Investigator Spotlight: Erol Tutumluer, UIUC

Erol Tutumluer is the Paul Fraser Kent Endowed Faculty Scholar in the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. He has been a principal investigator for eight IDOT/ICT projects. Some of his current projects include:

  • R27-124: Evaluation of Aggregate Subgrade Materials Used as Pavement Subgrade/Granular Subbbase
  • R27-125: Sustainable Aggregates Production–Green Applications for Aggregate Byproducts
  • R27-130: Development of Improved Overlay Thickness Design Alternatives for Local Roads

Building on findings from previous IDOT/ICT, projects, Tutumluer is currently the principal investigator for two studies seeking to determine which aggregates provide the best value. Project R27-124 provides improved characterization techniques for aggregate subgrade materials in terms of source, composition, and particle size/shape properties, as well as field performance validations. It will evaluate field performance of the most commonly used subgrade replacement and granular subbases with the goal of making use of more economical and locally available aggregates. In addition to determining how to use local aggregates economically, project R27-125 is investigating innovative methods to use product fractions or byproducts that are currently being wasted and to lower costs while extending the product life of aggregate resources.

Tutumluer states, “Reducing the amount of wasted aggregate by-product, determining how to save on transportation costs by using locally available aggregate for the intended performance goals, and designing the most durable pavements possible are all key steps to ensuring sustainability.”

Tutumluer holds a PhD from Georgia Tech, two MS degrees from Duke University and Georgia Tech, and a BS from Bogazici University–all in civil engineering. He is a past recipient of the Transportation Research Board’s (TRB) Fred Burgraff Award for Excellence in Transportation Research. He also received two top paper awards from TRB. In 2009, the Geology and Properties of Earth Materials Section recognized his paper, “Use of Falling Weight Deflectometer Testing to Determine Relative Damage in Asphalt Pavement Unbound Aggregate Layers.” In 2013, the same section awarded him the best paper for “Gradiation Effects Influencing Mechanical Properties of Aggregate Base and Granular Subbase Materials in Minnesota.” Tutumluer currently chairs the TRB’s AFP70 Mineral Aggregates Committee has chaired subcommittees and served on several committees for TRB. He has also served as chair of the American Society of Civil Engineers’ (ASCE) Geo-Institute Pavements Committee and is the co-editor of six ASCE Geotechnical Special Publications on recent advances in transportation materials characterization, pavement engineering, and pavement mechanics and testing.