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Center to create safer structures

Proposed Center for Structural Engineering Research

Co-designed by Halff Associates and Charles Gojer and Associates, the planned Center for Structural Engineering Research will be one of the nation's largest sites for testing heavy building materials.

The UT System Board of Regents has approved $25 million to construct the Center for Structural Engineering Research (CSER) to be operated by the College of Engineering’s Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering.

The 80,000-square-foot center will be one of the largest structural testing facilities in the United States. It will be located at the northeast corner of Interstate 30 and MacArthur Boulevard, about 11 miles east of the UT Arlington campus.

CSER will contain the largest reaction floor in the nation and feature state-of-the-art equipment and instrumentation. Its capacity will enable researchers to study full-scale bridge and building components. Other research will focus on repair and retrofit using smart concrete and video inspection and laser profiling of underground pipes.

“We will be among the few research institutions to employ nano, laser and image-processing technology for micro measurements and health monitoring of structural systems—some as big as simultaneous testing of a four-story building and a multi-span bridge system,” said civil and environmental engineering Associate Professor Ali Abolmaali, who will be the center’s director.

The center is expected to create jobs and help UT Arlington compete for state and federal research funding. Researchers will be able to test the effects of nature, earthquakes, fire and other destructive factors.

Last fall, Hanson Pipe & Precast, a Dallas-based manufacturer of concrete products, donated 3.5 acres of land for the project. The company is a division of Hanson PLC, one of the world’s largest suppliers of heavy building materials.

“The future and ultimate service life of the nation’s infrastructure are dependent on construction materials being appropriately designed and evaluated by laboratory testing,” said Clifford Hahne, Hanson’s regional president and a 1982 UT Arlington graduate. “The activities conducted in this facility will allow Hanson and others in the construction materials industry to know that we will be hiring individuals who have been exposed to environments that realistically reflect the real-world uses of the materials and who have been thoroughly trained in their analysis and design.”

Regents approved the CSER allocation as part of a $177.2 million initiative for 13 capital projects at several UT System institutions, largely funded by bond proceeds from the Permanent University Fund. The projects will further the UT System’s global competitiveness by positioning the institutions as leading research centers.



— Mark Permenter


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