News2018-07-25T16:23:24+00:00

News

 Multimillion-dollar research center addresses construction challenges

| WMU News) KALAMAZOO, Mich.—An interdisciplinary group of Western Michigan University researchers is busily studying new and creative ways to build better in an age of climate change and other global challenges facing the construction industry.

Their activities are being funded by grants from WMU’s Georgeau Construction Research Center, which was established in 2016 through a $5 million gift from Phil Georgeau of Kalamazoo and his late wife, Betty.

Phil and Betty GeorgeauThe couple funded the center to not only advance the construction industry through innovative research, but also to create better, stronger, safer, sustainable and more resilient construction systems and materials. Housed in Floyd Hall and administered by the College of Engineering and Applied Sciences, the center already has awarded $350,000 in grants to seven projects being conducted by faculty members at the University.

In addition, construction has begun on a $1 million lab that will open this fall in the College of Engineering and Applied Sciences annex near the Kalamazoo/Battle Creek International Airport. The state-of-the-art laboratory facility will allow researchers to evaluate roofing system designs under extreme wind loads as well as study the properties of large-scale structural elements and samples under different loading conditions, including seismic loads.

Need for change

According to government figures, the construction industry contributed more than $1 trillion to America’s gross domestic product and employed some 7 million people in 2017.

Dr. Osama Abudayyeh, chair of the Department of Civil and Construction Engineering and founding director of the Georgeau Center, notes that it’s important for this industry to remain competitive, given its huge impact on the U.S. economy.

“We’re facing a host of challenges, from evolving regulatory requirements, population increases and energy shortages to air quality issues, a rising ambient temperature and more violent weather,” Abudayyeh explains. “Engineers and architects have been forced to rethink traditional building codes and construction practices. It’s not only sensible to change how we do things, it’s become mandatory.”

With that reality in mind, the Georgeau Center aims to:

  • Advance the construction body of knowledge through innovative research.
  • Distill research results into best practices that can be implemented by industry.
  • Educate the next generation of construction researchers by engaging undergraduate and graduate students alike in the center’s research.
  • Transfer technology to industry through product development as well as publications, workshops and other knowledge dissemination.

“We need to adapt our materials and construction practices to new realities and we need to provide higher levels of training for construction professionals,” Abudayyeh says. “The cutting-edge, forward-thinking research and training we’re doing at the Georgeau Center will accomplish both.”

Phil and Betty Georgeau

Phil Georgeau earned a bachelor degree in chemistry from WMU. He went on to found Chem Link, a company based in Schoolcraft that manufactures adhesive, sealant and coating products for the construction industry that employed 104 people at the time Phil and Betty sold it in 2016.

The couple also gifted $250,000 in 2016 to the WMU Office for Sustainability to boost its studies in environmental and renewable building materials issues that impact the Earth’s survivability.

In addition, the Georgeau family established a $500,000 endowed scholarship in Betty’s name to support undergraduate students pursuing engineering degrees in programs offered through the College of Engineering and Applied Sciences at WMU. Betty was a registered nurse who worked locally at Bronson Methodist Hospital for many years as well as spent 14 years with the American Red Cross.

Examples of center research

This spring, the Georgeau Center awarded continuation grants to principal investigators at WMU that build on eclectic work that the center first funded in 2017.

  • Dr. Upul Attanayake, associate professor of civil and construction engineering, and Dr. William Liou, professor of mechanical and aerospace engineering, received $50,000 to further Attanayake’s recent evaluation of roof systems and materials for improving structural resilience in damaging winds such as tornados and hurricanes. That research has identified the need to develop numerical simulation expertise to assess the performance of roofing and structural systems. The continuation project includes designing a mobile outdoor experiment facility to evaluate sensors and validate numerical simulation models. It also will be used for STEM—science, technology, engineering and math—education and other outreach activities.
  • Dr. William Liou has built a predictive tool to simulate incidents of fire and smoke events and predict the location and likely growth of fire and smoke in smart buildings. The second phase of his research involves developing two datasets for predicting fire spread in smart buildings and then using those datasets to design an artificial intelligence-based algorithm for big data analytics for fire safety in these buildings. The nearly half million structure fires in the U.S. each year cause 17,000 injuries and deaths, and $10 billion in property losses.
  • Dr. Xiaoyun Shao, associate professor of civil and construction engineering, has been studying an innovative application of construction adhesives to enhance the resilience of wood-frame buildings. With her latest grant, Shao will investigate additional novel approaches to dramatically enhance the resilience of wood-frame buildings using construction adhesives to improve strength and stiffness. Damage to those structures from earthquakes, hurricanes and other natural hazards leads to tremendous economic loss and emotional distress in North America, where wood-frame construction is predominantly used.

