News & Features

Trevor Williamson - FHWA Eisenhower Fellowship

Trevor TA Award 

July 10, 2014

Ph.D. student Trevor Williamson recently received an Eisenhower Graduate Fellowship by the U.S. Department of Transportation Federal Highway Administration (FHWA).

The FHWA Eisenhower Graduate Fellowship provides funding for the pursuit of Master's Degrees or Doctorates in transportation related fields. The fellowship program, which encompasses all modes of transportation, is intended to bring innovation and enhance the breadth and scope of knowledge of the entire transportation community in the United States.

Williamson works with Associate Professor Maria Juenger in the Construction Materials Research Group. His research focuses on the development of a new class of construction materials, called geopolymers, which have the potential to serve as a low-energy, low-CO2 alternative to portland cement concrete in pavement and other infrastructure applications.

Geopolymers are synthesized by the activation of an aluminosilicate powder, usually coal fly ash, by a highly alkaline aqueous solution.  The primary driver for replacing portland cement pavements with geopolymer pavements is the substantially lower environmental footprint.

Additionally, preliminary research has demonstrated superior durability and comparable mechanical properties of geopolymers compared to portland cement concrete, but the mechanisms by which these properties are derived are poorly understood. This research aims to ultimately facilitate better control of the properties geopolymer concrete produced from a wide variety of source materials.