UConn gets $768,000 for crumbling foundations research

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The University of Connecticut was given a federal grant to research crumbling foundations, a growing problem affecting many buildings in the Storrs area. Photo by Avery Bikerman/The Daily Campus.

The University of Connecticut has been awarded $768,000 for research into crumbling foundations, a problem plaguing many homes and businesses near the Storrs campus. 

“UConn has already got valuable experience with this sort of work, and they’ve got research underway now,” Congressman Joe Courtney said. “This new round of more than $760,000 in federal funding will help to support that work and see it towards completion. We’ve got thousands of people in eastern Connecticut and across our region with crumbling foundations, and this research will help us get a better understanding of the scope of the crisis, and a clearer understanding of the risks of pyrrhotite and the levels at which it poses a true danger to the integrity of a concrete foundation.” 

Pyrrhotite, the mineral found to be the cause of the crumbling foundations, will swell once exposed to oxygen and lead to cracks in the concrete. Foundations are no exception; in fact, they’re one of the biggest victims. 

With the federal grant money, UConn researchers will work to better understand the damage that pyrrhotite can cause before it gets to the point of destruction and come up with ways to build a “risk assessment framework for identifying and evaluating potential mitigation strategies,” a press release from Congressman Courtney and Congressman John Larson said. 

In April of 2019, The Daily Campus reported on the extent of crumbling foundations in the area. Up to 35,000 homes may be affected by the tainted concrete. 

UConn Spokesperson Stephanie Reitz told The Daily Campus in April of 2019 that only one UConn Storrs building is at risk: The Advanced Technology Library. 

“This award highlights how this crisis is an all hands on deck situation,” Congressman Larson said. “With federal resources, local leadership and UConn’s expertise, this effort will further our understanding of how pyrrhotite actually affects building foundations.” 

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