Can soy methyl esters improve concrete pavement joint durability?

Michael Golias, Javier Castro, Alva Peled, Tommy Nantung, Bernard Tao, W. Weiss

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

13 Scopus citations


Although many concrete pavements provide excellent long-term performance, some pavements (primarily in the Midwest) have shown premature deterioration at the joints. This premature deterioration is a concern because such deterioration can shorten the life of pavements that are otherwise functioning well. Previous work has hypothesized that these joints may be susceptible to preferential fluid saturation, which can lead to freeze-thaw damage or chemical degradation. This work examines the use of soy methyl ester-polystyrene (SME-PS) blends as a method to reduce the rate of fluid ingress into the pore system of the concrete and thereby make the concrete more resistant to deterioration. SME-PS is derived from soybeans and has demonstrated an ability to reduce fluid absorption in concrete when used as a topical treatment. A series of experiments was developed to evaluate the effectiveness of various dosage rates of SME-PS for increasing concrete durability at pavement joints. The experiments show that SME-PS reduces fluid ingress, salt ingress, and the potential for freeze-thaw damage. As a result of the positive experimental results, the Indiana Department of Transportation is conducting field trials that use SME-PS on concrete pavements that are beginning to show signs of premature deterioration with the expectation that SME-PS will extend the life of the joints and thereby reduce maintenance cost and extend the life of concrete pavements.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)60-68
Number of pages9
JournalTransportation Research Record
Issue number2290
StatePublished - 1 Jan 2012

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Civil and Structural Engineering
  • Mechanical Engineering


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