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.