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Federal Highway Administration / Publications / Focus / June/July 1999

Accelerating Infrastructure Innovations

Publication Number: FHWA-RD-99-105
Date: June/July 1999

Superpave in the Classroom

In the future, engineers entering the workforce will be better prepared to tackle asphalt paving design and construction projects, as they will have been taught the Superpave system.

New course materials developed by the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA), through a contract with the National Center for Asphalt Technology, are now being used to introduce the Superpave mix design system and provide a basic understanding of asphalt technology to sophomores and juniors in civil engineering programs. The materials can be used as either a supplement to existing undergraduate courses on materials and pavements or as a stand-alone segment of the course curriculum. Until now, information on the Superpave system has been covered in some undergraduate engineering courses, but on an ad hoc basis, with no standard curriculum.

The development of the materials was prompted by an Indiana initiative to provide Superpave training to undergraduates in the State. In addition to spearheading the development of the national curriculum, the project included holding a training course to bring professors up to speed on the Superpave system and equipping five universities with Superpave laboratory equipment. The Indiana initiative was followed by one in Florida, generating interest both across the country and internationally.

"Introducing the Superpave system to undergraduates will benefit the entire highway community for years to come," says Lee Gallivan of FHWA's Indiana Division and manager of the curriculum project.

Contained on a CD-ROM, the materials consist of two 50-minute lectures for sophomores and twelve 50-minute lectures for juniors. The class lectures are in PowerPoint format and include instructor's notes, a laboratory instructor's guide, a student workbook, and homework problems.

A curriculum for senior-level courses is planned but has not yet begun, because of funding limitations under the Transportation Equity Act for the 21st Century. Gallivan says, however, that he is hopeful that, "after the current materials are distributed and FHWA gets feedback from users, FHWA can find the necessary funding to complete the project."

Copies of the CD-ROM are being distributed to the FHWA technology transfer centers, Superpave centers, FHWA headquarters and field offices, members of the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials Subcommittee on Materials, and various industry groups. The FHWA field offices will distribute the materials within their States and coordinate the introduction of the undergraduate course work at universities in their regions.

The CD-ROM (Publication No. FHWA-RD-99-073) is also available through the FHWA Research and Technology Report Center (phone: 301-577-0906; fax: 301-577-1421), or can be downloaded from the FHWA Web site (www.fhwa.dot.gov/asphtech.htm).

For more information, contact Lee Gallivan at 317-226-7493 (fax: 317-226-7341; email: victor.gallivan@fhwa.dot.gov).

CD cover.

Hot Mix Asphalt for the Undergraduate CD cover

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