Polymer Overlays for Bridge Decks

Congratulations to the following three faculty members in the college’s Civil & Environmental Engineering Department, whose research project was cited as one of the nation’s most promising to address highway and transportation issues: Habib Tabatabai, Associate Professor, principal investigator; Al Ghorbanpoor, Professor, co-investigator; and Konstantin Sobolev, Professor and Department Chair, co-investigator.

Their joint project with Wisconsin Department of Transportation was one of eight highlighted in August in Maintenance Research, a magazine published by the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials (AASHTO). The projects were selected by AASHTO’s Research Advisory Committee as examples of how states are identifying solutions to top highway and transportation concerns.

Tabatabai, Sobolev and Ghorbanpoor have been working with WisDOT to find more efficient ways to extend the life of Wisconsin bridges through the testing and application of several thin, lightweight polymer overlays. “The study gave Wisconsin DOT valuable guidance on how to make the most cost-effective use of thin polymer overlays, which can extend bridge deck life seven to 15 years,” states the article.

In Wisconsin and other northern states, bridges are subject to deicers and road salt, which corrode the infrastructure.  Overlays and sealers work to protect bridge decks while improving skid resistance for drivers.

The professors were assisted by: Azam Nabizadeh, a Ph.D. student; Chin-Wei Lee, a post-doc; and engineering undergraduate students Matthias Lind, Brian Mullen, Kenneth Sosinski and Ali Ehsan Ali.

Click here for the full report from Maintenance Research.

— Carolyn Bucior