Seminar introduces research on novel building materials to improve indoor air quality

Mark your calendars for “Smart Materials for Healthy Building Environment,” a virtual event on Tuesday, March 23, at 9 a.m. This seminar will introduce research about developing a novel building material that aims to autogenously improve the environmental quality indoors. Tailored for indoor applications, the material is based on photocatalysts that are activated with visible light.

Presented by Xiong (Bill) Yu, the Opal J. and Richard A. Vanderhoof Professor of Civil Engineering at Case Western Reserve University, the talk will cover issues associated with material design, application and assessment including machine learning for material performance prediction. It will also introduce the computer model-based assessments of the performance of the material in building environmental improvements and operations. 

Overall, a smart material strategy potentially provides a long-lasting solution to improve the environmental quality in buildings to achieve benefits in improving health, reducing building operational costs and enhancing the productivity of its occupants.

Improving the indoor environment has significant health benefits. According to the Environmental Protection Agency, most Americans spend over 80% of their time indoors where the concentrations of air contaminants can be a few times higher than outdoors. The indoor environment also exposes dwellers to higher chance of exposure to airborne pollutants including cold and flu viruses. Recent evidence has pointed to the effects of the spread of viruses carried by aerosol particles. The increasing COVID-19 infections associated with transition into cold seasons is a strong indicator of the pressing needs for indoor air quality improvements.

Yu’s research emphasizes the use of interdisciplinary approaches to address the engineering problems in geosystem and civil infrastructure. His research activities include multiscale and multiphysics processes in geomaterials, smart sensors and materials, intelligent infrastructure and systems and bio-inspired engineering.

Among many achievements, he is the principal investigator of over 40 research projects funded by federal and state agencies and private industry. In 2009, he received a National Science Foundation CAREER award. He has published around 300 papers in journals and refereed conference proceedings, a number of which received awards and recognitions. 

In addition, Yu is committed to graduate student mentorship. Many of his former students have successfully launched academic careers, including two recipients of NSF CAREER awards.

Register for this lecture on “Smart Materials for Healthy Building Environments.”