Nabil F. Grace Ph.D, PE
The Center for Innovative Materials Research (CIMR) at Lawrence Technological University has received two federal earmarks totaling $2.175 million from the Department of Transportation (DOT), and the Department of Defense (DOD).
“These appropriations will help advance Lawrence Tech’s pioneering research in advanced materials, and establish CIMR as a national resource for research and testing of innovative materials,” said Lawrence Tech President Charles M. Chambers. “This research has significant commercialization potential and already has revealed applications in the defense, automotive, and transportation infrastructure industries.”
The Transportation earmark of $1.175 million will fund research into innovative, cost effective bridge repair and bridge design. Civil Engineering Chair Nabil Grace will lead Lawrence Tech’s structural research program to develop an innovative design and construction approach for a longer-lasting box-beam bridge using carbon fiber reinforced polymer (CFRP). It was made possible by the leadership of Michigan Representative Joe Knollenberg, who included it in the 2006 Transportation, Treasury, Housing and Urban Development (TTHUD) funding bill.
Box beam construction is the one of the most ubiquitous road designs in use for low profile spans over small streams and creeks, throughout the country due to its ease of fabrication and installation. The majority of these bridges, currently in use, deteriorate due to corrosion of the steel reinforcement bars used in the concrete.
The CIMR research has the potential to offer extraordinary maintenance savings, while significantly prolonging the expected lifecycle of box-beam bridges.
Faculty and students at Lawrence Tech will collaborate on the proposed study with Diversified Composites, Inc., Prestressed System, Inc., and the Michigan Department of Transportation (MDOT). The research will involve developing and testing a new box-beam bridge system for single- and multiple-spans, and the structural components.
The $1 million earmark from the DOD was allocated to CIMR for the research, development and testing of carbon fiber composites and other advanced materials.
Michigan Representative Sander Levin encouraged members of the appropriations subcommittee to support the $1 million request included in the 2006 DOD funding bill. The bill was approved by the House and Senate, and signed by President Bush Dec. 30.
“Innovative materials are playing a growing role in the development of military technologies that protect our troops in the field,” said Rep. Levin. “It is important to develop these cutting-edge technologies here in Michigan because of our strong roots in research and development.”
Michigan Senator Carl Levin advanced the project in the Senate, while Michigan Representative Joe Knollenberg also provided key support for the DOD effort.
Lawrence Tech has partnered with the U.S. Tank Automotive Research, Development, and Engineering Center (TARDEC) to develop materials to strengthen existing U.S. military structures and vehicles against terrorist attacks or natural disasters.
Lawrence Technological University, www.ltu.edu, offers more than 60 undergraduate, master’s, and doctoral degree programs in Colleges of Architecture and Design, Arts and Sciences, Engineering, and Management. Founded in 1932, the 5,000-student, private university pioneered the offering of day and evening classes more than 70 years ago, and today has a growing number of weekend programs. Lawrence Tech’s 125-acre campus is in Southfield.