The American Concrete Institute (ACI) Board of Direction has elected University of Kentucky Raymond-Blythe Professor of Civil Engineering Issam Harik a Fellow of the Institute. Being elected a Fellow is a prestigious recognition of an individual’s contribution to ACI and the concrete industry. Less than five percent of ACI members earn this recognition.
Since 1994, Harik has been at the helm of a group of students researching the deployment of fiber reinforced polymer (FRP) composites in bridges and buildings. Through funding from the Department of Defense, Federal Highway Administration, the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet, The National Academies and the Kentucky Science and Engineering Foundation, he and a team of talented students have developed innovative products—dubbed CatStrong—for restoring bridges.
Using remarkably resilient carbon fiber fabrics, panels and wraps, CatStrong has successfully restored more than 35 bridges by strengthening beams, columns, piles and walls. The lightweight product has yielded impressive results due to its ease of application. Despite the unprecedented success, CatStrong has been on a quest to find an even more reliable resource.
When introducing a new addition to their family of products, Harik leaned on a growing industry in the Commonwealth—the hemp industry. As part of an experimental study, the team recently repaired one of the piles on the KY 32 bridge over Blaine Creek in Lawrence County using hemp—marking the first time the natural fiber has been used as a construction material for bridge repair.
Harik has taught and conducted research at UK since 1982. In addition to his role as professor of civil engineering, Harik is the program manager of the Structures Program at the Kentucky Transportation Center.
A formal announcement of his election will be made at the ACI Spring 2020 Concrete Convention and Exposition during the Opening Session and Keynote Presentation, Sunday, March 29, 2020.