Scientists have found a way to strengthen the asphalt, doubling its service life

(ORDO NEWS) — The problem of the destruction of the road surface haunts any country, forcing them to spend huge amounts of money on repairs every year. Science offers a way out of the situation, while giving a chance to get rid of one of the environmental problems.

Researchers from the Australian University of RMIT worked on the problem. They have developed an additive for asphalt mix, which significantly increases its protection against ultraviolet radiation and overheating in the sun.

New recipe for asphalt

  • It should be noted that for the hot Australian climate, the problem of solar impact on asphalt is very relevant. Temperatures can exceed 40 degrees in some areas. The absolute maximum recorded in the country reached 53.1 degrees.
  • In addition, as in many places in the world, there is a problem of recycling old tires.
  • Therefore, scientists decided to combine the solution of these two problems and proposed to grind tires into crumb rubber and add them to asphalt.
  • The idea was born after another experiment in which the addition of crumb rubber increased the heat resistance of concrete.
  • The researchers set up an experiment with three different compositions of asphalt, which added 7.5%, 15% and 22.5 percent crumbs.
  • The samples were placed in a special apparatus for simulating the effects of solar radiation.
  • Measurement of the chemical and mechanical properties of the samples showed that they withstood irradiation and heat much better than conventional asphalt.
  • After a month and a half of continuous exposure in a UV machine, equivalent to about one year of UV exposure in Melbourne, 50 percent less UV damage was detected compared to conventional bitumen.

However, when the coefficient exceeds 22 percent, degradation of strength begins – the road surface, on the contrary, becomes vulnerable to mechanical damage.

Experimentally, an optimal range of 18-22 percent has been determined, at which the life of asphalt under the scorching sun is actually doubled.

In parallel with this, the problem of recycling old tires is being solved. Used tires in Australia cannot be exported, so there is an urgent need for new local recycling methods.

Australia had around 450,000 tons of used tires in 2021, according to the source. About 70 percent of them have been recycled.

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