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Self-Healing Roads – The Modern Science of Potholes

There is a pothole in front of where I live that has been filled at least a dozen times in the past 5 years. Needless to say current repair methods aren’t working. Engineers are looking for new ways to fix the problems by using self healing asphalt and infrared repair systems.

Via The Conversation:

To accelerate the “healing” of the road, we are exploring the addition of tiny capsules containing asphalt rejuvenators such as sunflower oil, or tall oil, a byproduct of paper production. (The inspiration for the capsules came from watching an episode of the Spanish version of the TV series MasterChef, in which a contestant used a technique to form spheres that resemble caviar when submerged in a liquid.)

The idea is that when roads start to crack, the capsules break open and release the oil within, softening the surrounding asphalt. This helps the asphalt stick back together more swiftly, effectively filling in cracks and preventing small defects from deteriorating. With this idea, we expect to delay the first potholes by at least five years, reducing the need for maintenance and all the troubles that come from it, such as slow traffic and travel delays.

To increase the performance of asphalt patch repair, the Pavement and Ground Engineering Research Group at Brunel has developed the Controlled Pothole Repair System (CPRS). This new method uses a portable infrared heating machine to preheat the road surface (and the area below) before making the repair.

Learn more!


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