Use of ‘large open-ended pipe piles’ could lead to lower-cost bridge construction

These open-ended pipe piles, about 100-feet long and two feet in diameter, will be used to test a type of bridge pile often seen in offshore applications, research that could help reduce the cost of bridge building or replacement of aging spans. Engineers at Purdue University are leading a project with the Indiana Department of Transportation.
Credit: Purdue University photo/Erin Easterling

Civil engineers at Purdue University are leading a project with the Indiana Department of Transportation to learn how to use a type of bridge pile often seen in offshore applications, research that could help reduce the cost of bridge building or replacement of aging spans.

The piles will be used in the foundations of a bridge spanning the Wabash River near the Purdue campus on the eastbound side of Sagamore Parkway in West Lafayette, Indiana.

Called large open-ended pipe piles (LOEPPs), the lengths of steel pipe about 100 feet long and two feet in diameter will make up the bridge’s center piers. One advantage of pipe piles is that they can be driven into the riverbed’s alluvial soil easier than the traditional closed-ended piles, which will be used for the end piers, said Rodrigo Salgado, the Charles Pankow Professor in Civil Engineering in Purdue’s Lyles School of Civil Engineering.

He is leading the research with civil engineering professor Monica Prezzi, working with doctoral students Eshan Ganju and Fei Han. The project also involves engineers at INDOT through the Joint Transportation Research Program at Purdue.

“INDOT engineers have a long history of working with Purdue to jointly develop and evaluate innovative engineering approaches,” said Darcy Bullock, a professor of civil engineering and director of the Joint Transportation Research Program. “These types of field experiments are a critical step in implementing engineering innovations.”

The researchers have built a specially designed double-wall test pile containing an inner and outer pipe, one slid into the other. Because the two segments are connected only at the top, they can deform independently, a design that makes it possible to measure precisely and separately the forces exerted by the soil on the internal and external surfaces. A YouTube video is available at https://youtu.be/IlWj13whIMQ.

Large open-ended piles have been used in offshore applications such as wind turbines and oil platforms, and INDOT is exploring how to use them more frequently for structures on land. Because the pile is larger than conventional piles, fewer of them are needed, potentially bringing lower-cost bridge construction.

“If capacity is high enough, they can offer a very economical way to build bridges,” Prezzi said.

However, little is known about how the piles behave as they are driven deep into the ground. The process, depending on the density and stresses in the soil and on the internal diameter of the pile, can cause a dense plug of soil to form in the bottom of the pile, changing how it behaves. Two types of sensors placed at one-foot increments along the length of the pile will provide data to determine precisely how much strain is generated in the internal and external pipes of the double-wall pile. Data will be considered in the final design of the foundations for the bridge.

As the open-ended pipe is driven into the ground, the soil causes differing resistance on the outer and inner walls of the pipe.

“These open-ended piles derive their resistance from the complex interaction of the pile with the soil plug that enters it,” Salgado said. “We will learn how much soil goes into the pile and how much resistance you develop as the plug becomes denser. We will also learn how the plug affects the pile response during driving, under dynamic loads, and during static loading through the load test that will be performed.”

Sensors are placed on both inner and outer walls of the test pile, allowing the researchers to measure how much of the load is transferred to the soil as the pile is being driven into the ground and also later, during static load tests. At the same time, the researchers will study a second test pile that has a closed end, allowing a direct comparison. Unlike the open-ended piles, the closed-ended pile contains a pointed shoe at its base.

“What’s unusual and possibly unique is that we will have instrumented large-diameter closed- and open-ended piles installed at the same site so we will be able to directly compare,” Salgado said.

The more than 200 sensors used to instrument the piles will be linked to a data acquisition system by 24,000 feet of electrical cables.

“If the loads are not the same at different locations, that’s because some load along this length was transferred to the soil, which is what you want to happen,” Prezzi said. “By measuring the strains at different cross sections you can determine how the load is decreasing down the pile as it’s being transferred to the soil.”

The plug’s movement into the pipe also will be measured using a pulley-operated gauge.

