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National association selects UTA for inaugural show, school

Population growth, construction booms and extreme weather events put major stress on urban infrastructure. The University of Texas at Arlington is home to cutting-edge, civil engineering research that will lead to new and better development plans for urban communities.

“UTA is located in the center of the DFW area, and everyone knows the Dallas-Fort Worth area is booming,” said Dr. Nick Fang, Assistant Professor of Civil Engineering. “A lot of civil infrastructure-related research is done out of UT Arlington because this is the one geographic location that’s perfect. We also have faculty team members who are doing a lot of interdisciplinary research about future development.”

Nick Fang, UTA associate professor of civil engineering

Nick Fang, UTA assistant professor of Civil Engineering, shows American Concrete Pipe Association members a demonstration of the impact of extreme weather events on urban drainage systems using UTA’s hydraulic flume.

This research drew more than 500 engineers and executives from the American Concrete Pipe Association to UTA’s campus for their inaugural Pipe Show and School.

The show and school offered industry leaders a chance to hear about new trends and learn from top researchers like Fang.

Using UTA’s hydraulic flume, Fang showed the group a small-scale simulation modeling the stress urban drainage systems experience during extreme weather events like hurricanes and floods. 

“Those kinds of devastating events really cause billions of dollars of damage and life losses in the nation,” Fang said. UTA’s hydraulic flume allows researchers to estimate the events’ impact on drainage systems, which could lead to improved pipe design.

Civil engineering researchers at UTA also are focused on developing new and better ways for large urban communities to accommodate growth, without putting infrastructure at risk.

“In urban settings, the more the population moves and grows, that inevitably increases land development,” Fang explained, “so interaction between land development and the surrounding environment is a challenge very few people are looking at, so this is my research field.”

Building Sustainable Urban Communities is one of the core themes of the Strategic Plan 2020: Bold Solutions \ Global Impact.

-- written by Teresa Woodard Schnyder