An unpaved trail on grass with a yellow flower nearby
Photo by Matthew Sleep
Matthew Sleep, Oregon Institute of Technology

Approximately 7,700 years ago—in a cataclysmic event which the Klamath people retold and passed down for over 300 generations—Mount Mazama erupted, forming Crater Lake in Oregon. With molten rock reaching temperatures of up to 2,200 degrees Fahrenheit, complex chemical reactions ensued. The resulting Mazama ash holds some properties that are similar to those in portland cement.

Today, most construction projects use portland cement, which takes an excessive amount of energy to create. Materials are mined from several different sources and transported, then...

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Mt. Mazama ash being poured into a yellow bucket
Principal Investigator: Matthew Sleep, Oregon Institute of Technology
Learn more about this research by viewing the Executive Summary and the full Final Report on the Project Overview page.

The latest Small Starts study from the National Institute for Transportation and Communities (NITC) offers sustainable road building materials for rural infrastructure, from an unlikely source.

Approximately 7,000 years ago, the eruption of Oregon's Mt. Mazama blanketed the Klamath Basin region with a thick layer of volcanic ash. Matthew Sleep, an associate professor of civil engineering at Oregon Tech, investigated the use of this ash as a natural pozzolan for soil stabilization and unpaved roadway improvement. He found that the ash, prevalent in Southern Oregon, has the potential to be used for gravel roadway dust abatement. 

Portland cement, the current industry standard, is a basic ingredient in concrete and mortar. A caustic material that causes chemical burns, it was first developed in the 19th century. It’s time for a new approach.

A...

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OTREC researchers have done some work toward developing reliable standards for the use of recycled concrete aggregates in new concrete.
Making concrete out of recycled concrete aggregate, or RCA, can be a sustainable and cost-saving alternative to other aggregates. However, the quality of concrete made with RCA is dependent on the quality of the recycled material used. OTREC researchers Jason Ideker of Oregon State University and Jennifer Eisenhauer Tanner of the University of Wyoming, with graduate student researchers Matthew P. Adams and Angela Jones, sought to determine some of the primary concerns involved with the use of RCA and to arrive at methods of assessing its durability for use in new concrete.
 
Alkali-silica reaction occurs in concrete over time, causing it to expand and eventually weaken. There are standards for testing aggregate to determine its susceptibility to this reaction, but these testing standards were developed for traditional aggregates, not for RCA. Phase 1 of this research project involved accelerated laboratory tests related to assessing alkali-silica reactivity (ASR) of RCA. A team of four laboratories performed testing using the same materials to determine the variation between different laboratories.
 
Phase II of the...
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Oregon Tech students boosted their knowledge of sustainable pavement on a conference field trip and brought what they learned back to fellow engineering students on their Klamath Falls campus. Students Jared Jones, Zachary Hudspeth, Michael Eagle and Adam Kershaw attended the Oregon Asphalt Conference in Eugene March 5, sponsored by an OTREC student-support grant. Hudspeth, the ITE Student Chapter president, led the group.

The conference was organized by the Asphalt Pavement Association of Oregon (http://www.apao.org/2013ConfProgram2.htm).

The Oregon Tech students were especially interested in hearing about advances in warm-mix asphalt and RAP (reclaimed asphalt pavement). These two asphalt pavement technologies greatly reduce greenhouse gas emissions compared to traditional asphalt paving.

After returning to campus, the students shared their experiences with students enrolled in Oregon Tech’s Civil Engineering 573 Transportation and Land Development class.

The Oregon Institute of Technology welcomed the head of the Asphalt Pavement Association of Oregon for the Oregon Tech NITC Visiting Scholar Seminar. Jim Huddleston, the association’s executive director, spoke Feb. 21 at Oregon Tech’s Klamath Falls campus.

The seminar drew 45 people, including students, faculty and professionals from local consulting engineering firms.

Huddleston, who holds bachelor’s and master’s degrees in civil engineering from Oregon State University, has more than 20 years’ experience in pavement design, construction and analysis. He is one of the nation’s leading experts on asphalt roadways, including innovative and sustainable applications such as recycled, warm-mix and porous pavements.

On his visit, Huddleston also congratulated Oregon Tech senior Zachary Hudspeth on winning an Asphalt Pavement Association of Oregon scholarship in December. Hudspeth is the president of Oregon Tech’s Institute of Transportation Engineers student chapter.

The seminar and student group are supported by OTREC’s National Institute for Transportation and Communities program.

Tensile strain, or strain from heavy loads, causes pavement to crack. But innovations in pavement design aim to reduce such damage. Currently, the Oregon Department of Transportation (ODOT) is in the process of adopting a new pavement design procedure. This involves examining data from existing pavement to predict how much cracking will likely occur in the new pavement. Analysts have already made predictions about how much tensile strain will occur in the new pavement using a procedure known as layered elastic analysis. Dr. Todd Scholzís project gathered key data in order to assess the validity of these key predictions. Want to learn more? You can download the OTREC report at: https://ppms.trec.pdx.edu/media/project_files/OTREC-RR-10-02.pdf.

Natural Pozzolans in the Pacific Northwest and their Beneficial Uses
 

PRESENTATION ARCHIVE

OVERVIEW

The eruption of Mt. Mazama approximately 7,700 years ago created what is now known as Crater Lake. This eruption blanketed the Pacific Northwest with volcanic ash. This volcanic ash has been collected from several locations in Southern Oregon near the Oregon Institute of Technology campus. This volcanic ash has been tested and shown to have properties beneficial of a natural pozzolan. This seminar will present the results of a significant laboratory program to determine the natural pozzolanic capabilities of Mt. Mazama volcanic ash. In addition, information will be presented on a field application using the material to create ADA accessible trail surfaces.

KEY LEARNING OUTCOMES

  • Attendees will learn the location and natural pozzolanic properties of Mt. Mazama volcanic ash.
  • Attendees will learn trail surface requirements for ADA accessibility.
  • Attendees will be given information on how to use Mt. Mazama volcanic ash for trail stabilization.

THE RESEARCH

This webinar is based on a study funded by the National Institute for...

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