DOT Unveils Concrete Steel Slag Research Funding


The U.S. Department of Transportation recently announced that it would be awarding $5 million in funding for research on the use of steel slag in cement and concrete for construction purposes.

According to the DOT, the new funding is meant to help in efforts to reduce carbon emissions associated with extracting and manufacturing construction materials.

Additionally, the funding will reportedly support a partnership between DOT, a producer of steel in the United States and an accredited research university of higher education.

Funding Details

At the annual Transportation Research Board Annual Meeting, U.S. Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg participated in the New Materials for Infrastructure: Reinventing the Roadway, Runway, and Railway panel discussion.

There, Buttigieg reportedly highlighted the importance of using innovation for public good.

“We're proud to make this funding available to help develop the next generation of construction materials so that the future of our transportation infrastructure is more resilient, more sustainable, and made in America,” Buttigieg said.

The release adds that the funding opportunity is meant to support one cooperative agreement for a total amount of $5 million, which will span over five years. The release adds that this will be subject to availability of funds.

“This funding initiative will develop and advance innovative materials and technologies that support the Nation’s goals to decarbonize the transportation sector by 2050, strengthen resilience of the Nation’s transportation infrastructure, and address adverse environmental impacts created by the transportation system,” said Dr. Robert C. Hampshire, Deputy Assistant Secretary for Research and Technology and Chief Science Officer.

This entire funding amount will reportedly be awarded to a single accredited university in partnership with a steel producer, based on a competitive bidding process. View the grant opportunity here.

Previous DOT Concrete Research

In May of last year, a $10 million, five-year grant from the DOT was awarded to a University of Texas at Arlington civil engineering researcher looking to develop a greener and more energy-efficient concrete.

The grant, awarded to Associate Director for the Center for Advanced Construction Materials Maria Konsta-Gdoutos, aimed to create concrete with 30% lower manufacturing, operational and maintenance costs, a 50% extended lifetime and negative net greenhouse gas emissions in transportation infrastructure.

Robert Hampshire, DOT’s deputy assistant secretary for research and technology, said the projects conducted at UT Arlington could transform the concrete industry.

The university reported that the center utilized an advanced atomic microscopy system, which provided necessary data to design greener concrete and engineer its nanostructure and properties. UTA was reportedly the only university to have this tool.

Konsta-Gdoutos said researchers will use the machine to see the nanostructure of concrete through topographical imaging at sub-2 nanometer scale, then identify the chemical phases and composition of materials at the atomic and nanoscale.

Additionally, the center’s researchers were able to use an X-ray nanoscale computed tomography system for sub-250 nanometer 3D imaging and non-destructive scanning and reconstruction of the concrete’s internal nano- and microstructure.

Konsta-Gdoutos added that this analysis would allow the center to create advanced structural retrofitting and repair solutions for existing infrastructure. Researchers were reportedly planning to develop carbon-neutral materials, as well as renewable energy-related technologies, for reducing greenhouse gas emissions in transportation infrastructure to alleviate urban heat islands.

The DOT funding was provided to create the Tier 1 University Transportation Center (UTC) for Durable and Resilient Transportation Infrastructure (DuRe-Transp).


Tagged categories: Cement; concrete; Department of Transportation (DOT); Environmental Controls; Funding; Grants; Infrastructure; Infrastructure; NA; North America; Program/Project Management; Research; Research and development; Roads/Highways; Transportation

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