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Best Paper Awards Highlight UTA Participation at TRB Meeting

Tuesday, February 13, 2018

A research group from UTA’s Sustainable and Resilient Civil Infrastructure group, or SARCI, led by Civil Engineering Professor and Assistant Dean of Engineering for Research Anand Puppala, earned two “best paper” awards at the 97th Transportation Research Board meeting January 7-11 in Washington, D.C.

The meeting was attended by more than 14,000 practitioners, engineers, researchers, and academicians from around the world. TRB is a program unit of the National Academy of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine, a non-profit organization that provides independent, objective, and interdisciplinary solutions. Presentation and publication at TRB is regarded as a major accomplishment for those working in transportation-related fields.

Anand Puppala and his collaborators show off their best paper awardPuppala and his group received “Best of the Session” honors, the highest award given in each session of the TRB’s Design and Construction Group, for a paper entitled, “Long-term Durability Studies on Chemically-Treated Reclaimed Asphalt (RAP) Material as a Base Layer for Pavements,” in the Geological and Geoenvironmental Engineering Section and for a paper entitled, “Assessment of Guar-Gum Biopolymer Treatment Towards Mitigation of Desiccation Cracking on Slopes Built with Expansive Soils,” in the Geotechnical Engineering Section.

“This is a top conference for transportation-related research, and recognition of our work in this arena for one paper, much less two, is an honor,” Puppala said. “We have worked hard to build our reputation in this area, and I am happy that the quality of our work is recognized.”

Anand Puppala and his collaborators show off a best paper awardThe paper on RAP materials was also a finalist for the prestigious K.B. Woods paper award. Both papers will be published in the Transportation Research Board journal. Research for the papers was partially funded by C-TEDD and TranSet, Tier 1 and Regional University Transportation Centers (UTCs) based at UTA and LSU, respectively. In addition to Puppala, authors of the papers were Aravind Pedarla, Tejo Bheemasetti, Raju Acharya and Vijay Ganne from UTA, Bhaskar Chittoori of Boise State University and Soheil Nazarian of UT El Paso.

Bheemasetti, civil engineering adjunct professor and postdoctoral fellow, made technical presentations at two TRB committee meetings on the CPT-based visualization works. This presentation showed how CPTs can be analyzed to develop a comprehensive visualization of subsurface system in embankments.

Also, Puppala and Aritra Banerjee made an invited poster presentation, “Mitigation of sulfate heaving,” with Joe Adams of the Texas Department of Transportation about a project conducted for TxDOT from 2014-17. This project was one of the two TxDOT projects selected for presentation to the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials Research Advisory Committee, and was the only one in the area related to infrastructure, materials and maintenance. This was the first time that a project conducted by UTA was invited to AASHTO group presentation at TRB.

“UTA has partnered with TxDOT on several recent research projects, and we were happy to share our results with AASHTO. Hopefully, our findings will advance knowledge and best practices among transportation officials nationwide,” Puppala said.

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