Green civil engineering at A&T

by Eric Ginsburg

Sustainability is also an academic pursuit at NC A&T University, where students like Daniel Oldham spend years researching specific professional practices that could lead to an expanded use of recycling material that currently winds up in landfills.’ 

Oldham, a graduate student in the civil engineering program, is working on three studies — one about grinding roofing shingles down to create new asphalt pavement, another on utilizing shredded car tires for new construction and a third on using recycled asphalt pavement that would reduce the need for mining for rocks and oil.

A cornerstone of sustainability research at A&T is the work being done around converting swine manure to a substitute for asphalt pavement, Oldham said, adding that he’s also been researching how the converted manure improves the performance of other recycled material in asphalt, too.

“That’s really exciting,” he said, especially given that the country generates eight billion gallons of swine manure each year and that the research could also reduce the need to dig for more crude oil.

Oldham is organizing a one-day conference on sustainability and transportation next week that will bring students from A&T, UNC-Charlotte and NC State University together with the NC Institute of Transportation Engineers and the American Society of Civil Engineers.

The meetings are free to students and will all be student-led, dealing with a spread of topics related to the transportation industry and with some focused on the use of sustainable materials like Oldham’s research studies.

“It’s a really exciting field,” Oldham said. “I’m glad to see the research is happening here at A&T that could have an impact all over the world.”

Wanna go? The statewide “Sustainability in Transportation” conference will be held at NC A&T University’s Godfrey Room in Coltrane Hall on Sept. 26 starting at 8:30 a.m. The conference is free for students.