“Smart Materials for Healthy Building Environment”

The Mary Ann Swetland Center for Environmental Health will host a talk titled “Smart Materials for Healthy Building Environment” Tuesday, March 23, from 9 to 10 a.m. featuring Xiong (Bill) Yu, the Opal J. and Richard A. Vanderhoof Professor and chair of the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering.

Improving the indoor environment has significant health benefits. According to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), most American spend over 80% of their time indoors. 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 spread of virus 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. This seminar will introduce Yu’s research in developing novel building materials that aim to autogenously improve the environment quality indoors.The material is based on photocatalysts that are activated with visible light and is tailored for indoor applications. The talk will cover issues associated with material design, application, and assessment including machine learning (ML) for material performance prediction. It also will 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 environment quality in buildings to achieve benefits in improving health, reducing building operational cost and enhancing productivity of occupants.

Register for the talk.

About the speaker

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. He is the principal investigator of more than 40 research projects funded by federal, state agencies and private industry. He is a recipient of a NSF CAREER award in 2009. He has published around 300 papers in journals and referred conference proceedings, a number of which received awards and recognitions. 

He is committed to graduate student mentorship with a large number of students successfully launched academic careers, including two who have received NSF CAREER awards. He was elected as Fellow of ASCE in 2015. Among the awards and recognitions, he is a recipient of Case School of Engineering Faculty Research Award in 2019 and 2012, and Faculty Innovation Award in 2018. 

He serves on the editorial board of a few journals, as chair of the ASCE Geo-Institute Engineering Geology and Site Characterization committee, as president/immediate past president of the International Association of Chinese Infrastructure Professionals, as chair of Case School of Engineering Executive Committee.