Alkali-Activated Fly Ash Concrete for Emergency Residential Shelters

Project: Research project

Project Details


The objective of this research is to develop technology that utilizes alkali-activated fly ash concrete for fabrication of precast emergency residential shelters. The fly ash ingredient in this material is a readily available byproduct of burning coal for electric power generation. However, most fly ash is currently land filled, and the potential beneficial use of this sustainable material is not fully realized. The research will focus on material and structural characterization of alkali-activated fly ash concrete and its suitability for producing high performance and durable precast emergency shelters. The potential for industrial implementation will also be explored, as the work will be conducted in collaboration with a leading manufacturer of precast concrete, Oldcastle Precast. It is expected that this partnership will result in the development of new technology to produce precast residential shelters that use material characterized by lower environmental impact and lower cost, as compared to ordinary portland cement concrete.

Emergency residential shelters are required to protect the civilian population in times of natural disasters where evacuation to safer surroundings is not possible. The many deaths and injuries associated with hurricanes and tornados, clearly demonstrate the need for shelters that are safe and economic. The material and structural testing in this proposal will provide a clear understanding on how to achieve this objective. Additionally, the research team has a strong commitment to engineering education and outreach, especially where economically disadvantaged grade school students are concerned. In response to this commitment, funding for undergraduate participation will be solicited and an invitation will be extended to a group of local Philadelphia High School students to tour the Structural Engineering Teaching and Research Laboratory at Villanova University and observe the structural testing activities.

Effective start/end date9/1/098/31/11


  • National Science Foundation: $50,000.00


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