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Intellect

BYU student engineer receives $20,000 fellowship to research highway construction

Brigham Young University civil engineering student Paul Dixon received a $20,000 fellowship from the Portland Cement Association to research a new economical technology in highway construction.

Dixon, a senior in civil engineering and Spanish translation, will use the fellowship as part of his master’s work at BYU. He is one of six fellowship recipients in the nation this year.

As gas prices increase and funding for road construction decreases, a new technology of recycling roads can help build more roads that last longer, spending less money.

In his research, Dixon will study factors that influence road strength and durability when roads are rebuilt in a process called “full-depth reclamation.” Through this process highways are recycled by grinding the road surface and gravel and resetting it with a cement mixture.

“There are two ways traditionally used to fix a highway—completely rebuilding the road or just putting on a superficial Band-Aid with a pavement overlay,” Dixon said, “The first is too expensive and the second is just not durable. The new rebuilding process will help build high-quality roads that last longer at a lower cost—ultimately saving the public money.”

As an undergraduate, Dixon has worked with W. Spencer Guthrie, assistant professor in the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, as a research assistant in BYU’s Highway Pavement Materials Laboratory.

“Paul’s ability to successfully compete for this fellowship reflects well on his personal traits and on the technical preparation he’s received here in the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering,” Guthrie said. “He is already involved as an undergraduate student in important field experimentation investigating the use of cement slurries for road reconstruction, which will greatly benefit his graduate studies here at BYU.”

For more information, contact Krista Tripodi at (801) 422-3948.

Writer: Angela Fischer

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