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WVU researchers patent method to strengthen buildings

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MORGANTOWN, W.Va. (AP) – West Virginia University researchers have patented technology for reinforcing the T-shaped joints of concrete beams in buildings to make them better able to endure shocks without breaking.

Doctoral engineering student Praveen Majjigapu (prah-VEEN’ mah-JEE’-gap-oo) and his adviser, Professor Hota GangaRao (HO’-tah GAN’-goh-raow), are co-inventors and share the two patents.

At a Thursday demonstration for potential partners in an industrial lab, they applied increasing pressure with a hydraulic actuator down onto a horizontal concrete beam joined to a vertical beam.

The joint was reinforced above and below with their invention – wedge-shaped modules wrapped in composite material.

The horizontal beam cracked at 65,000 pounds of pressure at the outer edge of the composite.

Majjigapu says normally joints break at about 14,000 pounds.

GangaRao says there’s a potentially wide application for renewing older structures.

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