Started in 1997, the Road Engineering Research Section, part of EMIB, achieved several expertise domains which are recognized by national and international partners. Each expertise domain is supported by professors, senior and junior researchers. Mostly, long-term research projects are part of PhD projects and master thesis. The expertise is demonstrated by a number of projects together with academic, industrial and governmental partners.
Bitumen & asphalt technology: ageing - healing - bitumen mechanics
In this cluster, research is conducted on the durability properties of bituminous mixtures. Specifically, ageing and healing mechanisms are investigated. The main research method is the determination of the chemical and rheological properties of the binder, mastic, mortar and asphalt. A micromechanical model is under development.
Structural design of smart roads
The smart road technology needs a proper design of the whole road construction and used materials. The research group can support the selection of appropriate technologies and materials in order to design and build smart roads using sensor technology, self-healing pavements,… One of our latest developments is the use of Fibre Bragg Grating systems, allowing the measurement of temperature and deformation in the road construction.
Structural design of specific asphalt pavements
Specific road pavements such as airport or heavy-loaded port pavements require a specific methodology for its design and material selection. Via our network, research expertise and own laboratory we can provide a recommendation and technical specifications for those specialized pavements.
Promotion of recycling & green technologies
Green technologies are by means of a total impact evaluation (LCA) the best solution to decrease the impact on nature such as depletion of natural resources and reduction of energy use. The proper use of waste and recycled materials is one of the best methods to achieve the ambitions world-wide to decrease human impact. Using LCA-methodology, combined with experimental output, RERS can evaluate both materials and road engineering processes. We have an extensive experience with using reclaimed asphalt and roofing waste in road structures, the application of rejuvenators and IT processes in order to increase overall durability of road pavements. A new project regarding the use of recycled tyre rubber in asphalt will start shortly.
Development of solar asphalt constructions
This expertise topic started in 2002 and evolved into a full-scale test track on the Groenenborger Campus, next to Building Z. In this topic, a Finite Element Model is developed which will be validated using the experimental data from the full-scale test track. It further includes testing in our asphalt laboratory, the design of the heat exchanging systems in the asphalt matrix and the selection of appropriate materials.
Noise reducing measures
In collaboration with the Belgian Road Research Centre (BRRC) and the Flemish Agency for Roads and Traffic (AWV), the impact of both low-noise pavements and noise barriers is investigated. For pavements, this includes the acoustical assessment in the laboratory (absorption, mechanical impedance) and in situ (CPX, SPB – with BRRC). For noise barriers, acoustical measurements are performed on site (with AWV), while IMMI noise modeling software is used to design the noise barrier and predict its impact on the average noise levels. Furthermore, the impact of these noise-reducing measures on the quality of life of nearby living residents is determined using surveys.