InTrans / Feb 17, 2020

Bridge Engineering Center research on UHPC featured on PBS’ NewsHour

InTrans’ Bridge Engineering Center (BEC) has been a national leader on studying the use of a new class of concrete with material and durability properties superior to normal concrete called ultra-high-performance concrete (UHPC).

Its research earned the attention of PBS’ NewsHour program that ran a piece featuring BEC staff and students as part of the news program’s ongoing Breakthrough series that looks at emerging technologies.

The five-minute video, and transcript, is featured here.

The BEC worked with the Iowa Department of Transportation (DOT) in 2006 to use UHPC on a bridge deck overlay project in Wapello County, the first in the US. As the NewHour piece by Cat Wise notes, there are now 9 bridge projects using UHPC in Iowa, and it has been used in bridge projects in 28 states and Washington, DC.

Because UHPC is more costly than normal concrete, the BEC has not only been studying its use on new bridges but also applications that help agencies address maintenance and repairs to the state’s aging infrastructure.

“The research is sort of showing that targeted use of this relatively expensive material can be a way to be really effective at repairing our existing infrastructure,” BEC’s Brent Phares said in the video.