A new method of road treatment is to be trialled by Kent County Council (KCC) after initial tests showed it may more than double the life span of the surface.
KCC and its contractor, GW Highways, will be testing Gipave – a graphene-enhanced asphalt that involves melting graphene pellets and a small mix of recycled plastic into bitumen.
Earlier testing has indicated the resulting asphalt mix could extend the lifespan of the new surface by approximately 2.5 times over its non-graphene alternative.
KCC’s Cabinet Member for Highways and Transport, David Brazier, said: “A regularly used asphalt called Stone Mastic Asphalt (SMA) could typically expect a structural lifetime of around 10-15 years, whereas a Gipave-enhanced SMA could expect to last up to 25 years.
“This marks the start of our second trial phase of using this material on our roads. If successful, we will also be reducing the carbon impact of road maintenance and contribute towards our target of getting council operations to Net Zero carbon emissions by 2030.
“Our highways team was commended by the Chartered Institution of Highways and Transportation for the research they led in the first phase of the trial into this innovative method.”
Following the first successful trial in Dartford in 2020, KCC will now go on to test the commercial viability of Gipave and compare it to a leading high-performance poly modified binder (PMB).
Work to do that includes laboratory tests to see how the products react with elements including water sensitivity, stiffness, wheel tracking, fatigue.
Once testing and analysis has been completed the results will be published by the council.