Researcher to test new standard for stronger, more flexible pipe construction

Apr 04, 2011
UT Arlington researcher to test new standard for stronger, more flexible pipe construction
Doctoral student Alena Mikhaylova is shown with the first steel fiber reinforced concrete pipe in the United States.

Researchers at The University of Texas at Arlington are partnering with a Belgian company to test new construction methods for reinforcing concrete pipes with steel fibers to build stronger, more durable pipes at a lower cost.

UT Arlington civil engineering professor Ali Abolmaali has been awarded a $155,000 grant through Bekaert, a global leader in drawn steel wire products, for the project. The grant calls for the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials and the American Society for Testing and Materials to review design specifications based on UT Arlington’s findings. The work is expected to lead to new design and construction standards in the United States.

Abolmaali said similar construction standards calling for mixing steel fibers in concrete pipes already have been adopted in Europe.

“This grant is important because it will lead to improved and sustainable concrete pipe with extended life through this collaborative research between Civil and Material Science and Engineering departments at UT Arlington,” Abolmaali said.

Nur Yazdani, chair of the UT Arlington Department of Civil Engineering, said Abolmaali’s work is a game-changer in the industry.

“With infrastructures aging in this country, it’s important for engineers to improve upon what we’ve done in the past,” Yazdani said.

The pipes – which range in size from one foot to six feet in diameter – are cast for infrastructure use such as bridge supports, water transport and sewer conveyance, among other things.

Currently, many manufacturers build a cage of wire mesh to hold concrete in place while the pipe is cast. The wire mesh frame makes the concrete pipes more rigid, reducing their useful life. Mixing the steel fibers in with the cement mix gives the concrete pipe strength and flexibility.

Bekaert spends a lot of time searching for new solutions with global partners like Abolmaali, company spokesman T.R. Kunesh said.

“Steel fiber reinforced concrete pipe is the norm in the rest of the world so it is critical that we have the same superior quality concrete pipe for U.S. infrastructure needs,” Kunesh said. “This cutting edge testing program at UT Arlington will open doors to many other transportation applications including bridges, drainage and utility structures making our streets and highways safer.”

Abolmaali said the elimination of cages will make the pipe manufacturing process less expensive and less labor intensive.

More testing and evaluation will be required once the new standards are adopted, Abolmaali said. Industry leaders including Hansen Pipe, Rinker Materials, Northern Concrete Pip and Sherman Dixie Industries are conducting the entire pipe manufacturing for the grant for free, he said.

“The concrete pipe industry is extremely excited about this research and its potential income,” Abolmaali said. “They are joining this program one after another.”

Pranesh Aswath, professor in material science & engineering; Simon Chao, assistant professor in civil engineering; and Tri Le, post-doctoral associate in ; are co-principal investigators on the project.

Explore further: New tech aims to improve communication between dogs and humans

Provided by University of Texas at Arlington

not rated yet
add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

New design means cheaper, more sustainable construction

Mar 03, 2009

People are always looking for ways to make something less expensive and more environmentally friendly - and a team of researchers from North Carolina State University has figured out how to do both of those ...

No mere pipe dream

Feb 08, 2010

(PhysOrg.com) -- UCI engineers are working on robotic technology to rehabilitate the nation's aging water infrastructure.

Recommended for you

Study says upgrading infrastructure could reduce flood damage

Oct 29, 2014

The severe flooding that devastated a wide swath of Colorado last year might have been less destructive if the bridges, roads and other infrastructure had been upgraded or modernized, according to a new study from the University ...

Walk through buildings from your own device

Oct 29, 2014

Would you like to visit The Frick Collection art museum in New York City but can't find the time? No problem. You can take a 3-D virtual tour that will make you feel like you are there, thanks to Yasutaka ...

'Ambulance drone' prototype unveiled in Holland

Oct 28, 2014

A Dutch-based student on Tuesday unveiled a prototype of an "ambulance drone", a flying defibrillator able to reach heart attack victims within precious life-saving minutes.

User comments : 0

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.