A section of new seawall in North Bay Village was cemented in place on Tuesday using novel building materials and a design from a College of Engineering graduate student.

The community of North Bay Village took a step to protect its future on Tuesday by implementing a new concept designed by University of Miami faculty members and graduate students to prolong the life of seawalls that encircle the island village in Biscayne Bay.

Workers poured 50 feet of concrete to build the top of a seawall on the eastern edge of the village. But it was not a typical seawall. This one was fortified with a material called glass fiber reinforced polymer (GFRP) rebar—which College of Engineering researchers said can help the seawall last much longer.

Although steel rebar is more commonly used in construction today, with time, seawater often corrodes the frame and weakens the entire structure, said Roberto Rodriguez, a Ph.D. student at the college.“It’s a small success, but hopefully this will lead to a lot of future projects with this material in South Florida,” Rodriguez said. “Today we took the first step in proving that GFRP technology is a viable solution for seawall construction