Dr. Joseph Biernacki, Professor of Chemical Engineering, was recently appointed to be an assoicate editor of the Journal of the American Ceramic Society.
Research may be defined as intensive systematic investigation into a subject in an effort to discover new facts or apply current knowledge/techniques to better understand a system.
The “Student Research Day” at Tennessee Technological University is an effort to: highlight and emphasize the importance and significance of research in postsecondary education; and, to recognize the different areas of research peculiar to the different disciplines;
The Research Day Poster Session(s) will be held in the Multipurpose Room in the Roaden University Center on Thursday, April 15, 2010.
There will be a graduate division and an undergraduate division.
All participants will receive a “Certificate of Participation.”
Posters will be judged and awards will be presented for the best posters.
This years winners are:
Emory Hannah (Undergraduate, Chemical Engineering)
Doug Martens (Undergraduate, Chemical Engineering)
Paul Moody (Undergraduate, Chemical Engineering)
Benjamin King (Undergraduate, Chemical Engineering)
Dustin Cannon (Undergraduate, Chemical Engineering)
Brian Brady (Undergraduate, Chemical Engineering)
Akshay Bauskar (Graduate, Chemical Engineering)
Daniel Betancourt (Graduate, Chemical Engineering)
Hamed Kayello (Graduate, Chemical Engineering)
Chinyere Mbachu (Graduate, Chemical Engineering)
Jeff Thompson (Graduate, Chemical Engineering)
Derick Weis (Graduate, Chemical Engineering)
Tiantian Xie (Graduate, Chemical Engineering)
We walk on it, work in structures built with it, drive on it and for the most part take for granted our use of the most abundant synthetic material on earth—Portland cement concrete.
But researchers around the world remain baffled in many ways about the behavior of a material made from the most plentiful and simple raw materials. It’s hard to predict how long it will last, how badly it will crack and how much negative environmental impact it will make.
At Tennessee Tech University, colleagues and chemical engineering researchers Joe Biernacki and Don Visco are working to help unravel some of the mystery surrounding concrete. The American Ceramic Society, ACerS, recently featured their work in a publication dedicated to highlighting cement researchers who are working to bring new strength, flexibility, self-healing capacities and a smaller CO2 footprint to concrete.
Biernacki says modern concrete just doesn’t last long enough, and one way to reduce the environmental impact is to double, triple or even quadruple its life expectancy in the field.
“In an ideal world, we would produce cements that had no carbon footprint. The work we do we link to the environment,” Biernacki said. “If we can make concrete last twice as long, just a factor of two would be remarkable. It would certainly make concrete more environmentally friendly.”
The TTU duo developed a technique for encoding the structure of molecules that have a particular performance behavior. They run the data through a computer model to correlate performance and predict new molecular structures to enhance performance.
“We hope to design entirely new molecules with targeted performance enhancing characteristics,” Biernacki said. “This has the potential to enable the design of concrete mixtures with unique rheological [the flow under stress and strain] properties, for example.”
Biernacki also summarized the enigmatic challenges of concrete research in a recent article.
He says more than 2,000 years after the Romans built great and enduring structures using hydraulic cements, modern science is still baffled about the behavior of concrete because there is no unifying theory.
“It’s limestone, shale, stones and water. What’s so baffling? It’s simple, burn the limestone and shale to produce some calcium silicates and calcium aluminates, add a bit of gypsum, grind into a powder, put some stones in, mix with water and let it set. No big deal, right?
“Unfortunately, the resulting concoction turns out to be incredibly complex,” Biernacki explained.
To add to the challenge, the final and important steps to creating concrete take place in the field by necessity. Environmental conditions play a huge part in the final product.
Finally, concrete is not one material, but a spectrum of materials designed to match the application. Some must be strong, some porous, and some tough.
“Controlling the properties is the key,” said Biernacki. “Not just making a lot of it the same every day.
“Ultimately, we are working to alter the kinetics of hydration to unlock the elusive secrets of this important material.”
Antonio Pistono better know to us as Tony has been chosen as the College of Engineering representative for the Posters at the Capitol event on February 3 at the Tennessee Capitol. This event highlights undergraduate research at the state universities in Tennessee. Tony will have a poster presentation within the legislative complex, a possible chance to meet with his local representative and senator, and answer questions about his work from those passing through the halls of the legislative office areas.
Two Tennessee Tech University researchers adept at integrating research and teaching responsive to the needs of U.S. and worldwide industries have been honored as winners of the university’s most prestigious research award. Mohamed Abdelrahman, electrical and computer engineering professor, and Joe Biernacki, chemical engineering professor, are the 2009 Caplenor Faculty Research Award recipients.