Led by Professor Perumalsamy Balaguru of the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, Rutgers is establishing an New NSF Industry University Center for Integration of Composites into Infrastructure (CICI) for the utilization of inorganic polymer system for infrastructure applications. The primary objective for these NSF centers is to improve the international compositeness of the American Industry. The vision of the new center is to create innovative composite products for enhancing the performance of existing applications and develop new application areas.
The primary themes of the new center are to create sustainable building materials and systems including increasing the life of the existing structures. For example one of the projects will focus on using waste lumber products to manufacture fire resistant structural components. In the area of increasing the life of existing structures, one of the themes is to develop a ceramic coating that can be applied to existing infrastructures to reduce the degradation.
An inorganic polymer system that was developed at Rutgers for aircraft structures was used to create a unique coating system that is compatible with common construction materials. The coating material that looks and behaves like a standard paint, is compatible with common construction materials such as: clay bricks, concrete, steel and timber. Fillers, pigments and hardening agents can be added to the powder component. The most unique properties of the coating are: self-cleaning and de-pollution characteristics. Self-cleaning properties is shown in below. The coating that was applied to bridge abutment wall clearly shows that the coating stays clean. The green mold can be seen on the uncoated surface.
Common application procedures such as brushing and spraying can be used for coating and strengthening of infrastructures. The product was successfully used for strengthening and for protective coating of bridge substructures in Maryland, New Jersey and Rhode Island.
The matrix can withstand temperatures up to 1000˚C, and is not affected by UV radiation. Fire tests show that the flame-spread index is zero. The matrix is water based; consequently tools and spills can be cleaned with water. All of the components are nontoxic and no fumes are emitted during mixing or curing.The base coating material is white and hence other color schemes can be easily formulated using pigments. Various color schemes, including concrete and brick color coatings have been successfully developed.
The latest application of the coating was carried out at: Route 280 at Garden State Parkway in New Jersey. The pre-cast wall was 650 feet long with an average height of 10 feet. The surface of the wall was in good condition. The coating system was engineered using pigments to obtain color schemes needed for the application.