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Professor Develops Morphing Asphalt Sealant
Aimed at Being Available in 2019

Professor Develops Morphing Asphalt Sealant

Guoqiang Li has been a professor at LSU for 21 years and has several patents on his technologies. He has also received numerous grants for his studies, including a $20 million grant from the National Science Foundation for five years of research, 2015-2020.

Louisiana State University mechanical engineering professor Guoqiang Li and his team of researchers have developed a polymer-based self-healing sealant for expansion joints in asphalt.

The sealant is able to react to changes in the ambient temperature, yet it does so in a manner that might seem contradictory. When the adjoining asphalt heats up and expands, the liquid polymer actually shrinks to prevent further cracking of the surrounding roadway. When the temperature drops, and the asphalt contracts again, the adhesive expands to fill out the remaining damaged area. So instead of contracting when it is cold, which is what asphalt does, the polymer does the opposite.

For his discovery Li received a non-provisional patent in 2014 titled, "Liquid Sealant with Thermally Adaptive Properties."

Li also received two grants from the National Science Foundation, estimated at around $1 million, in order to establish the Louisiana Multi-Functional Materials Group LLC (LAMG), a tenant of the Louisiana Business & Technology Center. Li's company has hired four researchers that work on further development of the polymer-based sealant.

Reportedly, lab tests have been successful so far. The next step involves Li receiving approval from three distinct departments of transportation, one in Louisiana, one in Texas and one in Minnesota.

In a statement found on the LSU website, Li states, "Our goal is for Louisiana and Minnesota to finish their approval process by December 2019."

Li's long-term goal is to expand the application of his polymer in concrete buildings.

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October 20, 2019, 8:20 pm PDT

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