What If Asphalt Could Repair Itself?

Robert Dechants blog post, “Benefits and Constraints of “Self Repairing” Asphalt”, is an interesting insight into “Self Repairing” Asphalt. Dechant explains that a Netherland civil engineer from Deft University, Erik Schlangen, is working on a design for a self-repairing asphalt. Schlangens’ research has helped him to create a design that utilizes steel wool strands in a regular Asphalt mix that will allow cracks to be filled and smoothed once that asphalt is reheated. Along with his creation of this mix design, Schlangen has also created a vehicle that utilizes the heat of induction coils to heat the asphalt enough to reach temperatures for this asphalt to repair its self.
With the creation and use of this Asphalt design, comes the possibility for pros and cons. If this mix design were to be used, it is possible that, if it is truly as effective as hoped, it could save an extreme amount of money for the industry. As Dechant believes, the use of this new asphalt could save money for other projects, which would mean the chance of less frequent and cheaper repair cost of the roads. Although this could pose to benefit the industry financially, both Dechant and I have concerns about the durability of this new asphalt. Both Dechant and I question if this new asphalt will be strong enough to with stand the heavy loads that today’s roads currently encounter on a daily basis. Along with this, if this asphalt is designed to soften when heated, what will happen in the hot summer month? An issue that we frequently encounter today is crack-filling material getting tacky and pulling up from cracks due to being heated by the sun. I also see an issue in where dirt and other materials that get into current cracks will remain in the heated material resulting in weakened asphalt each repair.

Although I found this article to be very insightful, I also found skepticism in this new material that Dechant was so interested it. Both Dechant and I had various similarities in benefits and concerns with the use of this material. Because of this, the question of where this material would be used arises. The fact of the matter is that the material that Schlangen has created does not currently have enough testing to show how effective or ineffective it is in various parts of the world. This idea has great potential and is very interesting for anyone in the civil engineering field.

Original Blog Link: http://teckdeck2008.wordpress.com/2014/10/06/benefits-and-constraints-of-self-repairing-asphalt/
By,
Chris O’Brien

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