SUNY Polytechnic Institute (SUNY Poly) announced today that Assistant Professor of Engineering Dr. Asif Ahmed has received $50,000 in total funding from the National Science Foundation to further develop and commercialize plastic pins that can be used to enhance the stability of sloped highways, with partner, the University of Texas at Arlington, receiving $15,000 of the total to advance entrepreneurial goals. The pins are made from recycled materials, supporting environmental sustainability, and can last for decades, making highways that use them more robust.


“I am proud to congratulate Professor Ahmed for his research leading to this NSF grant that helps incentivize the recycling of plastic into pins that can be used to enable our roadways to last longer,” said SUNY Poly Interim Dean of the College of Engineering Dr. Michael Carpenter. “This collaborative research and commercialization initiative is a great example of SUNY Poly’s engineering capacity, driven by faculty expertise, which can facilitate long-lasting, positive impacts to the infrastructure we rely on while supporting sustainable environmental efforts.”


The technology diverts non-degradable plastic from landfills where it might take centuries to break down. However, due to the same non-degradable nature, plastic can be very useful and beneficial for civil engineering infrastructure projects. Because soil slopes and highway soil slopes repaired with plastic products can preserve their engineering characteristics for longer periods of time as compared to current methods, the use of Recycled Plastic Pins (RPPs) made from recycled plastic bottles for highway slope stabilization and civil engineering infrastructure projects demonstrates a perfect example of a sustainable engineering solution.


“I am grateful to the National Science Foundation for this support and for our partnership with the University of Texas at Arlington, which will help us to take an entrepreneurial approach to demonstrating the value of the RPPs that, once deployed, will help contribute to the longevity of sloped roadways while putting used and recycled plastic to use,” said Professor Ahmed. “Additionally, I would like to thank SUNY Poly’s College of Engineering for strong support, and I look forward to pursuing implementation of this important innovation.”


As part of the overall $50,000 in funding, Prof. Ahmed will collaborate with an Entrepreneur Lead from the University of Texas at Arlington, which will receive $15,000 from the total grant that seeks to support the eventual deployment of the technology for use in the nation’s roadways.


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