A road well travelled?

6 Aug 2013

We all use roads and car parks every day, but most of us don't give a second thought to the materials used.

Most of the 300 million tonnes of asphalt produced each year in Europe alone is used in paving, for roads, car parks, playgrounds and runways. On a smaller scale, but no less important, are uses in waterproofing, including roofing felt, and also sealing and insulation purposes in construction materials.

In Europe, over 90% of the total road network has an asphalt surface. This network is in need of constant maintenance, especially given the more extreme weather conditions of the last couple of years. There are continuous economic and environmental demands to optimise the production and application process, in order to reduce energy requirements, and to increase the speed at which building and maintenance can be achieved. In these days of increased awareness of 'green' credentials, it may be a surprise to know that asphalt is 100% recyclable.

For those of us who still feel far removed from the asphalt industry, bear in mind that advances in production and laying technologies mean that end-users can have a safer and more enjoyable commute to work due to improved skid-resistance and road smoothness; decreased road noise; a reduction in time taken to complete road works due to more rapid laying; and a reduced need for maintenance due to the extension of the lifetime of the road.

SCI's Construction Materials Group will be discussing these subjects in 'Developments in Asphalt Plant and Equipment'. This one-day event on Thursday 24 October begins with a welcome and introduction from the chairman, Adrian Blacker. The day concentrates on technical aspects, with an emphasis on new equipment and technology for producing, laying and recycling asphalt. The event includes lunch and refreshments and closes with a discussion to sum up the day's topics.

The symposium will be held at the Institute of Materials, Minerals and Mining in London, and is ideal for those who wish to keep up to date with asphalt arena; including academics, contractors, highway authorities, and road consultants.

Dr Susan Brittain

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