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Civil engineer receives grant to study alternative reinforcements in concrete

Friday, April 20, 2012

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Media Contact: Herb Booth, Office: 817-272-7075, Cell: 214-546-1082,

A University of Texas at Arlington civil engineering professor has received a $96,000 grant from BASF Construction Chemicals to study the feasibility of using synthetic and steel fibers as alternative reinforcements in precast concrete structures.

Ali Abolmaali, the Tseng Huang Endowed Professor of Structural Engineering and Applied Mechanics, said the grant with the Germany-based company is the first of its kind at UT Arlington.

Ali Abolmaali

Ali Abolmaali

“We will be doing the testing at Hansen Pipe in Grand Prairie,” said Abolmaali, who also directs the UT Arlington Center for Structural Engineering Research. “There are significant cost savings if concrete can be made stronger with added durability through the addition of fibers or chemicals.”

The experimental testing program will include both material and full-scale structural tests on concrete precast structures of different sizes, Abolmaali said.

“Both displacement and load control tests will be done to meet the project’s testing needs,” he said. “We think that BASF fibers will enhance the reinforced concrete precast structures when compared with more conventional concrete structures.”

Ashley Wilson will be the lead graduate student on the project.

Emmanuel Attiogbe, BASF’s head of innovation cluster technologies, said Abolmaali’s research has given him great insight into the needs of industry.

“BASF is a worldwide leader in this area and plans to stay that way by learning through research projects like Professor Abolmaali’s,” Attiogbe said. “Our customers demand such ground-breaking innovation. Abolmaali’s research is a first step toward that end.”

Jean-Pierre Bardet, dean of the UT Arlington College of Engineering, said Abolmaali is a noted expert in the structural engineering field. Last year, Abolmaali won research support from Bekaert, a Belgian company that manufactures steel wire products, to test new construction methods for reinforcing concrete pipes.

“Professor Abolmaali continues to strengthen that important link between the University and industry,” Bardet said. “This grant accentuates that vital partnership.”

Abolmaali’s research is representative of the cutting-edge innovation developed at The University of Texas at Arlington, a comprehensive research institution of 33,500 students in the heart of North Texas. Visit to learn more.


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