Minnesota Department of Transportation

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Research Pays Off Seminar Series

Research Pays Off Webinar Series

Every 3rd Tuesday of the month, 10 a.m. central

The National Road Research Alliance will provide a monthly seminar* to highlight research topics that will make an impact on the work done here in the state of Minnesota and around the country.

We send out a formal invitation and presentation announcement prior to the webinar through the NRRA email list. Make sure you're signed up to receive these and other occasional announcements.

We want to hear from you!

If you have a project or topic you'd like to share with our viewers, please contact Lauren Dao at lauren.dao@state.mn.us.

Upcoming Webinars

February 21: Improving Field Moisture Monitoring of Recycled Bases presented by Ceren Aydin, Michigan State University and Raul Velasquez, MnDOT

Reliable moisture monitoring of geomaterials throughout pavement service life is critical for geotechnical asset management by transportation agencies. Improved moisture sensing enables transportation officials and practitioners to better understand performance of complex recycled materials under frequent extreme rain events. Although moisture sensing for geomaterials has improved significantly, there are still challenges when using sensors in recycled materials that may contain un-hydrated cement and/or aged asphalt. Challenges include the development of calibration functions that account for presence of recycled materials and robust installation procedures, as technology was developed mostly for agricultural practices.

In this study, a series of experiments have been conducted to suggest improvements for installation techniques and data interpretation of soil moisture and water potential sensors. Suggested installation guidelines minimize wash-out and erosion potential at soil-sensor interface. Experimental results indicated a strong bi-linear relation between dielectric of recycled materials and water content with a region of relatively small change governed by dielectric permittivity of air and a region of rapid change controlled by dielectric permittivity of water. Moreover, it was found that dielectric permittivity is not significantly affected by aggregate internal structure as dielectric for a specific moisture content for different compaction degrees is relatively similar. Furthermore, it was determined that the soil water characteristic curves obtained using the water potential sensor and improved installation technique compares reasonably well with laboratory results obtained with traditional equipment. Reliability and survivability rate of both moisture and water potential sensors at MnROAD were improved with suggested guidelines.

Past Webinars

View the full playlist of recorded webinars on our YouTube channel.

2023 Webinars

January 17: canceled

2022 Webinars

December 20: Compacted Concrete Pavement (RCC with Surface Texture) Project Report presented by Kamal H. Khayat of Missouri University of Science and Technology

November 15: Comparative Analysis Of Heavy Truck IRI-Induced Excess Fuel Consumption of Various Network Pavement Interventions presented by Bernard Izevbekhai, P.E., Ph.D. of Minnesota DOT

This initiative investigated a rational process of incorporating the HDM-4 IRI-induced fuel consumption model for heavy duty trucks into the LCCA process using the Sigmoidal IRI degradation curves from the MnDOT Pavement Management. Pavement selection in Minnesota Department of Transportation (MnDOT) is currently based on project size, traffic volume and ultimately the comparative Net Present Cost in the life Cycle Cost Analysis (LCCA) of the sequence of interventions within a 50-year analysis period for each alternative. Hitherto there was no consideration of the actual pattern of the performance curves although the expected service life was based on a Ride Quality Index (RQI) of 2.5 being terminal. The research first updated the sigmoidal model constants for the major interventions in the network. It subsequently applied HDM-4 Model excess fuel consumption model for IRI induced heavy truck to the IRI versus time sigmoidal curve to obtain excess fuel versus time. Net present value (NPV) of excess fuel consumption rate was normalized by dividing by the characteristic service life. Using the institutional sequence (cascade) of interventions over a 50-year period for the various fixes, three total consumption indices of Heavy-Duty Truck-IRI degradation were obtained. Each of the three indices was divided by the corresponding index obtained for current dowelled concrete construction. The three resulting ratios are recommended as IRI-induced Excess Consumption Fuel Factors that could be applied as multipliers to the LCCA of the pavement selection process.

