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MAE 561: Objectives



Please select one topic from the following options and write a review paper.

  1. The Romans developed a concrete material that enabled the construction of seawalls that remained intact for over 2,000 years. However, the service life of our modern concrete infrastructures is only about 10 years. Write a review paper to discuss why Roman concretes can survive and what we can learn from Romans to improve the safety and durability of current concrete infrastructures. Please summarize the existing work on rediscovering the material compositions and processing techniques that produce Roman concrete, as well as conducting the microscale and macroscale characterization of the new concretes.


  1. There was a bridge collapse accident in Florida last year. Based on your knowledge of fracture mechanics, write a review paper on advanced solutions for the application of new materials, design, and technologies to address long-term road and bridge maintenance and pavement/concrete rehabilitation needs.

Literature Reviews

What is a review paper?

The purpose of a review paper is to succinctly review recent progress in a particular topic. Overall, the paper summarizes the current state of knowledge of the topic. It creates an understanding of the topic for the reader by discussing the findings presented in recent research papers From University of Wisconsin

Examples of review papers from Arizona State University



  • Overview of library databases and resources
  • Search techniques and tips for searching relevant engineering databases
  • Creating a Endnote account
  • Exporting some relevant references from a database to Endnote
  • Creating a bibliography using ASME format
  • Importance of crediting/attributing references 

Material formats

Different types of materials:

  • Journal articles: peer-reviewed, creditionals of the author, quality of the journal, metrics such as number of times article has been cited, impact factors
  • Conference papers: most recent developments, not always peer-reviewed
  • Books – synthesis of information, “big picture.”
  • Technical reports – not peer-reviewed but important technical information – often available free.
  • Patents - important for technical information (often not available elsewhere)
  • Standards - a document that provides rules or guidelines to achieve order in a given context