Sustainable Road Pavements for Harsh Climates

Funding/Research Support:

NSERC Discovery Grant

Project Overview:

Across the country, Canada has more than a million kilometers of paved roads. Although Canada has rich natural beauty and geography, it also has a unique and harsh climate. Since the country is significantly large, the climate varies between regions. Weather factors such as rain, temperature, and snow with their differing magnitudes and patterns each have different types of impacts on the design, construction, maintenance and performance of the pavement. These factors also contribute to the development of various pavement distresses, such as the creation of potholes, rutting on the wheel paths, and slippery road surfaces. These distress impact traffic safety, mobility, and economic productivity. To mitigate these effects, road agencies spend hundreds of millions of dollars each year to repair and maintain their road pavements.

This research program is designed to address some of the resurgent issues in asphalt pavement. Specifically, this research program consists of these research components: 1) Investigation of Moisture Induced Damages and Development of an Enhanced Moisture Damage Resistant Pavement: The short-term goal of this research is to generate a comprehensive understanding of how ingressed water in pavements induces the stripping of asphalt from aggregate in all subsystems of an asphalt-aggregate mixture. Further, this research will develop an optimal design with enhanced moisture repellent additives. The long-term focus of this research is to develop an asphalt mix with a novel additive that will repel water molecules and/or design a pavement surface course that will have interconnected micropores with a self-propelled ability to remove water from the pavement catchment. 2) Investigation of the Rutting Phenomenon and Development of an Improved Rut Resistant Paving Mixtures: This research component will investigate the unknown causes of rutting in a region where all the factors that are generally known from past research to cause rutting are absent or very minimal in magnitude. In addition to examining the effects of conventional mix design factors, the petrographic effects of aggregates, aggregate structural design, mastic fraction and binder’s contribution will be studied. With the understanding from these steps, this research will develop an optimal mix design with novel rut resistant polymers for harsh Canadian climates.

The proposed research program entails both fundamental and applied research components are suitable for training highly qualified personnel. This research program will generate a significant body of new knowledge to advance the field of pavement engineering.