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

October 15, 2021

Joe and Lisa Shetterley dedicate $1.1 million gift to Innovation Lab

In October 2021, the Purdue University Board of Trustees ratified a $1.1 million gift made by Specification Products, Inc. The gift goes to further the education and research efforts at the Sustainable Materials and Renewable Technology (SMART) Laboratory — and has been renamed the Joe and Lisa Shetterley Innovation Lab.
May 27, 2021

Concrete research brings new solutions for old problems

Self-curing concrete, self-healing roads, and concrete that reduces the global carbon footprint. Purdue University engineers are looking at new ways to pave roads, ways to extend the life of roads and ways to make roadwork less resource- and carbon-intensive.
March 12, 2021

Construction sensor project named ASCE Gamechanger

A research project led by Prof. Luna Lu using sensors that could safely speed up a construction timeline by determining concrete strength directly onsite in real time has been featured in ASCE's Gamechanger series. The series highlights innovative engineering projects that provide essential services to American citizens through resilient, efficient, cost-effective and/or creative methods.
February 10, 2021

New mix could double concrete's carbon uptake

A team lead by Mirian Velay-Lizancos, assistant professor of civil engineering, proposes adding small amounts of nanoscale titanium dioxide to the cement paste that makes up concrete. The team found that titanium dioxide, a powdery substance known best for its uses in sunscreen, paints, plastics and food preservatives, enhances concrete's natural ability to sequester carbon dioxide.
February 10, 2021

Becky McDaniel Symposium on Asphalt Advancements

Becky McDaniel made a lasting impression on the asphalt industry. A talented engineer and pragmatic researcher, she was a genuinely kind and compassionate person, a devoted wife and mother, whose 35-year career inspired a generation of academicians, practicing engineers and road-construction personnel. On May 2, 2020, Becky’s unexpected death left everyone she touched with a heavy heart. We are celebrating her contributions to our field through this symposium.
December 21, 2020

Researchers test sensors that could speed up construction schedules

How long it takes to construct a building depends in large part on when the concrete of each floor is strong enough to take on loads. Purdue engineers have developed sensors that could safely speed up a construction timeline by determining concrete strength directly onsite in real time. Purdue’s Engineering and Polytechnic Gateway Complex is a test bed for the new technology.
September 14, 2020

Luna Lu recognized as outstanding mentor

Dr. Luna Lu, ACPA Professor of Civil Engineering, was presented with the 2020 CE Outstanding Mentor of Engineering Graduate Students Award by the Civil Engineering Graduate Student Advisory Council (CEGSAC).
August 19, 2020

SBIR grant fast-tracks 3D-printed runway mat development

A $1 million SBIR Phase II grant from the U.S. Air Force will help fast-track the development of a new innovative runway mat. Pablo Zavattieri, the Jerry M. and Lynda T. Engelhardt Professor in civil engineering at Purdue University, is working with Indiana Technology and Manufacturing Companies (ITAMCO) to develop the new runway mat. The team uses metal 3D printing methods for its technology.
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.
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