SUNY Canton's Asphalt Expert Wins Best Paper Award


SUNY Canton’s resident asphalt expert is hitting the pavement running by researching ways to combat ruts and roadway indentations.

Aksel Seitllari, Ph.D., P.E., an assistant professor who teaches in the Civil and Environmental Engineering Technology program, is creating solutions to mitigate surface depressions caused by traffic. The Virginia Transportation Research Council recently recognized Seitllari as part of a team of authors with the Jack H. Dillard Best Paper Award for "Simple and Practical Tests for Rutting Evaluation of Asphalt Mixtures in the Balanced Mix Design Process."

Aksel Seitllari
Asphalt Award – SUNY Canton Assistant Professor Aksel Seitllari, Ph.D., P.E., holds a plaque recognizing the Virginia Transportation Research Council’s Jack H. Dillard Best Paper Award. Seitllari and a team of researchers authored "Simple and Practical Tests for Rutting Evaluation of Asphalt Mixtures in the Balanced Mix Design Process."

"The Virginia Department of Transportation currently uses the asphalt pavement analyzer to test asphalt mixtures for rutting potential in its balanced mix design method," Seitllari said. "However, the cost and availability of the equipment, along with testing speed, pose challenges in routine use, particularly during asphalt mixture production."

Seitllari explained ruts in the road build up bit by bit over time. When large vehicles drive over the road, they create minor but lasting dents and compressions. As the pavement ages, these dents can turn into raised areas on either side of the rut.

"We want to conduct tests focusing on consistent loading to help create a balanced mix design formula to prevent road surface damage. We suggest implementing indirect tensile tests at high temperatures with a specific minimum strength requirement. We'll also consider analyzing the impact of traffic conditions for the Virginia Department of Transportation (DOT)."

Three students work in the Asphalt Lab.
Processing Pavement – Pictured (l to r) are Leo J. Golden of Morrisonville, Gabe Murphy of Canton, and Nathan A. Upton of Syracuse. All three students are enrolled in SUNY Canton’s Civil and Environmental Engineering Technology Program.

The SUNY Canton faculty member joined colleagues Ilker Boz, Ph.D., Jhony Habbouche, Ph.D., P.E., Stacey D. Diefenderfer, Ph.D., P.E., Griffin P. Coffey, and Osman E. Ozbulut, Ph.D., to author the study. The paper is one of several forms of outreach he's using to promote his unique research. Seitllari also recently presented at a New York State DOT conference in Saratoga, where he connected with industry professionals and discussed testing techniques. The new method is currently with the SUNY Research Foundation and is under review for a provisional patent.

In addition to teaching a full course load in the Canino School of Engineering Technology, Seitllari has built an entire lab to test asphalt materials on campus, which includes an asphalt mixture performance tester and other related equipment. Students and interns can work directly with their faculty member, which helps create even more employment opportunities after graduation. Several graduates have landed positions with New York State DOT based on their experiences studying asphalt.

"When students take these classes, they study real-world projects," he said. "They have a great opportunity to gain hands-on experience in our asphalt lab."

Eventually, Seitllari plans to open the lab to test asphalt for contractors and state agencies. His first client is Virginia's DOT. "We are starting on a magnificent journey," he said. "We are proud of our testing center and what it can provide to New York and beyond."

About SUNY Canton

As Northern New York's premier college for career-driven bachelor's degrees, associate degrees and professional certificate programs, SUNY Canton delivers quality hands-on programs in engineering technology, management, and healthcare fields. It is home to the Center for Criminal Justice, Intelligence and Cybersecurity. Faculty members are noted for their professional real-world experience in addition to outstanding academic credentials. As SUNY's leader in online education, SUNY Canton OnLine offers hundreds of flexible and convenient courses as well as 23 online degree programs. The SUNY Canton Kangaroos 15 traditional athletic teams compete at the NCAA Division III level as part of the North Atlantic Conference. SUNY Canton also features varsity esports and cheerleading.