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Malevolent

Forget about futuristic cars — here are plastic roads

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http://www.marketwatch.com/story/forget-about-futuristic-cars-here-are-plastic-roads-2015-08-03

 

 

his waste plastic bitumen road is made from a mixture of tar, rock, coal and plastic.

We know cars pollute our environment, but did you know roads do as well?

Road building and maintenance result in more than 96 million tons of carbon dioxide (CO2) being released into the atmosphere every year. Putting plastic refuse to good use could help the environment, and make roads safer and sturdier.

Dutch company VolkerWessels is actually preparing to test one such road — PlasticRoad — in Rotterdam. The project is in line with other developments such asCradle to Cradle and The Ocean Cleanup, which aim to rid the seas of plastic waste.

Although still in the concept stage, the idea of PlasticRoad holds promise. It’s lightweight, much easier to build, virtually maintenance-free and has a life span that’s three times that of an asphalt road. PlasticRoad is made from 100% recycled material, which is turned into lightweight prefabricated parts placed on to a sand surface. Compared with the process of laying asphalt, a plastic road is installed much faster, the entire operation being completed in weeks instead of months.

VolkerWessels
 

 

As you can see from the image above, the road itself is hollow, allowing for the easy placement of cables and infrastructure directly beneath the road surface. Those cavities also can be used for draining accumulated rainwater, thus keeping the road dry.

But those aren’t the only advantages. PlasticRoad gives way to other innovations, such as power generation, enhanced modular construction, quieter road surface as well as the ability to heat the road to prevent freezing and aid in evaporation.

VolkerWessels
 

 

Although plastic may seem flimsier than asphalt, it’s actually the other way around. Compared with regular roads, PlasticRoad is unaffected by corrosion and weather. It can easily withstand temperatures from minus 40 °C (minus 40 °F) to 80 °C (176 °F).

Before the production stage, PlasticRoad needs to be lab tested to make sure it’s safe to use in wet and slippery conditions. VolkerWessels is searching for partners willing to collaborate on a pilot program, as well as manufacturers in the plastic industry.

www.indiatimes.com
 

 

Other plastic projects are in the works. One is in India. (Please see the image at the top of this article.) Instead of prefabricating road parts and assembling them, a waste plastic bitumen road relies on a process in which roads are built using a mixture of tar, rock, coal and plastic.

Shredded, recycled plastic serves to strengthen the mixture and, as a result, the roads are superior to those made of asphalt in many ways. They’re not affected by rain or water stagnation; no potholes are formed; and their maximum load threshold is almost doubled, ensuring roads remain viable for heavily loaded vehicles. The process of laying the roads is kept intact, making sure that the existing machinery can still be used with the new mixture.

These plastic roads sound awesome, don’t they? It’s exciting to live in an age in which we could see plastic refuse help end pollution. Let me know what you think about futuristic roads in the comments section below.

Edited by Cinnamon
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