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Modern automotive transportation has necessitated the handling, processing, and testing of natural materials for highway construction far more wisely than in any previous era. New materials developed in the general area of advanced technology, as well as those specifically for highway purposes, are being used for building and maintaining the highway structure. Nuclear technology is rapidly being applied to the material phase of highway engineering as a tool for measuring and testing materials in the construction and maintenance operations. The performance of nondestructive determination of material suitability and the speed with which measurements can be made by nuclear methods provide better processing and construction controls. The flow of materials can be measured and tested by extremely small quantities of radioactive material. Such tracer techniques assist not only in material production but also in the design of the highway structure itself. Nuclear energy also has some promise for changing the consistency of inferior soils to produce a suitable engineering material. The potential impact on highway engineering by nuclear power and heat, and as an explosive for earth and rock excavation, will affect highway location, design, and construction procedures. These and other developments of nuclear technology will advance engineering methods and may, in the not-too-distant future, bring about new principles and technology in highway engineering.
Blackwell, P. L.
Assistant chief, U. S. Department of Commerce, Washington, D. C.,