Self healing roadsAdd to favourite
"Paved roads are nice to look at and drive on, but they’re easily damaged and costly to repair."
Dr. Erik Schlangen, professor and Chair of Experimental Micromechanics at Delft Technical University in The Netherlands, found a solution for this.
After some years, asphalt binder is degraded by environmental factors, especially due to UV-radiation from the sun, until it loses the ability to bind the surface particles together.
This results in cracks which allow damaging moisture into the lower pavement levels, creating surface roughness, pot holes, degradation and eventual structural failure.
"Asphalt is a very nice material to drive on but not always especially not on these days when it's raining a lot then you can have a lot of splash water on the asphalt and if you ride with your bicycle and pass these cars, than is not very nice.
Also as full can create a lot of noise, it's a noisy material and if we produce roads like in the Netherlands close to cities, than you would like a silent road. The solution for that is to make roads on the porous asphalt.
The porous asphalt that is used now in most of the highways in Netherlands it has pores and the water can just go right trough them, so the rain water can flow away. It also helps reducing noise on the roads.
But the porous asphalt has also disadvantages, on one of the most important is that gravel can appears and can damage your windshield or even worse can create potholes.
In order to solve all these issues generated by the conventional asphalt, Erik Schlangen solution is to embed into the asphalt small pieces of steel wool (something similar with a usual steel wool used in the kitchen), and mix with the bitumen.
The next step is to use an induction machine which generates an induction field - something like in the modern induction ovens - and heat up the small pieces of steel wool which would met the bitumen and make it fill up the small cracks.
Induction heating is the process of heating an electrically conducting object (usually a metal) by electromagnetic induction, where eddy currents (also called Foucault currents) are generated within the metal and resistance leads to Joule heating of the metal.(Wikipedia)
An early induction cooker patent from 1909 illustrates the principle.
The coil of wire S induces a magnetic field in the magnetic core M. The magnetic field passes through the bottom of the pot A, inducing eddy currents within it. Unlike this concept, a modern cooking surface uses electronically-generated high-frequency current.
The conclusion from this research is that if the road build in the "new way" is treated every 4 years with the induction machine would actually double the life of that road.