Butler County Engineer Dean
C. Foster has been appointed to the National Research Council's
Transportation Research Board. He will serve on the Structural
Fiber Reinforced Plastics Committee, which studies various new
applications for composite materials.
The National Research Council
(NRC) is the principle operating agency of the National Academy
of Sciences, a private, non-profit corporation. The NRC conducts
many services in behalf of the federal government and the scientific
and engineering communities. Members of scientific and technical
committees of the NRC serve as individual scientists, technologists,
and research workers to make available their personal knowledge.
"I'm very honored to
be in the company of some of this country's leading scientists,"
Foster commented. "It will be exciting to share what we've
been doing locally and to bring back new ideas for future applications
here in Butler County."
Foster has driven testing
of composite materials down to the local level. During 1995,
the Butler County Engineer's Office became the nation's first
agency to test the composites on a vehicle bridge. This was accomplished
by "gluing" strips of the material to the underside
of two bridge beams on Fear Not Mills Road in St. Clair Township.
Eventually, whole bridges
built of the composite materials -- fibers such as glass or graphite
embedded in epoxy -- could see widespread use. The BCEO will
test one such bridge beginning this year. A small bridge on Smith
Road near the City of Hamilton / Ross Township line will be replaced
with a structure built entirely from composite materials.