delware environmental institute

UDaily: Engineering research is aimed at environmentally sustainable building construction

UDaily: Engineering research is aimed at environmentally sustainable building construction

Steel is the most recycled material in the world. But there are questions as to whether structural steel can be safely reused in buildings and, if so, under what conditions. A team of researchers at the University of Delaware has been awarded a three-year $300,000 grant from the National Science Foundation to address these questions and lay the foundation for a new paradigm to reuse structural steel members in contrast to recycling them.

The advantages of reuse are that it eliminates the process of melting down and reforming the steel members, which is an energy-intensive process with a large carbon footprint. The award was made through the agency’s Environmental Sustainability Program.

Led by Jennifer McConnell, associate professor in the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, the research has the potential to dramatically reduce the need for recycling steel members.