Soheil Nazarian, Ph.D., professor of civil engineering and director of the Center for Transportation Infrastructure Systems, is leading the UTEP team’s partnership with McMahon & Mann Consulting Engineers, P.C., based in New York.
The group was awarded $400,000 from the National Cooperative Highway Research Program (NCHRP) to develop a test protocol that can characterize the corrosion potential of earthen materials used in transportation construction. Specifically, properties of materials surrounding buried or embedded steel elements.
There are many transportation projects for which these limitations create issues such as project delays, the necessity of using more expensive sources of backfill and lower quality of the finished product.
“The findings of this project have significant national and international implication, and can be potentially implemented by all 50 states,” Nazarian said. “Locally, TxDOT saw this problem as critical and funded UTEP to provide appropriate solutions about six years ago. Our team and the Center for Transportation Infrastructure Systems are perhaps the leading multidisciplinary research teams in the U.S. on the topic because of the foresight of TxDOT.”
Researchers finished the work plan in February and will now move on to focused research efforts. The project is expected to be complete by January 2019.