“This is cutting edge innovation that has been made possible through the ongoing investment in JTRP and the teamwork of INDOT staff and world class researchers,” said Timothy J. Wells, an engineer and manager of INDOT’s Transportation Systems Research Section.

The project is providing an unusual opportunity for doctoral students.

“It’s very rare for Ph.D. students to have the possibility of doing high-quality, large-scale research like this in the field,” Salgado said.

New use for paper industry’s sludge and fly ash in plastics

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Up to half of oil-based polypropylene can be replaced with paper industry side streams. Plastec Finland Oy and Wiitta Oy made a trial batch of floor tiles and storage containers, of which side-streams accounted for 30%.
Credit: Image courtesy of VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland

VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland examined, as part of the EU’s Reffibre project, whether new industrial applications could be developed for various types of sludge and fly ash generated by the paper and board industry.

Laboratory tests showed that these side streams can replace up to 50% of oil-based polypropylene. They can be used as a raw material in plastic composites made using injection moulding and extrusion.

Large quantities of various side streams are created during the manufacture of paper and cardboard. Part of these can be used instead of natural aggregates as a raw material in concrete or asphalt, or in construction. Large amounts of side streams still end up in landfills and incineration.

Side streams could be used to lower composite manufacturing costs, reduce the environmental impacts of production, and lower the total amount of waste. This would also reduce the production of oil-based plastics.

Laboratory tests showed that 50% of the raw-materials in injection-moulded composite could come from paper and board industry side streams. The amount of side streams has an effect on the product’s properties: strength, stiffness, heat resistance, appearance and the texture of the surface.

During the project, Plastec Finland Oy and Wiitta Oy produced floor tiles and storage containers, of which side-streams accounted for 30%. New applications are continually being sought — in the future, they may include pallets and crates, for example.

The possible legal restrictions still have to be explored prior to the product-specific use of side-streams in composites.

Leading Japanese Architect Foresees Computers Unleashing an Era of Design Freedom

Kengo Kuma’s architectural designs range from the whimsical (Asakusa Cultural and Tourism Center, a wildly stacked pillar of houses) to the dramatic (the steamship-shaped Victoria and Albert Museum rising in Dundee, Scotland), to the deceptively simple (Great (Bamboo) Wall, a house in China).

Through them he has discovered his calling – celebrating natural materials and creating human connections – and learned that a computer can be an architect’s best friend.In the years after World War II, Japanese architects grappled with building homes and businesses to replace what the conflict had destroyed and accommodate booming post-war growth. Japan needed fast recovery as its top priority, and its “first generation” architects delivered.

Kengo Kuma, founder of Kengo Kuma & Associates (KKAA) and one of today’s most celebrated Japanese architects, reveres that generation.

“The first-generation architects basically had to reconstruct Japan, and that sense of responsibility had a big bearing on everything they did,” he said.

Kenzo Tange, who designed the Yoyogi National Gymnasium built for the 1964 Tokyo Olympic Games, the building that inspired Kuma to become an architect, is a particular first-generation hero.

Thanks to Tange and those who came after – Arata Isozaki and Fumihiko Maki of the second generation, and Tadao Ando and Toyo Ito of the third generation – Kuma said he feels empowered to pursue a design freedom his predecessors never had.

“Japan’s a wealthy country now, rivaling the United States and Europe,” Kuma said in a wide-ranging interview. “For our generation, I’d say the main thematic question is what kind of architecture we can create in that context of comfort. I think this generation is trying to redefine architecture as a medium for people to connect with each other.”

clicktotweetClick to Tweet: “#Architecture is a medium for
people to connect with each other” -@KengoKuma

REDISCOVERING NATURE WITH A COMPUTER

Soaring buildings with swooping curves and awe-inducing metal façades – the type of architecture that has dominated for nearly two decades – create a sense of wonder, but don’t promote human intimacy or comfort. Instead, Kuma believes that natural materials create the peace that humans instinctively crave.

His most iconic designs – beginning with his award-winning guest house in China known as “Great (Bamboo) Wall” – prominently feature wood and bamboo.

