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Reuse of Plastic in Geogrids for Unpaved Roads

Ana Boyd, Mónica Flores, Dariana Martínez, Orlando Leyva, and Dr. Francisco Grajales, Faculty of Civil Engineering, Universidad Tecnológica de Panamá, Avenida Universidad Tecnológica de Panamá, Vía Puente Centenario, Campus Metropolitano Víctor Levi Sasso, U.S.M.A. Panama City, 0820

As the consequences of climate change have become increasingly evident, the need to find new strategies to reuse waste has also become a growing priority due to the concerning accumulation of plastic waste and its negative effects on the environment. Unpaved roads are a common solution for rural areas on which the expense of building a paved road is not justified due to the low traffic volumes. In Panama, there are over 3,000 miles of unpaved roads throughout the country, which roughly account to 28% of the entire roadway system. Most of these roads are important for transportation of agricultural produce from farm to market. In the United States, there are approximately 1.4 million miles of unpaved roads, equivalent to almost 35% of the roadway system in the nation. It is widely recognized that gravel roads are prone to damage and could benefit greatly from having some type of reinforcement. Geogrids are geosynthetic materials that present an open grid-like appearance, which are commonly used as reinforcement elements for roads, retaining walls and similar infrastructures. They are generally manufactured using high-strength, durable synthetic polymers. The objective of this research is to assess if plastic waste can be reused as raw material to create a type of geogrid that could be implemented in unpaved roads. As part of the research, geogrid prototypes are fabricated using different types of plastics, such as polyethylene and polypropylene, which are typically used for plastic bags. A total of 30 plastic elements underwent experimental tensile testing according to applicable standards. Results from testing seem to indicate that, although the prototypes’ tensile strengths are lower compared to those of commercial geogrids, the development of a standardized fabrication process could improve the capacity and performance of the prototypes, thus, making plausible the implementation of the system.




Additional Abstract Information

Presenters: Ana Boyd, Mónica Flores, Dariana Martínez, Orlando Leyva

Institution: Universidad Tecnológica de Panamá

Type: Poster

Subject: Civil Engineering

Status: Approved


Time and Location

Session: Poster 4
Date/Time: Tue 11:00am-12:00pm
Session Number: 3640