- Louisiana State and Louisiana Tech universities have established the Center for Innovations in Structural Integrity Assurance (CISIA), according to a press release.
- The center will study materials and how they match up to infrastructure performance and structural integrity. It will also serve as a teaching facility for students at various two- and four-year schools in addition to LSU and Louisiana Tech, according to the release. There will not be a physical center, but the partnership will encompass facilities across both campuses, according to an LSU spokesperson.
- Failure of infrastructure and related components can have economic, social and environmental consequences. In fact, the failure of aging civil infrastructure is projected to result in $4 trillion in losses to the U.S. GDP and 2.5 million jobs lost over the next 10 years, according to the American Society of Civil Engineers.
The center’s focus on infrastructure comes at a fortuitous moment, as Congress works toward passing the $1 trillion bipartisan infrastructure bill. Beyond spending, the devastation caused by Hurricane Ida — which ripped through Louisiana and brought massive flooding to a huge swath of the U.S. in August — exposed weaknesses in U.S. infrastructure and led to renewed calls to pass the bill and pump funds into key components of the system.
Part of the funding for the center comes from the National Science Foundation along with industry members such as Lockheed Martin and Dow Chemical, whose membership dues go towards some of the funding, said Michael Khonsari, center director and professor in the LSU Department of Mechanical Engineering and Dow Chemical endowed chair. The partnership began on August 1.
“Our center essentially works with a variety of industries — this could be energy, chemical, petrochemical, aerospace — to help them reduce the financial and human impact associated with mechanical and structural failure, and that is done through advanced technology that is developed by our researchers in terms of monitoring, prediction, characterization and testing,” Khonsari said.
The program will encompass several LSU and Louisiana Tech facilities, such as the LSU Shared Instrumentation Facility, LSU Advanced Manufacturing and Machining Facility, LSU Center for Advanced Microstructures and Devices as well as LSU High Performance Computing.
Khonsari said that the goal of the center will be to engage in pre-competitive research by bridging the gap between academic research and commercial readiness. Khonsari also said that the infrastructure focus by the Biden administration was “very timely” for the center.
“All of these things need to get looked at not only to make our citizens more comfortable with the way of life, but also one really worries when a catastrophic failure occurs, not only does it damage equipment and causes shutdowns and financial issues, but then there could be catastrophic human events as well,” Khonsari said.