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Stimulus Funds Drive $3 Million In Fly Ash, Masonry Shear Wall Research

“Science of Concrete--Fundamental Models that Enable New Technology for Expanded Use of Fly Ash” and “Performance-Based Seismic Design Methods and Tools for Reinforced Masonry Shear Wall Structures” are among 27 projects to receive funding from NIST, which operates within the U.S. Department of Commerce

Sources: National Institute of Standards and Technology, Gaithersburg, Md.; CP staff

Science of Concrete--Fundamental Models that Enable New Technology for Expanded Use of Fly Ash and Performance-Based Seismic Design Methods and Tools for Reinforced Masonry Shear Wall Structures are among 27 projects to receive funding from NIST, which operates within the U.S. Department of Commerce.

Northwestern University in Evanston, Ill., home of the Center for Advanced Cement-based Materials, has been awarded $1.5 million for Science of Concrete. It will conduct the three-year project with partners Princeton University, University of California-Berkeley, and Massachusetts Institute of Technology--the latter housing the new Concrete Sustainability Hub. Through linked experimental and modeling work, the schools will target a comprehensive strategy to increase use of fly ash in concrete and improve performance and durability of slabs and structures. Lab work emphasizes observation of hydration processes and fly ash effect on concrete specimensÌ microstructure and permeability. In their proposal to NIST, researchers noted that greater use of fly ash in concrete will reduce energy consumption and carbon dioxide emissions associated with portland cement milling. Project contact is Alan Cubbage, a-cubbage@northwestern.edu.

NIST has awarded $1.5 million to the University of California, San Diego (UCSD) for Masonry Shear-Wall Structures. Centered at the school's La Jolla lab, the three-year project targets a) innovative methodologies and improved design requirements for seismic resistance of shear walls in reinforced masonry buildings; and, b) reliable analytical tools for assessing seismic performance and wall design methodsÌ cost-effectiveness. Current design methods and code requirements for shear walls in reinforced masonry buildings are occasionally impractical, especially for commonly encountered low-rise buildings that have walls with many openings, researchers contend. Moreover, some of the prescriptive requirements for masonry shear walls have not been fully substantiated with experimental research, they add, potentially resulting in misplaced provisions for ductility.

Experimental data on the nonlinear behavior of reinforced masonry shear walls is very limited, and it does not cover the wide range of possible design parameter values. Helping to remedy that deficiency, UCSD Prof. Shing towards the end of the project's three-year term will perform a series of large-scale shake tests at San Diego's NEES/Englekirk Structural Engineering Research Center. Project contact is Rex Graham, ragraham@ucsd.edu.

Announcing the $34 million in grants for the Fly Ash, Masonry Shear Wall and 25 other studiesÛattributable to the American Recovery and Reinvestment ActÛCommerce Secretary Gary Locke noted, These new projects will create high-tech jobs and spur economic growth while supporting U.S. world leadership in science.

"These projects will bolster U.S. scientific and technological infrastructure, increasing our nation's ability to innovate, compete, and solve scientific and technological problems," adds NIST Director Patrick Gallagher.