October 18: Novel Methods for Adding Rejuvenators in Asphalt Mixtures with High Recycled Binder Ratios Project Report presented by Fan Yin, Ph.D., P.E. and Raquel Moraes, Ph.D. of National Center for Asphalt Technology (NCAT)

This webinar will feature a recently completed NRRA Flexible Team research project. The project sought to explore three novel rejuvenator application methods using the emulsion and foaming technologies and determine their impacts on the workability and cracking resistance of high-reclaimed asphalt pavement (RAP) asphalt mixtures. To that end, a comprehensive experimental plan was developed, which consisted of four supplementary experiments focusing on rejuvenator characterization, foaming measurements of rejuvenators and rejuvenated asphalt binders, RAP pretreatment and marination evaluations, and mixture performance testing, respectively. Test results indicated that adding rejuvenators for RAP pretreatment significantly improved the overall quality characteristics of RAP, with the emulsion method being more effective than the spray-on and foaming methods. Marinating the pretreated RAP had a notable impact on the rheological and chemical properties of the extracted RAP binders, but it did not significantly affect the overall quality characteristics of RAP. Adding rejuvenators, in general, improved the workability and cracking resistance of high-RAP mixtures, but the degree of improvement varied depending on the rejuvenator type and dosage, RAP quality, and other mix design variables. Among the different rejuvenator application methods, pre-blending the rejuvenator into the virgin binder provided slightly better or equivalent rejuvenating effectiveness and thus, mixture performance properties, than adding the rejuvenator for RAP pretreatment. Based on these findings, it was recommended that asphalt contractors continue to use the pre-blending method of adding rejuvenators for the design and production of high-RAP mixtures due to performance and ease of operation considerations.

September 20: Longitudinal Cracking Investigation on I-72 Experimental Unbonded Concrete Overlay presented by Jeff Roesler, Ph.D. of University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign

A research study investigated longitudinal cracking developing along an experimental unbonded concrete overlay (UBOL) on I-72 in rural Illinois. Detailed distress surveys and coring were conducted to assess the extent of the longitudinal cracking and faulting along the longitudinal lane-shoulder joint. Coring over the transverse contraction joints in the driving lane showed stripping and erosion of the dense-graded hot-mix asphalt (HMA) interlayer was the primary mechanism initiating the longitudinal cracks. Cores from the lane-shoulder joint confirmed stripping and erosion was also occurring there and leading to the elevation difference between the driving lane and shoulder. Field sections by surrounding state departments of transportation (DOTs), such as Iowa, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, and Pennsylvania, with similar UBOL design features to the I-72 section were examined. Evidence from other DOTs suggested that HMA interlayers, whether dense graded or drainable, could experience stripping, erosion, and instability under certain conditions. An existing performance test for interlayers, i.e., Hamburg wheel-tracking device, and current models reviewed were not able to predict the distresses on I-72 eastbound. The integration of the separation layer and a pathway for subsurface drainage are key components to good performing unbonded concrete overlay.

August 16: Highway Project Delivery and As-builts Are Leveraging Digital Practices & Data presented by Dave Unkefer, P.E. of FHWA

This presentation will highlight important research, Every Day Counts and other digital project delivery initiatives by FHWA that are aimed to better leverage digital practices and data for greater productivity. We live in a time when digital practices and data are a foundation for much of what we do - from smart phones to the cloud to the internet - and we need to bring that power into how we do our business. Our next generation workforce will expect it. FHWA and our stakeholders have selected these strategic initiatives to fill gaps that should help the U.S. highway industry better advance the power of digital practices and related productivity improvement opportunities. The presentation will provide an overview of these initiatives, including benefits seen by agencies in the U.S. and worldwide. We will also highlight the national and international state of practice and what we have learned from agencies regarding enhancing implementation and technology deployment. We will share FHWA resources available to support your implementation efforts, including grants and EDC-6 technical assistance opportunities.

