“Plastic Road”—Reuse of Waste Plastics

A civil engineering Professor at the University of Texas at Arlington is using both recycled and unrecycled plastic waste products to load surface cracks and decrease rutting in roads—the first use of so-called “plastic road” material in Texas.

“Plastic Road”—Reuse of Waste Plastics
Sahadat Hossain. Image Credit: University of Texas at Arlington

Sahadat Hossain, a UTA Civil Engineering Professor and the Director of the UTA Solid Waste Institute for Sustainability, has received a $950,000 grant from the Dallas district of the Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT). Co-principal investigator is Karthikeyan Loganathan, an Assistant Professor of Civil Engineering.

The plastic road is expected to enhance the durability and strength of highway pavement while also serving as a substitute for bitumen in asphalt pavement roads. The first plastic road execution project will take place in the Kaufman area. Hossain’s group has successfully finished a laboratory investigation into the reuse of waste plastics in asphalt over the last three years.

Hossain recently met with the World Bank to discuss the execution of plastic road projects in developing countries.

This is a perfect example of reuse of recycled materials for circular economy and green economy.

Sahadat Hossain, Professor, Civil Engineering, University of Texas at Arlington

TxDOT’s Fort Worth district granted Hossain a $637,060 contract to implement moisture barriers that decrease cracks and improve the durability and strength of highway pavement and shoulders in a separate project. The revised moisture barriers will be used in five Fort Worth district locations and two Dallas district locations.

This new method could save TxDOT even more on pavement maintenance cost.

Sahadat Hossain, Professor, Civil Engineering, University of Texas at Arlington

Director of TxDOT Fort Worth, Ricardo Gonzalez, says: “The technology proposed and the benefits discussed have a potential of cost savings to the department. Due to the results described on rutting of the pavement, this would be beneficial to address a concern of rutting pavement within our system with a potential increased durability. We look forward to identifying a way forward to work with The University of Texas at Arlington and Dr Hossain.”

A third project guided by Hossain entails the use of recycled plastic pins to stabilize highway soil slopes. The pins range in length from 8 to 10 feet and are driven into the soil to stabilize the slope.

This is a very cost-effective and green solution compared to existing slope stabilization methods,” he said.

Other states are pursuing Hossain’s lead and using recycled plastic pins to shore up failing highway embankments, according to Melanie Sattler, Interim Chair of UTA’s Department of Civil Engineering.

Dr Hossain is a leader in the field. His innovative use of recycled plastic is making infrastructure construction more sustainable.

Melanie Sattler, Interim Chair, Department of Civil Engineering, University of Texas at Arlington

Hossain, a global leader in sustainable waste management, is also researching landfill recycling and landfill sustainability.

Source: https://www.uta.edu

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