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Artificial aggregate improves road safety

Road with truck

EU funds research for safer, smarter urban pavements.

16 April 2020

Artificial aggregates are set to improve road safety by increasing skid resistance. High friction surfacing bonded to a road at accident hotspots has been found to significantly reduce road fatalities and serious accidents. Currently calcined bauxite, which is mined and is expensive, is used to increase surface friction. However artificial aggregates can be produced from waste powders that come from quarrying basalt and limestone. The powders have high aluminosilicate content and can be cast into aggregates of consistent size and shapes in a 3D printed mould where they undergo alkali-activation reactions to produce stable aggregate mortar. 

The research team, at the University of Bologna, Italy, say that the goal is to use the new aggregates in thin asphalt for new road resurfacing or for pavement repair and maintenance. The new material could also reduce road noise. The research team says that most road noise arises not from the vehicle engine, but from the sound of tyres impacting on road surfaces, this can be as loud as 70 decibels at distance of 10 meters away. The composition of the road surface can make a difference of up to 10 decibels, the researchers said. The research is part of the EU’s Horizon 2020 SAFERUP project to promote safer, smarter urban pavements. 

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