“Dr. Yusuf Mehta, associate professor of civil and environmental engineering at Rowan, is working with researchers from across the country on a series of transportation-related projects. Mehta, who oversees an asphalt lab in the South Jersey Technology Park in Mantua Township, is studying the environmental impacts of recycled asphalt pavement, or the restructuring of asphalt materials removed from previous roadways, under a $452,490 grant from the New Jersey Department of Transportation (NJDOT).”
“[The NJDOT] wants to find an alternative that is repeatable and accurate. They are willing to explore all options and have kept a very open mind.” Dr. Kenneth Blank, vice president of Health Sciences at Rowan, said collaborations like Mehta’s are a result of Rowan’s recent research institution status, which New Jersey designated in 2013.
“Rowan has a long history of transportation-focused research that extends well beyond Mehta’s work. For example, the United States Department of Energy (DOE), New York State Department of Transportation (NYSDOT), NJDOT and United States Department of Transportation awarded close to $1.2 million in recent years to Dr. Kauser Jahan, professor of civil and environmental engineering, to conduct research on several transportation-related projects.”
“Under a $750,000 DOE grant, she is studying the use of algae as a possible alternative fuel source. Jahan, who says using algae is one of the most promising alternatives to traditional biodiesel fuel — plant and animal oils such as soybeans, corn and canola oil and animal fat, materials that need to be replenished through farming — is partnering on the study with Rowan Engineering colleagues (chemical engineering professors Dr. Robert Hesketh and Dr. C. Stewart Slater, chemical engineering associate professor and program chair Dr. Mariano Savelski and civil and environmental engineering associate professor Dr. Will Riddell).”
“The work employs an innovative use of membrane technology to provide carbon dioxide gas to promote algae growth. Algae, Jahan said, may provide a viable energy source and require far less land that other biofuels require, taking up less property that can be devoted to food production. According to Jahan, algae reproduce quickly, produce oils more efficiently than crop plants and require relatively few nutrients for growth. Ultimately, she said, if algae are viable, they can be grown on land considered substandard for agricultural purposes and possibly mass produced indoors as well.
“Protecting land and air travel Dr. Beena Sukumaran, chair of Civil & Environmental Engineering, has been conducting research for the NJDOT and the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) for more than a dozen years, including studies with international collaborators. Currently, she is working under a $222,227 grant from NJDOT/University Transportation Research Center to use laser-induced breakdown spectroscopy (LIBS) to identify problematic minerals in aggregate stone.
Working in conjunction with Rowan physics professor Dr. Michael Lim, electrical and computer engineering professor Dr. Ravi Ramachandran and graduate student Andrew Branin from Howell, New Jersey, Sukumaran will advise the NJDOT whether its contractors are using appropriate construction materials in order to ensure the quality of Garden State roads. Sukumaran also is working with post-doctoral scholar Dr. Carlos Cary, a Peru native who received his Ph.D. from Arizona State University; Marie Lecorvaisier, a French student working on her graduate thesis at Rowan; and undergraduate students Adam Bagriacik from Burlington, New Jersey; Robert Cohen from Philadelphia; Jerrett Clark from Pilesgrove, New Jersey; and Kokeb Abera from Williamstown, New Jersey, on a $70,571 funded project for the FAA to determine the suitability of the Superpave Gyratory Compactor (SGC) to replicate field performance of aggregates during construction and trafficking of airfield pavements.
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