The West Virginia University Constructed Facilities Center (CFC) will host the fourth annual Polymer Composites Conference,Composite Applications and Fundamentals,March 20-22 at the Lakeview Golf Resort and Spa in Morgantown.

This conference brings together leaders from government, industry and the research community to share ideas and information about revolutionary polymer composite materials being developed for highways, bridges and other important infrastructure applications,said Robert Creese, WVU professor of industrial and management systems engineering and conference chair.This area of research offers a great deal of potential for economic development.

The Federal Highway Administration and the West Virginia Division of Highways are co-sponsors of the conference, along with the WVU College of Engineering and Mineral Resources, which houses the CFC , and the WVU Office of Sponsored Programs.

The conference runs all day Tuesday (7 a.m.-8 p.m.) and Wednesday (7:30 a.m.-7 p.m.) and until 4:30 p.m. Thursday. Keynote speakers include Myint Lwin, director of the Federal Highway Administration; James Sothen, acting director of the West Virginia Division of Highways; and Diana Carlin from Wright-Patterson Air Force Base.

Attendees will include other leaders from government agencies, university researchers, industry representatives and representatives from several branches of the military.

The conference will explore the development of fiber-reinforced polymer (FRP) composite materials, which allow for increased durability and more cost-efficient construction of highways and infrastructure,said Hota GangaRao, WVU professor of civil and environmental engineering and CFC director.

Participants will learn about the role that composites play in infrastructure development and homeland security, about barriers to the use of composites and about agencies that can assist in the use of composites. The conference will address current and proposed contract specifications that affect the use of composites, recommended materials and practices for installation, maintenance and future trends in the field.

Technical papers to be presented at the conference will focus on the successful application of composites in infrastructure. Representatives from 15 different state highway transportation departments will be presenting their experiences with FRP composites for highways. There will be several exhibits from government agencies, industries and researchers.

To register and find the full schedule, For more information, contact GangaRao, 304-293-7608, ext. 2634.