A team of researchers in UTEP’s Center for Transportation Infrastructure Systems (CTIS) led by Imad Abdallah, Ph.D., research associate professor in the Department of Civil Engineering and executive director of CTIS, is leading the way in pavement engineering.
The group was recently awarded $591,499 from the Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT) through the Federal Highway Administration. The grant will allow the team to extend their research with TxDOT on asphalt mixes for three more years. Distress and the increased use of recycled material have made it more important to focus on design processes and mixes to prevent concrete cracking.
“This research implementation positions CTIS in the forefront of research in the area of pavement engineering, especially the cracking potential characterization of asphalt concrete,” Abdallah said. “This opportunity is especially exciting to me because we’ve seen standards implemented in Texas implemented at the national level.”
These efforts focus on establishing statewide acceptance limits for cracking resistance on mixes, and establishing laboratory testing protocol and training at district labs, both in Austin and San Antonio.
The UTEP team has already identified methods not only to estimate the cracking potential of AC mixes, but also to design the desired cracking performance of the mixes. If the test protocol and specifications from this research project are implemented and utilized as a routine mix design tool, the positive impact of the project will significantly benefit TxDOT’s budget by saving tens of millions of dollars annually in construction and maintenance costs, Abdallah said.
The research team includes Soheil Nazarian, Ph.D., CTIS center director and professor in the Department of Civil Engineering; Jose Garibay, CTIS lab manager and Victor Garcia, CTIS research assistant.