Campus: CSU Fullerton -- December 20, 2002

Lunar Repairs

When humans one day colonize the moon and other nearby planets, experts say they'll live in dwellings constructed of prestressed concrete, which happens to be the specialty of Pinaki R. Chakrabarti, Cal State Fullerton professor of civil and environmental engineering.

But when these structures need repairs, the inhabitants won't be able to run to a nearby home- improvement center for the proper materials.

Recognizing this situation, NASA recently awarded the Diamond Bar resident $100,000 in first-year funding of a three-year grant for research and development of various repair and retrofitting methods for fixing prestressed concrete structures and light metal structures with fiber reinforced plastics (FRP) and adhesives, materials known as composites.

As part of the NASA grant, several students will be assisting Chakrabarti, who noted "a primary objective of this research grant is to involve students, and expose them to futuristic and high-tech research work because they will be the work force of tomorrow."

Another objective of the grant is to procure the necessary equipment and to develop a campus laboratory, according to the professor, who noted that funds will be used to upgrade the current civil and environmental engineering structures lab.

"About 25 percent of the grant funds will be used for students, and 30 percent will be used to buy new equipment and materials, which will permanently stay at CSUF," he noted.

Two civil and environmental engineering faculty members, Mufid F. Samara and Chandrasekhar S. Putcha, will assist Chakrabarti as members of the research and mentoring team.

"This grant offers another exciting opportunity for our students to conduct important research for NASA under the guidance of faculty members," said Jesa Kreiner, who chairs the Engineering Division. "These students will have a chance to help future generations who may one day live on the moon."

Chakrabarti, who holds a doctorate from Rutgers University, is a fellow of the American Society of Civil Engineers and a registered civil and structural engineer. He is a past chair of the university's Civil and Environmental Engineering Department and has designed several notable structures across the United States. He has worked as chief engineer with T.Y. Lin Associates and as a principal engineer with A.C. Martin Associates. He has published more than 40 papers about reinforced concrete structures, the durability of concrete and seismic retrofitting using composites. He also is a member of the joint American Concrete Institutes-American Society of Civil Engineers National Committee on the design of reinforced concrete slabs.

"Even though colonization of the moon may be a long way off, it's great to think that research conducted by Cal State Fullerton faculty members and students will have made a contribution in providing safe structures for those pioneers," said Raman Unnikrishnan, dean of the College of Engineering and Computer Science. "We welcome the opportunity to partner with NASA in this initiative."

Media Contacts: Pinaki Chakrabarti at (714) 278-3729 or
Dave Reid, Public Affairs, at (714) 278-4855 or

Photo: A high-resolution image of Chakrabarti can be downloaded from the university's website at

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