September 2023 Vol. 78 No.9


Trenchless Technology Center continues to prosper, provide industry research

Trenchless Technology Center Report 

Dr. John Matthews |Trenchless Technology Center Director 

(UI) — The Trenchless Technology Center (TTC) at Louisiana Tech University had another busy year and its Industry Advisory Board (IAB) again hit an all-time high in 2023. Research activities were in full swing and in-person training even came back, with forums in Boston and Houston.

Field validations of styrene breakthrough.

TTC continues to maintain its role as a leader in trenchless education and research and is growing its impact in the areas of industry workforce development and training. TTC maintained its new heights in the overall number of IAB members, even as we entered our 34th year of existence, which is a reminder that there is still much importance in our mission to the trenchless technology manufacturers, contractors, engineers, students and owners we serve. 

Research & development 

This year, TTC continued to be very active with its research contracts, at one time having more than 20 actively funded projects during the year. The majority of projects continue to be funded by industry, although government related projects at both the state and Federal levels have remained steady. 

Most TTC industry research continues to be performed under Non-Disclosure Agreements (NDAs) which, therefore, cannot be publicized without client consent. Despite this fact, TTC researchers had a solid year of peer-reviewed publications and new patent filings, as well. This is always an important metric for research centers and associated faculty members and researchers. 

Currently, TTC has more than 16 active research projects underway, and approximately five were completed during this past year. A few brief research effort updates are noted below. 

CIPP emissions 

TTC has concluded its work into the potential impacts of CIPP emissions from steam-cured projects. This past year, the team wrapped up its work on examining the impact of different internal barrier coatings on the release of styrene while the liners are stored in the transport truck. 

Performed for NASSCO, the study detailed the breakthrough times of emissions by varying the coating materials and thicknesses on the uncured CIPP liners. Field validations were completed on job sites in Tampa, Fla., and Milwaukee, Wisc. 

A full summary of the study can be found in the July 2023 Issue of Underground Infrastructure. This study was led by Dr. Shaurav Alam, TTC associate director for research. 

Innovative materials 

TTC continued its internally funded work this year in the area of innovative materials. Dr. Alam and his team have been investigating numerous thrusts including innovative cementitious materials for infrastructure components and coatings, as well as innovative curing of both construction materials and pipe lining materials. 

Findings are quite fascinating and have potentially widespread impacts for the construction industry. TTC Research Scientists Dr. Sudhir Amritphale and Dr. Shaik Hussain have also been exploring various applications for innovative cementitious and geopolymer materials with exciting new benefits. 

This recently included a large (more than $1 million) project with the U.S. Air Force focused on the application of these innovative solutions in extreme environments and has been exploring various applications with other federal and private clients. 

TTC also continued its work with various trenchless rehabilitation technology suppliers to further develop testing methods and protocols for innovative materials and designs. An example includes spray-in-place pipe (SIPP) materials for large-diameter pressure pipes and long-term validation of CIPP pressure pipe materials.

Advanced geopolymer formulations for high heat.

TTC has maintained its focus on evaluating installation loading for CIPP materials to improve productivity. It conducts frequent non-standardized tests due to the fact that many of the materials/methods in the trenchless industry are on the cutting edge of what has been done before. Therefore, standard tests do not yet exist. 


Finally, the National Science Foundation (NSF) Industry/University Collaborative Research Center (I/UCRC) that TTC is heavily involved with, along with LSU, known as the Center for Innovations in Structural Integrity Assurance (CISIA) is currently completing Year 2 projects. 

CISIA focuses on a variety of structural-integrity-related issues including sensing, inspection, testing, analysis and prediction, which are strengths of both center sites for various industries. 

Currently CISIA has seven industry members (Aegion, Baker Hughes, Dow, Lockheed Martin, Meld, Mide/Hutchinson and Shell) and is actively recruiting additional members and projects for Year 3. 

Industry advisory board 

One of the biggest strengths of TTC remains its very active Industry Advisory Board (IAB), which has been in place since the center’s inception more than 32 years ago. The IAB is a unique feature for a university research center that truly helps to keep the center focused on relevant industry issues, while also providing workforce opportunities for many of the undergraduate and graduate students associated with the center. TTC relies on the IAB for guidance on its activities and for financial support of the center and its research, which are both key to the successful operation of its mission. 

