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.


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.
June 19, 2014

Yaghoob Farnam receives PCA fellowship

Yaghoob Farnam, Ph.D. candidate working under the supervision of Professor Jason Weiss, has received the 2014 Portland Cement Association (PCA) Education Foundation's J. P. Gleason Fellowship.
January 15, 2014

Cellulose nanocrystals possible 'green' wonder material

Assistant professor Pablo Zavattieri is part of a research team exploring the strength of cellulose nanocrystals and their potential applications in products such as construction materials and automotive components.
October 1, 2013

Weiss appointed Hockema Professor

On September 27th the Board of Trustees ratified the appointment of Dr. W. Jason Weiss as the Jack and Kay Hockema Professor of Civil Engineering.
September 24, 2013

Olek named first ACPA Scholar

Prof. Jan Olek has been named the first ACPA Scholar in Concrete Pavement and Materials Science effective August 12, 2013. The ACPA Scholar is a two-year appointment funded by the American Concrete Pavement Association.
August 27, 2013

Olek honored at international conference

Prof. Jan Olek was honored for his outstanding contributions regarding sustainable construction materials at the Third International Conference on Sustainable Construction Materials and Technologies in Kyoto, Japan
April 15, 2013

Fernando Dri awarded Certificate of Excellence

Congratulations to Fernando Dri on receiving the Certificate of Excellence Award from the Purdue Office of Interdisciplinary Graduate Program for his work on multiscale modeling of nanocellulose.
February 1, 2013

Zavattieri receives NSF CAREER Award

Assistant Professor Pablo Zavattieri was recently awarded a CAREER grant, the National Science Foundation's most prestigious honor for young researchers.
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