Expert: Roads must be “smart”. That’s why.

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. “Permanent construction on your vacation route, pits in the winter, and the collapse of bridges will continue until the roads are“ smart enough ”to better prevent damage, says a construction engineer at Purdue University.

That wouldn’t make the roads look like the chic, computerized highways you see in science fiction movies depicting the future. In fact, roads can look exactly the same. However, the materials from which roads are made could communicate digitally using technologies embedded under the surface or repair themselves.

“Our roads will not be safer if we continue to maintain pits or build infrastructure the way we were right. We need to think about how to incorporate digital transformation, ”he says Luna LuPurdue Professor Lyles School of Civil Engineeringwho is an expert in concrete innovations for road improvement.

Lu leads Smart Infrastructure Center Purdue. It gives three reasons why roads need digital improvement:

  1. Roads that “talk” can reduce construction and traffic. Lu has create sensors which can more accurately “tell” engineers when freshly laid concrete is ready to receive heavy traffic, reducing the likelihood that the concrete will crack and need to be repaired again. Fewer repairs throughout the year would mean less traffic slowdowns due to construction. “We do not need to completely rebuild the existing infrastructure to make it smarter. The installation of the sensors is a low-hanging fruit, ”says Lu.
  2. Smarter roads can be better for the environment. One tonne of cement can produce up to one tonne of carbon dioxide. Fewer road repairs would reduce cement production. Lu and her colleagues are working with materials that would reduce the amount of carbon dioxide produced in cement production. Lu’s lab is also developing a way concrete could do that heal your cracks.
  3. We will use roads differently in the future. Population growth trends change over time and affect traffic flow. Electric and autonomous vehicles would also change the layout of roads and the way they are used. “Infrastructure shapes us, and we shape infrastructure,” says Lu. “When many of our roads were first built in the U.S., we didn’t have the tools to collect data and make decisions. Now we have those tools. We need policies and regulations that are more responsive to human needs.

About Purdue University

Purdue University is the highest public research institution developing practical solutions to today’s toughest challenges. Ranked as one of the 10 most innovative universities in the United States by US News & World Report over the past four years, Purdue conducts world-changing research and discoveries outside the world. Committed to hands-on and online learning in the real world, Purdue offers transformational education for everyone. Affordable and affordable, Purdue froze education and most taxes for 2012-2013. level, so more students than ever before can graduate without debt. See how Purdue never stops persistently in pursuit of another giant leap https://stories.purdue.edu.

Writer, media contact: Kayla Wiles, 765-494-2432, wiles5@purdue.edu

Source: Luna Lu, luna@purdue.edu

Godfrey Kemp

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