July 19: ICT as a Service and for Compliance – How ICT Research has led to the Removal of Technicians from Construction Sites in the UK presented by Ruairi Charlesworth of Highway Data Systems

Highway Data Systems are a certified materials testing house who operate their own ICT hardware and software as an integrated service for asphalt contractors in the UK and Ireland. Highway Data Systems research has been used by national and local overseeing organizations to update technical specifications for asphalt testing and is the driving force behind using ICT for compliance as well as quality assurance in road construction.

This talk will discuss HDS technology, how ICT can be delivered as a service and explain how ICT is being used for asphalt testing compliance in the UK and Ireland.

April 19: Spray on Rejuvenator Test Sections, Preventive Maintenance Team Project Update
See the project page

February 15: Development of Concrete Mix Designs/Matrix of Materials, Performance Properties, and Construction Field Sampling and Testing Expectations During Construction by Larry Sutter, Ph.D., P.E., Michigan Tech and Sutter Engineering
See project page

January 18: Understanding and Improving Pavement Milling Operations by Eshan Dave, ICT Team Project Update
Unfortunately, the recording of this webinar is not available.

2021 Webinars

December 21: Improve Material Inputs into Mechanistic Design Properties for Reclaimed HMA Roadways by Bora Cetin, Ph.D., Geotechnical Team Project Update

November 16: Developing Best Practices for Rehabilitation of Concrete with Hot Mix Asphalt (HMA) Overlays Related to Density and Reflective Cracking by Eshan Dave, Ph.D. and Katie Haslett, Ph.D., Flexible Team Project Update

October 19: No webinar due to other event conflicts

September 21: Performance Benefits of Fiber-Reinforced Thin Concrete Pavement and Overlays by Manik Barman, Ph.D., Rigid Team Project Update

August 17: Research and Evaluation of Void Reducing Asphalt Membrane (VRAM) presented by Todd Thomas, P.E., Asphalt Materials, Inc. and Jerry Geib, P.E., MnDOT

This presentation will discuss the research that was completed by Illinois DOT and Minnesota DOT on Void Reducing Asphalt Membrane (VRAM) to solve premature failure at the longitudinal joints. The findings from the research led to the implementation of their VRAM special provision.

July 20: Evaluation of Long-Term Impacts of Early Opening of Concrete Pavements by Lev Khazanovich, Ph.D. of University of Pittsburgh

The presentation will introduce a new mechanistic-based model for evaluation of concrete strength requirements for early opening of rigid pavements to traffic. See the project page.

June 15: Pavement Sustainability by Heather Dylla, Ph.D., FHWA

With renewed focus on climate change mitigation, economic strength, equity, and safety, incorporating principles of sustainability into our engineering and design of pavements is critical. This presentation will highlight some of the upcoming challenges engineers will face and identify what tools and resources are available.

Download Heather's slides (pdf)

May 18: Seismic Approach to Quality Management of HMA Project Update presented by Choon Park, Ph.D., Park Seismic, LLC, Nils Ryden, Norrfee Tech, Sweden, and Jason Richter, PG, MnDOT

A project overview and update will be provided describing development of a new device capable of measuring seismic properties of HMA in non-contact, rolling fashion for quality management purposes.

April 20: Determining Pavement Design Criteria for Recycled Aggregate Base and Large Stone Subbase Project Update presented by Bora Cetin, Ph.D., Michigan State University and Raul Velasquez, Ph.D., P.E., Minnesota Department of Transportation
This project's webpage

In this RPO, a summary of a comprehensive laboratory and field study of recycled aggregate bases (including RCA and RAP) is presented. Field study included over 2 years of monitored performance of several MnROAD test sections.

March 16: FRC Jointless Roundabouts in Minnesota Project Update presented by Peter Taylor, Ph.D., P.E., Iowa State (PI) and Maria Masten, P.E., MnDOT (TL)

In 2018, MnDOT constructed a jointless fiber-reinforced concrete roundabout. Maria Masten, Technical Liaison, MnDOT Concrete Engineer, will discuss an overview of the project including goals, construction details, whether MnDOT would do this again and what MnDOT might change. Dr. Peter Taylor, Principal Investigator, National CP Tech Center, Iowa State University, will discuss the Year 1 and Year 2 performance reports.

