No more potholes! A new asphalt will allow us to have a self-healing road.
Porous asphalt, used on many roads around the world, especially in Northern Europe, reduces noise pollution and drains surface water more effectively. But there is a downside: it isn’t very durable and potholes can occur within a few years.
Erik Schlangen, an engineering professor at Delft University of Technology, however, has invented a self-healing type of asphalt that has a lifespan double that of the traditional porous variety.
Schlangen explains, “Though porous asphalt has very good properties it also leads to durability problems. For example, as there are a lot of pores inside you get much faster oxidation than with usual asphalt and then the bitumen becomes very brittle due to this oxidation and cracks easily. You get these small micro cracks in the bitumen and so, when a car drives over the road, the stones at the surface come off.”