AECOM and University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee Sign Memorandum of Agreement on Nanotechnology Collaboration

(Nanowerk News) British-based AECOM, Inc. and the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee (UWM) have signed a Memorandum of Agreement to explore potential areas of research collaboration in the rapidly growing area of nanotechnology in building materials.
AECOM's is a global leader in creating, enhancing and sustaining the world's built, natural and social environments.
"In addition to developing and testing of nanotechnology-enabled building materials, the company is interested in developing and evaluating pollution treatment processes for facilities that use nanomaterials in production processes, and in developing and evaluating nano-enabled methodologies for recycling and beneficial reuse of waste materials.
"UWM is working on developing cutting-edge materials that take advantage of the unique properties of nanomaterials that make them lighter, stronger and more efficient," says Bill Looney, director of AECOM's environmental practice's Nanotechnology Initiative. "Our collaboration will provide a platform to share expertise, and positions us to better assist our client partners."
UWM research in cement-based materials includes a lightweight, durable and insulating aggregate that also floats, a concrete composite infused with rubber, and concrete material that repels moisture so effectively, it can last for more than a century without maintenance.
Portland cement is one of the most-consumed commodities on Earth, yet its potential hasn't been completely explored, says Konstantin Sobolev, UWM associate professor of civil engineering and mechanics at UWM's Center for Byproducts Utilization.
"Better understanding and precise engineering of the extremely complex structure of cement-based materials at the nano-level will result in a new generation of concrete that is stronger and more durable, with desired stress-strain behavior. It may also yield the range of newly introduced 'smart' properties, such as electrical conductivity, temperature-, moisture-, and stress-sensing abilities."
At the same time, says Sobolev, this new concrete should be sustainable and cost-effective. "Nano-binders or nano-engineered cement-based materials with nano-sized components – materials that are under development at UWM – will be the next ground-breaking development in cement science."
AECOM was recently awarded a contract by RUSNANO, to design and build the Chevushia Energy Efficient House of the Future that will incorporate a number of nanotechnology-enabled materials. RUSNANO is the Russian agency charged with investing in nanotechnology projects with high business potential and/or social benefit.
AECOM is a global provider of professional technical and management support services to a broad range of markets, including transportation, facilities, environmental, energy, water and government. With approximately 52,000 employees around the world, AECOM is a leader in all of the key markets that it serves. AECOM provides a blend of global reach, local knowledge, innovation and technical excellence in delivering solutions that create, enhance and sustain the world's built, natural and social environments. A Fortune 500 company, AECOM serves clients in more than 100 countries and had revenue of $6.5 billion during fiscal year 2010. More information on AECOM and its services can be found at
About UWM
The University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee makes its home just blocks from the shoreline of Lake Michigan, in the economic and industrial center of Wisconsin. More than 30,000 students, 180 degree programs and a world-class faculty drive UWM's progress as a top urban research university and engine of development for Southeastern Wisconsin and beyond. To find out more, visit
Source: University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee (press release)
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