University of Texas opens new Composites Integration Centre

A new National Science Foundation centre at The University of Texas at Arlington will determine how to best use composite materials to extend the life-cycle of civil infrastructure, resulting in less maintenance and lower costs to taxpayers.

The new Centre for Integration of Composites into Infrastructure, an NSF Industry/University Cooperative Research Centre, will highlight the sustainable benefits of using composites in infrastructure construction because traditional methods of repairing roads, bridges and other structures are not working, said Anand Puppala, associate dean for research in UTA’s College of Engineering and the centre’s director.

The centre has university partnerships with other centres housed at West Virginia University, University of Miami, and North Carolina State University. UT Arlington researchers involved in the project include President Vistasp Karbhari, Shih-Ho Chao, civil engineering associate professor and CICI vice-director; Civil Engineering Professor Laureano Hoyos, Civil Engineering Assistant Professor Xinbao Yu, and Materials Science and Engineering Professor Pranesh Aswath. CICI researchers also have formed partnerships with several outside companies and agencies who will serve in the industrial advisory board.

Researchers for the centre, called CICI, will use the five-year, $325,000 National Science Foundation grant, along with annual membership funds from several agencies and industries, to examine ways to use polymers such as fibres, foam and geosynthetics to create stronger, more sustainable infrastructure, such as foundations, retaining walls, slopes and related structures.