This year, TTC increased its overall membership in the IAB to 68, breaking last years’ record number of members. The board is bolstered by more than 25 municipal/utility members that support the TTC in multiple ways including providing data for research and sites for field work when needed. Member organizations are listed below by category. 

  • Manufacturers and Contractors (11): Aegion, AOC Resins, BrainDrip, BRH-Garver, GeoTree, Interplastic, IPEX, PPG, PPM, Sanexen (Altra) and Visu-Sewer 
  • Municipal and Utility (25): Albany (N.Y.), Aurora (Colo.), Bloomington (Minn.), Boston (Mass.), Caddo Levee (La.), Carencro (La.), Citizens Energy (Ind.), Clackamas (Wash.), Columbus (Ohio), Denver (Colo.), Denver Water (Colo.), Haltom City (Texas), Houston, (Hull (Mass.), Long Beach (Calif.), Los Angeles (Calif.), Metro Wastewater Reclamation (Colo.), Metro Water Reclamation (Ill.), Monroe (La.), New York City (N.Y.), Portland (Ore.), Ruston (La.), San Antonio (Texas), Shreveport (La.), Upper Trinity Regional Water (Texas) and Vancouver (Wash) 
  • Consultants (9): Carollo, Delve Underground, Garver, GeoEngineers, Jacobs, Kilduff Underground, Kleinfelder, Stantec and Subtegic 
  • Media (3): Benjamin Media, Underground Infrastructure and Westrade 
  • Associations (3): LA CETF, NASSCO and NUCA 
  • Honorary (9): Bob Affholder, Joe Barsoom, Mike Garver, Les Guice, Dr. Tom Iseley, Lynn Osborn, Kaleel Rahaim, Dr. Ray Sterling and Mr. Rick Turkopp 
  • TTC Sponsors (7): Applied Felts, CAP, InnerCure, Olson Construction Law, Thompson Pipe Group, Trinity and Valeron 

Tom Wynne, with the City of New York DDC, continues to serve as IAB chairman and Ali Mustapha, P.E., executive director for the Caddo Level District in Shreveport, La., continues to serve as vice-chair. The Annual IAB Meeting is being planned for Oct. 25–26 in Ruston, La. 

For more information on each IAB member organization and representative please visit If you are interested in learning more about the IAB or joining the board, please contact TTC Director Dr. John Matthews at 

Educational initiatives 

Municipal Forums 

Transitioning back to in-person forums, after nearly three years of successful virtual forums, Municipal Forums were held in Boston, Mass., and Houston, Texas this year. Sponsors and speakers for these forums were from the following organizations: Aegion, CAP, city of Houston, Delve Underground, Garver USA, GeoEngineers, GeoTree, HammerHead Trenchless, Jacobs, Puris, Stantec, Subtegic Group, Thompson Pipe, Valeron, and TTCenter. 

The lineup for fall 2023 and spring 2024 forums is still being developed, but is expected to include locations in Atlanta, Denver, New York, Phoenix, Shreveport and Vancouver, Wash. If you are interested in hosting a forum, having specific topics included in a program, or would like to present at any of the forums, please contact TTC Director Dr. John C. Matthews at 

TTC holds 5th Auger Boring School (ABS) on LA Tech campus 

TTC hosted its 5th Auger Boring School – the most successful school to date – in October 2022, on campus. This specialty school was taught by the foremost experts in the industry and was attended by more than 35 contractors and engineers from across the country.

ABS Training at BERT on the LA Tech Campus at the TTC ABS Training at BERT on the LA Tech Campus at the TTC

TTC and NUCA are again teaming up to offer the 6th three-day Auger Boring School (ABS) March 5–7, 2024, in Ruston. The field portion of the school will again be held at the Barbera Education and Research Training (BERT) facility and will likely include both traditional and pilot tube auger boring equipment. 

ABS is designed to meet the high demand for engineers and contractors needing training in auger boring design, application and installation. The school will include classroom lectures and practical sessions. It will be instructed by the foremost auger boring experts in the country and will again be sponsored by Trenchless Rental Solutions (TRS), Trinity Products, Barbco, U.S. Shoring & Equipment Co., Midwest Mole and others. 

The 2022 School also included sponsorships from GeoEngineers, Kilduff Underground, Louisiana 811, Olson Construction Law, Strack Inc. and United Rentals. The course will cover all aspects of auger boring projects from design to construction, with a special focus on safety. 

TTC Research Scientist Dr. John Kraft will serve as the course director. For more information about the course please contact Dr. Kraft at

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