CICI Background and General Information
Background and General Information
Efficient infrastructure systems such as highways, bridges, buildings, pipelines, flood control systems and utilities are all necessary for a healthy economy and comfortable standard of living. Concrete, steel and timber are the backbones of physical infrastructure. High strength polymer composites have been used for aerospace structures for about five decades and their use in civil infrastructure spans about 20 years. West Virginia University (WVU) was involved in many facets of the development and application of polymer composites in civil structures since 1987 and has made many contributions. Similarly, through a major grant from Federal Aviation Administration spanning 15 years, Rutgers University (RU) has made inroads on the use of inorganic matrices for the development of high strength composites. The inorganic matrix, originally developed for aircraft application was modified for civil infrastructure applications. Through the NSF I/UCRC on Repair of Buildings and Bridges with Composites (RB2C), research has been conducted at North Carolina State University (NCSU) and University of Miami (UM) on the use of fiber reinforced polymer (FRP) and other innovative composite materials for infrastructure renewal and for new construction for the past 10 years. The primary objective of the proposed NSF I/UCRC, entitled “Center for Integration of Composites into Infrastructure (CICI)” is to usher applications and costeffective rehabilitation schemes using composites in civil and military structures to the next level through integral efforts between WVU, RU, NCSU and UM in collaboration with composites and construction industries. The focus areas will synergize different fibers and polymers, including natural and bioconstituent materials to create new application areas and rehab techniques; thus expanding market potential.
What is an NSF I/UCRC?
The National Science Foundation’s I/UCRC program has become the premier example of how to effectively enable partnerships between universities and industries utilizing pooled research funding. I/UCRCs feature industrially relevant research based on strong industrial support and collaboration, thus enabling direct technology transfer of university ideas.
General Project Areas
Research on fundamental scientific topics concerning polymer composites such as strength/service life predictions, smart structure development, fire/blast protection, fatigue response, aging phenomenon, and nondestructive testing.
Development will focus on creating products that can be made through a wide variety of manufacturing processes and in which numerous market opportunities exist.
Education will be a cornerstone of CICI as students and practicing engineers in infrastructure require new skills to take advantage of composites.
The primary benefit of center membership is the ability to leverage research and development investments through the cooperation of industrial, university and government entities.
1. Reduction or elimination of royalties on newly developed products.
2. Elimination of overhead fees on membership dues.
3. Access to supplemental funds available only to NSF I/UCRC members.
4. Career development opportunities through educational modules.
5. Networking and business opportunities.
6. Access to a graduate student job pool that has extensive experience in composite technologies.
West Virginia University will lead with Rutgers University, North Carolina State University and the University of Miami serving as a partner universities. Dr. Hota GangaRao will be the center director and will manage the overall operation of the center. Site directors, Dr. Udaya Halabe (WVU), Dr. P.N. Balaguru (RU), Dr. Sami Rizkalla (NCSU) and Dr. Antonio Nanni (UM) will be responsible for research conducted at each university. CICI will be a part of West Virginia University’s Constructed Facilities Center (CFC), which is also under the leadership of Dr. Hota GangaRao.
Industrial Advisory Board (IAB)
An Industrial Advisory Board (IAB) will be established to facilitate industry partnerships and to advise the center on all aspects of operations. This will include strategic planning and research assessment. One of the primary roles of the IAB will be helping to ensure that the research being conducted is in line with industry objectives.
Membership fees are the primary funding mechanism for research, development and education undertaken by CICI. The NSF provides some direct funding to each university for up to eleven years, and offers the potential of additional support for specific endeavors. The center is expected to be sustained by industry. Yearly membership fees in CICI are $40,000 for full members, and $15,000 for associate members.
Full Members are given three votes at IAB meetings. Associate Members are given one vote at IAB meetings, and associate members must qualify as a small business by US Government guidelines, as shown below:
“A small business is an organization that is organized for profit, with a place of business located in the United States or which makes a significant contribution to the United States economy through payment of taxes or use of American products, materials, or labor; is in the legal form of an individual proprietorship, partnership, limited liability company, corporation, joint venture, association, trust or cooperative, except that where the form is a joint venture there can be no more than 49 percent participation by foreign business entities in the joint venture; is at least 51 percent owned and controlled by one or more individuals who are citizens of, or permanent resident aliens in, the United States; and has, including its affiliates, not more than 500 employees.” http://www.nsf.gov/eng/iip/sbir/faq.jsp
Firms may also provide additional support for specific enhancement projects under separate arrangements.
Letters of commitment from industry members must be received before the start of the IAB meeting on November 12, 2009 to be eligible to vote on the first year project slate.