Rock Products

FEB 2019

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108 • ROCK products • February 2019 LAST CALL By 2050 the global network of highways is projected to increase by 60 percent . Here are some incredible innovations with regard to design, materials and use that may be adopted in the years to come . 1. Plastic Roads UK engineer Toby McCartney has developed a way to turn recycled plastic into pellets that can be added to asphalt to decrease the use of binders . You need 3 to 10 kg of recycled plastic per ton of paved asphalt . This process makes the road considerably stronger and last much longer than traditional material although there can be detrimental impacts on wild- life and human health . 2. Jigsaw Roads Dutch company KWS partnered with Wavin and Total to develop PlasticRoad – a prefabricated, modular roadway made from recycled plastic . The modular fitted pieces make it 70 percent faster to build while the plastic hollow design makes it four times lighter than asphalt . The hollow design also allows for pipes and cables to be installed without exten- sive digging and has the capacity to store excess water during storms and floods . 3. Glowing Roads With the huge advancements in technology in the car indus- try it is important to note the role road markings already play in modern vehicles . Many cars with autopilot functions rely on these markings to help center the vehicle on the road . In bad weather conditions or in low light it can be hard for both car and driver to see the markings, but this could all change . On a small stretch of road in the Netherlands, streetlights have been replaced with glow-in-the-dark lines that guide drivers . This simple but effective innovation was dreamed up by designer Daan Roosegaarde . During the day these fluorescent strips absorb sunlight and at night this light is emitted back out again . Replacing streetlights – especially on less traveled roads – provides a sustainable solution without jeopardizing the driver's safety . 4. Self-Healing Roads Self-healing materials were voted one of the top 20 emerg- ing technologies by the World Economic Forum . Previously this technology was only really explored by the aerospace industry, but its potential widespread use in the concrete construction industry has driven more extensive research . In 2013, researchers at the University of Bath, Cardiff and Cambridge joined forces to create a new generation of "smart" concrete and other cement-based construction materials . As part of the project, researchers are develop- ing a concrete mix that contains bacteria encompassed in microcapsules, which will germinate when water enters a crack in the concrete . This then produces limestone (calcite), plugging the crack before water and oxygen corrode the steel reinforcement below . Self-healing concrete is estimated to reduce lifetime costs by up to 50 percent . The same concept is being used in asphalt where microscopic capsules con- taining rejuvenator can be used to enhance the self-healing capability of the material . 5. Electrified Roads About 60 percent of carbon pollution from the transporta- tion sector comes from passenger vehicles . If we electrify all of them with renewably generated, zero-carbon electricity, this could have a huge impact on reducing carbon emissions . However, the big issue with electric vehicles at present is the time they take to charge . Electric cars like the Tesla Model S can travel more than 250 miles on a single charge, but recharging can take up to 25 hours . But research is being done into electrified roads that would allow electric vehicle drivers to charge on-the-go . Some research is looking into wireless charging while others are looking into cable contact charging where – not unlike a life-size Scalextric – cars will charge by maintaining contact with charging coils on the road . Early models suggest that installing charging coils in 10 percent of our roadways will successfully extend the driving range of electric vehicles . Information courtesy of Volvo Construction Equipment. Five Roads of the Future By Mark S. Kuhar

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