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Research and Equipment

Photos of example research results

Active Research Projects

  1. Recovery of ZnO from End-of-Life Tires for Enhanced and Effective Waste Material Utilization. PIs: Alexander S. Brand and Wencai Zhang. Funding source: Center for Tire Research. Objective: Develop a method to remove leachable zinc from end-of-life tires to produce a more environmentally-conscious produce for civil infrastructure applications. 
  2. In-situ Monitoring of AA6111 Alloy Microstructure during Corrosion Events. PIs: Alexander S. Brand and Yizheng Zhu. Funding source: Ford University Research Program. Objective: Utilize spectral modulation interferometry to quantify in situ nanoscale corrosion kinetics of an AA6111 alloy. 
  3. Non-Destructive Evaluation of Brine Tanks by Thermographic and Ultrasonic Methods. PI: Alexander S. Brand. Funding source: Virginia Department of Transportation. Objective: Develop testing methodologies to use infrared thermography and phased-array ultrasound to inspect polyethylene above-ground storage tanks. 
  4. Testing of Capping Materials for Runway Crater Repair. PI: Luna Innovations Inc. (Subcontract to Alexander S. Brand). Funding source: US Air Force SBIR. Objective: Develop a rapid-setting polymer concrete for airfield repair application. 
  5. Extending the Service Life of Rigid Pavement Joints with Self-Healing Sealants. PIs: Jovan Tatar, Christopher Kloxin, and Alexander S. Brand. Funding source: Center for Integrated Asset Management for Multi-modal Transportation Infrastructure Systems. Objective: Develop and characterize a self-healing polymer for use as a rigid pavement joint sealant. 
  6. Digital Standards Education Modules for Innovation and Sustainability of Concrete Infrastructure. PIs: Alexander S. Brand, Eric Jacques, Roberto T. Leon. Funding source: National Institute of Standards and Technology. Objective: Create digital content that trains and educates students in the role and application of standards in the concrete industry. 


Research Interests

  • Advanced characterization methods to quantify and understand micro- and nanostructural development in cementitious composites 
  • Quantitative phase microscopy techniques to measure the spatially- and temporally-dependent dissolution kinetics of material surfaces
  • Physicochemical interactions between cementitious materials and recycled/by-product/waste materials
  • Additive manufacturing of functionally-graded cementitious composites 
  • Alternative rigid pavement designs, such as with fiber-reinforced concrete, roller compacted concrete, and two-lift concrete



  • Calmetrix I-Cal Flex isothermal calorimeter
  • Gamry Interface 1010E potentiostat 
  • Proceq Flaw Detector 100
  • Germann Proove'it RCPT
  • Buehler Cast N' Vac castable vacuum system
  • Buehler IsoMet low speed cutting system
  • Buehler AutoMet grinder-polisher
  • Custom-built concrete pore solution extraction die
  • Muffle furnace 
  • Portable vacuum pumps
  • Fume hood


Available Shared Equipment in CEE Facilities 

  • Concrete mixers (1 ft3, 2 ft3, and 22 ft3)
  • Forney 300 Series concrete testing frames (compression, split tension, and modulus)
  • Fog room for concrete curing
  • MTS Insight and Instron 5980 Series universal testing machines
  • Fluke TiX580 thermal imager
  • Metrohm Eco Titrator autotitrator
  • Skyscan 1174 X-ray micro-CT
  • GOM ARAMIS digital image correlation system
  • Qualitest Slab Tester (Freeze/Thaw)
  • Model mobile load simulator (MMLS3)
  • James Instruments Vu-Con impact echo system
  • James Instruments Windsor Probe system
  • James Instruments Maturity Meter
  • Proceq Pundit ultrasonic pulse velocity system
  • Proceq Profoscope rebar detector
  • Shimadzu Total Organic Carbon analyzer
  • Thermo Scientific iCAP-RQ ICP-MS


Available Shared Equipment in VT Facilities

  • Nanoscale Characterization and Fabrication Laboratory: scanning electron microscopy (JEOL IT-500HR, FEI Quanta 600 FEG, LEO 1550), transmission electron microscopy (FEI TITAN 80-300, JEOL JEM 2100, Philips EM420), focused ion beam (FEI Helios 600 NanoLab), X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy (PHI Quantera SXM), secondary ion mass spectrometry (Cameca IMS 7f GEO), ion beam milling and polishing (Gatan PIPS II, Gatan Solarus II, Leica EM TIC 3X), dynamic light scattering particle size analyzer (Malvern Zetasizer Nano ZS), and BET surface area analyzer (Quantachrome AUTOSORB-1)
  • Materials Characterization Laboratory: X-ray diffraction (Bruker D8 XRD), small angle X-ray diffraction (Bruker N8 Horizon, Xeuss 3.0), thermogravimetric analysis (TA Instruments TGA 5500, TA Instruments TGA 500), thermal conductivity (TA Instruments Fox 50), differential scanning calorimetry (TA Instruments DSC Q200), infrared spectroscopy (Varian 670-IR), Raman microscopy (XploRA PLUS), and BET surface area analyzer (Micrometritics 3 Flex)
Photo of the concrete lab
Concrete Laboratory at the CEE Structures and Materials Laboratory
Photo of Forney testing frames
Forney 300 Series concrete testing frames in the CEE 3684 Laboratory Classroom
photo of the isothermal calorimeter
Calmetrix I-Cal Flex isothermal calorimeter at the CEE Structures and Materials Laboratory