CSEE grad student Diaz Arancibia named a recipient of the 2015 PTI AMSYSCO Scholarship

Graduate student Mauricio Diaz Arancibia is shown at Jersey Precast where he went last semester to install gauges on prestressing steel and mild reinforcement of a NEXT beam in order to monitor the girder end-region strains. 

by Sarah D'Iorio

Published February 24, 2015

A NEXT beam at Jersey Precast was installed with a strain monitoring system, which is being used in research to help identify and mitigate causes of cracking that commonly occurs at the ends of this type of beam.

“Mauricio’s work is rapidly advancing to greatly enhance the service quality of prestressed concrete bridge structures.”
Pinar Okumus, Assistant Professor
Department of Civil, Structural and Environmental Engineering

Mauricio Diaz Arancibia, a graduate student in Department of Civil, Structural and Environmental Engineering at the University at Buffalo, has been selected as a recipient of the 2015 Post-Tensioning Institute (PTI) AMSYSCO Scholarship.

Diaz Arancibia, a Fulbright Scholar from Bolivia, is a second-year master’s student in Structural and Earthquake Engineering who will be entering the PhD program next semester.

“Mauricio’s work is rapidly advancing to greatly enhance the service quality of prestressed concrete bridge structures," said Pinar Okumus, assistant professor in the Department of Civil, Structural and Environmental Engineering, who is Diaz Arancibia's advisor.

"He well deserves the PTI AMSYSCO Scholarship owing to his excellent research work, his successful academic record, and his potential to become a leader in the field of post-tensioned bridge structures.” 

Since 2011, the scholarship program awards funding to full-time senior or graduate-level engineering and architectural students in the United States or Canada who are concentrating their studies in the area of concrete structures, with an emphasis on structural design, materials, and/or construction. 

Diaz Arancibia’s research is examining the consequences of high stresses at the ends of pre-tensioned girders during the release of prestress. He is looking at a specific type of beam called the Northeast Extreme Tee (NEXT) beam, which was introduced by the Precast/Presetressed Concrete Institute's Northeast Chapter as an alternative to concrete box beams and accelerated bridge construction option.

“Typical cracking patterns develop in these girders during the release stage and pose an important threat to durability during the life of bridges,” said Diaz Arancibia.

In order to monitor these cracking patterns, Diaz Arancibia and Okumus went to Jersey Precast in Trenton, NJ, last semester to install strain gauges in one of the company’s NEXT beams. The researchers will use the data to build accurate nonlinear finite element models to help identify the main causes of cracking. They will then propose actions (cracking control methods) to eliminate, or at least greatly mitigate, the cracking behavior during prestress release.

Diaz Arancibia will be recognized during an award ceremony at the Post-Tensioning Institute's Annual Technical Conference in Houston on April 27, 2015.