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PATH: Innovative Multifunctional Structural Panels for Cost-effective Panelized Construction

University of Alabama at Birmingham

* Nasim Uddin, Principal Investigator
* Fouad Fouad, Co-Principal Investigator
* Uday Vaidya, Co-Principal Investigator

Start: October 1, 2005
Expires: September 30, 2008


It is vital to the U.S. economy that cost-effective structural systems and materials be explored to extend service life and to improve performance of housing and infrastructure facilities. This project will pioneer a new technology for the development of pre-engineered and prefabricated multifunctional building components (or sub elements) that possess:

  • improved structural performance,
  • intuitive installation (that does not require skilled labor and that can be demonstrated to lower the cost of housing),
  • combine structural performance with thermal,
  • fire-protection, and
  • sound insulating qualities.

This project particularly focuses on multifunctional panelized construction where greater affordability can be achieved through increased factory-based prefabrication of subcomponent assemblies, and where greater structural performance can be designed into the component.

For the first time ever, the essence of the proposed research is to adapt a new cost-effective preforming process and thermoplastic technology to develop innovative hybrid fiber reinforced plastic (FRP)-lightweight concrete wall panels and glass fiber reinforced intelligent thermoplastic sheet panels for low cost housing structures.

The research also aims at broadening its impact by including undergraduates in the research team and taking research findings to various modules of the appropriate coursework. Other impacts of the research includes:

  • transfer of advanced technology from the material science and engineering to the civil engineering arena,
  • encouraging the spirit of interdisciplinary research in developing effective solutions in the more established civil engineering field, and
  • engaging the composites industry in the construction market.

For additional details on this NSF award.

Content updated on 9/26/2006

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