CEE student Singhvi earns third for creative confection

Punit Singhvi takes the cake with his research creativity. The civil and environmental engineering doctoral student earned third place in the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign Graduate College’s 2020 Image of Research Competition.

UIUC CEE doctoral student Punit Singhvi displays his asphalt concrete brownie, which earned third place in the Graduate College’s 2020 Image of Research Competition.

Singhvi created an asphalt concrete brownie with all the fixins, including asphalt binder, yellow sulfur pellets and white Sasobit.

“The way we prepare asphalt, it’s just like a recipe,” Singhvi said. “Every day we are trying to come up with the right combination of different materials used in asphalt pavement construction, and always the objective is to get the mix right so we can make sure it performs.”

Singhvi wanted to find a relatable way for people to understand the complexities of asphalt pavement mixes after providing several brief presentations to those touring Illinois Center for Transportation’s Advanced Transportation and Engineering Research Lab in Rantoul, Illinois.

The idea sparked while preparing his asphalt binder samples.

“When we use this (asphalt binder), it’s typically at a higher temperature, where it is fluid,” Singhvi said. “So at that high temperature the binder is like the consistency of honey or hot fudge.”

Punit Singhvi

He drew from his own experiences, cooking in the kitchen as his wife’s, Akshiti Singhvi, “sous chef,” he joked.

Admittedly, Singhvi’s also very “fond of brownies,” so naturally when the Graduate College’s newsletter announced the 2020 Image of Research Competition, he knew he had to give it a whirl.

“I took the picture outside of our (ICT’s) parking lot (to) give the feel of that yellow road marking,” he said.

Earning third place in such a creative contest motivated Singhvi, and it’s something that’s going to stick with him for the remainder of his academic career.

It’s that imagination that drives Singhvi to encourage others not to let their creativity go to the wayside.

His advice?

“Keep on innovating (and) creating something new because that might lead to something better,” Singhvi said.

Written by: Emily Jankauski

Posted: May 11, 2020