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Napper Wins First Place at TLSAMP for Concrete Research

Caleb Napper.

Caleb Napper

Currently, concrete accounts for about eight percent of the world’s carbon dioxide emissions, making it a critical area for decarbonization. CEE junior Caleb Napper, who is focusing on structural and environmental engineering, was recognized for his research that aims to do just this without sacrificing strength.

Napper’s research won first place in the undergraduate research poster competition within the engineering category at the 19th Annual Virtual TLSAMP (Tennessee Louis Stokes Alliance for Minority Participation) Research Conference for his poster, “Analysis of Alternate Binder Properties in Optimized Concrete.” Professor John Ma and graduate student Debalina Ghosh guided his research.

“This is needed as the population continues to rise,” he said. “Society is putting a focus on building up instead of out, so we cannot reduce the strength while trying to improve the environment.”

Some of the ingredients include ground granulated blast furnace slag (GGBFS) and calcium sulfoaluminate (CSA), which have much lower carbon dioxide emissions than Ordinary Portland Cement (OPC). The OPC was substituted with GGBFS and CSA in various proportions to determine the optimal amount.

The TLSAMP program aims to increase the enrollment and graduation rate of underrepresented students (Hispanic, African American, American Indian, Alaskan Native, and Pacific Islander) in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM).