News Release: SUNY Poly Professor Awarded $75,000 National Science Foundation Grant to Further Optimize and Apply Next Generation Steels in Construction

News Release: SUNY Poly Professor Awarded $75,000 National Science Foundation Grant to Further Optimize and Apply Next Generation Steels in Construction

Tuesday, October 30, 2018 - 09:21
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SUNY Poly Faculty in the News
Utica campus

Dr. Zhanjie Li, collaborating with Johns Hopkins University, focusing on ways to optimize use of Advanced High-Strength Steels for construction

UTICA, NY – SUNY Polytechnic Institute (SUNY Poly) announced that Assistant Professor of Civil Engineering Dr. Zhanjie Li has been awarded $75,000 as part of an overall $400,000 National Science Foundation (NSF) grant with collaborating researchers at Johns Hopkins University, for ongoing work to further increase material efficiency and lower initial and life-cycle costs by optimizing the building structural system with careful application of Advanced High-Strength Steels (AHSS), while still maintaining the cost-effectiveness and the competitiveness of domestic steel production.

“This award is a wonderful testament to the caliber of our faculty at SUNY Poly and their dedication to providing a top-quality education to our students while conducting leading-edge research that can positively impact society as a whole,” said Dr. Grace Wang, Interim President of SUNY Poly. “This National Science Foundation award recognizes the importance of the work being done here by researchers like Dr. Li, which could improve building strength and lead to improved safety, and I am proud to congratulate him.”


“This is a great example of the important work being done by our faculty and I speak for all our colleagues in congratulating Dr. Li on this accomplishment,” said Dr. Steven Schneider, Interim SUNY Poly Provost. “We’re incredibly proud of the research conducted by Dr. Li and his colleagues and the validation of his work through this notable grant award from the National Science Foundation.”


“I congratulate Dr. Li on this highly competitive grant award,” said Dr. Andrew Wolfe, SUNY Poly Interim Dean of the College of Engineering. “This grant is a testament to Dr. Li's scholarly ability and hard work. This research effort, while expanding the state of the art in steel structural design, will also provide our undergraduate students with the opportunity to work with Dr. Li as research assistants and also allow Dr. Li to provide students in his classes with the tools required for designing the next generation of steel structures.”


The research aims to provide buildings with improved sustainability over time as well as structural resilience, while maintaining a cost-effective approach by incorporating next-generation Advanced High-Strength Steels material into construction, and more specifically, as part of cold-formed steel framed buildings.


“I’m excited for the opportunity to perform this work along with the team from Hopkins. Society’s needs for quickly constructed, highly-efficient, cost-effective, sustainable, and resilient buildings are vast,” said Dr. Li. “AHSS with strengths as much as five times higher than conventional mild steels used in current constructions have great potentials in building structures.”


The automotive industry has benefitted from AHSS via increased efficiency for automobiles as a result of reduced mass and better performance. Leveraging the same AHSS sheet steels already developed for automotive applications, Dr. Li’s research can provide an accelerated path for society to benefit from these improvements. The work being done in this field provides a plan to overcome the scientific barriers in the application of next-generation steels to cold-formed steel building construction and begin the optimization of the uses of these steels.


The funding will enable the collaborative research team to further their work developing and improving upon the use of these enhanced steels in the construction of structures as prototypes that could help to maximize the benefit of adopting AHSS in a number of construction-focused applications.



About SUNY Polytechnic Institute (SUNY Poly)

SUNY Poly is New York’s globally recognized, high-tech educational ecosystem. SUNY Poly offers undergraduate and graduate degrees in the emerging disciplines of nanoscience and nanoengineering, as well as cutting-edge nanobioscience and nanoeconomics programs at its Albany campus, and undergraduate and graduate degrees in technology, including engineering, cybersecurity, computer science, and the engineering technologies; professional studies, including business, communication, and nursing; and arts and sciences, including natural sciences, mathematics, humanities, and social sciences at its Utica/Rome campus; thriving athletic, recreational, and cultural programs, events, and activities complement the campus experience. As the world’s most advanced, university-driven research enterprise, SUNY Poly boasts billions of dollars in high-tech investments and hundreds of corporate partners since its inception. For information visit