Learn more about the Georgeau Construction Research Center online.

For more WMU news, arts and events, visit WMU News online.

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

No More Sleepers on the Job:

KnuckleHeads protect roof membranes, evenly distribute weight and last  

KALAMAZOO, MI (July 11, 2018) – Innovative, light-weight KnuckleHeads provide rooftop support for HVAC equipment, pipes, and conduit and offer many advantages over traditional wood sleepers.

KnuckleHeads are molded from reinforced nylon, feature a round base so that weight is more evenly distributed and are virtually unaffected by weather and seasonal cycles. and biological attack Each KnuckleHead unit can support up to 600 pounds and can be adjusted for height. And while units are typically loose laid, they can be bonded, mechanically fastened – or both– to the roof when additional stability is needed due to high winds or seismic conditions, a feature wooden sleepers simply can’t match.

Additionally, custom engineered accessories are available that can enhance the installation including the ability to increase heights of the individual KnuckleHeads by using extensions that fit snugly into the base. Flexible polyurethane slip pads under the base can be added to protect the roof membrane and prevent the unit from sliding and caps and straps can be used to secure pipes and struts in the heads.

KnuckleHeads are also environmentally safe and will likely outlast the life of the roof itself. They do not contain chemicals that can leach out from weathering or repeated exposure to water which can be a concern with treated lumber used in wooden sleepers.

So, if you are tired of replacing wooden sleepers that deteriorate over time attracting fungus, mold and even termites, cause pipe sag effecting the operation of roof-mounted equipment and which often leads to tears and leaks in roof membranes– it’s time to look a new solution – no more sleepers on the job – use KnuckleHeads instead.

Green Link is an innovative engineering company that develops and produces polymeric architectural products for the construction industry including specialized markets such as controlled environments.  Green Link is committed to processes and products that cause no harm to the environment or human life.

 Air Conditioner with Green Link's KnuckleHeads 

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

GREEN LINK Introduces New High-Performance Adhesive/Sealant for the KnuckleHead Rooftop Support System

 

Kalamazoo, MI (March 28, 2018)GREEN LINK has introduced a new adhesive/sealant designed for use with its KnuckleHead Rooftop Support System.  GREEN LINK Adhesive/Sealant bonds and seals the KnuckleHead Universal Base and is effective on a wide range of roof surfaces.  The new adhesive/sealant has been specially formulated to adhere to EPDM, PVC, Granulated Modified Bitumen, and TPO (with TPO primer), as well as the KnuckleHead base itself, which is composed of glass-reinforced nylon.

“The KnuckleHead base is unique in that it can be adhered directly to the roof membrane,” said Phil Georgeau, GREEN LINK CEO and an experienced chemist. “While there are some products on the market that effectively bond and seal the KnuckleHead base, GREEN LINK Adhesive/Sealant is the only product that effectively adheres to even the most challenging types of PVC membranes.”

GREEN LINK Adhesive/Sealant is based on polyether chemistry.  It cures by exposure to moisture, so it can be applied to damp surfaces and will not shrink upon curing.  It will not discolor from UV exposure, can be applied at temperatures as low as 32°F, and is capable of joint movement in excess of 35%.  It is available in standard 10.1oz cartridges.

GREEN LINK is an innovative engineering company that develops and produces polymeric architectural products for the construction industry including specialized markets such as controlled environments.  GREEN LINK is committed to processes and products that cause no harm to the environment or human life.

