Geology faculty to partner with Kansas Department of Transportation

(Illustration by Catherine Eldridge | Collegian Media Group)

In an effort to help create long-lasting infrastructures of Kansas transportation systems, Dr. Behzad Ghanbarian, associate professor of engineering geology, proposed applying atomic force microscopy, a new method adopted from petroleum engineering. This helps to better analyze crushed samples from roads and construction around Kansas, allowing for more accurate calculations when it comes to constructing roads and buildings.

To better understand the geomechanical properties, Ghanbarian worked with his colleague Reza Barati, professor of petroleum engineering at the University of Kansas, to utilize atomic force microscopy.

In a joint proposal, Ghanbarian and Barati received funding from KDOT to be able to examine and determine what kind of geomechanical properties are in these crushed samples to improve our infrastructures.

Ghanbarian said he wants to better understand the geomechanical properties within the crushed samples, as those properties influence the calculations in engineering sites.

“In petroleum engineering it’s pretty straightforward because they have been drilling all the time in the past several decades,” Ghanbarian said. “Using atomic force microscopy you will be able to focus on one single crushed sample and specifically … determine what kind of geomechanical properties it has.” 

Ghanbarian said the research he’s doing will have a positive impact on Kansas residents.

“Definitely when it comes to infrastructures we should be constructing something that will be lasting long and is going to save people taxes,” Ghanbarian said. “Having better infrastructures … it impacts people directly or indirectly.”