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News|College of Engineering and Applied Science

Civil Engineer Awarded National Scholarship

December 5, 2011 —

Sarah Ebright, a graduate student in civil engineering has been awarded the Clayford T. Grimm scholarship in the area of masonry. Nationally awarded, the Grimm Scholarship was established in 2007, to honor the memory of Clayford T. Grimm, and is awarded every year to a Master’s level graduate student who is conducting research in masonry. The investigation can be in masonry materials, structures, construction, or architecture and must be performed under the direction of a member of The Masonry Society.

“It is a pleasure to work with a highly skilled engineer such as Sarah, her combination of intelligence and diligence make her an ideal graduate student,” says Jenny Tanner, Masonry Society mentor and UW Associate Professor in the Department of Civil and Architectural Engineering.

Sarah is investigating bond line delaminations in single-wythe CMU walls under varying environmental conditions. This type of construction is economical and architecturally pleasing.  Unfortunately, if shrinkage cracks form in head joints, water infiltration occurs and remediation is incredibly costly. Furthermore, typical single-wythe structures include schools where the budgets are already small. The overall goal is to develop design recommendations for construction of this system. Research activities include construction of wall specimens in environmental chambers, where temperature, humidity, and wind are regulated. Delaminations are measured, recorded, and analyzed. Research is funded by the National Concrete Masonry Association (NCMA).

“In addition to masonry design, Sarah is well versed in both concrete and steel design,” says Tanner. “This project has the potential to change the way school buildings are built and make these typical structures significantly more serviceable.”

Spare time leads Sarah to her favorite outdoor sports of rock climbing, mountain biking, and backcountry skiing in the mountains of Wyoming. She has also helped teach a class in outdoor rescue training.

Sarah grew up in central Pennsylvania and attended Bucknell University as a civil engineering student and a Division 1 athlete in the sport of field hockey. While at Bucknell, she was captain for the 2010 AISC Student Steel Bridge Competition team and conducted summer research for Dr. Stephen Buonopane evaluating the structural aspects, construction practices, and effectiveness of truss designs for historic timber covered bridges.

Sarah Ebright, photo courtesy of Angie Jones


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