Even the stadium he designed for the 2020 Olympics in Japan – the first Olympic stadium built in his country since Tange’s 1964 project – is defined by its wooden details.

Ironically, however, Kuma’s transition from the concrete, steel and glass of the Industrial Age to the traditional, natural materials that define KKAA’s newest and most iconic projects has been enabled by the leading symbol of the modern age: the computer.

AUTOMATING THE ROUTINE RELEASES CREATIVITY

By managing many of the critical but routine and time-consuming tasks – from verifying structural integrity to compiling precise lists of materials to managing budgets – advanced computer technology, especially Building Information Management (BIM), actually frees architects to focus on creativity, Kuma said.

“Technological progress had had a big impact. We use CAD to design things in 3D now, for example. With computers, we can dream up virtually any architectural space and convert those ideas into actual drawings. As technology continues to liberate our imaginations, it’s cool how the digital advances in the architectural world have gone step-in-step with a renewed awareness of ‘the real thing.’”

Modern architects tend to spend most of their time finding solutions to engineering, scheduling and budget problems, not creating great designs, Kuma said.

clicktotweetClick to Tweet: #Architects are spending time engineering/scheduling/
budgeting, not on creating great designs @KengoKuma @3DSAEC #BIM

“When you call on what BIM can do, it becomes possible to balance out engineering- type solutions with creativity. For example, people used to balance the budget at the end of the project to see whether the costs fell in line with the projections. Those days are now gone. Now you must have your budget in mind right out of the gates and work under those preconditions the whole time, gathering feedback and adjustments as you go. That’s why it’s almost impossible to manage your budget without BIM.

“Achieving a balance of solutions and creativity is one of the biggest issues in the architecture industry. If we can find a way to put these two things together, then I feel we can massively transform the architecture industry.”

DEMOCRATIZING DESIGN

While computers give architects more freedom, however, they also create an environment in which they will face more challenges to their authority, Kuma said.

“Computers democratize architecture,” he said.

“For example, someone who is a complete newcomer to architecture will be able todesign their own house. Architects who have enjoyed privilege up to now may be opposed to this, but ultimately I think that architecture will belong to everyone. When that happens, I think we will be in for a very interesting future.”

In this new era, Kuma envisions architects being valued less for their engineering prowess and their ability to bring projects in on time and budget and more for their creativity and ability to create harmony, both in the buildings they design and in the working environments they create.

“If you try to make architecture more complicated, there is no end to how complicated it can get,” Kuma said.

“For that reason, I make sure to keep a model right in front of me. Everyone gathers around the model and talks. I feel that’s the key to not getting complicated. Everyone is actually very interested in architecture. So I think that if we keep things simple, a number of different people can take part in it.”

NURTURING AN OPEN, CREATIVE ENVIRONMENT

Part of keeping the working environment open involves avoiding hierarchical structures so that everyone’s ideas can be heard, Kuma said, even as KKAA expands beyond Japan with offices in China and Paris.

“I try to maintain a flat organizational structure,” Kuma said. “We want people to understand that they must take on a certain amount of risk when they assume responsibility for something, so we try to stay away from building too much of a hierarchy. That structure lulls you into thinking that someone else higher up on the ladder will always be there, ready to take responsibility for whatever you do. We want everyone to feel responsible for themselves and know that they are creators.”

In addition to encouraging a sense of responsibility, he encourages cultural diversity in KKAA’s staff.

“This diversity doesn’t dilute the character of KKAA; it strengthens it,” he said. “Our organization should be structured so that all of these people can really participate. That is what makes the identity of the organization stronger.”

Kuma’s philosophy is consistent with his definition of leadership.

“I think how qualified you are as a leader really depends on how easy of an environment you can create for everyone to speak up,” he said. “If you create an environment where everyone can easily speak their mind, different opinions will come forth and from those opinions you can find a balance. If nobody expresses their opinions, there’s really nothing you can do.”

A LONG-TERM VIEW

In a world that is rediscovering the beauty of natural materials and human connections, of sustainability and long-term value, Kuma believes that architects are well positioned to lead.

“The advantage the architecture industry has is that it can think over longer timespans, as much as 10 years from the start to the finish of project,” he said.

