Ji Yun Lee receives NSF CAREER award for community resilience research

June 1, 2023 — Ji Yun Lee, assistant professor in WSU’s Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, has received a National Science Foundation Faculty Early Career Development (CAREER) award for her work in helping communities better prepare for wildfires.

The prestigious five-year grants are intended to provide research support to young faculty beginning their careers who have the potential to serve as academic role models in research and education.

As part of the approximately $520,000 award, Lee will be developing next-generation wildfire protection plans for communities that will be … » More …

Pouria Bahmani receives 2023 New Faculty Seed Grant

May 11, 2023 — The Office of Research has awarded nine faculty with the 2023 New Faculty Seed Grant. The grant program supports junior faculty in developing research, scholarly, or creative programs that lead to sustained professional development and external funding. The program is sponsored by the Office of Research and the Office of the Provost.

Pouria Bahmani, Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, will aim to close practical gaps in the implementation of Timber-Concrete Composite (TCC) floors … » More …

Grant will develop psychological safety training for construction workers

May 8, 2023 — People often think of artificial intelligence as the frontier of science, but Hongtao Dang, assistant professor of construction management in the School of Design and Construction, is studying what might be considered a larger unknown frontier: emotional and social intelligence.

Dang recently received a grant to develop a training program to improve psychological safety for people in the construction industry. Funding and support for the project has been provided by the State of Washington, Department of Labor & Industries, Safety … » More …

Seismic testing of NHERI TallWood Building to set a new record

Dan Dolan Portrait April 26, 2023 –The Natural Hazards Engineering Research Infrastructure (NHERI) TallWood project will investigate the resilience of tall timber buildings by simulating a series of large earthquakes on a full-scale, 10-story mass timber building this spring.

“This project is the tallest full-scale project to ever be tested on an earthquake table anywhere,” said Dan Dolan, emeritus professor in the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering who has worked on the project for almost a decade. “We want to create building designs that will have little damage in earthquakes and still be habitable.” [Read more…]

Recycling isn’t enough to slow plastic pollution, WA scientists say

Karl Englund PortraitIn a 2021 report funded by the Recycling Development Center, research professor Karl Englund and a civil and environmental engineering team at Washington State University outlined existing chemical and thermal recycling options for plastic — such as heat-intensive solutions like pyrolysis and gasification, or catalyst-based solutions like glycolysis — and assessed their viability to operate in the Pacific Northwest.

“The guys in the plastics world are busting their butt to make this happen,” Englund says. “Do we all need to do more? Yeah. But at least we’re taking steps in the right … » More …

Carbon-negative homes research earns $2.6 million grant

Adam Phillips PortraitA two‑year, $2.6 million U.S. Department of Energy grant will support a team of researchers in designing and building carbon-negative homes to combat climate change in the growing residential construction sector.

“Society needs the built environment. It’s one of those things moving forward that we can’t reduce creating more of, so we need to find a way to do it cleanly,” said Adam Phillips, assistant professor of civil engineering and a co‑principal investigator on the project.  [Read more…]

New way found to turn #7 plastic into valuable products

A method to convert a commonly thrown-away plastic to a resin used in 3D-printing could allow for making better use of plastic waste. A team of Washington State University researchers developed a simple and efficient way to convert polylactic acid (PLA), a bio-based plastic used in products such as filament, plastic silverware and food packaging to a high-quality resin.

“We found a way to immediately turn this into something that’s stronger and better, and we hope that will provide people the incentive to upcycle this stuff instead of just … » More …

Researchers improve cement with shrimp shell nanoparticles

Putting nanoparticles from shrimp shells into cement paste made the material significantly stronger — an innovation that could lead to reduced seafood waste and lower carbon emissions from concrete production.

Reporting in the journal Cement and Concrete Composites, a team of Washington State University and Pacific Northwest National Laboratory researchers created nanocrystals and nanofibers of chitin, the second most abundant biopolymer in nature, from waste shrimp shells. When these tiny bits of chitin, which are about 1,000 times smaller than a human hair, were added to cement paste, the resulting material was up to 40% stronger. [Read more…]

WSU Extension Forestry team honored for excellence in education

The WSU Extension Forestry team was honored this summer by the Western Extension Director’s Association for their educational efforts preserving the health and safety of Washington’s private forests.

Team members Andrew Perleberg, Kevin Zobrist, Sean Alexander, Patrick Shults, Rebekah Zimmerer, Grace Garrison, Todd Murray, Vikram Yadama, and Karl Englund received WEDA’s Excellence in Programming award as part of the association’s joint annual meeting, June 29, 2022 in Concord, Calif. [Read more…]

Cougar Cage sets stage for researchers to reduce plastic waste

Post-doctoral research associate Yu-Chung Chang and his team won $50,000 to explore chemical recycling on May 10 at Cougar Cage, hoping to reduce plastic waste in landfills and oceans.

Cougar Cage is an event, like “Shark Tank,” where researchers pitch their project to a panel of judges, who determine if it will benefit the environment and humanity. Researchers also explain how funding can further propel their project, Chang said. [Read more…]