Civil Engineering Assistant Professor Awarded $3 million Research Grant from US Army Corps of Engineers

Cameron Murray, assistant professor of civil engineering
University Relations

Cameron Murray, assistant professor of civil engineering

Cameron Murray, assistant professor of civil engineering, whose research interests include structural concrete and rapid setting cements recently received a $3 million grant from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to investigate novel solutions to military infrastructure problems. This award is the largest single award in the history of the civil engineering program at the University of Arkansas. Murray, along with colleagues and students in the civil engineering department will work to develop alternative materials for rapid repair and construction of concrete structures and pavements, heat-resistant pavement materials, novel blast resistant concrete, and evaluation and mitigation methods for alkali silica reaction (ASR) in concrete. 

A stress test on a concrete beam

This two-year project will see Murray’s team collaborating with the research arm of the Army Corps of Engineers, the U.S. Army Engineer Research and Development Center (ERDC).  The site of this project, the 37,400 square foot Grady E. Harvell Civil Engineering Center (CEREC), which opened in July of 2021, will benefit a great deal thanks to the equipment that will be incorporated into the lab. The CEREC facility allows faculty and students to construct and test full-scale structural concrete with a variety of methods including under impact loadings.  Murray and his team will be doing testing and research that very few institutions around the country will be capable of conducting thanks to the CEREC facility and this grant.  Along with the research conducted on the Fayetteville campus, students will be able to visit the ERDC in Vicksburg, Mississippi along with presenting research findings at conferences.

This Advanced Concrete Research and Development project will consist of five tasks all related to concrete infrastructure.

  • Understand how rapid setting cement behaves in extreme cold and heat.
  • Develop magnesium cement mixtures that are more resilient against extreme heat and more environmentally friendly than standard portland cement, currently the most commonly used cement globally.  Portland cement can take up to a month to reach full strength and is responsible for a large amount of CO2 emissions.
  • Develop rapid repair techniques for concrete structures.
  • Investigate blast/impact resistance on self-stressing ultra-high performance concrete.
  • Investigate test methods for rapid characterization of alkali silica reaction (ASR).

Most of the project goals target military applications, however the work is expected to be applicable to most civilian infrastructure as well.  Concrete is an integral component in today’s society.  “One thing I always try to impress upon my students when I teach reinforced concrete design is just how important concrete is to our modern way of life,” Murray says. “It’s the second most widely used material on Earth behind water.”

This is not Murray’s first recognition for his research with concrete.  He was recently awarded the Walter P. Moore, Jr. Faculty Achievement Award from the American Concrete Institute at their spring 2022 convention in Orlando, Florida.  This award recognizes faculty members for excellence and innovation in the teaching of concrete design, materials or construction.  Murray is the first faculty member from the University of Arkansas to garner this recognition.  To learn more about Cameron Murray’s research, please visit www.camerondmurray.com.

 

About the Department of Civil Engineering: The Department of Civil Engineering at the University of Arkansas was established in 1897 when the College of Engineering made clear the separation of civil and mechanical engineering degrees. The department maintains accreditation from the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology (ABET) and ranks in the top 10% of civil engineering schools nationwide according to Best Engineering Schools. The department earned $2.7 million in research awards in fiscal year 2020 while our graduates earn a starting salary averaging $68,000. To learn more about the Department of Civil Engineering please visit our website.

Contacts

Mike Emery, Media Specialist
Civil Engineering
479-575-4954, maemery@uark.edu

Cameron Murray, Assistant Professor
Civil Engineering
479-575-2171, cdmurray@uark.edu

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