FAU Broward Campuses - Faculty Spotlight

Dr. Francisco J. Presuel-Moreno

Friday, Oct 01, 2021
Dr. Francisco J. Presuel-Moreno

Professor | Ocean & Mechanical Engineering

Dr. Francisco J. Presuel-Moreno is a professor of Ocean and Mechanical Engineering, College of Engineering & Computer Science, at the SeaTech Dania Beach and Boca Raton campuses. Dr. Presuel is also the director of graduate programs. He has been researching corrosion and protection of steel reinforced concrete structures most of his career and was recently interviewed by WSVN Channel 7 News following the collapse of the 12-story Champlain Towers South condo in Surfside in June.

"The reason for the collapse is not currently known," said Dr. Presuel-Moreno, who has been teaching at FAU since 2006. "I recently read an article stating that the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) will be leading and coordinating a group of experts on trying to find the cause of the collapse. It is not known if corrosion of the reinforcing steel was part of the problem. Most of the research I do, has been performed for the U.S. Department of Transportation (USDOT) or the Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT) focused on reinforced concrete bridges. Note that the codes used in reinforced concrete bridges exposed to the marine environment are quite different from the codes uses for residential structures located in coastal areas. One suggestion would be to include as part of the code for new structures located at the coast guidelines to prevent corrosion of the reinforcing steel, and the use of durable concrete. For older structures, it would be advisable to train the inspectors with knowledge to identify concrete deterioration (including deterioration due to corrosion of the reinforcing steel), besides the structural assessment."

Dr. Presuel-Moreno’s dissertation for the Civil and Environmental Engineering Department of the University of South Florida (USF) was entitled: Modeling and Measurements of Corrosion and its Prevention in Marine Reinforced Concrete Substructures. "Before starting my graduate studies, I did not know much about corrosion. I applied and received a scholarship to do my Ph.D. at USF. I found out that the topic had to do with corrosion of the reinforcing steel, and turns out that I enjoyed the research. I got the opportunity to do both modeling and experimental work as part of my Ph.D. students. My BS is in computer science, so the dissertation included a 3D model of a partially immersed column that assumed to be undergoing corrosion."

At FAU, Dr. Presuel-Moreno currently has two MS graduate students, one Ph.D. student and an undergraduate student working in the marine material corrosion lab. "This semester is the first time that I teach the graduate course in corrosion and I do have a good enrollment, 16 students," he said. Every Fall, Dr. Presuel-Moreno teaches a class entitled, Engineering Materials, that usually attracts over 55 students. "I do include the chapter on corrosion when I teach this class," he said. At SeaTech, he teaches a course in Marine Materials and Corrosion, an elective course for seniors pursuing their BS in Ocean engineering.

He said his most memorable experiences at FAU are at the end of the semester when he gets student feedback from spot evaluations thanking him for what the student learned in the class. "Another one is the graduation of my first Ph.D. student, Dr. Yanbo Liu. He is now an associate professor at Harbin Engineering University in China." Dr. Liu’s research includes the durability of concrete and corrosion of metals.

Dr. Presuel-Moreno was born and raised in Merida, Yucatan, Mexico and now lives in Parkland. "Before FAU I did a Postdoc at the University of Virginia, Materials Science Department in the Center for Electrochemical Science and Engineering (that specializes in corrosion)," he said. During his time off, he enjoys music, reading and starting off his morning by racewalking.