Lange testifies on composite materials to congressional committee

4/30/2018 10:57:17 AM

By Celeste Arbogast

CEE Professor David A. Lange testified before a congressional subcommittee April 18 on the potential of Fiber-Reinforced Polymer (FRP) building materials for strengthening infrastructure development in the U.S. The hearing was held by the Committee on Science, Space and Technology’s Subcommittee on Research and Technology.

“FRP is a high-strength, low-weight and durable material that can be fabricated in a wide array of shapes and properties,” said Lange, a member of the CEE faculty since 1992 and the current President of the American Concrete Institute. “The attractive aspects of FRP have motivated significant investment in research and many funded demonstration projects over the years.”

Adoption of these advanced composite materials has been slow, though, due in part to the presence of two dominant design paradigms in commercial construction – reinforced concrete and steel, he said, but there would be numerous benefits from the integration of these newer materials.

“Market penetration of FRP should be driven by authentic advantages. Durability, low weight, organic shapes, flexibility and high strain capacity are among those competitive advantages,” Lange said.

Civil engineering education should be modernized to integrate these newer materials into the curriculum along with traditional materials such as concrete, steel, masonry and wood, he said.

View Lange's full testimony: