CAER Program to Create High-performance Concrete for U.S. Military

photo of UK CAER research engineer Tristana Duvallet
UK CAER research engineer Tristana Duvallet weighs and tests concrete samples. Photo courtesy of UK CAER.

LEXINGTON, Ky. (Jan. 22, 2021) — A new University of Kentucky Center for Applied Energy Research (CAER) project seeks to create new, high-performance cements and concretes that will aid United States military operations both domestically and abroad.

Titled “High Performance Cementitious Materials to Advance Expedient Repairs and Structural Hardening Priorities,” this $2.5 million program is funded by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Engineer Research and Development Center (ERDC).

“The mobilization and deployment of the American military in areas with heavily damaged, limited or nonexistent infrastructure presents an unconventional range of critical operational challenges,” said Bob Jewell, research program manager for CAER’s Cementitious Materials research program. “Bridges, runways, roadways and hardened structures are critical to military force projection and often need to be fabricated or repaired — very quickly. Additionally, our soldiers and military personnel have a very limited range of tools and equipment with them.”

The CAER project seeks to solve both of those issues through the development of new high-strength, high-bond cements and concretes that are simple to deploy and use. These products will require little or no surface preparation and eliminate the heavy precast reinforcement-laden structural elements that bog down repair and construction projects.

“The successful development of these materials will greatly simplify logistics, speed of construction, and ongoing repair,” Jewell said. “These cements and concretes will provide incredible value in forward deployments to enhance operational readiness by enabling expedient deployment of forces across enemy or undeveloped terrain.”

CAER is known worldwide for its development of novel, high-performance, and more environmentally friendly cement and concrete products. As CAER Director Rodney Andrews notes, this project is a natural extension of those efforts.

“Our Cementitious Materials research team has a tradition of cement and concrete innovation,” Andrews said. “We also have a proud history of partnering with the U.S. military to provide solutions to their toughest challenges. We are honored to be selected to do that again with this ERDC project.”

Effort sponsored by the U.S. Government under Other Transaction for Prototype Agreement number W912HZ1990001 between the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Engineer Research and Development Center and the Government. The U.S. Government is authorized to reproduce and distribute reprints for Governmental purposes notwithstanding any copyright notation thereon. The views and conclusions contained herein are those of the authors and should not be interpreted as necessarily representing the official policies or endorsements, either expressed or implied, of the U.S. Government.

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