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2012 News in Brief



Civil engineers find savings where the rubber meets the road

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Pavement SavingA new study by Professor Franz-Josef Ulm and Ph.D. student Mehdi Akbarian shows that using stiffer pavements on the nation’s roads could reduce vehicle fuel consumption by as much as 3 percent — a savings that could add up to 273 million barrels of crude oil per year or $15.6 billion, at today’s oil prices, and a decrease in CO2 emissions. Ulm and Akbarian use mathematical modeling to look at the effect of pavement deflection on fuel consumption across the entire U.S. road network, and conclude that because of the way energy is dissipated, the maximum deflection of the load is behind the path of travel, making the tires on the vehicle drive continuously up a slight slope. Read a news release.