graphene tarmac solves UK potholes?
It’s that time of year again. Winter is coming, Game of Thrones has ended, Michael Bublé is counting his yearly royalties and the scourge of the pothole is in full force.
But don’t despair, top up your glass with Xmas cheer as potholes may be a thing of the past. Imagine. You wake up on a beautiful sunny day, enjoy your morning routine to end in your car ready for the day, and before you lies an endless strip of unmarked blacktop. No, you’re not in Spain, or highway 68, this is Oxfordshire, the UK’s first trial of the futuristic long-lasting road material, and you’re about to treat your tyres to a graphene-enhanced asphalt.
what is graphene-enhanced tarmac?
Initially trialled in Italy, G+asphalt concrete was compared to the traditional surfacing material to find an improvement of over 250% in durability. By combining the reduced thermal conductivity of graphene with asphalt/tarmac roads are less likely to soften in high temperatures from high traffic and importantly not harden as much in cold temperatures. This hardening and constant temperature fluctuation is one of the main causes of cracking in roads and therefore potholes overtime.
But the good news doesn’t stop there. Graphene is also quite flexible adding elasticity to the tarmac on the roads allowing for more resistance to road wear, especially from heavy loads.
According to the Asphalt Industry Alliance, the present backlog of damaged roads in need for repair in England and Wales will take up to ten years and £9.8 billion to repair. While this sounds like bad news, it means more jobs.
Wait, we’re still not done. It’s also 100% recyclable allowing easy transformation with the use of a super modifier, to build, replace and repair albeit at a slower pace due to the new increased longevity.
“This technology will allow governments to supply better quality roads for drivers and other road users, at better value for money, and in a more environmentally sustainable way. - Giulio Cesareo, Founder and CEO of Directa Plus.
what’s happening in Oxford?
Paulo Nutini may have a pencil full of lead, but Oxford could be filling their roads with it, graphene that is. To trial the next road surface, a 750m stretch of road has been nominated for the refurbishment of the 2 upper layers by applying the graphene-enhanced tarmac. Skanska will use the proprietary super modifier to adapt the road to take on the graphene layers for testing.
what does this mean for the future of road work?
With technology like this now a reality, it presents many new opportunities for a whole country of road resurfacing. With a combined road network of over 245’000 miles that’s a lot to cover, so if tests go well with graphene enhancements we could see a wave in demand for road construction workers and the support staff that go with such a large scale development.
If the trial in Oxford goes as well as the experts hope, it means the transformation of thousands of roads across the country. If you work in a roadside role, or are looking to get into the area of expertise, there’s never been a better time. Along with all of the work going on with the implementation of smart motorways, and workers with highways experience have seen their pay rise around 10% over the last 12 months.
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