After 60 years of rubberised asphalt and some 30 years after the first 1km test stretch of highway in England was laid with rubberised asphalt, Highways England is to explore improving the road surfaces by adding… Graphene.
Highways England to Investigate the Potential of Graphene as an Additive
Highways England will partner with the Graphene Engineering Innovation Centre (GEIC) at the University of Manchester to explore improving poor road surfaces.
Isolated at The University of Manchester in 2004 by Professor Sir Andre Geim and Professor Sir Kostya Novoselov, graphene is the world’s first two-dimensional material, many more times stronger than steel, more conductive than copper and one million times thinner than a human hair.
Paul Doney, innovation director at Highways England said: ‘We are really excited about the opportunity to explore leading-edge materials and what this might lead to for our road network.
‘GEIC is at the forefront, having made the discovery here in Manchester, and by building a collaboration with our operations teams who understand the challenges, we are looking to deliver improved safety and performance of our roads.’
And yet, rubberised asphalt, that has many benefits over conventional polymer modified asphalt, is still not widely used on the roads in the UK. There is some odd disconnect in the thinking that a readily available and proven technology is being ignored, whilst a new unproven technology is being developed.