Professors Henry Cardenas and Sven Eklund, and Ph.D. candidate Kunal Kupwade-Patil of the College of Engineering and Science at Louisiana Tech University will present their award-winning paper at the Second International Conference on Sustainable Construction and Materials Technologies in Ancona, Italy, in June.
The abstract titled, Corrosion Mitigation in Mature Reinforced Concrete using Nanoscale Pozzolan Deposition, was one of twelve papers chosen out of 350 abstracts submitted to the conference's organizing committee. Of those abstracts, 260 manuscripts were then considered, with the final list narrowed to twelve outstanding papers.
The technology presented in this paper uses electricity to purify concrete that is contaminated with salt and is suffering from corrosion. While the salt is being pulled out, the electricity injects nanoparticles that navigate through the concrete pores and form a barrier of protection around the steel reinforcement.
The paper describes how this technology radically enhanced the corrosion resistance of the steel reinforcement over the three year duration of the research project.
When this technology matures, it is anticipated that it will be used to sustain and extend the service life of bridges, parking garages, and other transportation, housing, and building assets. Nationally, concrete reinforcement corrosion of these facilities is a 20 billion dollar problem. When coastal facilities are added to this picture, the number has been estimated to exceed 100 billion.
An additional concern is that conventional repair or replacement of concrete structures leaves a carbon foot print that is second only to automobile exhaust. The combination of financial and environmental costs causes the sustainability of our national infrastructure to come into question. This new technology may play a significant role in reducing these replacement burdens by extending the service life of these structures.
This research is another example of Louisiana Tech's strong and innovative approach to interdisciplinary collaboration. In order to execute this study, the researchers coming from backgrounds in mechanical engineering, chemistry and civil engineering had to integrate their capabilities. This unconventional alliance enabled them to connect the dots across multiple academic disciplines, yielding an exciting advance and an award winning outcome.