Materials

Want longer-lasting roads? Just add graphene

A graphene-based asphalt additive can extend the life of roads
A graphene-based asphalt additive can extend the life of roads
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A graphene-based asphalt additive can extend the life of roads
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A graphene-based asphalt additive can extend the life of roads

It's getting to the point where it seems like adding a dash of graphene can improve just about anything. The latest example is something you probably wouldn't expect to benefit from the addition of the wonder material – asphalt. While roads may not seem like the most logical area for technological advances, two Italian companies have come together to combine graphene and asphalt and create a more durable and sustainable road surface.

Through a joint R&D process, Directa Plus, a producer of graphene-based products, and Iterchimica, which specializes in additives for asphalt, have developed a patent-pending asphalt additive that incorporates Directa Plus' Graphene Plus technology. Dubbed Eco Pave, the resulting additive is claimed to significantly improve the durability and sustainability of asphalt road surfaces.

The companies say that the improvements in asphalt properties are the result of graphene's thermal conductivity, which makes asphalt mixed with the additive less likely to soften in warm temperatures or harden and crack in cold ones. The additive also reduces road wear, particularly under high loads, by increasing the elasticity and strength of the asphalt. It is estimated that adding Eco Pave to asphalt has the potential to double the average life of a road surface from the current six to seven years up to 12 to 14 years.

It is this capability that the companies say makes the additive a particularly attractive and economical option for road maintenance applications, such as repairing potholes. Importantly, asphalt mixed with Eco Pave is also recyclable, with up to 100 percent of the milled asphalt able to be repeatedly re-used in the laying of new pavement, thereby reducing landfill and the need to extract new bitumen.

The companies say Eco Pave has already proven itself in laboratory testing and small-scale trials, and will now be tested in several kilometers of asphalt as part of a pilot test to be conducted with an asphalt producer. They also claim that Eco Pave can be sold at a commercially viable price, particularly when considering the life-extension potential of the additive.

Source: Directa Plus

6 comments
VincentWolf
I'm sure we could get a lot longer wear and tear using diamonds embedded in the road surface. But that would be costly ha.
Don Duncan
Aren't there Roman roads still operative? What are they made of? If the roads were all built privately you can bet they would last a lot longer. And we wouldn't be driving in "double penalty" zones everywhere without end. Govt. roads are a hazard to our health & finances.
Fairly Reasoner
So, we all buy new tires sooner. That's science, kids.
Douglas Bennett Rogers
If this is worthwhile it should appear in roofing well ahead of roads.
noteugene
Sounds great extending our tax dollars. I'm just concerned about the conductivity factor. Wet roads, graphene, lightening....I just don't know.....
Bruce R
I would like to see an independent third party test of a heavily traveled section of road of 10km or more with less than perfect substrate material completed. The press release indicates that the parties are indeed proceeding with a similar test however unless it's independently setup, installed and monitored I wouldn't trust the results. Having a few locations in different regions across the US and Canada would go a long way to proving the benefits of this additive.
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