Title: Raising awareness on materials recycling using undergraduate engineering research

Authors: Felipe J. Acosta, Jeannette Santos, O. Marcelo Suarez, Miguel A. Pando

Addresses: Department of Civil Engineering and Surveying, University of Puerto Rico at Mayaguez, P.O. Box 9041, 00682 9041 Mayaguez, PR, USA. ' Department of Engineering Science and Materials, University of Puerto Rico at Mayaguez, P.O. Box 9044, 00682 9044 Mayaguez, PR, USA. ' Department of Engineering Science and Materials, University of Puerto Rico at Mayaguez, P.O. Box 9044, 00682 9044 Mayaguez, PR, USA. ' Department of Civil Engineering and Surveying, University of Puerto Rico at Mayaguez, P.O. Box 9041, 00681 9041 Mayaguez, PR, USA

Abstract: Undergraduate research in engineering was used as a means of raising awareness on materials recycling and alternative recycled material products and processes. Over a three-year period, the authors hosted undergraduate researchers to work on rubber and polymer concrete, rubber-sandwich structures and recycled rubber materials for road embankments and retaining wall backfills. This paper discusses the outcomes of this endeavour, which not only included minority participation in undergraduate research to improve retention but also engaged students in materials recycling through exploratory research on technological advances. It also provided them with a forum to actively participate in the dissemination of results to local government authorities.

Keywords: rubber recycling; polymer recycling; Puerto Rico; concrete; road safety barriers; road embankments; retaining wall backfill; undergraduate research; materials recycling; engineering research.

DOI: 10.1504/IJEP.2007.016500

International Journal of Environment and Pollution, 2007 Vol.31 No.3/4, pp.325 - 341

Published online: 03 Jan 2008 *

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