Embry‑Riddle Researcher Awarded FDOT Funding for Investigating the Performance of Pipe-to-Structure Connections

Dr. Payal Kotecha
Dr. Payal Kotecha was recently awarded a $200,000 grant from the Florida Department of Transportation. (Photo: Kati Callahan)

Dr. Payal Kotecha, an assistant professor of Civil Engineering at Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University, was recently awarded a $200,000 research grant from the Florida Department of Transportation to conduct pipe-to-structure connections inspections, using advanced zoom camera technology, in several districts in Florida.

“The project aims to provide valuable insights into the in-service performance of these connectors, serving as an initial step in informing decision-making regarding the potential statewide deployment of resilient connectors,” said Kotecha, the principal investigator of the project.

The two-year project will involve inspecting both flexible and rigid pipe-to-structure connections to evaluate their effectiveness at several locations in Florida, said Kotecha. During the mid-2000s, FDOT District 7 began using a new type of flexible connector in most pipe-to-structure connections, she said, and now it wants to evaluate how the new connectors are performing and if their use can be expanded.

The funding will support one graduate student for a year, plus two undergraduate students on an hourly basis, said Kotecha. Dan Su, associate professor of Civil Engineering, is the co-principal investigator on this project.

Fieldwork is expected to be conducted next spring, and findings from that work could potentially lead to stormwater drainage improvements and efficiencies throughout the state, said Kotecha.

“With urban expansion, the improvement of underground infrastructure becomes increasingly vital, necessitating the adoption of innovative materials and structural components,” said Kotecha.

Posted In: Engineering | Research