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Home | Tag Archives: Imad Abdallah Ph.D

Tag Archives: Imad Abdallah Ph.D

UTEP Center Receives $590K from TxDOT to Assess Cracking Potential of Asphalt

The University of Texas at El Paso’s Center for Transportation Infrastructure Systems (CTIS) has received a $590,000 grant from the Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT) to investigate and implement a test protocol for evaluating the cracking potential of asphalt mixes before they are placed on the roads.

The project’s principal investigator is Soheil Nazarian, Ph.D., professor of civil engineering. He is joined by co-principal investigators Imad Abdallah, Ph.D., research associate professor of civil engineering and executive director of CTIS; and Victor Garcia, a CTIS research associate.

Staff members involved in the project include Sergio Rocha, research associate, and Jose Garibay, laboratory coordinator. In addition, a graduate student and several undergraduate students will gain research experience.

“This project minimizes the guessing game on which asphalt mixture will or will not crack. Given that about 95% of our nation’s paved roads are covered with asphaltic materials, this project not only offers a learning opportunity for our students, it will bring tremendous savings to taxpayers as well,” Nazarian said.

The main goal of this effort is to develop guidelines that can direct pavement engineers to select asphalt mixtures with satisfactory cracking resistance. The CTIS research team will lead the laboratory evaluation of pavement materials.

The team is currently validating the testing processes and specifications developed through a separate research project completed at UTEP in 2016. Several TxDOT districts have volunteered to implement the UTEP suggestions in their ongoing construction projects.

“The service life of asphalt pavement is significantly shortened when it cracks prematurely. We are developing durable long-lasting materials,” Garcia said.

To learn more about the Center for Transportation Infrastructure Systems, visit their website.

UTEP Center receives TxDoT $600k grant to develop Sustainable Street Surface

The University of Texas at El Paso’s Center for Transportation Infrastructure Systems (CTIS) was recently awarded a $600,000 grant from the Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT) to implement the concept of balanced mix design (BMD) in the construction of flexible street surfaces throughout the state.

The grant’s co-principal investigators include Soheil Nazarian, Ph.D., professor of civil engineering; Imad Abdallah, Ph.D., research associate professor of civil engineering and CTIS executive director; and Victor Garcia, CTIS research associate.

The trio are joined by doctoral student Prathmesh Jickhar, master’s student Denis Vieira, and 14 undergraduates who are gaining firsthand experience on the implementation of BMD, which develops asphalt using performance tests on appropriately conditioned specimens that address multiple modes of distress that consider aging, traffic, climate and location within pavement structure.

“The main outcome is not only envisioned to be a new generation of high-quality pavement materials but also young civil engineering students who are currently being exposed to challenging concepts,” Abdallah said.

TxDOT and the Texas Asphalt Pavement Association are engaged in a cooperative research effort to actively implement the BMD concept on street surfaces.

Several sites will be selected from participating TxDOT districts to validate the testing requirements and design specifications for BMDs recently developed through an ongoing research project at CTIS.

The test sites will be comprehensively investigated and monitored by UTEP, and the Center for Transportation Research from The University of Texas at Austin and the Texas A&M University Transportation Institute for at least three years.

“This cooperative research effort is a new platform for DOTs, industry and academic institutions to engineer innovative and sustainable solutions for providing more durable and long-lasting pavements,” Garcia said.

TxDOT is currently responsible for maintaining approximately 197,000 lane-miles of highway infrastructure. With the implementation of the BMD concept, a cost-savings of approximately $75 million annually is expected if the performance of the roadways and mix design process is improved by 5%.

“This project is expected to revolutionize the design and construction process of flexible pavements,” Nazarian said.

Click here for more information on UTEP’s Center for Transportation Infrastructure Systems (CTIS)

UTEP Team Leads Pavement Engineering

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.

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