Zachary Coleman

Student: Zachary Coleman

Project: Design, Development, and Validation of Prototype Sensor for Direct Measurement of Concrete Modulus of Elasticity

Institution: Lafayette College

Major: Civil and Environmental Engineering

Advisor: David Mante


In this study, a prototype sensor was invented to accurately measure the in-place elastic modulus of a concrete specimen, in a non-destructive manner. A vibrating wire strain gage and pneumatic piston were used in the sensor to apply and record concrete deformations on the order of 1 microstrain. Under the action of the pneumatic piston, force was applied to concrete surrounding the vibrating wire strain gage, and corresponding strains were recorded. Two sensors were built, filled with concrete, and tested to measure the modulus of elasticity. Data was recorded over 28 days after the beginning of the cement hydration reaction to develop two robust plots of modulus growth with time. These data sets were calibrated to a theoretical modulus growth plot of the concrete mixture, developed from ACI 209R-92 (1992) based on a measured compressive strength of 10,500 psi. Results showed that the modulus of elasticity measured by the sensor was, on average, within ±4% of the theoretical value.

About Zachary Coleman

Zack will graduate from Lafayette College in May, 2019 with a B.S. in civil and environmental engineering and a minor in Spanish. Within civil engineering, he has developed a focus in structural engineering and a passion for concrete studies. Over the past two years, he has been conducting undergraduate research in which he has been inventing a sensor capable of measuring the in-situ elastic modulus of concrete. This year, he has been continuing that research as an honors thesis. Being as he has enjoyed undergraduate research immensely, Zack has applied to Ph.D. programs in structural engineering and will be continuing his education in August, 2019. Ultimately, he aspires to study concrete structures and materials with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and then become a professor of structural engineering.

Lehigh Engineering Undergraduate Research Symposium

Congratulations to the 2019 Undergraduate Research Symposium winners:

Read full coverage from this year's event here!