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Lawrence Tech professor wins $400,000 grant

Release Date: April 24, 2008

Southfield, Mich. Elin Jensen, an assistant professor in the Civil Engineering Department at Lawrence Technological University, has won a $400,000 Faculty Early Career Development (CAREER) grant from the National Science Foundation for her work on the mechanical behavior of concrete and structural elements exposed to severe fire.

According to Jensen, the effects of severe fire on concrete are not well understood, and there is a lack of engineering data and models needed to design concrete structures to withstand a severe thermal environment. Jensen’s project will develop thermo-mechanical models of concrete under fire and loads.

The grant will fund experiments to be conducted over a five-year period beginning in May in Lawrence Tech’s Center for Innovative Materials Research (CIMR). Jensen will use CIMR’s new large-scale fire chamber that can test structural components in temperatures up to 2300 degrees Fahrenheit and simulate the conditions created by real fires of various types and duration. The test results should help with structural design and the development of fire safety codes.

Jensen earned her Ph.D. in civil engineering at the University of Michigan in 2002 and joined the Lawrence Tech faculty in 2003. Her major areas of teaching and research are mechanics analysis and performance of concrete materials, structures and pavements.

She is director of the Civil Engineering Graduate Program at Lawrence Tech and serves as faculty advisor to Lawrence Tech’s Steel Bridge Team and Concrete Canoe Team.

Her recent research projects include “Model Development for the Evaluation of Cost Effectiveness of Concrete Framing Systems for Low-, Mid- and High-Rise Buildings” sponsored by the Portland Cement Association, “Use of Unbonded Carbon Fiber Composite Cable(s) for Transverse Post-Tensioning of Side-by-Side Box Beam Bridges” sponsored by the Michigan Department of Transportation, and “Application of Ductile Hybrid Fabric and Design Methods in Composite Configuration for Vehicle and Other Components” sponsored by the U.S. Army Research Lab and TARDEC.

Jensen is the first faculty member at Lawrence Tech to receive an NSF CAREER award.

Lawrence Technological University,, 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 4,500-student, private university pioneered evening classes 75 years ago, and today has a growing number of weekend and online programs. Lawrence Tech’s 102-acre campus is in Southfield, with education centers in Lansing, Livonia, Clinton Township, Traverse City and Petoskey. Lawrence Tech also offers programs with partner universities in Canada, Europe, the Middle East and Asia.