Integrated Buildings & Structures

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Shape memory Alloy (SMA) for bridges: Self-healing structures and beyond?

  • 1.  Shape memory Alloy (SMA) for bridges: Self-healing structures and beyond?

    Posted 03-19-2019 09:24 PM
    One of my colleagues has been working on a project that will be one of the first to use shape memory alloys for the plastic hinge region of the bridge to improve seismic resilience: The article by Jed Bingle, P.E., S.E. is here and demonstrates a very innovative use of non-conventional bridge industry building material on a recently built project in Seattle, WA. SMAs in ECC have the ability to allow bridges to "effectively heal" after damage by allowing the SMA to transform back to its undeformed shape after undergoing plastic deformation.

    It's no surprise that a wider range of specialized (natural, man-made, precious) materials exist and may already being utilized in specialized technological applications (Biomedical, aerospace). Beyond the usual suspects (Steel, concrete, timber, etc.) commonly used to build bridges, buildings and infrastructure, are you aware of any applications, research, or projects breaking new areas of advancement by applying specialized materials to solve challenges imposed by conventional materials limitations?

    Please comment if you're involved with and/or interested in discussing any R+D that could change how our structures respond to environmental demand (I.e. Blast, seismic, wind) to improve resiliency or solve a material limitation (I.e. coating durability, tension capacity, energy dissipation) and what the effective solutions are needed for our industry to adopt and see wider application.

    Michael Roberts M.ASCE
    Portland OR

  • 2.  RE: Shape memory Alloy (SMA) for bridges: Self-healing structures and beyond?

    Posted 03-16-2020 01:15 PM
    Dear Michael, I am sorry for the late reply. The subject is fascinating, and we are working now in Universidad del Norte (Colombia) to develop new materials to improve performance and diminish cement paste use. Nevertheless, the materials that you are describing seemed so interesting (they could also be applied in semi-active control systems for structures). Do you have any updates? Nowadays, several teams are working in graphene and 3D printing, but I am trying to focus also in shape more than the material (considering the scarcity of resources). What do you think?

    Andres Guzman Ing., M.ASCE
    Associate Professor