Two University of North Texas engineering professors have teamed up to make white and yellow lines on roads safer and more environmentally-friendly.

Maurizio Manzo and Zhenhua Huang, researchers in UNT’s Department of Mechanical Engineering, are working to find a more economical way to eliminate road striping that can cause major accidents.

Such road stripes are often removed during construction processes, and other faded lines are sometimes still visible under different light conditions.

The researchers plan to attach lasers to trucks to clear paint completely from roadways more quickly in a process called thermal ablation.

Current methods of removing stripes — which uses grinding with a metal blade, water blasting or blacking out the stripes — have more negative impacts on drivers.

Manzo and Huang are using a $288,000 grant from the Texas Department of Transportation’s Research and Implementation Division to perform lab testing this summer at the Photonics Micro-Devices Fabrication Lab at UNT.

They hope to have a prototype developed by fall.

They also plan to develop artificial intelligence to allow a computer in the stripe-removing equipment to identify the type of striping on the roadway and automatically adjust for how strong the laser should be with their further research.

— Stephanie Salas-Vega


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