February 16:Comprehensive Pavement Evaluation: Going beyond the surface to make the right decisions” presented by Ken Maser, Infrasense and Dave Hein, consultant

They highlight how knowledge of the subsurface conditions can enhance decision making in a number of scenarios. Some applications covered include rehabilitation design, support for in-place recycling efforts, impact of overweight vehicles, failure investigations, and others.

2020 Webinars

December 15, 2020: "Evaluation of Performance of MnDOT Unbonded Overlay Using Reliability Analysis" presented by Bernard I. Izevbekhai, P.E., Ph.D., MnDOT

Unbonded overlay (UBOL) is defined as consisting of a concrete pavement layer built over a stress-relief layer on an existing concrete pavement substrate. The plethora of UBOL section performance data in the Minnesota network was studied using Reliability (Weibull) Analysis, Stepwise Linear Regression, and the Kullback-Leibler Divergence. Reliability Analysis accentuated the typical failure mode, characteristic service life and preventive maintenance advantages. Stepwise Linear Regression isolated the statistically significant predictive indicators of service life while the Kullback Liebler divergence facilitated the comparison of performance curves. This research elucidated and validated unbonded overlay as a long-term fix.

November 17, 2020:MnROAD’s Contribution Toward Improvements in Concrete Pavement Technology” by Tom Burnham, Senior Road Research Engineer, Minnesota DOT

Since 1994, the MnROAD facility has been unique in its broad focus on research related to all types of pavement. This has been particularly true for advancements in concrete pavement technology. In this presentation, the unique and significant MnROAD research findings that have improved concrete pavement technology not only in Minnesota, but throughout the U.S. and other parts of the world, are highlighted.

October 20, 2020: "Introduction to Online Systems for Test Section Tracking at MnROAD" by Ben Worel and Steve Henrichs, MnDOT

September 15, 2020: 2020 Pavement Workshop Invited Speaker | "The Federal Highway Administration’s Turner-Fairbank Highway Research Center and Pavement Research" by Cheryl Richter, Ph.D., P.E. of FHWA

August 18, 2020: "Use of Road Doctor for Evaluation of Pavements Affected by Severe Crack-heaving (tenting)" by Eyoab Zegeye Teshal, Ph.D., P.E. of MnDOT

Pavement crack-heaving, also referred to as tenting, is a distress condition that primarily affects bituminous roads constructed in cold climates. This type of distress can stretch over long segments of roadways, and drastically impact the comfort and safety of drivers. Due to the complexities of the phenomenon and lack of established rapid testing tools, tenting issues are not yet well-understood and well-addressed. To help address the lack of adequate and rapid measuring tools for tenting, MnDOT experimented with its integrated and multi-sensor survey van (Road Doctor) and conducted extensive testing on District 1 highway roads suspected of tenting. The survey van was equipped with multiple linked and synchronized devices, including high-definition video and thermal cameras, LIDAR laser scanner, high-resolution accelerometer, and ground-penetrating radar (GPR) antennas. The data revealed important surface and subsurface pavement tenting characteristics and led to the development of test parameters that captured reasonably well the intensity and frequency of the tented cracks. This presentation will discuss the findings and the lesson learned.

July 21, 2020: 2020 Pavement Workshop Invited Speaker | Development of a Sustainable Procurement Roadmap using Life Cycle Assessment based Environmental Product Declarations by Amlan Mukherjee, Ph.D., P.E., associate professor, Michigan Technological University

June 16, 2020: Developing Best Practices for Rehabilitation of Concrete with Hot Mix Asphalt (HMA) Overlays Related to Density and Reflective Cracking by Eshan Dave, Ph.D. and Katie Haslett of University of New Hampshire
See the project page.

April 21, 2020: Performance Benefits of Fiber-Reinforced Thin Concrete Pavement and Overlays by Manik Barman, University of Minnesota - Duluth
See the project page.

March 17, 2020: Effective Concrete Partial Depth Joint Repairs in Challenging Conditions review by Heidi Olson of Braun Intertec
See the project page.

