Self-healing roads

Self-healing roads

Self-healing roads can heal itself i.e. cracks formed on roads can heal themselves. For both short and long distances, roads play a very important role in the transportation of passengers and goods. Compared to other modes of transportation roadways play a very important role. The global road network is about 16.3 million kilometres. Maintaining the operation of roads without any disrupt is essential.

Cracked roads

Cracked road due to traffic loads

Roads are constantly subject to wear and tear. Each year tonnes of money is spent on the repair of roads. Scientists from Netherlands have invented self-healing roads to solve this problem.

Self-healing roads:

Asphalt, which is the key compound of roads, can expand with heat. It also has some natural properties of healing small cracks which occur due to the traffic. Asphalt can regain its original stiffness and strength with time. If asphalt incorporated with some steel fibres can make magnify the asphalt’s self healing property.Eric Schlangen, a material scientist from Delft university in Netherlands

A road on Netherland is laid using this technology and it is successfully under testing.

Self-healing of cracks in 3 hours

Image showing healing of cracks in 3 hours[Image Source: University of Granada via Research Gate]

How does it works?

Simple induction machine driven inside the roads heats up the steel fibres. The heat from the steel gets transferred to asphalt. Asphalts starts to melt and repair the cracks, therefore avoiding the formation of potholes which occurs when the cracks become large.

Heating process of self-healing roads

                                         Induction heating process of self-healing road [Image Source: University of Granada via ResearchGate]

Induction heating involves the process of using a magnet to rapidly heat up a metal. The process involves sending an alternating current through a series of coils, resulting in an oscillating magnetic field. The magnetic field then heats up molecules within a ferromagnetic metal (a substance that is highly susceptible to magnetisation)- in this case, the steel fibres.

Future of self-healing roads:

Roadways are important and cheapest modes of transport. Roadways keep increasing day by day. With the increase in roadways and increase in traffic, cracks, potholes etc. keeps pounding up with time. The repair cost is higher and preventing the occurrence of cracks becomes quite impossible. This self-healing road can solve the problem. Moreover, these self healing roads can last up to 80 years.

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