Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Building Stronger Bridges

23.04.2014

Structures lab fulfills private, public needs

It all comes down to bridging a gap.


Photo by Eric Landwehr

Graduate student Todd Pauly adjusts the instrumentation on the column as part of testing to determine whether self-consolidating concrete columns can be used in areas where earthquakes occur.

The J. Lohr Structures Laboratory helps companies develop new materials and products—self-consolidating concrete columns and pre-stress concrete bridge girders-- that bridge a physical gap. Many of those newly developed products are used in public works projects funded by federal, state and local governments, thus bridging a commercial gap.

The lab is the only facility of its kind in South Dakota, according to Nadim Wehbe, head of the South Dakota State University Civil and Environmental Engineering Department. Wehbe, who coordinated the lab’s development, has been recognized as a leader in the field, recently being named a fellow of both the Structural Engineering Institute and the American Concrete Institute.

Over the last decade, researchers have conducted structural testing on large- and full-scale test specimens for private companies and government entities. As one of eight universities in the Mountain-Plains Consortium Transportation Center Program, SDSU civil engineering faculty and graduate students work on solutions to transportation-related problems and evaluate structures that may be more cost-effective and durable.

Testing composite structures
The Vulcraft/Verco Group of Norfolk, Neb., a division of Nucor Corporation, has used the lab to research a wide range of steel joists, steel decks and cold-formed wall assemblies.

For a Nucor-funded project in fall 2008, structures lab graduate students and staff built cold-formed steel walls and a 20-foot steel joist floor, tested the structure and demolished it, all within a week, explained lab manager Zachary Gutzmer. This process was repeated for seven floor-and-wall setups.

The project’s goal was to determine how the type and placement of joists affected wall loading. The floor was loaded using an actuator, and strain gauges collected data on wall stress and its effect on building components.

Since then, Nucor has sponsored four research projects investigating various facets of concrete/cold-formed steel composite building components.

“Having a structures lab close by allows our engineers to view more of the testing and reduces our transportation costs,” explained Dave Samuelson, structural research engineer for new products and market development at Vulcraft/Verco Group.

“Nucor’s research partnership with SDSU during the past five years has allowed us to develop a greater understanding of the behavior of our new composite floor system,” Samuelson said. “Our partnership with SDSU has been a win-win situation.”

Evaluating bridge materials
Research at the structure lab also helps South Dakota companies develop transportation products, such as bridge girders, that are then used for public works projects.

In 2006, the lab evaluated the performance of six 40-foot prestressed concrete bridge girders, each weighing 18 tons. The research project was funded by the South Dakota Department of Transportation and the U.S. Department of Transportation through the Mountain Plains-Consortium and investigated the performance of self-consolidating concrete. Two precast concrete producers, Gage Brothers of Sioux Falls and Cretex of Rapid City, donated the girders made of coarse aggregates from their respective areas of the state.

Self-consolidating concrete, also known as self-leveling or self-compacting, does not require the use of a mechanical vibrator to distribute the concrete evenly. Tests showed that the self-consolidating girders performed equal to or better than conventional concrete girders, according to Wehbe. This research enabled the two companies to produce a new product which they could then sell to construct bridges on the state’s highways.

“We can combine both public and private interests into one project by engaging industry with vested interest in the research being done.” Wehbe said.

Collin Moriarty, engineering manager at Gage Brothers, says this coordinated effort provides local governments with better, more cost-effective structures.

Withstanding earthquakes, crashes
For a 2013 Mountain-Plains Consortium project, graduate student Todd Pauly determined that bridge columns made of self-consolidating concrete can be used in regions which experience earthquakes.

Last fall, graduate student Brett Tigges began evaluating the effectiveness of a concrete wall poured between two bridge columns in preventing bridge failure that might occur if a semi-truck crashed at high speed into the bridge column.

“This lab is a tremendous resource for hands-on research,” said Wehbe.

Through its collaboration with private and public entities, the work done at the structures lab will continue to improve the quality of buildings and bridges.

