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NSF awards three-year $250,000 research grant on hazard mitigation

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Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Media Contact: Herb Booth, Office:817-272-7075, Cell:214-546-1082, hbooth@uta.edu

News Topics: engineering, faculty, student life, students

A three-year, $250,000 National Science Foundation grant will match six undergraduate students with a Spanish technical institute so they can learn how to prepare civil infrastructure for natural, manmade and accidental disasters and how to recover quickly from such events.

Nur Yazdani

Nur Yazdani, professor of civil engineering, was recently awarded an NSF grant that allows students to work on research with a Spanish technical institute.

The grant will allow UT Arlington to collaborate with AIDICO, Technological Institute of Construction, Valencia, Spain, on projects aligned with the multi-disciplinary Disaster Mitigation Group at UTA, which Civil Engineering Professor Nur Yazdani leads.

AIDICO researches all kinds of natural, manmade and accidental disasters, and their impacts on civil infrastructure. Research projects include the impact that windstorms, nuclear plant meltdowns, floods, cyclones, earthquakes and wild fires have on civil infrastructure like bridges, roads and buildings. In addition, the institute studies technological disasters like power grid failures, cyber failures and hazardous material spills.

This year’s student team includes three UT Arlington students: Ariel Deval, Kelsey Fort and Kavitha Ramaswamy. Abin Abraham and Toddrick Brown, are from Prairie View A&M University, and one more, Toul Deguia-Cranmer, is from Lone Star College.

The student research projects include:

The projects for the six students who will travel to Spain are:

  • Durability of concrete under flood conditions.
  • Nano-coatings for nuclear meltdown containment.
  • Behavior of precast concrete claddings in extreme wind.
  • Fire resistance of building elements.
  • Worker fall protection from temporary construction equipment.
  • Non-destructive testing and wireless monitoring for seismic risk reduction.

Yazdani said the overseas research program offers undergraduates the opportunity to study and develop quick solutions to infrastructure and technology problems that arise from natural, manmade and accidental disasters in a global setting.

“The quicker you get infrastructure and technology operational again, the better off a business or community is,” Yazdani said. “Once our students do research in these areas, they’ll have a professional background. That makes them more marketable to the industry once they graduate. They also learn to develop international networking and to appreciate the global nature of engineering and hazard mitigation.”

Khosrow Behbehani, dean of the College of Engineering, said the program is one of a growing number of research experiences aimed at engaging undergraduates and positioning them for lifelong success in their respective fields.

“This type of global opportunity provided by Dr. Yazdani’s grant represents the best of what a world-class research institution like UT Arlington offers its students,” Behbehani said. “Undergraduate research opportunities like this ensure that our graduates can compete on a global stage, and they learn how to collaborate and exchange ideas with students abroad.”

Next year’s participants can apply in January 2015. There’s more about the process here.

About the Disaster Mitigation Group

The UT Arlington Disaster Mitigation Group is a broad-based, disaster-related cluster of faculty, professional and government officials who concentrate on research, education and outreach. The multi-disciplinary effort includes staff and students from civil, electrical and industrial engineering, computer science, biology, architecture, urban planning, social science and criminology.

About UT Arlington

The University of Texas at Arlington is a comprehensive research institution and the second largest institution in The University of Texas System. The Chronicle of Higher Education ranked UT Arlington as the seventh fastest-growing public research university in 2013. U.S. News & World Report ranks UT Arlington fifth in the nation for undergraduate diversity. Visit www.uta.edu to learn more. Follow #UTAdna on Twitter.

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The University of Texas at Arlington is an Equal Opportunity and Affirmative Action employer.

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