Civil engineering researcher looks to improve safety on the road – text only

Friction and Function

You hardly think about the complex relationship between your car’s tires and the pavement on which you spend your morning and evening commute. But for Omar Smadi, an associate professor in civil engineering, the interaction between tires and pavement surfaces shares a fascinating dynamic that can lower the possibility of car accidents.

“Results from this research will provide guidance to transportation agencies on how to identify and address friction issues on the road network,” Smadi said. “Friction treatments have been implemented in Iowa and other states and it shows a significant number of reduction in crashes.”

Smadi, who works alongside Ahmad Alhasan, an associate scientist for Iowa State’s Institute for Transportation, is looking to standardize procedures to test pavement friction at a network level while better understanding friction demand. This could improve road travel safety, especially in high crash locations.

The research is funded in part by the Iowa Department of Transportation and the Midwest Transportation Center.