Material Research Overview at UNH

Civil Engineering Materials research at UNH focuses on asphalt and portland cement concrete pavements, specifically with material characterization and testing in the laboratory.  The Materials group performs work with recycled materials, including reclaimed asphalt pavement (RAP), recycled asphalt shingles (RAS) and recycled portland cement concrete.  These include laboratory performance evaluation as well as performance of pavements in service.


Dr. Jo SIAS' Webpage

Current Active Research Projects

NCHRP 9-58: The Effects of Recycling Agents on Asphalt Mixtures with High RAS and RAP Binder Ratios

Funded by National Cooperative Highway Research Program

Project information

  • Student: Saeid Salehi

  • Project Lead: Texas A&M Universtiy/Texas Transportation Institute

  • Research Partners: University of Nevada Reno

Climate Adaptation for Road Infrastructure in Coastal New Hampshire

Funded by NH SeaGrant

  • Student: Jayne Knott

  • This research will develop the data and tools needed to assess climate impacts on roadways and create and engage a new NH Seacoast Transportation Climate Working Group to make the results readily useable by regional stakeholders. This will be accomplished by (1) developing and engaging a NH seacoast transportation climate working group, (2) conducting pavement assessments, and (3) evaluating different adaptation strategies.

TPF 5(230): Northeast High RAP Pooled Fund Study

Funded by various state DOTs and FHWA

  • Research Partners: NC State Univ, Rutgers Univ, UMass Dartmouth

  • Students: Chris Jacques, Saeid Salehi, Chris DeCarlo

  • In this project, over 30 different plant produced mixtures with RAP contents up to 40% by total weight of mixture are being evaluated.  Testing is focusing on fatigue and low temperature cracking using a suite of mixture and binder testing.  The impact of binder grade, RAP level, asphalt content, and production parameters are being evaluated.

Can We Use More RAP? New specifications for RAP/RAS mixtures in NH.

Funded by NHDOT

  • Student: Reyhaneh Rahbar

  • This project will evaluate 25 different plant produced mixtures containing various levels and combinations of RAP/RAS, binder grades, and binder sources.  The plant mixed, plant compacted specimens will be compared with laboratory mixed, laboratory compacted specimens with the goal of developing specifications based on laboratory mixtures.

NETC 07-1 In-Place Response Mechanisms of Recycled Layers Due to Temperature and Moisture Variations

Funded by New England Transportation Consortium

  • Research Partners: Worcester Polytech Inst, UMass Dartmouth, Forest Service

  • The main objective of this project is to determine the in-place properties of pavement cross-sections containing recycled materials common to the New England region, and to relate changes in those properties to variations in temperature and moisture.  The study will focus primarily on obtaining field data from base layers that have been constructed with different types of unbound or bound recycled layers such as full depth reclamation (with or without stabilizing additives), plant mix recycled asphalt pavement (PMRAP), or foamed asphalt. 

FHWA Flooded Pavement Assessment

Funded by FHWA

  • Research Partners: Worcester Polytech Inst, Villanova Univ, Infrasense

  • Student: Mohamed Elshaer

  • The objective of this project is to develop guidelines for short-term assessment of flooded pavements for the purpose of determining the optimum time to reopen a road to different types of traffic. The product will be a set of guidelines that will provide decision makers with the ability to assess flooded pavements using a rational methodology to determine the required testing based on available resources and risk assessment. The guidelines will address the assessment of flooded pavements based on performance properties and an understanding of the reduced structural capacity of roadway systems after a flood event.

Developing a Performance-Related Specification Program for Rhode Island

Funded by RIDOT

  • Research Partner: Villanova Univ

  • Student: Mirkat Oshone, Katie Haslett

  • The objective of this project is to develop pay adjustment factors for typical RI DOT asphalt concrete mixtures.  The pay adjustment factors will be based on pavement life differences predicted using measured material properties and distress models from performance related specification software. The scope of the project will include evaluation of two typical surface mixtures and a base mix (that contains between 15 to 25% reclaimed asphalt pavement) for non-interstate highways.


UNH offers a 1,000 square foot materials laboratory located in Kingsbury Hall S124. Within the laboratory are the following equipment and capabilities:

Asphalt Mix Design and Processing Lab

  • Aggregate testing (gradation and gravity)
  • Asphalt mix design equipment (Gyratory compactor, forced draft ovens, weighing scales, hot-plates, bucket mixers, Corelok device, specific gravity bench)
  • Sawing and coring equipment (water cooled masonry saw, band saw, core drills)

Asphalt Performance Testing Lab

  • Specimen Fabrication Equipment (Coredry device, gluing jig for attaching gage points and testing platens, specimen temperature conditioning chamber)
  • TA Instruments Dynamic Hybrid Rheometer
    • Binder testing at intermediate and high temperature (DSR)
    • Binder testing at low temperature (0 to -40 C)
    • Mixture and mastic testing using torsion bar geometry (Low to high temperature range)
  • Two Servo-Hydraulic Testing Systems
    • 100 kN/22 kip load frames
    • 8 channel test controllers with closed-loop test control
    • Four loose-core LVDT, four magnetic displacement gages (for E* and IDT), three crack opening displacement gages (for fracture tests)
    • Environmental chamber (-50 to 300 C range)
    • Asphalt mixture test fixtures and gages (Dynamic modulus, Disk-shaped compact fracture, Semi-circular bend, Single edge-notch beam, Indirect tension)
  • Asphalt Mixture Performance Tester (Instrotek)
    • Self-contained testing system with full close-loop control and temperature chamber
    • Four channel gage inputs (Loose core and spring loaded LVDTs)
    • Asphalt mixture viscoelastic and fatigue characterization capabilities (Dynamic modulus and Simplified Viscoelastic Continuum Damage characterization)

Test Analysis and Modeling Capabilities

  • ABAQUS (Finite Element Analysis Software)
  • MATLAB (for laboratory data reduction and processing)
  • RHEA (Rheology Analysis) Software (RHEA is registered trademark of ABATECH Consulting Engineers)
  • MTS Multi-Purpose Elite Testing Suite (For test control and data acquisition)
  • IPC Global Testing Program (For test control and data acquisition)