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* News Release *
Tuesday, April 22, 1997
For Immediate Release


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.

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