COLUMBIA, MO. — Two civil engineers at the University of MissouriÃColumbia have developed a technique using recycled plastic that could cut the cost of the repair and maintenance of ramps, embankments and other slopes along U.S. highways by 25 percent or more.
Recycled Plastic Pins are nonreinforced composite beams, usually four inches by four inches, made of recycled plastic, saw dust and other byproducts. RPPs range in length from 8-18 feet and are produced by a number of companies using post-consumer and manufacturer waste.
"To stabilize a failed slope, the plastic pins are arranged in a grid with 3-foot spacing and every other row offset," Assistant Professor Erik Loehr said in a news release. "The pins are then set into the ground with a hydraulic hammer drill. Once installed, the RPPs work against gravity's pull and hold the soil in place."
Phase one of three to set the RPPs has been completed successfully. Funding for the development of RPP slope stabilization came from a grant from the Missouri Department of Transportation. Tamko Composite Products Inc. in Lamar, Mo., provided the RPPs for the testing and field demonstration program.