“We are entering an age that is going to be all about taking longer periods of time to think about what will make people happy, rather than shooting for short-term increases in profit.

“Architects are accustomed to listening to people about things. They are accustomed to thinking about things over long periods of time. Architects are people with universally applicable skills.”

 

Kengo Kuma & Associates Adopts “Design for Fabrication”

We are pleased to announce Kengo Kuma & Associates (KKAA) has selected Design for Fabrication, our BIM solution on the 3DEXPERIENCE platform, to improve design speed, accuracy, and collaboration.

KKAA, Japan’s leading architecture firm, is using the AEC industry solution experience from Dassault Systèmes to enhance the quality and efficiency of its architectural designs with a cloud-based collaborative design environment.

clicktotweetClick to Tweet: .@KengoKuma & Associates
Adopts Design for Fabrication

KKAA’s designs introduce organic materials that are native to an architectural site’s region—a sophisticated blend of architecture and nature that infuses bamboo, wood, stone and other resources with lengths, angles, cross-sections, arches, patterns and other parameters.

Notable international KKAA projects include:

  • New National Stadium, Tokyo’s 2020 Olympic and Paralympic Stadium (ongoing)
  • V&A Museum of Design, Dundee, Scotland (ongoing)
  • China Academy of Art’s Folk Art Museum, Hangzhou, China
  • Saint-Denis Pleyel Emblematic Train Station, Paris, France (ongoing)

The Design for Fabrication industry solution experience, based on the 3DEXPERIENCE platform, provides KKAA with a reliable digital design and collaborative environment, for concept design through fabrication of any architecture project.

This BIM solution enhances KKAA’s parametric design operation and data accuracy capabilities in its design and downstream processes. It also helps KKAA handle organic materials, whose different shapes, lengths and other irregular factors make their use in architecture difficult.

In addition, because of the cloud, Design for Fabrication offers KKAA the scalability to support projects with colleagues in Tokyo, Paris and Beijing. It facilitates real-time access to a single source of project data, enabling KKAA to create more informed designs anytime and anywhere, reduce later rework, and more accurately predict project costs and timelines.

KKAA has the flexibility to improve and refine designs to reflect detailed customer requirements, and can share design models with all stakeholders.

Design for Fabrication provides us with design control capabilities that improve our design speed and accuracy dramatically,” said Toshiki Meijo, Chief of Design Division, KKAA. “Our team can access a single digital resource to better coordinate projects, gather feedback and make any necessary design adjustments. In the future, we plan to deepen this level of collaboration in order to manage multiple projects across offices worldwide while maintaining the high caliber of our designs.”

“Our industry solution experiences tailored for the architecture, engineering and construction industry provide digital continuity between design data and the fabrication model for the shop floor, to reduce redundant design, waste and rework,” said Marty Doscher, Vice President, AEC Industry, Dassault Systèmes.

“Architects at KKAA can more efficiently work with fabricators and builders across the globe to create breathtaking architectural experiences.”

clicktotweetClick to Tweet: How the @kengokuma team efficiently works
w/fabricators & builders worldwide on breathtaking #architecture

Harnessing the Power of Cloud-Based Collaboration on an Architecture Project

For an architectural firm like New York-based SHoP Architects, expressing innovation means harnessing the power of diverse expertise in the design of buildings and environments to improve the quality of public life.Botswana Innovation Hub

“Architects want to delight people with their designs,” Chris Sharples, founding partner at SHoP Architects, said. “This is why we focus on first understanding what our clients want, what function a building will serve and imagine a design that will help them achieve that.”

SHoP is also involved in public works, entire infrastructures, and cultural as well as institutional projects.

“We constantly seek innovative ways to build by using traditional materials like wood and prefabricated or modular systems for high-rise construction,” Sharples said.

“We are currently working on some exciting projects like a very tall residential tower in midtown Manhattan that we are dressing in beautiful terracotta and bronze. Another project is a complex of two adjoined buildings in San Francisco, California’s Mission Bay neighborhood that will contribute to transforming this developing stretch of Mission Bay into a dynamic, pedestrian-friendly neighborhood. It’s our way of demonstrating how innovative architecture can play an important role in transforming a community.”

