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SUNY Poly professor receives funding for slope-stabilization product development

By Traci DeLore (


Asif Ahmed
Asif Ahmed, SUNY Polytechnic Institute assistant professor of engineering, has received $50,000 in funding to continue developing a plastic pin used to stabilize sloped highways. (Photo credit SUNY Poly)

UTICA, N.Y. — Asif Ahmed, SUNY Polytechnic Institute assistant professor of engineering, has received $50,000 in funding from the National Science Foundation (NSF) to further develop and commercialize plastic pins used to enhance the stability of sloped highways.

 The pins, made from recycled materials, can last for decades making the highways using them more robust. The technology diverts non-degradable plastic from landfills to create the recycled plastic pins (RPPs). Soil slopes and highway slopes repaired with plastic products can preserve their engineering characteristics for longer periods of time compared to current methods.

 “I am grateful to the National Science Foundation for this support and for our partnership with the University of Texas at Arlington, which will help us take an entrepreneurial approach to demonstrating the value of the RPPs that, once deployed, will help contribute to the longevity of sloped roadways while putting used and recycled plastic to use,” Ahmed said in a news release. “Additionally, I would like to thank SUNY Poly’s College of Engineering for strong support, and I look forward to pursuing implementation of this important innovation.”

 As part of the overall $50,000 in funding, Ahmed will collaborate with an entrepreneur lead from the University of Texas, which will receive $15,000 from the total grant, that will help support the eventual deployment of the technology for use in the nation’s roadways.

 “I am proud to congratulate Professor Ahmed for his research leading to this NSF grant that helps incentivize the recycling of plastic into pins that can be used to enable our roadways to last longer,” SUNY Poly Interim Dean of the College of Engineering Michael Carpenter said. “This collaborative research and commercialization initiative is a great example of SUNY Poly’s engineering capacity, driven by faculty expertise, which can facilitate long-lasting, positive impacts to the infrastructure we rely on while supporting sustainable environmental efforts.”

 SUNY Poly offers undergraduate and graduate degrees in technology and engineering, professional studies, and arts and sciences. As a research enterprise, SUNY Poly has billions of dollars in high-tech investments and hundreds of corporate partners over the years.

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