The Pavement Research Institute of Southeastern Massachusetts (PRISM) is located at the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth's Advanced Technology and Manufacturing Center (ATMC).
The institute was established in 1990 as part of the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth Civil and Environmental Engineering Department. Since its inception, the PRISM's mission has been to assist the entire hot mix asphalt community in designing and evaluating pavement materials that will help sustain our infrastructure of roads.
Specifically, the PRISM has been assisting the industry with the use of recycled materials and implementation of new technologies in hot mix asphalt (HMA) materials.
The PRISM operates in a 3,300-square-foot laboratory and office space located at the Advanced Technology and Manufacturing Center (ATMC) in Fall River, Massachusetts.
The laboratory is equipped with many state-of-the-art materials testing equipment related to the testing of hot mix asphalt, concrete and other related materials. Specifically, the laboratory is equipped to conduct property testing of asphalt binders, aggregates and asphalt concrete mixtures.
These materials are tested in accordance with the latest AASHTO and ASTM specifications. Additionally, the PRISM is equipped to test the performance of HMA concrete mixtures utilizing accelerated pavement testing (APT) devices and the simple performance test (SPT) device. Beyond standardized testing, the PRISM is equipped to develop custom testing programs when necessary or requested.
The PRISM team is made up of the director (Professor Walaa S. Mogawer, PE), one full time research engineer, two graduate students, and two undergraduate students.
Roadway material testing and design involves testing of asphalt binders, aggregates and asphalt concrete mixtures for a variety of properties. From these properties, HMA mix designs can be developed. These developed mix designs are then tested and evaluated for their potential field performance using specialized testing equipment (simple performance tests are located at the PRISM). Data from these tests indicate whether or not an HMA mix will perform sufficiently in actual application.
The PRISM has become increasingly involved with specialized mix designs that incorporate recycled materials, green technologies or new technologies into the HMA. The use of these mix designs can have significant positive impacts for both the agency and motorists.