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Often students, especially graduate students, make discoveries and innovations that ultimately become important contributions to industry and society.

On March 14, 2000, a group of University of Nebraska students came up with a "Method for Manufacturing an Improved Prestressed Concrete Joist." The invention was assigned to the Board of Regents, University of Nebraska, Lincoln.

They recommended web openings in precast concrete double tee joists to allow equipment to pass through them, reducing the floor-to-floor height and overall building height. A further benefit is weight reduction.

The inventors contend that their new method is not only superior to steel in many respects, including corrosion resistance, but also easy to produce.

There is no word at this time as to whether the university will license this technology to any third-party producer. However, the conveniences the joist provides both contractors and building owners make the invention a nice supplementary product for producers of hollowcore panels or double tees.