Hardee to help lead asphalt study

The Arkansas Highway and Transportation Department has awarded $213,208 for a two-year collaborative project to research the performance of asphalts modified with polyphosphoric acid. Dr. John Hardee, professor of chemistry and dean of the Ellis College of Arts and Sciences at Henderson State University, is one of three researchers leading the study.

Hardee will be working with Dr. Ashraf Elsayed, associate professor of civil engineering at Arkansas State University, and Dr. Andrew Braham, assistant professor of civil engineering at the University of Arkansas-Fayetteville.

“State highway and transportation departments have realized for years that it is very good business to use modified asphalt in new road projects,” Hardee said. “It simply saves a lot of money on the medium and long term because the roads are less likely to experience rutting and cracking. By far, the most common way of modifying bitumen in modern road construction is to add a polymer such as styrene-butadiene-styrene to asphalt.”

Through laboratory and field evaluations, this research project will provide AHTD with information on the physical and chemical properties of PPA modified asphalt, Hardee said. In addition, the work will involve aging studies along with studies of the possible interaction of PPA with additives that are often used by suppliers to improve the quality of asphalt.

“Dr. Hardee’s work on this AHTD research project underscores both the high quality work our faculty engages through their ongoing research and scholarship, as well as the unique learning opportunities they offer our students here at Henderson,” said Dr. Steve Adkison, Henderson’s provost and vice president of academic affairs.