Preserves

The United States spends more than $8 billion annually to fix problems caused by steel corrosion in the nation’s bridges. Genda Chen, the Robert W. Abbett Distinguished Chair in Civil Engineering, is working on a solution that would prevent corrosion and increase the longevity of other steel-reinforced structures — and he’s using glass to do it.

Steel rebar bonded with an enamel coating could prevent costly corrosion that leads to billions of dollars in U.S. bridge repairs annually. The rough surface detailed at left helps the rebar form a stronger bond with the concrete it supports.

Steel rebar bonded with an enamel coating could prevent costly corrosion that leads to billions of dollars in U.S. bridge repairs annually. The rough surface detailed at left helps the rebar form a stronger bond with the concrete it supports.

“Current steel rebar supports are mainly coated with a green epoxy,” Chen says. “It works great, unless the surface gets scratched. Scratches allow moisture to seep in and become trapped between the epoxy and the steel, which actually speeds up the corrosion.”

In fact, a 2002 Virginia Tech study found that the epoxy coating only extended the corrosion service life in bridge decks five years beyond that of bare steel, Chen says.

In collaboration with Richard Brow, Curators’ Professor of materials science and engineering, Chen has developed a system to replace the green epoxy coating with a chemically bonded enamel substance — a type of glass. Chen dips the steel into the slurry of ground enamel and then bakes it at a high temperature.

“Because the coating is chemically bonded, even if it’s scratched, moisture can’t seep in” Chen says. Plus, enamel increases the rebar’s bond strength with the concrete.

Chen is testing the first generation of his work on off-shore drilling platforms in China. He hopes to begin testing in the U.S. in the next two years. In the meantime, he’s looking for new ways to bond the enamel coating to make it more uniform and easier to fabricate.

Around the Puck

Seeking TBI therapies

By Delia Croessmann, croessmannd@mst.edu Complications from TBI can be life altering. They include post-traumatic seizures and hydrocephalus, as well as serious cognitive and psychological impairments, and the search for treatments to mitigate these neurodegenerative processes is on.

[Read More...]

Understanding the invisible injury

Students advance traumatic brain injury research By Sarah Potter, sarah.potter@mst.edu “Research is creating new knowledge.”–Neil Armstrong  Research keeps professors on the vanguard of knowledge in their fields and allows students to gain a deeper understanding of their area of study. For students and recent graduates researching traumatic brain injury (TBI) at Missouri S&T, the work […]

[Read More...]

Analyzing small molecules for big results

By Delia Croessmann, croessmannd@mst.edu At only 28 years old, Casey Burton, Chem’13, PhD Chem’17, director of medical research at Phelps Health in Rolla and an adjunct professor of chemistry at Missouri S&T, is poised to become a prodigious bioanalytical researcher.

[Read More...]

To prevent and protect

By Peter Ehrhard, ehrhardp@mst.edu Traumatic brain injuries (TBIs) are an unfortunate but all too common occurrence during military training and deployment. Because mild TBIs often present no obvious signs of head trauma or facial lacerations, they are the most difficult to diagnose at the time of the injury, and patients often perceive the impact as […]

[Read More...]

Q&A

Toughest class … ever Some of your classes may have been a breeze, but others kept you up at all hours studying, and some of you struggled just to pass. As part of his research for the S&T 150th anniversary history book, Larry Gragg , Curators’ Distinguished Teaching Professor emeritus of history and political science, asked […]

[Read More...]