Innovations in Ultra-High Performance Concrete: Sustainable Practices and AI-aided Design Strategies

NHERI Lehigh Seminar Series

February 12, 2024 | 3:00pm – 4:00pm EST


This presentation delves into the latest advancements in Ultra-High Performance Concrete (UHPC), focusing on overcoming traditional challenges in UHPC overlays and optimizing mix designs. The cutting-edge solutions for reducing shrinkage and cracking potential, and the development of thixotropic UHPC suitable for overlay application will be firstly explored. Key innovations include the use of pre-saturated lightweight sand, expansive agents, shrinkage-reducing agents, and nanoclay suspensions, all contributing to enhanced properties for bridge deck overlays. A significant aspect of this talk will be the sustainable incorporation of waste materials into UHPC. Materials such as off-specification fly ash, waste glass, recycled concrete, and biochar, previously regarded as waste, are now being repurposed. Their inclusion not only enhances the mechanical properties of UHPC but also plays a crucial role in reducing its carbon footprint. How the right combination of these waste materials and active agents results in UHPC with superior durability and performance will be discussed, showcasing the potential of sustainable practices in construction. Moreover, the presentation will introduce an AI-aided approach to designing low-carbon UHPC. This approach leverages the power of data augmentation, machine learning, and many-objective optimization, facilitated by generative modeling and automated machine learning. How this AI methodology significantly lowers the life-cycle carbon footprint, embodied energy, and material costs of UHPC will be demonstrated, marking a transformative step in eco-friendly construction material development.

About the Presenter

Dr. Weina Meng is a tenure-track Assistant Professor at Stevens Institute of Technology, specializing in Sustainable and Resilient Civil Engineering Materials. Dr. Meng received the recognition with the NSF CAREER award in 2021 and being named among the World’s Top 2% Scientists by Stanford University in 2023. Her academic contributions include 66 peer-reviewed journal articles, a US patent, two edited books, and over 4,000 citations (Google Scholar). Dr. Meng was honored as "2020 Educator of the Year" by the ASCE New Jersey Section. She holds memberships on ACI, ACS, and AcerS, editorial positions on two journals, and contribute to American Concrete Institute standards. Dr. Meng’s research focuses on four areas: advancements in Ultra-High-Performance Concrete (UHPC), pioneering CO2 sequestration in concrete, developing biomimetic concrete, and utilizing AI for enhanced concrete design and analysis.

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