A bit more about my research...

Whether it’s commuting to work, traveling to school, shopping for groceries, or going on a vacation; transportation is ingrained in our day- to-day lives. Yet very rarely do we think about the roads that make it possible for private, public and commercial vehicles to get from one place to another. The transportation infrastructure of the United States is worth trillions dollars and about one-third the value of all fixed assets; this includes about 2.5 million centerline miles of highways paved using asphalt mixtures. The social, economic and environmental impact of our roadways cannot be overemphasized. Just how much is 2.5 million centerline miles of asphalt? Think of it this way: it would take about 10 seconds at the speed of light to cover this distance, or roughly five trips to the moon and back.

It is an extraordinarily difficult task to develop and deploy engineering solutions and practices that can be used to maintain and expand our roadways in a sustainable and eco-friendly manner. In order to accomplish this, one needs to solve the jigsaw puzzle that links the chemical makeup of the ingredients (at a molecular length scale) to the engineering properties and performance of asphalt mixtures and pavements. My research is to better understand some pieces of this puzzle and use this knowledge to create tools that help the industry to build and maintain eco-friendly, cost effective, durable and safe roads. Scrolls down for some more details on some of these puzzle pieces…


The IMPACT (Infrastructure Materials Performance And CharacTerization) lab. at UT Austin was set up in 2008 with core testing facilities to help solve this puzzle.


Fatigue damage in asphalt mixtures is due to the repeated action of loads (from vehicles and/or environmental conditions). Processes that influence the rate of crack growth in asphalt concrete are significantly different from the classical mechanisms that are used to model crack growth in elastic materials such as metals or concrete. Examples of work in this area:


Asphalt materials have a tendency to reverse micro-damage over time at typical service temperatures. This phenomenon is referred to as healing or self-healing in asphalt materials. Examples of work in this area:

Asphalt Genome

The Asphalt Genome project was started in approximately 2010 here at UT Austin. In the context of a full asphalt mixture, asphalt binder can be treated as a homogenous material. At smaller and sub micron length scales the asphalt binder is a complex ensemble of several distinctly different types of constituent molecules that co-exist in a stable configuration. Groups of similar molecules can be treated as different phases within the asphalt binder. Investigating the chemical makeup of asphalt binder or the asphalt genome can help answer some questions such as,

Eco-friendly practices

There is an increased impetus to advance the characterization and design tools pertaining to the preservation of existing pavements and use of technologies such as warm mix asphalt, cold mixes, and recycled asphalt concrete. Large scale implementation of these technologies is critical for sustainable use of our natural resources. Examples of work in this area:

Contact info

301 E Dean Keeton Stop C1761 Austin, Texas 78712 Phone: 512-471-3667 email: