Friday, August 28, 2015

UTSA Civil Engineering professor aids in bridge safety

Arturo

Arturo Montoya

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(July 3, 2013) -- According to a recent report issued by the American Society of Civil Engineers, one in nine of the nation's bridges are rated as structurally deficient. When a bridge collapses, it raises questions about the safety of millions of travelers. How did it pass inspection? What could have been done to prevent it from collapsing?

Arturo Montoya, assistant professor of civil engineering at The University of Texas at San Antonio (UTSA), studies the aging of structures, such as steel bridges. This summer, he will embark on a yearlong project funded by a seed grant from UTSA and the Southwest Research Institute to develop a complex mathematical modeling system to determine the rate at which a steel structure deteriorates over time due to environmental factors.

"A bridge's age, design, traffic rate and load size are all currently figured into visual inspections," says Montoya. "However, another important factor that has not been incorporated into bridge inspections is the environmental impact on the structure's components. For example, a steel bridge near the ocean will corrode more quickly due to higher exposure to salt compared to the exact same bridge in San Antonio."

With the start-up funds, Montoya has purchased an accelerated corrosion chamber that he and his students will use to test the corrosion rate of steel under different environmental conditions. This research will help transportation agencies and safety inspectors more accurately predict a bridge's service time based on the probability of deterioration due to environmental conditions.

To learn more about the UTSA Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, visit http://engineering.utsa.edu/CE. Connect online with UTSA at www.utsa.edu, www.facebook.com/utsa, www.twitter.com/utsa or www.youtube.com/utsa.

 

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UTSA prides itself on giving students a well-rounded education. Combining a top-tier academic program with opportunities for personal growth prepares students to compete in a global economy. And that's not all. They learn to be informed and engaged citizens as well. At the heart of that academic program is an award-winning core curriculum.

For four consecutive years, UTSA has received an A-rating from the American Council of Trustees and Alumni for the caliber of its core curriculum. According to ACTA, UTSA requires its students to take six of the seven courses deemed "crucial" to a well-rounded education: composition, literature, U.S. government or history, economics, mathematics and science. Only a handful of other institutions in the U.S. are giving students these tools, which are needed to succeed in careers and the community.

Did you know? UTSA is one of only three Texas institutions and 23 in the United States to receive the highest rating for its core curriculum in the 2014-2015 edition of the ACTA's "What Will They Learn?" report.

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