April 08, 2022
Last summer Mizzou Engineers helped divert more than a million plastic bottles and about 1,000 scrap tires from landfills. It was a big story – and it continues to draw attention, recently receiving a top award at the world’s largest transportation research conference.
At the 101st Transportation Research Board (TRB) Annual Meeting in Washington, DC., in January, a civil engineering team won the Best Poster Award on Design and Rehabilitation of Asphalt Pavements. Authors included Mizzou Research Scientist Punyaslok (Punya) Rath, Bill Buttlar, the Glen Barton Chair in Flexible Pavement Technology, and Research Engineer James Meister.
The winning poster detailed the waste plastic and ground tire rubber pavement mixture that Buttlar’s team is testing on a stretch of Stadium Boulevard in Columbia. The authors were tasked by the Missouri Department of Transportation (MoDOT) to recommend appropriate mixture designs using those materials, which would otherwise end up in a landfill.
“TRB is one of the biggest stages to showcase your work in our field,” Rath said. “Winning an award at TRB is just the icing on the cake.”
The asphalt project, which has wide-spread support, deserves an award itself for pushing the boundaries of innovation and sustainability, he said.
“The project was a perfect example of how academia, industry and state agencies can come together in a collaborative effort to push the asphalt industry toward adopting sustainable and recycled materials, and at the same time, make our roads perform better and longer,” Rath said.
The award earned the authors an invitation to next year’s Design and Rehabilitation of Asphalt Pavements Committee Meeting at TRB, where they will be officially recognized.
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