Center for Energy Systems Research


Resilient Infrastructure

is a topic that is aimed at maximizing the continued functioning of the large infrastructures even if some elements of the infrastructure do not survive or are not equipped to handle conditions that exceed the design criteria and operational guidelines. A physical infrastructure is considered resilient if it can anticipate, survive, adapt and recover from external disruptions, such as wear and tear, natural forces (e.g. severe weather, hurricanes, earthquakes), man-made forces (population pressure, extreme overuse, landscape change, terrorist attacks), etc. Given the current situation with our nation's infrastructure, understanding resilience appears to be a key way forward for the engineering community to safeguard the continued functionality of critical infrastructure for society. The sub-elements of this thrust area can be:

  • Advanced Materials – Biernacki, Mohr, Crouch, El-Sawy: Understand material quality (cement/concrete) from macro to nano scales; engineer revolutionary/smart materials that are more durable and resilient to extreme environmental (weather/climate) and anthropogenic forcings
  • Advanced Computational Methods – Liu, Peddieson, Fidan, Hossain, Kalyanapu, Ghafoor: Efficient and novel (on-site/remote) methods for materials and infrastructure resilience assessment for better risk management.
  • Monitoring and Control – Canfield, Click, Huo, Kamal: embedded networks/sensors, robotics for non-destructive and real-time monitoring of infrastructure health and functionality particularly in difficult terrain/conditions.
  • Environmental/Climate Sustainability – Hossain and Kalyanapu – Exploring bottom-up and top-down approaches on adaptation against changing patterns of extreme environmental/climate on infrastructure resilience; investigate cluster of infrastructure (cities, dams, agricultural systems etc.) and the ecology with other key resources (water, energy, health).
  • Modeling and Simulation - Kamal -

Grand Challenges

  • What are the smart approaches to address the challenges in rehabilitating the nation's D-rated infrastructure in the current climate of limited financial resources and green house gas emission control?
  • What are the cost effective (smart technology) approaches to real-time and non-destructive monitoring of health and resilience of infrastructure in an integrated framework?
  • What are the curricular changes required to train the next generation of engineers equipped with the skills and mindset to address the infrastructure challenges at the interface of materials, sustainability, climate and resource scarcity?
  • How do we forecast resilience of infrastructure under increasing pressures of population increase, demand on resources and complex ecosystem functions?

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