$250,000 Contract Funds Project to Find Best Use of Ground Tire Rubber to Improve Roads

MELBOURNE, FLA—The Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT) has granted a $250,000 research contract to Paul Cosentino, professor of civil engineering at Florida Institute of Technology. The two-year contract calls for Cosentino’s research team to determine how ground tire rubber (GTR), which is manufactured from recycled tires, can be blended with roadbed soils from around Florida to determine how to improve its engineering properties.

For use in roadbeds, GTR is blended with the asphalt used in hot mix asphalt pavement to improve performance and quality. A recent innovation is to blend various asphalt emulsion additives to produce pavements that are better suited for high volume roads such as interstates. These new products will help increase GTR stockpiles and offer more opportunity to explore new uses.

“The objective of our research is to determine the key pavement engineering properties for blends of GTR and highway sub-grade soils. With these findings we will develop recommendations detailing how the acceptable blends should be used in FDOT’s highways,” said Cosentino.

To fulfill the contract Cosentino’s team will perform a series of tasks, including literature reviews, developing GTR sources and sizing, and determining optimum engineering blend proportions. The two-part testing will involve an initial screening followed by a more thorough testing evaluation. The team will evaluate three different sub-grade soils, which are commonly used in Florida highways, to determine the optimum blend of GTR.

Participating in the effort are David Horhota, FDOT project manager, and Albert Bleakley, associate professor in Florida Tech’s Construction Management Program, co-principal investigator with Cosentino. The graduate research team includes Amir Mohammad Sajjadi, Thaddeus J Misilo III and Alex Armstrong.

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