Iconic Symbol of Diversification

Another of the firm’s iconic projects is the Botswana Innovation Hub in Gaborone, Botswana.

“The Innovation Hub is a government-driven initiative to support innovation in research and development and entrepreneurship in the region,” John Cerone, associate principal at SHoP Architects, said.

“It is a huge investment for the Botswanan government to diversify its economy and to move from one primarily based on diamond extraction toward a more knowledge-based economy,” Sharples added.

“Our client expressed a desire for a timeless building that features the latest advances in green technologies,” Cerone continued.

One of the systems SHoP developed is an energy blanket rooftop that combines sustainable energy techniques and large overhangs to passively shade the building’s interior. The Innovation Hub is also equipped with mechanisms to collect and reuse water, and passive and active photovoltaic systems to harness solar energy.

“One of the biggest challenges we faced is managing the graceful, morphing shape of the building and the many different parts, which are fabricated in Cape Town, South Africa, that are required to achieving this flowing structure,” Cerone said.

“There are many variables and tolerances are very tight. It requires a high level of control and the ability to coordinate the fabricator and the construction site, both thousands of miles away from our design offices in New York.”

A Shared Experience Enabled by the Cloud

The Botswana Innovation Hub façade was entirely designed for construction with Design for Fabrication and the 3DEXPERIENCE® platform.

CATIA model of the Botswana Innovation Hub in Gaborone, Botswana

“We used the 3D modeling application CATIA and the collaboration application ENOVIA on the cloud for this project,” Cerone said. “We would not be able to attain the level of control and detail required to complete this project without the 3DEXPERIENCE technologies.”

Since the cloud operates 24/7, 365 days a year, it makes collaboration easier as stakeholders are on different schedules and time zones.

“We’re coordinating people across the globe in real time,” he continued. “It is a completely different way to engage a project as it contextualizes every aspect into a holistic approach.”

SHoP has, in fact, been using the 3DEXPERIENCE platform on the cloud for years, and was one of the first customers to use the platform as part of Dassault Systèmes’ Lighthouse program. During that time, the firm realized the value of working on the cloud and decided to continue using it on new projects.

“On the cloud, everyone has instantaneous access to the most up-to-date information,” Sharples said. “It creates a sense of order because it’s not in somebody’s drawer somewhere; it builds a shared experience.”

clicktotweetClick to Tweet: “Working on the cloud builds a
shared experience” @SHoPArchitects @3DSAEC

To continue pushing the envelope of the 3DEXPERIENCE platform, SHoP receives services and support from Vancouver-based CadMakers Virtual Construction, a Dassault Systèmes certified business and education partner.

“CadMakers is much more than ‘resellers’ of Dassault Systèmes’ solutions – they are power-users that approach problem-solving with an intimate working knowledge of our industry,” Cerone said. “They feel like an extension of our team, and their support has been focused and impeccable.”

Digital fabrication in architecture The challenge to transform the building industry

Many building processes still involve sub-standard working conditions and are not compellingly sustainable. Current research on the integration of digital technologies within construction processes promises substantial contributions to sustainability and productivity, while at the same time enabling completely new forms of architectural expression. The multidisciplinary nature of integrating digital processes remains a key challenge to establishing a digital building culture. In order to fully exploit the potential of digital fabrication, an institutional and funding environment that enables strong interdisciplinary research is required. Traditionally separated disciplines such as: architecture, structural design, computer science, materials science, control systems engineering, and robotics now need to form strong research connections.

During the AAAS 2017 Annual Meeting in Boston, Jonas Buchli, ETH Zurich — The Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Zurich, Switzerland, Ronald Rael, University of California, Berkeley, U.S.A., and Jane Burry, RMIT University, Melbourne, Australia reveal the latest developments in digital fabrication in architecture at 1:1 building scale. In their presentations, they show digital technologies can be successfully integrated in design, planning, and building processes in order to successfully transform the building industry.

