Two LSU professors are working on ways to improve underwater construction

As the average global sea level set a new record and the National Weather Service recorded an all-time high for significant climate events in 2022, a pair of LSU Engineering researchers are taking on these challenges with a $500,000 grant. 

LSU Civil and Environmental Engineering Assistant Professor Yen-Fang Su and LSU Chemical Engineering Assistant Professor Yaxin An are exploring the potential of additive manufacturing as an autonomous, advanced construction method to overcome the challenges of underwater construction with a National Science Foundation Future Manufacturing Award. 

The challenges they face include severe working conditions, restricted access and potential ecological damage, according to an announcement from LSU. 

The pair will specifically utilize artificial intelligence-driven material modeling to help them select and determine the best bio-based construction materials for use in underwater construction through a novel-sensing approach.

Traditionally, building underwater structural components is complicated and requires pumping or placing concrete using a tremie pipe, a long watertight tube that extends to the seabed and ensures accurate placement while minimizing disturbance to the surrounding water, the release adds. 

Repairing those structures once they’re built requires highly-skilled divers equipped with specialized gear and techniques to carry out the process. Neither approach is ideal, according to LSU.

If their project is successful, both Su and An believe it will not only address the aforementioned challenges, but it will also have far-reaching benefits for the construction industry and coastal communities, as well as the energy and defense sectors. Read more.