PROJECTS OF CFC - CENTER OF EXCELLENCE
The mission of the Center of Excellence (COE) is to facilitate the use of advanced composites and enhance the long-term performance of advanced composites as well as hybrids for highway infrastructure.
COE is an interdisciplinary approach for deriving maximum benefits from different branches of engineering to design, develop, manufacture, implement and monitor the performance of durable highway structures made of FRP composites with or without conventional materials.
Over the next 10 years, billions of dollars will be spent to modernize the nation's aging infrastructure to enhance the safety and efficiency of our highway system by meeting the demands of higher volumes of traffic, higher axle loads and increased speed limits. For example, if the performance and durability of our highways and bridges were improved by one percent, the savings are estimated to be as high as 30 billion dollars. Therefore, our highway infrastructure can incorporate recent innovations in fiber reinforced polymer composites and hybrids (composites with conventional materials) to attain longer service life, lower maintenance costs and increased productivity.
Recent advances made in FRP composites coupled with nondestructive evaluation techniques help improve static, dynamic and durability responses of highway infrastructure. Opportunities to develop durable and cost-effective fiber reinforced polymer (FRP) composites and hybrids will enable mass production, non-destructive evaluation and ease of implementation. In addition, highway infrastructure durability can be enhanced greatly with the use of the advanced composites and hybrids. Similarly, maintenance costs can be minimized through early nondestructive detection of any structural distress.
The interdisciplinary approach utilizes expertise in the areas of material sciences, non-destructive evaluation methodologies (including signal processing), geotechnical engineering, manufacturing, design, construction and maintenance, and cost analyses and involves broad-based partnerships with faculty from several engineering disciplines, appropriate industries (fiber/fabrics, resins, fabricators, instrumentation, and contractors) and government agencies.