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New grant enables research on extremely durable concrete

CEE Professor Victor Li leads a project to reduce energy and emissions through more durable concrete.

Researchers from the University of Michigan and several partner institutions recently received a $1.37 million grant for their research project, “Development of an extremely durable concrete (EDC) – A novel approach coupling chemistry and autogenous crack width control.”

Led by Victor Li, E. Benjamin Wylie Collegiate Professor of Civil Engineering and James R. Rice Distinguished University Professor of Engineering, the project aims to develop a novel ductile Extremely Durable Concrete (EDC) that is resistant to chemical attacks and possesses built-in crack width control not feasible with current concrete. When this EDC is overloaded, the tighter-than-hairline crack width will stop penetration of aggressive agents into the structure, and it will automatically heal under rain and sunshine.

The objective of this research is to drive down lifecycle costs of infrastructure by minimizing operations and maintenance costs, while at the same time reducing energy and emissions, particularly in the cost of reconstruction and repair. This new concrete is targeted at meeting everyday construction requirements and will have tensile resistance that dramatically enables efficient additive manufacturing and the construction of resilient energy facilities.

The grant was awarded by the Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy (ARPA-E), which advances high-potential, high-impact energy technologies that are too early for private-sector investment. ARPA-E awards support researchers developing entirely new ways to generate, store and use energy.

The University of Michigan will collaborate in this effort with the University of California, Berkeley and The Georgia Institute of Technology, with input from the École polytechnique fédérale de Lausanne (EPFL).


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Mason Hinawi

Marketing Communications Specialist
Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering