The consortium aims to develop a technique which ensures the best value for money and resource efficiency from a road asset management perspective, as well as improving traffic management by reducing the number of roads closed for maintenance.
Although significant advancements in self-healing have already been achieved individually by HEALROAD partners, several issues and uncertainties have been identified during the technical and market deployment of the technique. In this sense, the new consortium brings together a team able to overcome current implementation problems combining experience and knowledge from different backgrounds.
The new HEALROAD process will be validated at laboratory scale to verify the reduction of the environmental impact and economic costs by using LCA and LCC techniques. Technical barriers for the future industrialisation and market uptake of healable asphalt mixes via induction heating will be removed by promoting a technology made in Europe and developed by European partners.
The development of the induction heating technique has put researchers on the right path to deploy a new and cost-effective solution able to extend the lifetime of asphalt mixes. In this sense, the HEALROAD consortium goes one step beyond by developing, optimising and validating asphalt mixture wearing courses as well as steel-fibbers to facilitate self-healing via induction heating.
When micro-cracks appear in the wearing course (normally between after 3-5 years from its construction), an induction heating generator will pass through the road surface heating up the magnetic particles. Bitumen will then melt and flow through the micro cracks in order to close them. Initial estimations confirm that the lifetime of the road can be extended more than 30% by using self-healing combined with other maintenance actions.
This preventive maintenance will not only be able to postpone the replacement of the asphalt surface during years but also to deploy a low-cost measure able to be implemented at low traffic hours with the consequent minimal impact on mobility. HEALROAD could be specially applied on sections such as bridges, tunnels or congested areas where small disruptions lead to severe impacts on traffic flow.
HEALROAD is co-funded by the ERA-NET Plus Infravation 2014 Call
that aims at cost-effective advanced systems, materials
and techniques in road infrastructure construction and maintenance.