CURRENT RESEARCH PROJECTS

Advanced Scaffolds for Bone Regenerative Engineering

Bone is the second most transplanted tissue worldwide with two million procedures conducted annually. The clinical gold standard is to harvest an autologous graft and implant after reconstruction. However, the supply is limited and complications are a common occurrence. The research objective is to design advanced bone scaffolds by application of materials science and physics of materials.

Funding source: National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences, National Institutes of Health.

Fundamental Structure-Property Relationships in Nanoreinforced Cement

Cement accounts for 8% of man-made greenhouse gas emissions. this figure is set to rise due to the exploding world populations and the increasing urbanization. Thus, to foster city growth and sustainable development, novel cements must be discovered with enhanced performance and a reduced carbon footprint. Nanomaterials offer the advantage to ally performance with multifunctionality. The research objective is to understand the influence of nanomaterials on the nanostructure, chemistry, and mechanical properties of Portland cement. The results will inform the design of advanced green construction materials for smart cities.

Funding source: National Science Foundation.

Publications:

Strong and Multifunctional Geopolymer Composites: A Multi-Scale Study

Geo polymers are amorphous inorganic polymers that result from the reaction between an aluminosilicate source and an alkali metal hydroxide or silicate solution. They present various appealing attributes such as rapid hardening, early strength, low shrinkage, freeze-thaw resistance and excellent acid resistance.  The research objective is to build novel multi-scale computational approaches that can connect the effective response to the micro- and nano- constituents.  The project will promote the use of geopolymer composites as low-carbon Portland cement alternative, low-level nuclear waste containment, heavy metal waste encapsulation, and biomaterials for bone regeneration.

Funding source: National Science Foundation.

Publications:

Geochemical Reactions Within the Context of CO2 Geological Sequestration

Geologic carbon sequestration in deep saline aquifers is an emerging approach for mitigating climate change by trapping CO2 in suitable geological formations. The research objective is to explore the influence of rock-fluid interactions on  the microstructure, composition, and mechanical characteristics. Furthermore, a full knowledge of geochemical reactions in reservoir conditions and their implications on mechanical integrity will inform exploratory field studies of CO2 geological capture and storage.

Funding Source: U. S. Department of Energy, Center for Geological Storage of CO2.

Publications:

Fundamental Studies of Recycled Aggregate Concrete

Recycling demolition and natural disaster concrete waste for new concrete production offers a sustainable approach to supply the rising demand of sand, but remains poorly utilized. The basic idea consists in reusing crushed old concrete from demolition projects, estimated at 200M tons per year in the United States alone, to cast new concrete. The research goal is to improve the performance of recycled aggregates to transform them into a suitable alternative to sand.

Publications