On the Radio: ISU researchers study heated pavement


Iowa State researchers studying snow- and ice-free pavements for airport runways.
Iowa State researchers studying snow- and ice-free pavements for airport runways (Christopher Gannon, Iowa State University News Service).
April 27, 2015

This week’s On the Radio segment looks at at Iowa State University, where researchers are studying heated pavement as a way to remove ice and snow from roadways. Listen to the audio below, or continue reading for the transcript.

Transcript: Heated Pavement

Researchers at Iowa State University are studying heated pavement as a way to remove ice and snow from airport runways as well as streets  and sidewalks.

This is the Iowa Environmental Focus.

A team of 19 faculty, staff, and students are looking at ways that airports can use heated pavement as a more environmentally-friendly way of clearing icy and snowy runways. Using pavement heating technologies would mean a reduction de-icing salts as well as emissions caused by the mandatory task of treating salty wastewater.

The research is part of a larger national program led by Purdue University and including Iowa State University, which is home to the National Concrete Pavement Technology Center.

The Federal Aviation Administration is providing seven-hundred-and-fifty-thousand-dollars in funding for the study and Iowa State University is matching this sum.

For more information about this study, visit IowaEnvironmentalFocus.org.

From the UI Center for Global and Regional Environmental Research, I’m Jerry Schnoor.

http://www.news.iastate.edu/news/2015/03/02/clearrunways

 

Asphalt: both victim and culprit of Iowa flooding


Flood damage to Highway 1 north of Solon after 2008 floods. John Johnson/Flickr
Flood damage to Highway 1 north of Solon after 2008 floods. John Johnson/Flickr

Heavy rainfall throughout Iowa over the weekend caused flash floods in several cities, resulting in two deaths and causing millions of dollars in infrastructure damage.

Some of the most striking damage was to Iowa’s roads. Floods closed off residential roads and highways across the state, including Iowa Highway 14 north of Marshalltown and sections of Highway 330. Emergency repairs have closed off Highway 1 near Mt. Vernon after floodwaters washed out a bridge on Monday.

Asphalt and concrete play a unique role in flooding as both victim and culprit of the damage. The surfaces of our roads and highways are made of two of the least absorbent materials around, resulting in immediate runoff and significant damage if drainage systems aren’t in place. This often results in heavy damage to roads and structures themselves, when the combination of soaked and washed-out soil beneath and high pressure from floodwaters above causes cracks, displacement and collapses.

Fortunately, most Iowa cities have vast drainage infrastructures to prevent roads from becoming waterlogged. Yet continued heavy rains, like Iowa’s record rainfall in June, will continue to put those systems to the test.