laboratories and Experts in Construction Materials, Systems and Structures, Co-Chair of the Working Group “NORM in building Materials”, ENA – European NORM Association, and Member of ACI – American Concrete Institute.

Organized several international conferences, including those on Early Age Concrete (EAC’1 in 2001 and EAC’2 in 2017) and on Concrete Durability and Service Life Planning (ConcreteLife-2006, ConcreteLife-2009 and ConcreteLife-2020). Co-organized the Symposium “Use of By-Products in Construction: Dealing with Natural Radioactivity” (2017, Rome).

Has been active member of several European Concerted Research Actions related to construction materials and ecology: TU1301 “NORM for building materials – network”, TU1404 “Towards the next generation of standards for service life of cement-based materials and structures”, CA15115 MINEA “Mining the European anthroposphere”, CA15202 SARCOS “Self-healing as preventive repair of concrete structures”, and CA18112 “Mechanochemistry for sustainable industry”.

Organizer and teacher in several RILEM PhD Courses (Australia, China, Denmark, Mexico, Northern Macedonia, Russia, Slovakia, Israel).

Teaches numerous courses for undergraduate and graduate students (“Building Materials”, “Building Materials and Processes”, “Construction with Metals – Materials and Technology”, “Composite Materials in Construction”, “Advanced Chapters in Cementitious Systems”, “Engineering Laboratory”, “Recycling in Construction” – selected lectures, “Durability of Building Materials and Structures”, “Laboratory Project in Building Materials”, “Non-Destructive Testing of Concrete”, “Radiation Safety in Construction”).

Chair of three expert committees (“Non-destructive and Special Tests of Concrete”, “Radioactivity of Building Materials” and “Lightweight Aggregates”) and three technical committees (“Concrete Materials and Products”, “Steel for the Reinforcement of Concrete” and “Ecological Aspects of Construction”) in the Israeli Institute of Standards. National representative in the Technical Committee of International Standardization Organization (ISO) on Radiological Protection, member of the group “Radiation Measurements”. In 2013 coordinated the academic consortium with the aim to create National Research Center on Recycling of Materials by the call of the Israeli Ministry of Environmental Protection.

Reviewer of technical papers and research projects for more than 60 international peer-refereed journals and research foundations. Has authored more than 100 peer-reviewed papers in international journals, and more than 80 papers in proceedings of international conferences, authored/edited more than 30 books and book chapters. Authored six patents and patent applications.

Combines teaching and research activities with consulting for the construction industry and governmental ministries. Consulted on strengthening technology and materials durability of the 20-km dike under brine attack (Dead Sea Works Ltd., Israel, 2011-2012), on concrete technology of high-strength concrete (first time in Israel) for 54-storey building in Tel-Aviv, Sarona Project, (WXG Ltd., Israel, since 2013). Official consultant of the Israeli Port Authority on concrete technology for marine structures and durability in Hamifratz Port Terminal, Haifa, and Hadarom Port Terminal, Ashdod (since 2012), and of Israel Electric Corporation (since 2019). Advisor of the National Coal Ash Board and Nesher – Israel Cement Enterprises Ltd. (since 1995), and consultant in the lawsuit against the Israeli Ministry of Environmental Protection related to the uses of coal fly ash in construction.

In 2018 Prof. Kovler (together with the experts from the Israel Society of Radiation Protection) was a vocal critic of the drafted national radiation law published by the government, which resulted in the withdrawal of said law from discussion in the Knesset.