  

 

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Green Link added Architectural Building Information Modeling (BIM) content to ARCAT’s database

Kalamazoo, MI (March 20, 2018) Green Link, Inc. and ARCAT a major publisher of building product information have developed and posted data rich AutoDesk® Revit® BIM objects of the KnuckleHead Support System into ARCAT’s database. Anyone can use these objects at no charge. In addition to creating accurate graphics, Green Link, Inc. and ARCAT have added appropriate product data to each object, saving architects and engineers a significant amount of time doing data entry and product research. All of Green Link’s objects, graphics and content, are uniform and modifiable for ease of use. In addition to product information, ARCAT has embedded links in the objects to Green Link’s CSI 3-Part specs. ARCAT and Green Link, Inc. uphold the belief that high quality graphics are only the tip of the building information modeling iceberg, and it is the limitless amount of information held within the model that is driving the A/E/C community to adopt parametric software platforms such as Revit.

To view Green Link’s BIM content, click here.

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Green Link Engineering Introduces New Product Line For Securing Rooftop Pipes and Channel

 

Kalamazoo, MI (September 12, 2017)GREEN LINK Engineering has introduced a family of custom-engineered, molded straps and caps for securing pipes and struts for its KnuckleHead rooftop support product line.  Straps have been designed for both Heavy Pipe and Strut Support KnuckleHeads while a cap design was developed for Lite Pipe Supports.  All are molded from tough, weatherproof urethane and feature a striking “safety yellow” color.

The Heavy Pipe KnuckleHead strap secures a 3-inch outside diameter pipe while the Strut Support strap fits steel or aluminum Unistrut-type channel.  The Lite Pipe Support cap is designed to secure a single 1-inch nominal pipe or two ½-inch nominal pipes.  Pipe supports are attached with standard stainless steel sheet metal screws, which are supplied with the heads.  The Strut Support straps are available in nominal pipe sizes ranging from ¼ inches to 6 inches.  Custom straps are available by special order. These elastomeric straps slide into the strut channel and snap in place, eliminating the need for screws.

“We custom engineered these products to fit the unique shape of our head designs,” said Ondrej Pekarovic, Green Link design engineer.  “There is growing interest in securing rooftop mechanical installations in the face of high wind conditions and seismic events.  These straps will greatly increase the stability of pipes, conduit, channel and related mechanical equipment.  Additionally, they satisfy local code requirements.”

For further information on GREEN LINK’s new strap and cap product line, visit www.greenlinkengineering.com.

GREEN LINK is an innovative engineering company that develops and produces polymeric architectural products for the construction industry including specialized markets such as controlled environments.  Green Link is committed to processes and products that cause no harm to the environment or human life.

GREEN LINK has introduced a family of custom-engineered, molded straps and caps for securing pipes and struts for its KnuckleHead rooftop support product line.

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Green Link Engineering Introduces KnuckleClips For Securing Pipes on Rooftop Struts

 

Kalamazoo, MI (September 7, 2017) – Green Link Engineering has introduced custom-engineered, molded clips for securing pipes on rooftop channel as part of its KnuckleHead Strut Support system.

Molded from tough, weatherproof urethane tinted “safety yellow,” KnuckleClips secure pipes set across strut channel. The KnuckleKlip is designed to slide along the channel track and then be twisted to snap in place, securing the pipe while eliminating the need for screws and reducing installation time.

“We custom engineered KnuckleClips to fit the unique shape of our strut support head design,” said Ondrej Pekarovic, Green Link design engineer.  “There is growing interest in securing rooftop mechanical installations in the face of high wind conditions and seismic events.  KnuckleClips greatly increase the stability of pipe-on-channel installations.”

For further information on GreenLink’s new strap and cap product line, visit www.greenlinkengineering.com.

Green Link is an innovative engineering company that develops and produces polymeric architectural products for the construction industry including specialized markets such as controlled environments.  Green Link is committed to processes and products that cause no harm to the environment or human life.

