UTA civil engineer’s book illustrates the power of recycled plastic in shoring up roads

Sahadat Hossain, a UTA civil engineering professor, has written a book about research that uses recycled plastic pins to reinforce soil on Texas highways. Credit: UT Arlington

Plastics make up a large percentage of municipal solid waste that inhabit landfills.


A UTA civil engineer is finding a better use for that plastic just lying around in landfills.

Sahadat Hossain, a professor at The University of Texas at Arlington, is taking landfill plastic and recycling it into giant pins that are inserted in failing on slopes. Those pins strengthen the failing soil and in turn the highways, putting off or eliminating the need to repair the roads.

Hossain’s research, funded in prior years by the Texas Department of Transportation, has helped lead toward his publishing a book titled: “Sustainable Slope Stabilisation using Recycled Plastic Pins,” which will release on CRC Press and Amazon on June 6.

Sadik Khan and Golam Kibria, two of Hossain’s research team members, who received their doctorates in civil engineering, were co-authors on the book. Khan is working as an assistant professor at Jackson State University in Mississippi. Kibria is working for a San Antonio-based consulting company.

Hossain said repair and maintenance due to highway slope failures cost millions of dollars each year in the United States. He said highway slope failures usually happen at a depth of less than 10 feet.

Hossain credits the clay content of many North Texas soils for contributing to the highway slope dilemma. Cracks eventually appear in these slopes and create paths for rainwater to seep into those slopes. That water increases pressure on the slope, decreases soil strength and eventually could lead to highway failure.

“Plastic, being non-degradable, is problematic…

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