CAIT Student Makes an Impression that Sticks

Lab tech’s asphalt binder work paves the way to grad school

Rostyslav “Rusty” Shamborovskyy, a Rutgers student working in CAIT’s Pavement Resource Program (PRP) lab, is heading into his graduate studies with some impressive academic credentials. Shamborovskyy has 4.0 GPA and his hard work has gotten him well-deserved notice from several players in the asphalt industry.

First came a $4,250 award in January from the North/Central New Jersey section of the American Society of Highway Engineers. Then, in April he learned he was the winner of the David R. Jones Scholarship from the Association of Modified Asphalt Producers (AMAP). And at the end of May, the New Jersey Asphalt Pavement Association informed him he’d been selected for the Elaine and Robert Lang Foundation Scholarship.

Shamborovskyy, who is starting his master’s at Rutgers School of Engineering in the fall likes to get his hands dirty, both in and out of the CAIT PRP lab, where he has been working for the past year and a half. An avid fisherman, dirt biker, and soccer player, Shamborovskyy is studying how asphalt binders will perform 10 to 20 years into the future, and likes his work there because it is very hands on.

“When people think about civil engineering, they mostly think about construction and management,” said Shamborovskyy. He said he was drawn to studying asphalt because it is unique, requiring a different set of skills and allowing him to experiment directly with raw materials, as opposed to spending more time in front of a computer manipulating numbers.

Chris Ericson who heads up PRP’s binder operation also started as an undergraduate working in the lab. Ericson is Shamborovskyy’s supervisor and praised his work ethic and a quality he doesn’t’ see in every student worker: “When it comes to reliability and precision, Rusty goes the distance and makes sure testing is done accurately and on time. He also brings to the table what most people don’t—a creative mind.”

“The ultimate goal of my research is to improve asphalt technology by working ot make asphalt pavement more cost effective an durable,”  Shamborovskyy said, adding that in turn, that will reduce lane shutdowns for repairs, making drivers happier and reducing congestion. His other area of research interest is green technology, working with recycled asphalt pavement.

As lead technician in PRP lab—which was reaccredited by AASHTO for the fourth time in 2013-- he is working on a project extracting and reusing asphalt from post-manufacturer and post-consumer shingles. To recover the valuable reusable material from discarded roofing, Shamborovskyy uses solvents, centrifuges, and a rotary evaporator to separate the asphalt binder (black sticky stuff) from the other components of the shingles. He mixes the extracted shingles binder with virgin binder and subjects it to a veriety of AMRL-certified tests, using the lab's Dynamic Shear Rheometer, exmaining how susceptible they are to the effects of aging.

Asked where he sees himself career-wise in 10 or 15 years, Shamborovskyy admits that's a tough question to answer. If he's not in asphalt, he said he could see himself in the geotechnical industry.

Organizations from which Shamborovskyy received the awards draw members from research firms, polymer and asphalt production companies, contractors, and other related industries and government agencies. These professional groups promote technical research, education, production, and planning to advance development, production, and use of asphalt pavements.