Daily Archives: June 16, 2014

Eco-Core: N.C. A&T composite material for the Navy provides a productive use for problematic coal ash

Eco-Core in various forms

Eco-Core can be produced in a variety of forms for different uses.

Say you have a mountain of coal ash and you don’t know what to do with it. Nasty stuff. Just ask Duke Energy.

How about you turn it into a building material that’s lightweight, fire resistant, and blast resistant. And if that’s not enough, water resistant and nontoxic, too.

N.C. A&T’s Center for Composite Materials Research has done just that. The material is called Eco-Core, and you can read all about it and the years of work done by Dr. Kunigal Shivakumar, Dr. Robert Sadler and the center’s research team, right here in the News & Record.

“An estimated release of up to 39,000 tons of ash escaped from a Duke Energy storage pond in February, gushing through a ruptured drainage pipe and into the river, triggering great public outcry and a continuing political controversy.

“Since then, the powdery, grayish substance [Shivakumar and Sadler] see as full of potential has been portrayed widely as a health threat of monumental proportions.

“ ‘Everything has been bad-mouthing it,’ ” said Sadler, an adjunct research professor at the center. ‘And here we have made a miracle material out of it. … It’s got this rare combination of properties.’ ”

Off topic: Does football mean anything to students?

Screenshot of student surveyA student group distributed a survey over the weekend, seeking input on GHOE (homecoming, if you’re not from around here). It has come to this: They don’t even bother mentioning the football game in the context of favorite events. Or in the entire survey.

If other events are more popular with students, that’s understandable. Not everyone is a football fan or even a sports fan. But if football isn’t even in the conversation when students are talking about homecoming, it’s worth asking what football and intercollegiate athletics mean to students today.  Do they mean anything?

Considering the national conversation going on about the role of athletics in higher education … and the conversations at HBCUs about the role of athletics at historically black universities … it might be worth asking students how much or how little they care about sports.

And if the GHOE survey is any indication, the next question might be what the intercollegiate athletics program means to the university if it doesn’t engage the students.

Of course, at A&T one answer is obvious: Football provides a reason to have a band.  And with our band, that does matter.  But the day may be coming when someone needs to ask whether that’s all and whether that’s enough.