Interstate photo by Abraham Barrera, courtesy Unsplash

Innovations in infrastructure with USDOT grant

August 30, 2019

CU Denver will research causes of infrastructure deterioration as part of a $7.5 million grant from the U.S. Department of Transportation (USDOT) establishing a national University Transportation Center (UTC) charged with “Improving the Durability and Extending the Life of Transportation Infrastructure.”

The new center is one of just seven national UTCs and the only one focused on fixing the nation’s crumbling infrastructure.

Aging U.S. infrastructure

CU Denver’s College of Engineering, Design and Computing will conduct research to understand why materials wear out, weaken, break or degrade as infrastructure ages. Improving infrastructure design and repair strategies is important for the country as vital transportation assets, such as the U.S. highway system, near the end of their viable lifespan.

“Our objective is to develop cost-effective methods to extend the longevity of infrastructure investments, ultimately reducing the cost to society,” said Yail Jimmy Kim, Ph.D., P.Eng., F.ACI, professor, Department of Civil Engineering. Kim is managing CU Denver’s research for the UTC.

Excellence in new materials

Innovations in new, advanced materials is a key research area for the UTC, and it is also an area where CU Denver excels. The UTC will explore new, high-performance materials, such as ultrahigh performance concrete and fiber-reinforced polymeric composites.

The CU Denver researchers have strong track records of success in chemistry, physics and materials engineering. The team is adept at accelerating research from the laboratory and into real structures for testing, an area where the construction engineering management program is a significant asset.

Washington State University is leading the UTC and a consortium of researchers from Missouri University of Science and Technology, Texas A&M University, Case Western Reserve University, University of Utah, University of Colorado Denver, South Dakota State University, Florida Atlantic University, University of Mississippi, Alabama A&M University, and Tennessee State University.