Coleri_Spotlight_16_17In his research, Assistant Professor Erdem Coleri explores sustainable pavement materials, energy-efficient pavement design strategies, and infrastructure health monitoring using wireless sensor networks – research that has immediate and practical applications and results in savings for road users and governmental agencies.

Coleri, who received his Ph.D. from the University of California, Davis, joined Oregon State University in September 2014 after working as a postdoctoral scholar and a project scientist at the University of California Pavement Research Center and as a consultant for a wireless traffic detection system provider. Coleri credits the encouragement of others for placing him on his career path. “I was inspired to pursue engineering by my sister Sinem Coleri Ergen who is also a professor at Koc University now” said Coleri. “She is an accomplished electrical engineer and was my role model as I began my studies in college.”

Coleri earned his bachelor’s and master’s degrees from the Middle East Technical University in Ankara, Turkey. It was during an internship at University of California, Berkeley that another role model, Dr. Carl Monismith – known to many as the grandfather of pavement engineering – encouraged Coleri to obtain his Ph.D. in that field. “Prior to working with Dr. Carl Monismith and Dr. Bor-Wen Tsai at UC Pavement Research Center, I had not planned on a career in research and academia, but my experience with them inspired me to pursue my doctorate.”

In his current research, Coleri is in phase two of a project for the California Department of Transportation, where he is modeling the effects of different pavement types on vehicle fuel economy under a sub award from UC Davis. Ultimately, their research could lead to improved roads and improved fuel economy.

In another recent project, Coleri and his research group are working with the Oregon Department of Transportation (ODOT) to develop low cost methods to improve tack coat performance for highway structures. Tack coat is a critical layer of adhesive that is applied between the layers of a road. There are major budget implications for improperly applying tack coats during construction – a road that is expected to last 20 years may only last seven. To assist in the road construction process, Coleri developed a user-friendly smartphone app in collaboration with a student from the OSU School of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science. The app predicts the tack coat set time after the user enters the temperature, emulsion type, rate, and wind speed. Coleri and his research group also recently developed two field test devices, the Oregon Field Tack Coat Tester and Oregon Field Toque Tester, which evaluate the long-term performance and bond strength of tack coats without destructively removing core samples from the roadway. Additionally, in their newly relocated and updated pavement lab, Coleri and his group are working on two ODOT projects to improve performance of recycled asphalt pavements and reduce cracking of pavement structures.

Prior to his current research, Coleri worked toward developing a wireless sensor network that estimates the weight of moving vehicles from the pavement vibrations caused by vehicular motion. To classify the vehicles and estimate weights, a server processes wireless output from a network of sensors that measure pavement vibration and vehicle speed.

Through these and other efforts, Coleri’s research is helping to increase efficiency and safety in the fields of pavements, transportation, and materials. In recognition of his work, Coleri was named the OSU John and Jean Loosely Faculty Fellow in 2016 – and is on his way to becoming a role model for early career engineers.

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