Career paths that complement each other

Civil engineer Étore Funchal de Faria reconciles the demands of academic and professional life

Carreiras_PerfilPersonal archivesIn early 2015, under an agreement between the Electrobras System Corporate University (Unise) and the federal government’s Science without Borders program, civil engineer Étore Funchal de Faria conducted a doctoral research project to obtain materials that extended the durability and improved the safety of concrete structures. The idea sprang from a recurring problem at the Itaipu Hydroelectric Plant in Foz do Iguaçu, Paraná State, where he works: microcracking in the dams. If uncorrected, the problem, caused by substances in the water, will shorten the useful life of the structure.

In February 2015 Faria traveled to Arizona State University in the United States for a post-doctoral internship in structures and materials with emphasis on dam safety. There he developed techniques to evaluate materials that worked as “seals” for the so-called “live cracks” that expand or contract with thermal changes in the structure. “We determined that materials made of textile fiber and cement mortar solve this type of problem,” he says.

Ever since he completed his undergraduate work in 1995 at the State University of Minas Gerais (UEMG), Faria has been attempting to reconcile his careers as researcher and civil engineer, and he adjusts his research to the requirements of the businesses where he works. During his master’s studies at the Federal University of Rio de Janeiro (UFRJ), for example, Faria was in charge of the safety system for the Furnas Dams. The topic of his dissertation was the thermal performance of concrete in dam structures. Also at UFRJ, in his doctoral work while managing executive projects for Petrobras refineries, he studied different types of concrete.

In 2010 Faria went to work for Itaipu Binacional and made collaborating with other researchers a priority. To prepare the post-doctoral project on the durability and safety of concrete structures, he enlisted the support of civil engineer Eduardo de Moraes Rego Fairbairn, his master’s and doctoral adviser at UFRJ. Now Faria is working to pave the way for testing the dams at the Itaipu Plant using the materials he studied in the United States. The project is being implemented at the Center for Advanced Studies in Dam Safety in the Itaipu Technology Park, and it is likely to include the use of other types of fibers such as polyester from plastic bottles, focusing on lower costs and taking advantage of residue.