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Materials Engineering

Material engineers improve the road you travel on, the coal used to fuel a factory, and the sidewalk in your neighborhood. Through their study of asphalt and bituminous materials, roads and sidewalks last longer and fuels, like coal, are more energy efficient.

The Materials area of emphasis in Civil Engineering provides freedom for students to develop a plan of study that will meet individual goals. Students take a broad range of courses including chemistry, construction, geology, mathematics, mechanics, and other engineering disciplines. Historically, the area has continuously maintained a balance between theoretical, experimental and practice-based approaches to solving problems. The Materials Engineering faculty are dedicated to teaching and research. The Materials Engineering Research Facilities offer hands-on experiences to undergraduate and graduate students.

Civil Engineering's Materials group has a loyal alumni network in both academia and private practice around the world. Research is divided into two broad themes: Asphalt and Bituminous Materials, and Portland Cement and Concrete.The American Concrete Institute at Purdue University also offers opportunities for students to bridge the gap between academic learning and professional practice.


Spotlights

June 28, 2018

Creature feature: Twisting cracks impart superhero toughness to animals

Super-resilient materials found in the animal kingdom owe their strength and toughness to a design strategy that causes cracks to follow the twisting pattern of fibers, preventing catastrophic failure. Researchers in a recent series of papers have documented this behavior in precise detail and also are creating new composite materials modeled after the phenomenon. The work was performed by a team of researchers at Purdue University in collaboration with University of California, Riverside.
March 29, 2018

Miguel A. Montoya receives 2018 AAPT scholarship

Current Civil Engineering PhD student Miguel A. Montoya was selected by the Association of Asphalt Paving Technologists (AAPT) to receive the 2018 AAPT scholarship. The scholarship is funded by the association with the purpose of increasing the number of scientists and engineers available for careers in the general area of asphalt binder and mixture technologies.
February 23, 2018

Purdue researchers show concrete infused with wood nanocrystals is stronger, plan to use it in California bridge

Purdue University researchers studying whether concrete is made stronger by infusing it with microscopic-sized nanocrystals from wood are moving from the laboratory to the real world with a bridge that will be built in California this spring. The researchers have been working with cellulose nanocrystals, byproducts generated by the paper, bioenergy, agriculture and pulp industries, to find the best mixture to strengthen concrete, the most common man-made material in the world.
February 19, 2018

Jan Olek to deliver keynote lecture at ACerS conference

Jan Olek, Professor of Civil Engineering and Director of the North Central Superpave Center (NCSC), will give the Della Roy Lecture at the 9th Advances in Cement Based Materials conference to be held June 11-12, 2018 in State College, PA.
February 8, 2018

Leila Sadeghi wins first place in LTPP International Data Analysis Contest

Leila Sadeghi, recent PhD graduate and current postdoc research associate of the Lyles School of Civil Engineering, was named a winner in the Graduate category of the 2016-17 Long-Term Pavement Performance (LTPP) International Data Analysis Contest at the 97th Annual Meeting of the Transportation Research Board in Washington, D.C.
January 26, 2018

Temperature swings could cause pothole problems for drivers

Motorists enjoying days of above-freezing temperatures after shivering through frigid single digits may encounter a jarring reality by spring. Incidents of freezing-thawing temperatures this winter may result in troublesome potholes as the season progresses. John Haddock, a civil engineering professor and director of Indiana Local Technical Assistance Program, said the drastic nature of temperature swings isn't as much of a factor as the temperatures themselves.
April 26, 2017

Warda Ashraf receives 2017 College of Engineering Outstanding Graduate Student Research Award

Warda Ashraf, a PhD Candidate working with Professor Jan Olek in the Lyles School of Civil Engineering, has been named as recipient of the 2017 Outstanding Graduate Student Research Award. This award by the Purdue College of Engineering recognizes an outstanding PhD candidate who has demonstrated excellence in research through peer-reviewed publications, awards for research, leadership, academic achievements and participation in professional societies.
October 25, 2016

Leonard E. Wood Lecture Series

This year's Leonard E. Wood Lecture was held Thursday, October 27th. Dr. Thomas D. White, Professor of Civil Engineering at Mississippi State University, delivered his lecture titled, "Is Hot Mix Asphalt a Rational Material?"
October 24, 2016

Undergrads create energy-absorbing materials

Professor Pablo Zavattieri's research laboratory in the basement of Purdue's Hampton Hall of Civil Engineering looks like a toy shop or carpenter's workshop. Geometric models, connected with splices of metal measuring tape and aluminum tubing, are scattered about. Nearby is a handful of brightly colored, triangular models made of orange, yellow, pink and green bendy straws. There are several foot-long, accordion-shaped origami paper models connected with a nut and bolt at each end that, when fully spun on their ends, rotate and collapse into an inch-thick disk.
July 7, 2016

Professor Jan Olek receives Robert E. Philleo Award

Jan Olek, Professor of Civil Engineering, has been selected to receive the ACI Foundation - Concrete Research Council - Robert E. Philleo Award. The award will be presented at the 2016 ACI Concrete Convention and Exposition this October in Philadelphia.
June 3, 2016

Possibly unique design feature discovered in mantis shrimp

New research findings revealing the structure of a sea creature's impact-resistant appendage are inspiring development of advanced materials for possible applications in body armor, helmets and components for buildings and cars.
March 31, 2016

Freeze-Thaw Performance of Precast, Prestressed Concrete Railroad Crossties

Daniel Castaneda, a Ph.D. Candidate in the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, presented his seminar on March 31. His research seeks to understand the consequence of design, handling, and placement of fresh concrete and cementitious materials as they relate to the long-term durability of civil infrastructure.
June 17, 2015

Creature's 'dactyl club' filters shear waves to resist damage

The "smasher" peacock mantis shrimp is able to repeatedly pummel the shells of prey using a bizarre hammer-like appendage that, new research shows, can withstand rapid-fire blows by neutralizing certain frequencies of "shear waves."
May 26, 2015

Zavattieri invited to attend Indonesian-American Kavli Frontiers of Science Symposium

Pablo Zavattieri, Associate Professor of Civil Engineering, has been invited to participate in the fifth Indonesian-American Kavli Frontiers of Science symposium July 28-31, 2015 in Makassar, Indonesia. The symposium is sponsored by the Indonesian Academy of Sciences, the U.S. National Academy of Sciences and the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID).
April 1, 2015

Natural nanocrystals shown to strengthen concrete

Cellulose nanocrystals derived from industrial byproducts have been shown to increase the strength of concrete, representing a potential renewable additive to improve the ubiquitous construction material.
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