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Mon November 18 2019

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Graphene-enhanced asphalt trialled in Oxfordshire

8 Nov The viability of graphene as an ingredient to improve the quality and lifespan of road surfaces is being tested at a site in Curbridge, Oxfordshire.

Photo from an earlier trial in Italy
Photo from an earlier trial in Italy

With the approval of Oxfordshire County Council, Skanska is laying an asphalt concrete with a proprietary graphene-enhanced super modifier to refurbish the two upper layers of a 750-metre long section of road. 

The trial is being led by Directa Plus, a producer and supplier of graphene-based products for use in consumer and industrial markets, and Iterchimica, an Italian based producer of asphalt additives.

The trial is using G+ upgraded asphalt super modifier containing Directa Plus G+ graphene. The graphene-enhanced super modifier is branded Gipave.

It will compare the asphalt concrete with the super modifier to a traditional asphalt surfacing. The researchers will assess service life, resistance to traffic, resistance to deformation and permanent plastic deformation (rutting). A previous trial of the material was conducted in Italy last year with apparently positive results.

The graphene-enhanced super modifier is the result of a three-year research program with a patent filed in 2017. Directa Plus believes that the super modifier “has the potential to vastly improve the quality of road surfaces throughout Europe and the wider world”.

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Once laid, asphalt concrete with super modifier can be 100% recycled, it says.

Giulio Cesareo, founder and CEO of Directa Plus, said: "This trial is an important step for Directa Plus and Iterchemica, in partnership, in proving the business and use case for the next generation of graphene enhanced road surfaces.

"This technology will allow governments to supply better quality roads for drivers and other road users, at better value for money, and in a more environmentally sustainable way.

"Working with leading companies such as Iterchemica to bring the benefits of G+ graphene enhanced products and materials to market is a key part of Directa Plus' strategy across all our key industrial verticals."

The earlier Italian tests suggested that the use of Gipave improved service life-fatigue resistance by more than 250%. Resistance to the passage of vehicles-mechanical tests showed an indirect tensile strength increase of 35%. Resistance to deformation at the same load-stiffness modulus was measured at different temperatures, showing an improvement of 46% at 40°C. And permanent plastic deformation was 35% lower at 60°C.

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