Federal government invests $ 1,176,000 to renew industrial research chair at the Université de Sherbrooke
Sherbrooke, le 18 novembre 2005 – The Honourable David L. Emerson, Minister of Industry and Minister responsible for the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC), today announced a grant of $1,176,000 to Professor Brahim Benmokrane of the Department of Civil Engineering at the Université de Sherbrooke, to support the renewal of his NSERC Industrial Research Chair in Innovative Fibre Reinforced Polymer (FRP) Composite Materials for Infrastructure.
"Dr. Benmokrane's research will enable us to develop new materials and structures and to test their durability and suitability for the Canadian climate," said Mr. Emerson. "This research will help ensure that Canada maintains a leading-edge infrastructure technology."
This Université de Sherbrooke research chair has already achieved a number of successes. For example, it has substantially alleviated the persistent problem of corroding steel in concrete infrastructures by replacing the steel, in repairs to existing infrastructures and construction of new ones, with synthetic materials. Reinforcing bars made of fibre reinforced polymer (FRP) composites have excellent durability.
Dr. Benmokrane explains, "Reinforced concrete structures have proven especially vulnerable to corrosion. By reinforcing concrete with corrosion-proof composite materials that are both light and extremely durable, we can radically improve the quality and durability of structures such as highways and bridges, while reducing maintenance costs proportionately. FRP composites can extend the service life of structures and minimize maintenance requirements."
Dr. Nigel Lloyd, Chief Operating Officer and Executive Vice-President of NSERC, added, "Thanks to his research program, which combines laboratory testing with field applications, Professor Benmokrane has strengthened the ties between his research team and the private and public organizations involved in renewing urban infrastructures. The culmination of this partnership has been the use of FRP reinforcing bars in a number of new bridge decks and other structures. These new structures also incorporate another leading-edge technology: a system that uses fibre-optic sensors to monitor these structures remotely."
The financial support that Dr. Benmokrane's research program receives from the federal government will be distributed over five years and provided through NSERC's Industrial Research Chairs program. Professor Benmokrane has also secured financial support from the following partners in private industry and government: Pultrall Inc., Roctest Ltée., Teknika-HBA Inc., GéoLab Inc., Avensys Inc., A.S. Composites Inc., Hydro-Québec, the Ministère des Transports du Québec, Public Works and Government Services Canada and TowerTex Composites Innovateurs Inc. Together, these partners will contribute a total of $1,230,000 in cash and another $1,000,000 in products and services that are essential to the Chair's research activities. In addition, the Chair will provide training for more than 25 highly qualified people in this research field over the coming five years.
Professor Brahim Benmokrane is a world-recognized expert in the field of FRP composites and their applications in civil engineering structures. His research has earned him a number of distinctions. He was recently made a Fellow of the Canadian Society for Civil Engineering and the American Concrete Institute, and he received the Méritas Award in 2004 from the Eastern Townships regional section of the Ordre des ingénieurs du Québec.
NSERC is a federal agency whose role is to make investments in people, discovery and innovation for the benefit of all Canadians. With an annual budget of more than $860 million, the agency supports more than 22,000 university students and postdoctoral fellows in their advanced studies. NSERC promotes discovery by funding more than 10,000 university professors every year and fosters innovation by encouraging more than 600 Canadian companies to participate and invest in university research projects.
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For further information, please contact :
Media Relations and Public Affairs Officer NSERC
Communication, Université de Sherbrooke
819 821-8000 #3395
Office of the Honourable David L. Emerson, Minister of Industry
Department of Civil Engineering, Université de Sherbrooke
819 821-7758 brahim.benmokrane@USherbrooke.ca