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University of Houston Cullen College of Engineering

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Hsu Wins American Concrete Institute’s Highest Honor

By: 

Toby Weber
Hsu
Hsu

Thomas Hsu, John and Rebecca Moores Professor of Civil Engineering with the UH Cullen College of Engineering, has been named an Honorary Member of the American Concrete Institute, the highest distinction given by the organization.

The award was presented to Hsu at the ACI’s Spring 2012 Convention, held in Dallas from March 18-22.

In honoring Hsu, the organization cited his “groundbreaking research in the fields of concrete materials and the torsional response of reinforced concrete members and … outstanding contributions as a teacher and mentor.”

Much of Hsu’s research in concrete structures has been made possible by the Universal Element Tester (UET). Designed by Hsu and built by his research team in the mid-1980s, this 80,000-pound machine is capable of exerting up to 1,000 tons of pressure in each of four different directions on concrete panels. Thanks to a sophisticated electronic control program, it can apply practically any type of load, including compression, tension, torsion, shear, bending and their combinations.

In 2010, Hsu and fellow civil engineering professor Y.L. Mo published the book “Unified Theory of Concrete Structures,” which synthesized roughly 25 years of two- and three-dimensional concrete panel research conducted largely on the UET.

These efforts have been especially valuable in understanding shear in reinforced concrete, one of the most complicated topics in the field, Hsu stated. While the provisions in the ACI code for dealing with shear are known for their complexity and even inaccuracy, in accepting the award Hsu said that, “we can now see the light at the end of the tunnel to develop a set of shear provisions for the ACI Code that are simpler, more accurate and unified.”

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