31 Jan '18
Scientists at MISiS, a top Moscow-based technology university in Russia, have developed production technology for self-healing asphalt-concrete materials to be used in making roadbeds. With the new method of eliminating roadbed cracks road repairs would take just a few hours instead of today’s week, and cost about 30% of the current cost.
The material consists of electrically conductive multiwall carbon nanotubes (MWCNTs) called “Taunit-M” which are said to possess unique characteristics such as high inductance receptivity. Bringing the additive into conventional roadbed adds little to the cost of repair while triggering the self-healing effect.
To kick-start the process, a new machine, described as a hybrid of a road-roller and microwave, must be used. It heats the surface, and microwaves set nanotubes in motion, which is said to cause road cracks and holes to self-heal. In the technique, no additional roadbed material would be required—riding over the area to be repaired is quite enough to cure the damaged spot, MISiS said.
The approach itself is hardly unique globally; scientists in the Netherlands, China and other countries also set their sights on the problem. However, MISiS’ foreign colleagues are reported to use metallic fiber as additive. The Moscow researchers believe their proprietary method beats the competition in effectiveness as it brings about inductance heating in the thin bitumen film only and requires no change in the composition of asphalt-concrete mixture.