USDOT Awards Innovation Research Grant to FDH Engineering

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Engineering firm’s R&D group is awarded $150,000 to develop a new method to inspect prestressed concrete.

Prestressed concrete comprises 25 percent of the nation's more than 600,000 bridges.

The U.S. Department of Transportation has awarded FDH Engineering, Inc. a Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) grant to develop a new method to inspect and evaluate prestressed concrete. Prestressed concrete comprises 25 percent of the nation’s more than 600,000 bridges.

While many inspection technologies are available to find corrosion in steel tendons of prestressed concrete, no single technology has shown consistent results over the wide range of prestressed structures and inspection settings that are required from the bridge infrastructure market.

However, a new nondestructive evaluation (NDE) method – Nonlinear Impact Resonance Spectroscopy (NIRS) – shows promise in identifying corrosion of embedded steel. FDH has proposed combining the NIRS method with the results from the best proven NDE techniques using a data fusion approach to obtain more consistent and useful results than any of the individual tests for inspecting and evaluating prestressed concrete.

The grant award, totaling $150,000, constitutes the first phase of a possible two-phase research effort. The methods developed in Phase I will be encapsulated into a single portable inspection device, which will be developed into a prototype in Phase II.

FDH was the only Phase I awardee for this grant. Upon successful completion of the Phase I work, FDH will be eligible to submit for a Phase II grant of up to $1 million.

FDH’s research team is led by Dr. Robert Lindyberg, PE, vice president, and includes Dr. Mark Cesare, senior research scientist; Corbin Hardy, PE, director; and Jeff Cohen, signal analyst.

The team also includes participation from North Carolina State University. FDH will work with Dr. Mohammad Pour-Ghaz, an assistant professor in the department of civil, construction, and environmental engineering, to incorporate his research into nonlinear ultrasonic inspection.

The USDOT SBIR Program awards grants to small businesses (<500 employees) to pursue research and develop innovative solutions to the nation’s transportation challenges.


About FDH

FDH is a multidisciplinary consulting firm that provides engineering, investigation, and construction services to clients in the telecommunications, commercial, industrial, institutional and governmental sectors. Practice areas include civil engineering, geotechnical engineering, structural engineering, nondestructive testing, construction services, and research and development. FDH projects cross all 50 states and include international work in the U.S. territories, Central America and Pacific Rim. Since its pioneering beginnings in university research 20 years ago, which led to three U.S. patent awards, FDH has maintained a strong focus on innovation in every aspect of its operation and is recognized as a true global leader in the engineering investigation of civil and industrial infrastructure. FDH is headquartered in Raleigh, NC, with offices in St. Louis, MO; Irvine, CA; Baton Rouge, LA; Dayton, OH; and Phoenix, AZ.

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Kathryn McDermott
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