One major problem occurring in infrastructure is the deterioration of materials. As they keep on being used, their performance and structure is affected because of the loads being applied onto them each day. There are many solutions to this problem such as rebuilding bridges or repairing them. However, they cost money and time to do, but one important solution is also finding better materials to use for constructing crucial infrastructure projects. I looked around Rutgers CAIT (Center for Advanced Infrastructure and Transportation) and found a research report about improved concrete mixes.
In the report, the professors were performing research on high performance concrete (HPC). Compared to many concrete mixes, HPC has a high aggregate ratio with coarse to fine. This ratio is greater than the value of 1.48. The tests performed showed that HPC was able to hold more loads onto it and crack less than other test samples. It also shrunk less when it was hardening (Nassif, H., Aktas, K., Najm, H., & Suksawang). This is an important discovery because cracking keeps on going until it interacts with other cracks to take chunks of material off structures.
As ideas and solutions float around people to find ways to fund the critical situation of the US infrastructure, research takes a step by discovering new methods and technologies that replace old traditional methods. This gives the industry more tools to find better and efficient ways to repair bridges and structures instead of just using more of the same material. In general, research has the potential to find cost-efficient materials that can outperform the current technology. However, it takes time to perform testing but also knowledge of the construction materials. One way to ensure research continues is to promote it to students who have the drive or passion for it. There are many opportunities in infrastructure research, and it will need people to fill in positions. While discussions and votes occur to find a way to finance the infrastructure, research is another solution to finding better materials to use for future infrastructure.
Nassif, H., Aktas, K., Najm, H., & Suksawang (2007). Concrete Shrinkage Analysis for Bridge Deck Concrete. Retrieved December 2, 2014, from http://cait.rutgers.edu/files/FHWA- NJ-2007-007.pdf