Home » National Highways tests raw graphene in bid to make roads last longer

National Highways tests raw graphene in bid to make roads last longer

by Samiyah Mokaddus
raw graphene

National Highways will lay graphene-enhanced asphalt later this month to see it the material can made the surface more durable.

The operation will take place along a three-mile stretch of the A1 in Northumberland as a test to see whether the graphene will make the surface of the road last longer.

National Highways is adding the ‘raw’ graphene directly to a recycled asphalt mix on site in a single pass operation at the time of recycling to improve the end product of the recycled material.

The trials are being conducted with the Graphene Engineering Innovation Centre(GEIC) at the University of Manchester and Pavement Testing Services (PTS).

Commenting on the initiative, National Highways’ Asset Needs manager, Graeme Watt, said: “Laboratory trials have been a success and the on-site trials in Northumberland will be a world first use of graphene in road production, which enforces our commitment to innovation and helps to push the industry towards more carbon-friendly maintenance with longer-lasting solutions which we all benefit from.

“Graphene’s benefits are industry-changing. It’s stronger than steel and adding it to other materials can turn them into super materials.

“From what we’ve seen so far, it could make some of our assets last significantly longer.”

Gipave is a polymeric supermodifier containing graphene and a selected type of hard plastic that takes the form of pellets, which are added to surfacing in hot mix asphalt plants then transported to sites.

National Highways is claiming the application as ‘a world first’; however, gipave graphene-enhanced asphalt has been used several times over the past few years, including trials in Oxfordshire and Kent, as well as numerous sites in Italy, where it is made.

Image: Humannet/Shutterstock

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