UTA researcher to employ scanning laser to measure road aggregate microtexture

A University of Texas at Arlington engineer is working with the Texas A&M Transportation Institute to assess whether scanning lasers can accurately measure microtexture of aggregates, which are used in asphalt and concrete mixtures.

Roger Walker, a professor of computer science and engineering, is leading the two-year, $671,011 project, which is funded through the Texas Department of Transportation. The agency currently uses camera-based systems to assess aggregate characteristics.

Roger Walker, a professor of computer science and engineering, is leading a project that will determine whether scanning lasers can measure microtexture of aggregates, which are used in asphalt and concrete mixtures
Roger Walker, a professor of computer science and engineering, is leading a project that will determine whether scanning lasers can measure microtexture of aggregates, which are used in asphalt and concrete mixtures

“These lasers will enable TxDOT to more accurately measure the microtexture of the aggregates,” Walker said. “The laser system also will measure aggregate shape and angularity, offering important insights into which materials and mixes work best on Texas roads. This could ultimately affect sustainability, cost and safety.”

Walker’s project will determine the viability of replacing the current camera system with lasers. The data generated in the study will be crucial for the development of new adhesive systems that make binding asphalt and concrete better and longer lasting.

Hong Jiang, chair and Nedderman professor of the Computer Science and Engineering Department, said Walker’s work is representative of how UTA is advancing sustainable urban communities and data-driven discovery under the Strategic Plan.

“Dr. Walker’s collaboration with TxDOT uses reliable data to make long-term decisions on our roads,” Jiang said.

“This research could lead to a much more efficient and less costly way in which to test pavement.” UTA’s collaboration with TxDOT is extensive. The University has been awarded more than $19 million in TxDOT contracts research grants during the last two-plus decades.

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