Ms. Suad Khalid Al Bahar
ACI-Kuwait Chapter was indeed pleased to present its Award of Achievement 2018,
to its first female recipient, Ms. Suad Khalid Al Bahar. She was honoured for "her lifelong contribution as an outstanding scientific researcher,
in the fields of concrete quality, materials and construction technology."
Ms. Al Bahar was born in Kuwait in 1957. High school was completed in 1975, and she fondly recalls the schooling system of that time being emotionally, nutritionally, physically and intellectually caring. It promoted moral and social values, and moulded a balanced understanding of life, religion and righteousness.
Kuwait University’s Faculty of Engineering was established in 1975 and Ms. Al Bahar was in its first batch of students. After graduating in 1980 with a B.Sc. Civil Engineering degree, she joined Kuwait Institute of Scientific Research (KISR), and this was the start of a progressively successful and responsible career that has continued to this day.
Starting as a Research Assistant in the Petroleum Division of KISR’s Materials Application Department, her responsibilities and research work gradually increased in complexity. She was promoted through various research positions, and in January 2005 she became a full-fledged Research Scientist. In October 2010 she was appointed as Manager of KISR’s important Construction and Building Materials Program, a position she still holds today.
In the intervening years, following her marriage to a fellow scientist at KISR, she spent about 6 years in Wales, England, accompanying her husband during his doctoral studies there.
Given her passion for her work, it is not surprising that Ms. Al Bahar’s professional career encompasses a wide range of activities and accomplishments. Her extensive research work and expertise has covered the study of composite materials, green and recycling technologies, as well as considerable involvement in scientific and technical analytical investigations. A particular highlight was achieving a US Patent for the utilisation of multiple waste streams to manufacture synthetic lightweight aggregate.
As would be expected, this long research career was also embellished with numerous referred journal publications and conference papers, books and manuals and taking leadership roles in technical workshops, conferences, committees and collaborations with other universities and international organisations.
The granting of a US Patent in May 2016, for work related to the manufacture of synthetic lightweight aggregate was indeed a commendable achievement. In December 2018, this work was honoured in London as “the Energy Awards 18 Finalist”. Commercialisation of this patent is currently underway.
In terms of more specific research work, Ms. Al Bahar has been involved in the development and characterisation of innovative composites and construction materials; use of indigenous raw materials and recyclable building wastes as alternative construction materials; performance, deterioration, corrosion and durability of concrete; degradation of polymeric materials; assessment of environment impact on materials; sustainable engineering and green solutions; and development of building codes, guidelines and testing standards.
One significant outcome of her research in pavement technology was the practical application of thiopave, a trial of which was done on a Artal Military Road which leads to Wafra Waste Water Treatment Plant. To its immense credit it still stands today in perfect condition, unlike the many other roads that were severely affected by the havoc caused by heavy rains a few months back.
Collaboration Training and Awards
An important aspect of her work concerns technical collaboration with other international agencies and universities. Included amongst these are collaboration with Tongji University in Shanghai, China; the 2nd China-Arab
Countries Women’s Forum 2017, held in Beijing in September 2019; the Massachusettes Institute of Technology of USA; and various other regional organisations.
She regularly conducts training and is a recipient of a number of recognitions and awards from within and outside KISR. And, of course, a particularly significant event was Ms. Al Bahar becoming one of the founding members of American Concrete Institute’s Kuwait Chapter.
Passion for Work
In talking to her, some commendable aspects of this humble scholar clearly come across. There is an undeniable passion for her research work. She is an open-minded team player, mentor and facilitator, and gives sincere credit to her colleagues, associates and junior staff. She constantly reminds us that hers is a career in which her colleagues, co-workers and assistants deserve full acknowledgement and sincere appreciation. Research, she emphasises, is very much a collaborative process.
Finally, one cannot help admire her absolute love for and devotion to her family of four children. Traveling is a hobby, and she also enjoys music, festivals and cooking, and quietly supports various charitable and social activities.