CIGMAT Report: Update From This Unique, Industry-Specific Ongoing Research Program

By C. Vipulanadan, PhD, P.E., professor of Civil Engineering, director of CIGMAT and the Texas Hurricane Center for THC-IT | September 2010 Vol. 65 No. 9
1) Macro-cells 2) Macro-holes in the Macro-cell walls 3) Macro-cell walls. Fig. 1: Microstructure of a polyurethane grout.

The Center for Innovative Grouting Materials and Technology (CIGMAT) Research Center was established in 1994 at the University of Houston, Houston TX. CIGMAT’s goals are to foster improved understanding of grouting and coating materials under various applications. Also of interest are other competing and complementary materials and technologies to grouting and coatings used in the construction and rehabilitation of civil infrastructure and offshore pipelines.

CIGMAT is an integrated and interdisciplinary framework, drawing expertise in engineering, science and technology at the University of Houston. Over the past 15 years, CIGMAT researchers have worked on more than 50 basic and applied research projects totaling more than $6 million, which has resulted in over 120 referred journal and conference publications. Industrial members and federal/state/local agencies fund the ongoing research studies performed at the center. At present, CIGMAT is the only EPA approved national laboratory under the Environmental Technology Verification (ETV) Program to evaluate the performance of grouts, coatings, linings and many other types of repair materials for the rehabilitation of civil infrastructures. Over the years, CIGMAT researchers have developed unique testing facilities and a Life Cycle Cost model (CIGMAT-LCC) for water and wastewater systems. Every effort is made by the CIGMAT researchers to transfer technology from control studies to actual applications.

CIGMAT organizes an annual conference and exhibition in March on "Construction and Rehabilitation Activities Related to Houston & Other Major Cities" where leaders from cities and transportation operations from around the country are invited to present and discuss projects and problems related to construction and rehabilitation issues. The well-attended conference also discusses technical issues related to nondestructive testing methods, durability of materials and current construction, maintenance and rehabilitation methods related to water and wastewater systems and development of smart materials for various applications. A number of geotechnical topics related to expansive clay, rapid foundation construction and ground faulting are also discussed. The conference proceedings for the past 10 years are posted on the CIGMAT website at http://cigmat.cive.uh.edu.

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