About the J. Lohr Structures Lab
Established in 2004, J. Lohr Structures Lab the facility has a 34-foot high bay space that is 90 feet long and 39 feet wide with a 4-foot thick reinforced concrete floor to accommodate large- and full-scale test specimens. The lab does research for private companies and government entities and is one of eight universities in the Mountain-Plains Consortium Transportation Center Program. For more information, contact lab manager Zachary Gutzmer at Zachary.gutzmer@sdstate.edu or call (605) 688-4999 or the SDSU Civil and Environmental Engineering Department at (605) 688-5427.

About South Dakota State University
Founded in 1881, South Dakota State University is the state’s Morrill Act land-grant institution as well as its largest, most comprehensive school of higher education. SDSU confers degrees from eight different colleges representing more than 175 majors, minors and specializations. The institution also offers 29 master’s degree programs, 13 Ph.D. and two professional programs.

The work of the university is carried out on a residential campus in Brookings, at sites in Sioux Falls, Pierre and Rapid City, and through Cooperative Extension offices and Agricultural Experiment Station research sites across the state.

Contact Information

nadim.wehbe@sdstate.edu
zachary.gutzmer@sdstate.edu

Nadim Wehbe | newswise
Further information:
http://www.sdstate.edu

More articles from Architecture and Construction:

nachricht Smarter window materials can control light and energy
23.07.2015 | University of Texas at Austin

nachricht University of Cincinnati, industry partners develop low-cost, 'tunable' window tintings
11.06.2015 | University of Cincinnati

All articles from Architecture and Construction >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: OU astrophysicist and collaborators find supermassive black holes in quasar nearest Earth

A University of Oklahoma astrophysicist and his Chinese collaborator have found two supermassive black holes in Markarian 231, the nearest quasar to Earth, using observations from NASA's Hubble Space Telescope.

The discovery of two supermassive black holes--one larger one and a second, smaller one--are evidence of a binary black hole and suggests that supermassive...

Im Focus: What would a tsunami in the Mediterranean look like?

A team of European researchers have developed a model to simulate the impact of tsunamis generated by earthquakes and applied it to the Eastern Mediterranean. The results show how tsunami waves could hit and inundate coastal areas in southern Italy and Greece. The study is published today (27 August) in Ocean Science, an open access journal of the European Geosciences Union (EGU).

Though not as frequent as in the Pacific and Indian oceans, tsunamis also occur in the Mediterranean, mainly due to earthquakes generated when the African...

Im Focus: Self-healing landscape: landslides after earthquake

In mountainous regions earthquakes often cause strong landslides, which can be exacerbated by heavy rain. However, after an initial increase, the frequency of these mass wasting events, often enormous and dangerous, declines, in fact independently of meteorological events and aftershocks.

These new findings are presented by a German-Franco-Japanese team of geoscientists in the current issue of the journal Geology, under the lead of the GFZ...

Im Focus: FIC Proteins Send Bacteria Into Hibernation

Bacteria do not cease to amaze us with their survival strategies. A research team from the University of Basel's Biozentrum has now discovered how bacteria enter a sleep mode using a so-called FIC toxin. In the current issue of “Cell Reports”, the scientists describe the mechanism of action and also explain why their discovery provides new insights into the evolution of pathogens.

For many poisons there are antidotes which neutralize their toxic effect. Toxin-antitoxin systems in bacteria work in a similar manner: As long as a cell...

Im Focus: Fraunhofer IPA develops prototype of intelligent care cart

It comes when called, bringing care utensils with it and recording how they are used: Fraunhofer IPA is developing an intelligent care cart that provides care staff with physical and informational support in their day-to-day work. The scientists at Fraunhofer IPA have now completed a first prototype. In doing so, they are continuing in their efforts to improve working conditions in the care sector and are developing solutions designed to address the challenges of demographic change.

Technical assistance systems can improve the difficult working conditions in residential nursing homes and hospitals by helping the staff in their work and...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Networking conference in Heidelberg for outstanding mathematicians and computer scientists

20.08.2015 | Event News

Scientists meet in Münster for the world’s largest Chitin und Chitosan Conference

20.08.2015 | Event News

Large agribusiness management strategies

19.08.2015 | Event News

 
Latest News

Interstellar seeds could create oases of life

28.08.2015 | Physics and Astronomy

An ounce of prevention: Research advances on 'scourge' of transplant wards

28.08.2015 | Health and Medicine

Fish Oil-Diet Benefits May be Mediated by Gut Microbes

28.08.2015 | Life Sciences

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>