Pioneering research on concrete pipes reinforced with synthetic fibers

Pioneering research on concrete pipes reinforced with synthetic fibers

UTA conducting pioneering research on concrete pipes reinforced with synthetic fibers

Sustainable pipes that last for a century



The chair of the Civil Engineering Department at The University of Texas at Arlington has been awarded a $653,000 contract by the Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT) to test longer-lasting concrete pipes embedded with polypropylene fibers for strength and durability.

The team, led by Ali Abolmaali, Tseng Huang Endowed Professor, will monitor and evaluate the performance of these pipes through robotic inspection of their interior and will scan samples with an electron microscope to test their chemical composition.

"Professor Abolmaali's research related to synthetic fiber concrete pipes has been on the leading edge of research in this area and has already led to the development of new international standards and acceptance by the American Concrete Pipe Association," UTA President Vistasp Karbhari said. "The new research project will undoubtedly take this one step further through the assessment of performance in the field--and further cements Professor Abolmaali's reputation as a leading researcher internationally, as well as the stature of the department as a leader in pipe research across the United States. I'm extremely proud of the way in which he and other faculty have not only pioneered new innovations, but have also enabled the rapid transfer of these into use by industry. This is a true example of impactful university research."

Abolmaali is an internationally recognized authority on concrete pipes reinforced by synthetic fiber. He wrote a worldwide standard--ASTM C1818 Specification for Synthetic Fiber Reinforced Concrete Culvert, Storm Drain and Sewer Pipe--in 2015 that describes a technically strong and durable reinforcement option that can be used for underground piping. The long-term performance of these pipes, reinforced with polypropylene synthetic macrofiber, was observed in tests in Florida.

ASTM International, formerly known as American Society for Testing and Materials, is an international standards organization that develops and publishes voluntary consensus technical standards for a wide range of materials, products, systems and services.

"We were the first researchers in the world to test and develop synthetic fiber concrete pipes, and we developed the worldwide standard for the first time, too," Abolmaali said. "We hope that our work with TxDOT will show that these pipes are sustainable with a life span of more than 100 years."

Previous tests have shown that synthetic fiber-reinforced concrete pipes will last 375 years, which is much longer than steel-reinforced concrete pipes, Abolmaali said.

SOURCE EUREKA ALERT  --Written by Jeremy Agor, College of Engineering UTA