Senior Honors Projects, 2010-2019

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License.

Date of Graduation

Spring 2015

Document Type


Degree Name

Bachelor of Science (BS)


Department of Engineering


Kyle Gipson


The weathering and erosion of weak rocks along roadways can cause dangerous and potentially fatal rockfalls.   Various slope stabilization methods exist, but each presents a set of challenges and trade-offs.   The focus of the project is to understand the feasibility of utilizing of a polymerbased slope stabilization technique. Rock samples were collected along US Route 33 in Virginia and West Virginia, and preliminary tests were conducted to evaluate the absorption of water (% mass) and durability. The study evaluates three polymer options in regard to the following criteria: adhesion to rock, layer thickness, semi-permeability, insolubility, and non-toxicity. The polymer selection process yielded that a water-based polyurethane would present the benefits of creating a waterproof and lightweight coating when applied to the rock analyzed as part of this study. Polymer coated rock samples were tested in same manner as the uncoated rock samples from the preliminary tests; where the results indicate a slight decrease in water absorption and an increase in erosion durability.   Intended future work will investigate the impact of application technique on the durability and absorptive properties of coated rock samples.



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