BATON ROUGE, La. — LSU and Louisiana Tech University established the Center for Innovations in Structural Integrity Assurance (CISIA), the first Industry/University Cooperative Research Center (I/UCRC) for either institution.

CISIA will serve as a trusted source for transformative insights, predictive capabilities, and materials innovations across broad industrial sectors, focusing on structural integrity assurance for small and large structures and mechanical components.

“This is a watershed moment enhancing our efforts to produce eminent engineers of the future, groundbreaking research, and innovative solutions that will significantly further the critical work to address failing and aging infrastructure around the country,” said Matt Lee, LSU interim executive vice president and provost. “We are proud to partner with Louisiana Tech on this cooperative research center and to better serve our students, the industrial sector, and our nation through the research, training, and collaboration that will be done at the Center for Innovations in Structural Integrity Assurance.”

“Our faculty are excited about the establishment of this I/UCRC,” said Michael Khonsari, center director and professor in the LSU department of mechanical engineering. “It has been one of our long-term strategic goals to form strong and sustainable partnerships with industry, and we are grateful to NSF for making this possible.”

Failure of infrastructure and components can have economic, social, and environmental consequences. In fact, the failure of aging civil infrastructure is projected to result in $4 trillion in losses to the United States GDP and 2.5 million jobs lost over the next 10 years. No currently active I/UCRC matches CISIA’S research and development capabilities, hence the importance of its establishment.

By integrating validated diagnostics, machine learning, and data-driven decision making, multiscale materials testing/characterization, manufacturing process characterization and parameter optimization, and multiscale physics-based modeling/simulation, CISIA will be well-positioned to translate the links between new materials, manufacturing processes, and their collective impact on reliability across all U.S. industrial sectors.

“This Industry-University Cooperative Research Center is a distinct recognition of the excellent research conducted by Louisiana Tech faculty in collaboration with LSU,” said Leslie Guice, president of Louisiana Tech. “Our industry partners will greatly benefit from these stronger partnerships with the researchers and talented students, and that will be great for Louisiana."

In addition to research for establishing linkages between material properties, infrastructure performance, and structural integrity — which is beyond the scope of most industrial research and development organizations today — the academic and industrial members of CISIA will collaborate closely to produce engineers who are trained to utilize modern methods of structural health monitoring and analysis.

Students will be trained in state-of-the-art testing and evaluation facilities, which will contribute to enhancing the global competitiveness of U.S. industries. Through outreach and education activities that reach a diverse audience of college students at four- and two-year colleges, CISIA will raise awareness of not only the infrastructure problems facing the country but also the career opportunities and positive impacts on the nation’s economy provided by a multidisciplinary STEM education.

“We believe that CISIA will assist our industry partners in improving safety, improving reliability, and improving workforce development to create the workforce of the future who are better prepared to understand and assure structural integrity in these critical areas of the economy,” said Samuel Bentley, vice president of research and economic development at LSU.

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