Interdisciplinary Research on Sustainable Infrastructure Materials

The REU site titled “Interdisciplinary Research on Sustainable Infrastructure Materials” investigated new materials for infrastructure applications, with improved durability and lowered environmental impact. Projects included those investigating the diffusion of chlorides through alkali-activated slags; formation of geopolymers from bauxite waste; self-healing coatings for steel rebar; and countering resonant frequencies in post-collision bridge systems. A total of 35 students from New England institutions and four local high school students were advised by 10 faculty and 20 graduate students over the course of three years. Over 50% of participants were from backgrounds conventionally underrepresented in the STEM fields, and all high school teachers produced actionable lesson plans for their classrooms. Student participants have been included as co-authors on a number of journal articles and conference proceedings. Several students were also selected to give presentations based on their work at prestigious national conferences, including The Council on Undergraduate Research REU Symposium and the Emerging Researchers National Conference in STEM.