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

May 20, 2020

Enabling highways and bridges to prevent their own damage

Roads always seem to need repairs. Luna Lu is giving concrete the ability to "talk" and even heal itself. Her lab at Purdue University is developing technology that would allow concrete-paved bridges and highways to reveal more accurately when they need repairs and to come equipped with materials that respond to potential damage.
May 11, 2020

CE research team named top three presenter at 2020 Spring Undergraduate Research Conference Symposium

Congratulations to the Purdue Civil Engineering undergraduate research team, advised by Assistant Professor Mirian Velay-Lizancos! They were named a top three presenter at the 2020 Spring Undergraduate Research Conference Symposium for their poster titled, "Effect of elevated temperatures on Recycled PP fiber-reinforced cementitious composites performance under flexural stresses." This event highlights the scholarly work and creative endeavors undergraduate students have been engaged in through oral or poster presentations and awards top students with both financial and non-financial awards.
April 21, 2020

Miguel Montoya appointed member of TRB Committee on Asphalt Pavement Construction and Rehabilitation

PhD candidate Miguel Montoya has been appointed a member of the Transportation Research Board (TRB) Standing Committee on Asphalt Pavement Construction and Rehabilitation (AFH60). This committee is concerned with the construction, rehabilitation and recycling of asphalt pavements. Areas of interest include: construction methods and procedures, in-place recycling techniques, plant production issues which impact construction operations, and paving equipment.
December 9, 2019

'Buildings' in human bone may hold key to stronger 3D-printed lightweight structures

What do bones and 3D-printed buildings have in common? They both have columns and beams on the inside that determine how long they last. Now, the discovery of how a "beam" in human bone material handles a lifetime's worth of wear and tear could translate to the development of 3D-printed lightweight materials that last long enough for more practical use in buildings, aircraft and other structures.
October 23, 2019

Leonard E. Wood Lecture Series

The next Leonard E. Wood Lecture will be held Tuesday, October 29th. Dr. Rebecca McDaniel, Technical Director of the North Central Superpave Center at Purdue University, will share lessons about life and a career in civil engineering that she learned from her mentor, Professor Leonard Wood.
April 11, 2019

Purdue team wins national asphalt mixture design competition

A team of Purdue civil engineering undergraduate and graduate students has won the inaugural national asphalt mixture design competition. Sponsored by CRH Materials Americas, Inc., the largest construction materials provider in North America, a total of 10 university teams competed to see which team could design the best performing asphalt mixture at the lowest cost.
December 17, 2018

Dr. Rebecca McDaniel elected to ASTM International Board of Directors

Rebecca S. McDaniel, P.E., Ph.D., technical director at the North Central Superpave Center at Purdue University, has been elected to the board of directors of ASTM International, an international standards organization that develops and publishes voluntary consensus technical standards for a wide range of materials, products, systems, and services.
October 17, 2018

A novel, nondestructive test for road readiness

Sometimes big innovations are made through small steps. Civil engineering researchers at Purdue are developing a way to test the quality of newly laid concrete — through vibrations. Currently, quality testing for laid concrete consists of retrieving a sample from the site, taking it back to a laboratory, and then testing its compression strength. Associate Professor Na "Luna" Lu of the Lyles School believes she and her graduate students have developed a better, faster method.
October 15, 2018

Wood nanocrystals strengthen concrete, sustainably

By infusing concrete with microscopic crystals made from wood cellulose, Purdue Professor Pablo Zavattieri, along with researchers from Purdue's School of Materials Engineering and Oregon State University, have shown they can make concrete stronger. This project, which started in 2011 with a National Science Foundation grant, is now moving from the laboratory to the real world with a bridge under construction in northern California this year.
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.
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