A professor at the Cullen College of Engineering has received a pair of grants that will utilize the one-of-a-kind machinery available at the University of Houston to conduct research into shear failures for a new type of concrete, UHPC.
Dimitrios Kalliontzis, an Assistant Professor in the Civil and Environmental Engineering Department, said the research will investigate the performance of structures using a new concrete material, Ultra-High-Performance Concrete (UHPC).
“UHPC is new to civil engineering and it is considered an emerging technology that promises to tackle aging effects and enhance the structures’ robustness and durability,” Kalliontzis said. “While UHPC is attracting significant attention from industry, the significant lack of experimental data hinders the development of design code provisions. Without those provisions, there is no official guidance to the field implementation of UHPC structures. Our two research projects will generate the necessary data to support the development of provisions for the design of UHPC against shear failures.”
Kalliontzis noted that the American Concrete Institute (ACI) and Precast / Prestressed Concrete Institute (PCI) chose UH for the research because of the unique hardware present at the Cullen College of Engineering.
“What's important about this research is that it leverages the Universal Panel Tester, a one-of-its-kind machine in the United States, which is located in the Structural Research Laboratory of University of Houston,” he said.
According to a history of the lab on the College's website, it was established in 1980, with further research grants from the National Science Foundation (NSF) and the Texas Advanced Technology Research Program (TATRP) allowing for additional facilities and improvements. The Universal Panel Test was installed from 1986 to 1988, described in a paper by Thomas Hsu, Abdeldjelil “D.J.” Belarbi – then at the University of Missouri-Rolla – and X. Pang of Southwestern Laboratories in Houston. A servo-control system was designed and installed from 1992 to 1994, and written about in a 1995 paper by Hsu, and Cullen graduates Li-Xin Zhang (a longtime Senior Principal Engineer for Technip) and Gerardo “Tito” Gomez (now director of DAT Sales and Consulting).
“The Tester is an efficient approach to study the overall behavior of a structure through understanding the behavior of its constituent elements,” Kalliontzis said. “The development of the Unified Theory of Concrete Structures was the culmination of more than 20 years of research on the Tester. Nowadays, the Tester continues to write history and attract research funding for the University of Houston through the unique testing capabilities that it offers.”
Kalliontzis said the research would be conducted by several students, as well as Gomez.
“Noran Shahin and Abdulrahman Salah are the two Ph.D. students involved in this research,” he said. “Tito Gomez, Director of DAT Sales & Consulting LLC., is leading the effort in the experimental work of the two projects.”