TTC Quietly Celebrates 20th Anniversary

By Jeff Griffin, Senior Editor | October 2011, Vol. 66 No. 10

In November, the Trenchless Technology Center (TTC) at Louisiana Tech University will mark the 20th anniversary of its official establishment. Center staff members will celebrate the date quietly, going about their business -- no special events are planned.

Over the past two decades, the TTC has become a leading research facility for the development of technologies influencing almost every aspect of the various trenchless construction methods and is recognized as a focus point where representatives of the trenchless industry can access unbiased technical information and receive answers to questions regarding trenchless technologies.

Reflecting on the growth and accomplishments of the center, Administrative Director Dr. Robert McKim identifies several key factors that have contributed to the TTC’s position in the trenchless industry.

“The core of the TTC is research,” said McKim. “We soon will enter our 21st year of operation with Research Director Dr. Erez Allouche leading a dedicated research staff and post-doctoral and graduate students conducting $1.5 million a year in research, ranging from installation of new piping to the inspection, assessment and rehabilitation of existing piping systems.”

Key research programs recently initiated involve the utilization of ultra-wide band signals to see through pipe walls, developing and testing high-temperature cured-in-place-pipe (CIPP) resins, developing decision support systems for estimating construction costs and selecting appropriate technologies, the use of polymer sprays for pressure and non-pressure pipe rehabilitation, developing geopolymer concretes and understanding machine-soil interactions during pipebursting.

TTC programs are not limited to research.

Muni forums
McKim emphasized that the TTC Municipal Forum series has helped representatives of utility providers become aware of the great potential of trenchless technology and helped educate a generation of engineers about trenchless construction methods.