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To address national needs in the areas of transportation infrastructure and safety focusing on the following topical areas:
- Advanced materials including constructed facilities security, which will involve several tasks :
* The development, manufacture, and application of modern construction materials.
* Installation processes and engineering design.
* Standardization and code approval of products and design protocols.
- Transition-state fuel vehicle infrastructure leading to a hydrogen economy, which will require two critical tasks, as follows:
* Development of safety codes, standards, and regulations.
* Infrastructure development and deployment.
- Non-destructive evaluation (NDE) technologies and methods including monitoring and evaluation of new and repaired structures and system components.
Advanced materials developed for use in the transportation infrastructure offer superior mechanical properties, long-term durability, and design flexibility. Research and development (R&D) in advanced materials address the growing needs for strengthening/rehabilitation of aging structures and for the design/construction of new structures to more stringent requirements and for extended service life. These materials apply to all modes of surface transportation.
Alternative fuel vehicles face the same implementation challenges as that of hydrogen vehicles. Research, development, demonstration, and deployment activities of alternative fuel (including hydrogen) vehicles and supporting infrastructure across all modes of transportation address the growing need for a successful transition to a hydrogen economy.
Recent advances in sensor technologies and NDE techniques offer new methods of non-intrusive, in-situ monitoring of the health, geometric, environmental, and structural characterization of civil structures and their supporting systems. NDE sensor technologies and methods enable more accurate, sensitive, cost-effective, rapid, and straightforward evaluations. Integration of NDE technology to existing and future infrastructure systems will improve network evaluation and enhance the safety of the transportation infrastructure.
The choice of the Center theme comes from an analysis of state and national needs/opportunities, as well as strengths/potential of our institution. We are walking the bridge that connects the transportation infrastructure of the second millennium to that of the third millennium. The existing infrastructure was conceived to support a vehicular traffic powered by fossil fuel and has dramatic shortcomings in terms of durability and congestion. But the future will be an intelligent infrastructure incorporating advances in information technology and supporting a new generation of alternative fuels up to an ending point that is conceivably hydrogen with all the associated challenges in terms of safety, deployment, and market acceptance.
Missouri S&T (formerly UMR) has determined that it is of critical importance to its own mission and future as well as the economical success of the state of Missouri to focus on advanced materials in order to: a) help with the upgrade and maintenance (including security hardening) of the existent infrastructure; and, b) contribute to the development of the new infrastructure. Similarly, NDE methods and techniques are a core area of expertise at Missouri S&T (formerly UMR) and their development and deployment will help society with the health monitoring of the existing infrastructure and will become integral part of the new infrastructure to ensure its acceptance and safety. Finally, the Center will tackle the challenge of alternative fuels (including hydrogen) in a systematic approach as the only viable methodology for the safe deployment of the new form of transportation.