On Site Digital Fabrication for Architecture

Jonas Buchli, Assistant Professor for Agile and Dexterous Robotics at ETH Zurich in Switzerland and principal investigator in the Swiss National Centre of Competence in Research (NCCR) Digital Fabrication is proposing a radical focus on domain specific robotic technology enabling the use of digital fabrication directly on construction sites and in large scale prefabrication. He demonstrates how researchers at ETH Zurich within the NCCR Digital Fabrication — Switzerland’s leading initiative for the development and integration of digital technologies within the field of architecture — are facing the challenge of developing this technology. They bring a comprehensive and interdisciplinary approach that incorporates researchers from architecture, materials science, and robotics. In his presentation, Buchli will provide insight into current research and the future vision and development of the In situ Fabricator, a mobile and versatile construction robot, which in 2017 will be utilized for the first time on an actual building site.

The New Mathematics of Making

Digital computation has freed designers from the constraints of the static 2- and 3- dimensional representational techniques of drawing and physical modelling. Design attributes can be directly linked to extraneous factors: structural or environmental optimization, or fabrication and material constraints. Mathematical design models contain sufficient information even for computer numerical controlled (CNC) fabrication ma-chines and techniques. Jane Burry, Director of the Spatial Information Architecture Laboratory at RMIT University in Melbourne, Australia, explores how these opportunities for automation, optimization, variation, mass-customization, and quality control can be fully realized in the built environment within full scale construction. Burry shows select digital fabrication examples, where research and innovation have changed construction practice. She will draw on prominent case studies such as the design and construction of Antonio Gaudí’s Sagrada Familia.

Building Materials for 3D Printing

Most materials currently used in 3D printing, were developed to print small scale objects. Ronald Rael, Associate Professor for Architecture at University of California, Berkeley, U.S.A., reveals how he is developing new materials that can overcome the challenges of scale and costs of 3D printing on 1:1 construction scale. He demonstrates that viable solutions for 3D printing in architecture involve a material supply from sustainable resources, culled from waste streams or consideration of the efficiency of a building product’s digital materiality. The methods of such architectural additive manufacturing must emerge from interdisciplinary research.

Scientists decipher the nanoscale architecture of a beetle’s shell

A better understanding of beetle exoskeletons could help engineer lighter, stronger material.

Beetles wear a body armor that should weigh them down — think medieval knights and turtles. In fact, those hard shells protecting delicate wings are surprisingly light, allowing even flight.

Better understanding the structure and properties of beetle exoskeletons could help scientists engineer lighter, stronger materials. Such materials could, for example, reduce gas-guzzling drag in vehicles and airplanes and reduce the weight of armor, lightening the load for the 21st-century knight.

But revealing exoskeleton architecture at the nanoscale has proven difficult. Nebraska’s Ruiguo Yang, assistant professor of mechanical and materials engineering, and his colleagues found a way to analyze the fibrous nanostructure. Their findings were featured recently on the cover of Advanced Functional Materials.

The lightweight exoskeleton is composed of chitin fibers just around 20 nanometers in diameter (a human hair measures approximately 75,000 nanometers in diameter) and packed and piled into layers that twist in a spiral, like a spiral staircase. The small diameter and helical twisting, known as Bouligand, make the structure difficult to analyze.

Yang and his team developed a method of slicing down the spiral to reveal a surface of cross-sections of fibers at different orientations. From that viewpoint, the researchers were able to analyze the fibers’ mechanical properties with the aid of an atomic force microscope. This type of microscope applies a tiny force to a test sample, deforms the sample and monitors the sample’s response. Combining the experimental procedure and theoretical analysis, the researchers were able to reveal the nanoscale architecture of the exoskeleton and the material properties of the nanofibers.

They made their discoveries in the common figeater beetle, Cotinis mutabilis, a metallic green native of the western United States. But the technique can be used on other beetles and hard-shelled creatures and might also extend to artificial materials with fibrous structures, Yang said.

Comparing beetles with differing demands on their exoskeletons, such as defending against predators or environmental damage, could lead to evolutionary insights as well as a better understanding of the relationship between structural features and their properties.

Eco-friendly concrete created

Richard E. Riman focuses on making ceramic materials under sustainable conditions.

In the future, wide-ranging composite materials are expected to be stronger, lighter, cheaper and greener for our planet, thanks to an invention by Rutgers’ Richard E. Riman.

Nine years ago, Riman, a distinguished professor in the Department of Materials Science and Engineering in the School of Engineering, invented an energy-efficient technology that harnesses largely low-temperature, water-based reactions. As a result, he and his team can make things in water that previously were made at temperatures well above those required to thermally decompose plastics.

So far, the revolutionary technology has been used to make more than 30 different materials, including concrete that stores carbon dioxide, the prime greenhouse gas linked to climate change. Other materials include multiple families of composites that incorporate a wide range of metals, polymers and ceramics whose behavior can be processed to resemble wood, bone, seashells and even steel.

A promising option is creating materials for lightweight automobiles, said Riman, who holds dozens of patents and was recently named a fellow of the National Academy of Inventors. The materials could be used for engine, interior and exterior applications. Other materials could perform advanced electronic, optical and magnetic functions that replace mechanical ones.

“Ultimately, what we’d like to be able to do is create a ‘Materials Valley’ here, where this technology can start one company after another, small, medium and large businesses,” Riman said. “It’s a foundational or platform technology for solidifying materials that contain ceramics, among other things. They can be pure ceramics, ceramics and metals, ceramics and polymers — a really wide range of composites.”

Riman, who has taught for 30 years in the Department of Materials Science and Engineering, focuses on making ceramic materials under sustainable conditions. That means low energy with a low carbon dioxide footprint.

His patented technology creates bonds between materials at low temperatures. It’s called reactive hydrothermal liquid-phase densification (rHLPD), also known as low-temperature solidification. And it’s been used to make a wide range of ceramic composite materials at Rutgers, according to an article published last summer in the Journal of the American Ceramic Society.

“Typically, we don’t go any higher than 240 degrees centigrade (464 degrees Fahrenheit) to make the composite materials,” Riman said. “A lot of these processes are done even at room temperature.”

Riman, who earned a bachelor’s degree in ceramic engineering at Rutgers and a doctorate in materials science and engineering at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, invented the technology after studying how engineers densified Alaskan fields of snow and ice to create airplane landing strips.

“I looked at how shellfish make ceramics at low-temperature, like carbonate crystals, and then looked at what people can do with water to make landing strips in Alaska and I said we should be able to do this with ceramics, but use a low-temperature chemical process that involves water,” he said.

Riman came up with the idea decades ago but didn’t launch the technology until climate change became a bigger issue. “When it became important to investors to see green technology developed to address carbon emissions in the world, I decided it was time to take this technology commercial,” he said.

So he founded Solidia Technologies Inc. in Piscataway, New Jersey, in 2008. It’s a startup company marketing improved, eco-friendly cement and concrete for construction and infrastructure. Concrete is a $1 trillion market, Riman noted.

“The first thing we did was show that we could make a material that costs the same as conventional Portland cement,” he said. “We developed processing technology that allows you to drop the technology right into the conventional world of concrete and cement without having to make major capital expenditures typically encountered when a technology is disruptive to the marketplace. We plan to do the same thing in the advanced materials business.”

Solidia Concrete products have superior strength and durability. They, combined with Solidia Cement, can reduce the carbon footprint of cement and concrete by up to 70 percent and can save as much as 528.3 billion gallons a year, according to Solidia Technologies.

The company’s concrete-based products include roofing tiles, cinder blocks and hollow core building slabs. The company approaches concrete product manufacturers to see if they’re interested in licensing its products.

“When you can develop technologies that are safe and easy to use, it’s a game changer — and that’s just one of the many areas that we’re interested in pursuing,” Riman said.

His second investor-funded start-up company is RRTC Inc., which is developing advanced composite materials for myriad uses. They include electronic, optical, magnetic, biomedical, biotechnology, pharmaceutical, agricultural, electrochemical, energy storage, energy generation, aerospace, automotive, body and vehicle armor, textile, and abrasive and cutting applications.