, Associate Professor, Civil, Environmental and Geo-Engineering
There is an urgent need for innovative solutions to fix the aging pavement infrastructure. Current materials and technologies cannot keep up with the rate of deterioration and current funding levels. Developing new materials and technologies could offer a cost-effective solution. The research team at NRRI has investigated the use of taconite aggregates for more than a decade, and the research team at CEGE has started investigating Graphite Nanoplatelet (GNP)-reinforced asphalt materials more than three years ago. Both materials present very unique properties that can be used to better build and maintain asphalt pavements. This research effort focuses on two applications with significant potential in the pavement area.
The first application is early detection and repair of cracking by developing a novel asphalt material in which GNP materials, taconite concentrate, and conventional asphalt binders are combined for damage sensing and healing. The material damage is assessed by measuring the electrical resistance, while the damage healing is achieved by applying microwave to the material.
The second application is the thermal enhancement of tack coat bonding between asphalt overlay lifts using GNP and taconite concentrate and microwave heating. Poor bond can result in many different pavement distresses that decrease the pavement structural strength and life, ranging from top-down cracking, potholes, and fatigue failure.