The Guayule Plant: A Renewable, Domestic Source of Binder Materials for Flexible Pavement Mixtures

The guayule (pronounced 'why-YOU-lee') plant grows in arid and semi-arid regions (e.g. the southwestern U.S.) and is a source of natural rubber. It was cultivated and processed during the World War II rubber shortage and is currently being processed primarily for the manufacture of hypo-allergenic latex (e.g. medical gloves, personal hygiene products). Depending on the process, many materials can be extracted from guayule. However, there are three basic products: rubber, resin, and bagasse. The rubber and resin (biopolymers) are of particular interest as they could prove to be renewable binder materials for flexible pavement mixtures. Limited preliminary testing showed that the resin could potentially be used as a recycling agent (viscosity modifier) when designing flexible pavement mixtures with a high percentage of reclaimed asphalt pavement (RAP), a small percentage of processed roofing shingles, and some virgin aggregate. The concept is to design a flexible pavement mixture produced with little to no virgin petroleum-based material. Due to the rising price of crude oil, flexible pavement costs have increased significantly. In regard to the concept, the potential impact on highway construction could be lower costs. A thorough experimental program is necessary to assess the limits of the use of the guayule rubber and resin in the context of this concept. Additionally, the guayule processing industry could benefit through the opening of another market for its products. Maybe more importantly, national security could be enhanced by decreasing the dependence on foreign oil.


  • English


  • Status: Completed
  • Contract Numbers:

    Project 20-39, IDEA


  • Sponsor Organizations:

    Federal Highway Administration

    1200 New Jersey Avenue, SE
    Washington, DC  United States  20590

    American Association of State Highway & Transportation Officials

    444 North Capitol Street, NW, Suite 225
    Washington, DC  United States  20001

    National Cooperative Highway Research Program

    Transportation Research Board
    500 Fifth Street, NW
    Washington, DC  United States  20001
  • Project Managers:

    Jawed, Inam

  • Performing Organizations:

    Center for Infrastructure Engineering Studies

    Missouri University of Science and Technology
    Rolla, MO  United States  65409
  • Principal Investigators:

    Richardson, David

  • Start Date: 20090201
  • Expected Completion Date: 0
  • Actual Completion Date: 20120731
  • Source Data: RiP Project 20851

Subject/Index Terms

Filing Info

  • Accession Number: 01549302
  • Record Type: Research project
  • Source Agency: Transportation Research Board
  • Contract Numbers: Project 20-39, IDEA, DTRT06-G-0014
  • Files: UTC, RiP
  • Created Date: Dec 31 2014 1:00AM