Self-healing asphalt could spell the end of potholes and even charge your electric car

Article Posted on: May 10, 2017


(Photo: TUDELFT)

The days of crashing and bouncing down huge potholes could be nearing an end thanks to a new material that heals itself.

But that’s not all – the revolutionary technology that’s currently on trial in the Netherlands could charge your electric car in the future, too.

Delft University’s Erik Schlangen revealed tests are being planned that would mean cars are charged while they’re stopped at traffic lights to give you an extra boost of battery life.

The steel fibres and bacteria used in the futuristic road surface can not only stitch surfaces back together but also send electricity to plug-in cars above via wireless induction charging.

The self-healing tech requires heat generated from an induction machine to start the binding process.

The asphalt is then melted around the damage to close the crack before it develops into a larger, car-wrecking pothole.

Wireless charging systems would also be needed to be fitted to cars but that’s not too far off with examples already being tested in some private car parks in the UK in favour of using wall-mounted plug sockets.

Clearly the extra technology means these roads won’t come cheap and it’d be up to local councils or the Government to foot the bill.

Schlangen estimates these new self-healing roads would cost around 25 per cent extra to construct but the economic benefits are huge.

There’d be no need for lengthy road closures to carry out repairs and this would avoid the resultant costly hold-ups. Plus, it’d save councils having to shell out millions to motorists in pothole compensation claims each year.

Pothole delays

The UK pothole problem is vast, too, with a £12 billion repair backlog that’s estimated to take 14 years to fix.

And motorists think councils should have more demanding targets to refill potholes with three quarters stating repairs should be done within a week, according to an AA survey.

A further one in five said beyond 24 hours was unacceptable to leave a pothole that could cause accidents.

Currently, councils must repair high priority damage within a few hours but if an engineer categorises it is as low priority it can take several months to fill.

AA president Edmund King said: “Councils must ensure that all roads are safe to use, regardless of how you travel on them.

“It can’t be right that one council could fill a lower-risk pothole within three weeks while a neighbouring council needs four weeks. Councils should have backstop deadline, but with emphasis on carrying out the repairs quicker.”


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