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News Archive 2001 - 2010

Variety in Research Appeals to Civil Engineering Professor

April 2, 2003

Virtual reality, hard steel, undergraduate research programs, terrorist blasts – these are some of the numerical simulation projects that currently interest University of Texas at Arlington Civil Engineering Professor Ali Abolmaali. His funding sources are just as varied; the National Science Foundation (NSF), the State of Texas and a civilian research foundation are supporting these projects.

Dr. Abolmaali’s interests in structures have led him to these projects and he is a principal investigator on three of them. The NSF is funding two projects: the Research Experience for Undergraduates (REU) program to be conducted this summer and the development of a web-based virtual model simulation laboratory.

Students in the REU program may select from four projects to conduct their studies. This is the third REU program offered by UTA’s College of Engineering; the others are in computer science and electrical engineering.

The simulation laboratory will be used to study the behavior of steel building frames subjected to static loads (gravity, wind, etc.), including concrete foundation and soil models. The resulting programs will be incorporated into structural and geotechnical engineering courses.

The Texas Department of Transportation is funding an investigation aimed at developing a unified design criterion for closed circuit television camera poles used throughout the state. Abolmaali and Civil Engineering Professor Robert Yuan will study galvanized steel tapered poles (currently being used), galvanized steel truss towers and fiber-reinforced polymer poles. The study will include performance, cost and environmental factor evaluations.

Abolmaali is working with Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering Professor Frank Lu on ways to increase blast survivability in buildings. Lu investigates hypersonic flight and shock waves. The project is funded by the U.S. Civilian Research and Development Foundation.