Graphene On British Highways

in STEMGeeks5 days ago

Great Britain has started a test of using graphene to enhance the properties of asphalt for highways. Experts hope that graphene will substantially improve traditional asphalt especially its durability and resilience.


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Image by John Howard from Pixabay

It has been 15 years since we discovered graphene and it has been fascinating to us ever since. And we keep dreaming up more interesting applications for this incredible material made from a single layer of carbon atoms. Sadly, many of these ideas were lost because they just weren’t feasible. Others just weren’t tried out yet. But there are fields where graphene is succeeding. Like construction.

Recently, you may have read about using graphene in concrete. But that’s not the only option for graphene in construction. It can also be added to asphalt to improve its properties. Recently, Great Britain has started a unique project – first of its kind in the whole world – in which they’re adding graphene into the new surface of the key British highway A1 that connects London with the Scottish metropolis Edinburgh.

You probably know that graphene comes with incredible resilience while remaining flexible. Thus, adding graphene into construction materials such as asphalt could and should improve their construction properties as well as their longevity. Experts predict that graphene-enhanced asphalt should last much longer substantially decreasing maintenance costs.

In the previously mentioned project, a roughly 5 kilometers long part of the A1 highway in its northern part will have its current layer of the asphalt removed. Then a new layer of asphalt will be laid on top and graphene will be mixed directly into it on site.

Graeme Watt from the British National Highways says that the laboratory tests of the technology were successful. The revolutionary surface for the highway should be laid and finished by the 3rd of November 2021. Then scientists will monitor it in great detail to see how well it performs.

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