Two Civil Engineering students in the University Honors Program recently completed their Honors Thesis. Students participating in the University Honors program at Georgia Southern University are required to complete a Thesis on their undergraduate research. Faculty within the Department engage these outstanding undergraduate students in their scholarly activities, thus benefiting the students, the faculty, and the Department.
This year, Mr. Efadul Huq, a Civil Engineering Technology graduate, working under the mentorship of Dr. Gustavo Maldonado, completed an Honors Thesis on “Making Ultra-High performance Concrete without Extreme Treatments and with Rudimentary Equipment.” Mr. Huq is currently under practical training visa instructing mathematics at Lawrence Public School, Lawrence, Massachusetts. At the same time, he is preparing to take the GRE exam and is considering graduate engineering programs at different universities.
Civil Engineering graduate Matthew Earnest, working under the mentorship of Dr. Junan Shen, completed an Honors Thesis on “Evaluation of Crumb Rubber Modified Asphalt with Vestenamer TOR.” Mr. Earnest is currently enrolled in Georgia Southern College of Graduate Studies, pursuing the Master of Science in Applied Engineering under the supervision of Dr. Junan Shen. He is awarded a graduate assistantship from the University.
Parker Moore, a Civil Engineering Senior, has returned from the Texas A&M Transportation Institute (TTI) after participating in the 2013 Undergraduate Transportation Scholars Program, which is a 10-week summer research intern program at Texas A&M University for juniors and seniors across the nation.
“I am proud that Parker Moore was selected as the first student from our Civil Engineering Program to participate in this prestigious Scholars Program. The selection was based on the applicants’ academic performance and their career path. Parker’s studies especially in the transportation area are impressive and made it possible for him to successfully compete nationally.” said Dr. Junan Shen, Associate Professor of Civil Engineering.
“It is our Departmental policy to encourage students to engage in practical work and gain hands-on experience during their undergraduate education. Competitive internships, such as the one Parker participated in at TTI are excellent opportunities for our students and the Department. Through such opportunities, students gain the confidence and experience that employers are seeking, while our new Civil Engineering program gains national recognition” said Dr. Mike Jackson, Chair of the Department of Civil Engineering and Construction Management.
“It was a great experience, designed to help the participants to obtain the necessary preparedness to pursue graduate studies in Transportation Engineering. The project I participated in is part of a TxDOT project to improve trip generation rates using workplace and special generator surveys. I conducted analyses of survey data for traffic impact studies for new land development projects. I appreciate the opportunity I had with the help of our Department faculty members and chair’s recommendation” said Mr. Moore.
Dr. Jackson is an experienced and energetic Civil Engineer, Educator, and Researcher. He began his academic career as an Assistant Professor at the University of Tennessee in Knoxville, and has been a member of the faculty of the Civil Engineering and Construction Management Programs at the University of North Florida in Jacksonville for the past twelve (12) years. During his tenure at Tennessee and North Florida, he secured and managed over $5 Million in applied research contracts. He also brings over twenty years of experience in the Professional Practice of Civil Engineering and Construction to his new role as Chair of the CECM Department at GSU. He is a licensed Professional Engineer in Georgia, and his professional career includes experience in both the public and private sectors. He also actively participates with numerous volunteer service organizations, maintaining a high standard of professional integrity and ethics. Dr. Jackson was born right up the road in Macon, and is very happy to call Statesboro and GSU his new home.
Georgia Southern University associate professor of civil engineering, Junan Shen, Ph.D., has been selected by the Georgia Department of Transportation (GDOT) to conduct the second phase of a project to investigate the performance of rubberized asphalt mix for use in road construction in Georgia. The nearly $300,000 research project will examine how “green” material derived from scrap tires will make a viable alternative for use in road construction.
The second phase of the project is a two-year study to determine how to make a durable, energy-saving, green pavement using “crumb” rubber. In addition to Shen and his research associate, Zhaoxing Xie, Ph.D., up to four Georgia Southern undergraduate civil engineering students will be hired to assist on the project.
Shen completed the first phase of the project, examining the long-term performance of three roadway sections: (1) I-75 near Valdosta, Ga.; (2) I-75 near Perry, Ga.; and (3) I-20 in Augusta, Ga. in December 2012. Each of these sections of interstate was paved with open-graded friction course (OGFC) and stone matrix asphalt (SMA) underlying the OGFC. Test sections were visually inspected for surface distress following the guidelines in GDOT’s Pavement Condition Evaluation System (PACES) manual. Core samples taken from the test sections were evaluated in the laboratory on selected physical properties, including durability.
The objective of the second phase of the project is to make durable, economical and green asphalt mixtures containing crumb rubber. Shen and the students will examine the mechanism of rubberized asphalt mixtures produced via the “dry process” and “wet process” through a series of laboratory tests. The interaction of crumb rubber with asphalt binders will be examined at a microscopic level using advanced laboratory equipment such as Scanning Electron Microscopy, Fourier Transform Infrared Spectroscopy and Gel Permeation Chromatography. The team will then study the rheological (flow) behaviors of the asphalt binders modified with crumb rubber by using Georgia Southern’s new Dynamic Shear Rheometer and Bending Beam Rheometer, which were recently purchased for the University’s Asphalt Laboratory.
The team will then design rubberized asphalt mixtures and subject the material to an accelerated weathering test. “I am particularly interested in seeing how the mixtures can survive weather aging,” said Shen. In addition, other performance properties such as the rutting and anti-stripping properties of the designed mixtures will be evaluated. Lastly, a comprehensive comparison of the mixtures designed with crumb rubber will be conducted considering both the laboratory and the field performance obtained through the team’s study. Based on the results, Georgia Southern researchers will then provide the GDOT with recommendations for building durable, economical and green rubberized pavements. “The potential cost savings and ultimately the environmental impact could be tremendous for the state of Georgia,” said Shen. “Georgia Southern has made a significant investment to establish a new Asphalt Laboratory, and we are excited about the services that we are now able to provide to the paving industry and government agencies.”
Dr. Junan Shen, Associate Professor of Civil Engineering, recently returned from the 2nd International Conference on Sustainable Construction Materials (SusCoM). The prestigious conference was held in Wuhan, China on October 18-21, 2012. Civil engineers from Germany, South Africa, Netherlands, Libya, Egypt, China, Sudan and the USA exchanged information and ideas on cutting-edge research topics in civil engineering. Recognized as a leading researcher in sustainable materials, Dr. Shen was invited to chair a session and present his research entitled “A Comparative Study on the Influence of Warm Mix Asphalt (WMA) Additives on the Properties of WMA Mixtures.”
Dr. Shen’s attendance and presentation at SusCoM 2012 allowed him to learn about other innovative areas of civil engineering research, and promoted opportunities for him to collaborate with other pioneering researchers throughout the world.