February 18, 2020: Evaluation of Long-Term Impacts of Early Opening of Concrete Pavements by Lev Khazanovich of University of Pittsburgh
See the project page.

January 21, 2020: Mix Rejuvenator Projects: Asphalt Spray-on Mix Rejuvenator Synthesis by Andrea Blanchette & Sheue Torng Lee of WSB; Asphalt Mix Rejuvenator Test Sections Construction Summary by Michael Vrtis of MnDOT

2019 Webinars

December 17, 2019: Ultrasonic Tomography for Concrete Pavement Investigations by Tom Burnham, MnDOT

November 19, 2019: Determining Pavement Design Criteria for Recycled Aggregate Base and Large Stone Subbase presented by Bora Cetin, Ph.D. for Iowa State University
See the project page.

October 15, 2019: Reduced Cementitious Material in Optimized Concrete Mixtures with Dr. Hamed Sadati of Iowa State University
See the project page.

July 16, 2019: Dustex with Steve Dickman and Lloyd Sundstol presented on a new product for base stabilization. Our presenters requested we also make the following packet of information about Dustex available.

June 18, 2019: Petrographic Laboratory Investigations of the Oldest Concrete Pavement in America presented by Gerard Moulzolf from American Engineering Testing

April 16, 2019: A Study of Diamond Grinding Performance in Texas with Feng Hong from the Texas Department of Transportation

March 19, 2019: Determining Pavement Design Criteria for Large Stone Subbase Materials with Bora Cetin, Assistant Professor in the Geotechnical and Geoenvironmental Engineering Area in the Department of Civil, Construction and Environmental Engineering at Iowa State University

February 19, 2019: Guide for Concrete Pavement Distress Assessments and Solutions by Dale S. Harrington, P.E., founding Director of the Portland Cement Concrete Pavement Technology Center at Iowa State University.

2018 Webinars

December 18, 2018: Mechanistic design of permeable pavements based on accelerated pavement testing with David R. Smith and Dave Jones, UC Davis Pavement Research Center.

November 20, 2018: The long-term research conducted by NRRA teams: Rigid, Flexible, Geotech, and Pavement Maintenance, was constructed in the summer and fall of 2017. Now these test cells are a year old and our principal investigators for each project talk about what we have learned so far.

Morning Session  |  Afternoon Session

October 16, 2018: Development of Energy-, Cost-, and Environment-Based Life-Cycle Tool for In-Place Recycling Methods with Professors Hasan Ozer and Imad Al-Qadi, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

Sept. 18, 2018: UAV and Close Range Photogrammetry (CRP) Studies for Transportation Infrastructure Surveys and Condition Assessment with Anand J. Puppala and Surya S. C. Congress, University of Texas Arlington

July 17, 2018: Tire Derived Aggregates with Monte Niemi, First State Tire

June 19, 2018: Panel Discussion of Rejuvenators with Amy Epps Martin, Texas A and M, Zachry Dept. of Civil Engineering and Matt Mueller, formerly with the Illinois DOT

April 17, 2018: Chip Seal Program in Oregon with Ashley Buss, Iowa State University.

March 20, 2018: Recycled Concrete Aggregates in New Concrete Pavements with Farhad Reza, Professor Department of Mechanical & Civil Engineering, Minnesota State University Mankato

February 20, 2018: MnDOT’s Use of the Paver Mounted Thermal Profile (PMTP) Method and Veta Software to Find Workmanship Issues in HMA Paving with Rebecca Embacher, Advanced Materials and Technology Engineer, MnDOT Office of Materials and Road Research

Jan. 16, 2018: Pavement Preservation Panel Discussion with Jerry Geib, Buzz Powell, and John Roberts

2017 Webinars

Dec. 19, 2017: Reclaimed Asphalt Pavement (RAP) in Pavement Preservation Applications with Don Matthews, TSD Manager Chief Engineer for Pavement Recycling Systems, Inc. in Jurupa Valley, CA.

