One of the new research endeavors from SEAS and CEE faculty with potential benefits for the environment has been awarded support from the Eric and Wendy Schmidt Transformative Technology Fund.
The fund spurs the exploration of bold new ideas that can accelerate progress on major challenges in science and engineering, pioneer new discoveries, and transform entire fields of inquiry. The projects were selected based on their capacity to lead to significant advances in the discovery or implementation of transformative technology.
Controlling flooding by letting the water soak in
Three faculty members aim to reduce urban flooding by developing a new functional concrete-like material that absorbs rain water and then releases it slowly back to the environment. According to the team – co-led by Reza Moini, assistant professor of civil and environmental engineering; Emily Davidson, assistant professor of chemical and biological engineering; and Sujit Datta, assistant professor of chemical and biological engineering, the new material could be used in sidewalks, roads and other sections of the urban landscape. The new material’s architecture will consist of large and small pores arranged to optimize both water uptake and mechanical robustness and can be generated using advanced robotic or 3D-printing technologies. The intended result will be a widely scalable concrete-like material that can benefit groundwater recharge, reduce flooding, and potentially transform how urban landscapes are constructed.