The changing nature of construction
The changing nature of construction is calling for new, sustainable building materials and practices that are energy saving. The center's mission is to expand and accelerate the use of nonmetallic materials and products in the built environment to improve sustainability, contribute to a lower carbon footprint, and enhance the durability and longevity of structures.
With Aramco's experience developing and deploying nonmetallic solutions for more than two decades in its own operations, the partnership has become a natural extension for the company and part of its innovation initiatives and diversification to enter new markets.
There are 12 projects approved by the center's Board of Directors for 2022.
Several projects are underway to develop new engineering standards and specifications to bridge industrial gaps. Notable new standards will address “Glass Fiber Reinforced Polymer (GFRP) Rebar Design Manual” and “Recommended Practices for Pre-engineered Projects with Fiber Reinforced Plastics (FRP) Rebar Design.”
NEx is developing a new guide “Design and Selection Guidelines for NonMetallic Pultruded Structures” in response to an increase call for nonmetallic alternatives to structural steel. Structural elements such as beams, columns, roof, walls, stairs commonly used as load-bearing components in construction or infrastructure are trending toward nonmetallic or fiber reinforced plastic manufactured elements. The benefits include lower material cost, ease of transport, and corrosion resistance.
Aramco Americas supports the partnership's administration
Aramco Americas Technical Services Department supports the partnership's administration and recently put in place a Master Funding Agreement with NEx to leverage specialized projects such as those above and others. Funding will also support training, professional certification, and advocacy for enhancing the use of carbon fibers in civil infrastructure.
Collaboration with universities and research centers is furthering the mission of NEx. This year the center is sponsoring four research programs with leading academic institutions. A NEx University Outreach Program was created to identify potential collaborations to advance nonmetallic materials in the construction environment with interest from several universities, including those outside the U.S.