University of Pittsburgh Transportation Research Summary

Download Link:  Pitt Transportation Research


Completed IRISE research

Toward Using Microbes for Sustainable Construction Materials: a Feasibility Study

Concrete Microbe IllustrationAbstract: Reinforced Concrete (RC) structures are susceptible to damage from long-term exposure to chloride-based compounds (e.g., from marine environments or deicers) and/or repeated freeze/thaw cycles. To mitigate damage and degradation from environmental loading, an estimated $16 billion per year is spent on the rehabilitation of RC structures using cementitious patching materials and/or chemical treatments, which contribute to pollution and require repeated application and maintenance. 

To mitigate these detrimental environmental impacts, this study evaluated the feasibility of increasing the durability, resiliency and sustainability of RC structures by using microbes to provide self-healing properties to prevent water and chloride ingress through structural and/or environmental cracking.  State-of-the-art research has begun to explore microbial carbonate precipitation (MICP) for limestone, marble and, to a lesser extent, RC restoration. However, many challenges remain including:

1) finding non-pathogenic microbes capable of MICP;
2) developing methods to ensure microbial viability and even distribution throughout the material to be restored and;
3) creating and evaluating new RC formulations aimed at improving and or sustaining MICP.

This research focused on addressing these challenges, providing insight into the potential application of bio-restoration of RC, which will have far reaching applications for green building design and resilient and sustainable construction.

Download LinkMicrobe Project Scope
Presentation: Using Microbes for Sustainable Construction Materials:  A Feasibility Study
Final Report: Microbe Project Final Report

Development of Simplified Mechanistic-Empirical Design Tool for Pennsylvania Rigid Pavements

To accelerate the implementation of AASHTO Mechanistic-Empirical Pavement Design Guide (MEPDG) in Pennsylvania, a simplified ME design method and a localized design tool are developed for concrete pavement. The new procedure, PittRigid ME, is based on the AASHTO MEPDG design procedure, but restricts design input parameters to the most influential and relevant for Pennsylvania conditions. It matches the MEPDG predicted performance at a fraction of the computational cost.  

PittRigid ME can be used to predict pavement performance (i.e. fatigue cracking and joint faulting) or determine the concrete slab thickness and dowel diameters for given performance criteria and reliability level.  It simplifies design process and reduces potential design errors from improper use of the AASHTOWare Pavement ME software.

The development of PittRigid ME procedure is documented in this report.

An installation file for the PittRigid ME application can be downloaded from:

Download LinkDevelopment of Simplified Mechanistic-Empirical Design Tool for Pennsylvania Rigid Pavements Full Scope Statement
Presentation: Development of a Simplified Mechanistic-Empirical Design Tool for Pennsylvania Rigid Pavements (Pitt RigidME)
Presentation: February 20, 2020: Customizing Rigid Pavement ME and Early Opening to Traffic Study Presentation to American Concrete Pavement Association meeting
Final Report: Download Link

Material Compatible Repairs (MCRs) for Concrete Pavements and Bridge Decks


Partial-depth repairs are a rehabilitation method commonly performed on concrete pavements and bridge decks to restore the integrity of the structure. However, in the past, partial-depth repairs have not always achieved their expected life. Some contributing factors include poor construction practices and the use of nondurable repair materials. Another consideration not previously considered is the compatibility between the in-situ concrete and the repair material. Additional stress is generated at the interface between the repair material and the existing concrete when the two materials deform at differently rates. This has the potential to occur when the elastic modulus, thermal coefficient of expansion and/or the drying shrinkage of the repair material is significantly different from that of the existing concrete. The focus of this study is on investigating the effects of the incompatibility between the repair and existing concrete through a laboratory investigation and a computational study.  Then a methodology was established for developing a performance engineered repair material (PERM) to be used for performing a material compatible repair (MCR). This is accomplished through the proper selection of a coarse aggregate so that stiffness and thermal compatibility between the repair material and the existing concrete is assured.  Internal curing was also investigated to reduce the drying shrinkage of the repair material to minimize the potential for debonding between the repair and the older existing concrete.

Download LinkRapid Concrete Repair and Rehabilitation Methods Using Internal Curing Full Scope Statement
PresentationPavement and Bridge Rehabilitation Using Material Compatible Repairs
Site Visits9/27/19 | 6/16/19
Final Report: Download Link

Steel Bridge Corrosion Prevention and Mitigation Strategies


Corrosion in steel bridges exposed to chloride attack from exposure to marine environments or de-icing salts is a significant issue which decreases structural integrity and increases maintenance requirements. Steel bridges exposed to these conditions require regular inspection, maintenance and rehabilitation, which drastically increases life-cycle costs. 

This report provides a comprehensive literature review which highlights important issues related to corrosion in steel bridges with the objective of identifying shortcomings in current practice in Pennsylvania and identifying novel methods for further study and/or possible implementation. First, common forms of corrosion in steel infrastructure are reviewed. Next, corrosion prevention, mitigation and repair strategies are discussed including strategies currently utilized in Pennsylvania and by other state DOTs. Finally, promising corrosion prevention, mitigation and repair solutions are recommended. These solutions include: (1) implementing duplex coating systems, (2) identifying and evaluating novel approaches to prevent and mitigate crevice corrosion, (3) developing AI enabled corrosion monitoring methodologies, (4) eliminating joints in existing structures using debonded link slabs, and (5) further developing in-situ repair strategies for corrosion damaged components.
Project Scope StatementReview of Steel Bridge Corrosion Prevention, Mitigation and Rehabilitation Strategies Full Scope Statement
Presentation: Steel Bridge Corrosion Prevention, Mitigation and Rehabilitation Strategies
Final Report: IRISE Corrosion Report