Nov. 21, 2017: Biomaterials and Biopolymers with Chris Williams, Gerald & Audrey Olson Professor of Civil Engineering and Director of the Asphalt Materials & Pavements Program, Iowa State University.

Oct. 17, 2017: Validated Intelligent Compaction (VIC) Testing at MnROAD and Engineering Data Analysis with David J. White, Ph.D., P.E. President and Chief Engineer, Ingios Geotechnics, Inc

Sept. 19, 2017: The Effects of Bio-Sealants or Rejuvenators on Asphalt Binder and Mixture Properties with Debaroti Ghosh, Research Engineer for MnDOT

July 18, 2017: Balanced Mix Design with David Newcomb from the Materials and Pavement Division of Texas A&M Transportation Institute, Cracking Test Videos (ppt)

May 16, 2017: Factors Affecting Asphalt Mix Durability

April 18, 2017: NRRA Long Range Research Plans (ppt)

March 21, 2017: Determination of Structural Value of Geogrid Reinforcement in Pavement Layers with John Siekmeier, P.E., M.ASCE

Feb. 21, 2017: Barriers to Implementation of In-Place Recycling

2016 Webinars

December 2016: Automated Machine Guidance for Muck Excavation on CSAH 61/101 (pdf) with Jim Schneider, MnDOT

November 2016: Forensic Investigation of Recycled Unbound Base and Asphalt Surface Materials (pdf) with Hyung Jun Ahn, MnDOT

October 2016: Full-Coverage Nondestructive Asphalt Pavement Compaction Assessments using Ground Penetrating Radar Array-measured Dielectrics (pdf) with Kyle Hoegh, MnDOT

September 2016: Prescription to Performance Initiative in Concrete (MnDOT's Journey) (pdf) with Maria Masten, P.E., MnDOT Concrete Engineer

August 2016: Subsurface Condition Evaluation for Asphalt Pavement Preservation Treatments with Hyung Jun Ahn, MnDOT

July 2016: MnROAD Concrete Preservation (pdf) with Tom Burnham, MnDOT

June 2016: Feasibility of Concrete Pavement Joint Condition Evaluation (A 2016 UMN-MnDOT Capstone Project) (pdf) with Bernard Izevbekhai, MnDOT; Nathan Bausman, Kelsey Peterson and Brett Yanta, University of Minnesota,

May 2016: NCAT / MnROAD Project Update with Jerry Geib and Dave Van Deusen, MnDOT

April 2016: Development of Whitetopping Performance Curves (pdf) with Tom Burnham, MnDOT

March 2016: Surface Textures and Their Effect on Vehicle Tracking (pdf) with Bernard Izevbekhai, MnDOT

February 2016: Current Required Strength of Concrete Roadways Before Opening to Traffic with Lev Khazanovich, University of Minnesota

January 2016: Wide Based Tire, a Minnesota Pooled Fund Update (pdf) with Shongtao Dai and Tim Anderson, MnDOT

2015 Webinars

December 15, 2015: HMA Longitudinal Joint Construction Evaluation (pdf) with Ed Johnson and John Garrity, MnDOT

November 17, 2015: Rehabilitation of Interstate 394 in 2015: Next Generation Concrete Surface (pdf) with Bernard Izevbekhai, P.E., Ph.D, Concrete Research Engineer and Chris Kufner, P.E. Metro District Pavement/Materials Engineer of MnDOT

October 20, 2015: Thermal Cracking and the Use of DCT Performance Testing (pdf) with Chelsea Hanson and John Garrity, MnDOT

September 15, 2015: Invention of the Aggregate Avoidance Method For Evaluating Interfacial Bond in Pavement Materials (pdf) with Bernard Izevbekhai, MnDOT

August 18, 2015: Results from the Minnesota Whitetopping Field Review throughout the State (pdf) with Tom Burnham, MnDOT

July 21, 2015: Chip Seals - Use and Benefit to Minnesota (pdf) with Thomas Wood, MnDOT

June 16, 2015: Seminar Kick Off (pdf) with Ben Worel, MnDOT