Increased Durability and Reduced Maintenance Cost of Road Surfaces via Recyclable, Dual Use Fiber Reinforced Asphalt

California faces a storm of increased single use plastic based personal protective equipment, limited gas tax revenue and depressed consumer spending overall, and higher dependence on roads for critical infrastructure. Coupled with the decline in aviation use and aging fleets, we are poised to have an overabundance of non-deteriorating plastic and composite waste, already exceeding 35M tons annually worldwide. Is it possible to reuse this non-degradable waste source, already in our state, for improving our degraded roads and infrastructure in support of California for the coming decades? Our research will investigate a novel recycled plastic fiber mesh to be installed in the asphalt to increase its strength, thereby reducing degradation and extending its lifespan.

Principal Investigator: 

Daniel Whisler

PI Contact Information: 

daniel.whisler@csulb.edu

California State University, Long Beach

Dates: 

January 2021 to December 2021

Impacts/Benefits of Implementation: 

The results of this research project constitute a novel and practical use of recycled short fibers from the aerospace manufacturing sector in CA to develop improved and toughened roads for CA, thereby reducing our cost burden, extending the lifecycle of reliable roads and bridges, and improving our transportation infrastructure for the next several decades. We aim to bring the latest technological tools, modeling and simulation codes, and validation techniques to assess road surfaces, including some processes that not been completed to date, such as full stress and strain field determination in situ testing to allow for unprecedented real time data collection. Our overall goal is to improve and advance the state of our infrastructure as we seek to create a more environmentally conscious future.

Project Number: 

2136