Self-Healing Asphalt

A new pavement type designed by Erik Schlangen is a “self-healing asphalt machine” to work against damage over time. It is a porous material to allow water to drain through the surfaces, running to the side of the road or routed into collection devices. Noise would disappear into the surface due to its geometry.

Eric started with steel wool, cutting small pieces of the material and inserting it into the asphalt mix. Induction heating the mixture allows the steel wool to seep into the microcracks and create a stronger product.

The Dutch government took interest in Schlangen’s project and donated four hundred meters of a major roadway for testing. Samples from the road were tested in the lab to find the effects of aging, loading and environment. The samples were healed, then retested and then healed again. It is estimated that the machine should be used on a road surface every four years to double the surface life of the road.

Another promising material out of the Netherlands is “self-healing” that uses injected bacteria that activates if water leaks in through cracks. The bacteria repairs and seals up the cracks by turning into limestone, according to professor Henk Jonkers of Delft University of Technology, who pioneered the new materials and plans to call it “bioconcrete.”

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