When asked if green technology was here to stay, Wool expressed emphatically that he hoped so. “There’s obviously a huge advertising cachet about green materials. Companies are starting to position themselves to sell the government as being a bio-preferred program. The government is the largest purchaser, and they’re giving preference to green suppliers,” he says.

Project: Near-Surface Mounted Reinforcements
School: University of Miami
Location: Miami
Director: Antonio Nanni

When University of Miami Professor Tony Nanni came up with the idea to groove concrete and drop bars into the grooves for reinforcement, he thought he was the first, but it turns out it had already been discovered in another time and place: post-WWII Sweden.

However, the Swedes used steel bars whereas Nanni saw potential in applying composites, coining the technology as near-surface mounted reinforcements (NSM). The focus with the technology is construction repair and rehabilitation. One of the main benefits of the technology is continuity through joints, which allow penetration to provide continual reinforcement. Additionally, in floor slats, you have the ability to lightly groove the top side of the floor and drop these bars for very quick repair/rehab.

However, there is trickery associated with the surface configuration of the bars. “There has to be a good bond between the bar and the material; typically epoxy resin is used as a binder in the groove. So the surface configuration and quality is not that of a typical pultruded product. The differentiation between companies is related to the surface treatment,” says Nanni.

Nanni states there is a lack of industry regulation of codes and standards that prescribe minimal requirements. “If the technology is not standardized, there’s no way to make it part of a contractual agreement. If those documents were general knowledge, they could be incorporated without the engineers reinventing the wheel every time.”