Molded from tough, weatherproof urethane tinted “safety yellow,” KnuckleClips secure pipes set across strut channel.

 

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Green Link to Unveil New Solar Support Head at Construct Show

Kalamazoo, MI (August 1, 2017)GREEN LINK Engineering will be premiering its new KnuckleHead Solar Support at the “Construct Show”, September 13-15, 2017, at the Rhode Island Convention Center in Providence, RI (Booth #411).  The new head is designed to support solar arrays at a fixed 15-degree angle while also functioning as an elbow connector which fixtures perpendicular strut members along the same 15-degree plane.  The heads are height adjustable up to 3” from the support point, but Green Link also offers extensions that can elevate solar arrays up to 18” off the roof’s surface.

Solar Supports are molded from glass-reinforced nylon and are impervious to weathering, freeze-thaw cycles, UV exposure and stress.  The KnuckleHead universal base can be loose laid, but Solar KnuckleHeads should be mechanically attached using both screws as well as Chem Link M-1® Structural Adhesive/Sealant to establish a secure, waterproof installation.

GREEN LINK is also offering Halo Target Flashings to satisfy the warranty requirements of certain roofing manufacturers.  The Halo Target Flashing is available for EPDM, Mod-Bit, TPO and PVC membranes and is heat welded or adhered to the KnuckleHead base and the roof substrate to prevent leaks.

“Our GREEN LINK team of engineers listened closely to the suggestions of solar energy contractors to design the Solar KnuckleHead,” said Ondrej Pekarovic, design engineer for GREEN LINK. “The result was that we were able to bridge the gap between superior energy collection schemes and the challenges of rooftops.  With KnuckleHead solar supports, the contractor can easily install panels at a fixed 15 degrees without having to worry about adjusting angles.  The extensions allow flexibility in meeting codes relating to height, and the Halo Targets protect warranties.”

In addition to Solar Supports, the KnuckleHead line includes other head designs suitable for pipes, conduit, struts and pavers.  All head designs are mounted on a universal base which can be mechanically attached or bonded with adhesive.  Each KnuckleHead can support up to 600 lbs.

GREEN LINK is an innovative engineering company that develops and manufactures polymeric architectural products for the construction industry including specialized markets such as controlled environments. GREEN LINK is committed to processes and products that cause no harm to the environment or human life.

The new KnuckleHead is designed to support solar arrays at a fixed 15-degree angle.

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Green Link KnuckleHead Support Extensions

Kalamazoo, MI (July 10, 2017) – Kalamazoo-based GREEN LINK Engineering has introduced height extensions for its KnuckleHead Support System product line.  The extensions consist of Schedule 40 PVC pipe which easily slip into the KnuckleHead universal base and into the head unit.  The extensions are available in standard lengths of 6”, 12”, and 18”, but custom lengths are also available.

All KnuckleHead designs including Lite Pipe, Heavy Pipe, Strut and Paver supports are height adjustable in an approximately 1” range by rotating the head.  The PVC extensions now greatly increase the height to meet special codes, or climates that present challenging conditions such as heavy snow accumulation patterns.

“We’ve found that there is sometimes a need for supporting HVAC equipment, ductwork, pipes and conduit at greater elevations than standard KnuckleHeads provide,” said Ondrej Pekarovic, design engineer for GREEN LINK.  “The extensions give contractors more flexibility in meeting the demands on each job.  For example, we’ve found that solar arrays are being installed at the critical 15°angle by using Strut KnuckleHeads in standard heights as well as with 18” extensions.

The KnuckleHead universal base can be loose laid, but extended KnuckleHeads should be mechanically attached or adhered to the roof substrate using Chem Link M-1® Structural Adhesive/Sealant to establish a secure installation.

GREEN LINK is an innovative engineering company that develops and produces polymeric architectural products for the construction industry including specialized markets such as controlled environments. GREEN LINK is committed to processes and products that cause no harm to the environment or human life.

Extensions-Knucklehead-Litepipe

The KnuckleHead extensions are available in standard lengths of 6”, 12”, and 18”.