Published on 5 February 2013
Sippy Downs Drive is the focus of ongoing research by University of the Sunshine Coast Engineering students and staff aiming to improve road maintenance and alleviate associated costs.
The initial research was completed late last year by USC Civil Engineering graduate Scott Larson who examined the pavement of the road which underwent a major upgrade in 2012.
Mr Larson developed and installed instrumentation to establish monitoring of the condition of the busy road, which runs along the University’s front boundary.
A control box and solar panel were built into a pole set up in the road, in association with Sunshine Coast Council and assisted by visiting academic Dr Mary Robbins of the National Centre for Asphalt Technology in Alabama.
USC Professor of Civil Engineering Construction Dr John Yeaman said the instruments embedded in the pavement continually measured temperatures, moisture content and the stresses and strains of traffic.
“The results are picked up by the data logger and transmitted telemetrically to a computer in the USC Engineering Laboratory. The whole system is powered by the solar panel,” he said.
Dr Yeaman said the preliminary results were exciting.
“I believe this has a lot of potential for future pavement designs in Queensland,” he said.
“I’ve decided to continue the research myself while a new PhD student, Khaldoon Azawi, will be studying the maths behind this new information.”
Mr Azawi’s research project, ‘Intelligent Highway Engineering and Maintenance Optimisation’, aims to help road authorities better predict when maintenance is likely and enable early intervention and less expensive preventive maintenance.
Technical support has been provided by USC engineer Bernhard Black, who continues to monitor the project.
— Julie Schomberg