The end of potholes? Oxfordshire graphene street surface is first UK trial of ‘wonder material’ that could prevent cracks and double the lifespan of roads.
Potholes may soon reach the end of the road, as an Oxfordshire village hosts the first UK trial of a graphene-based wonder material designed to prevent cracks forming. Graphene is a super-strong material made of specially-structured carbon. Work will begin today on laying a 820 yard (750 metre) -long stretch of the wonder material on the main road through Curbridge, west of Oxford.
The construction should be completed within days — ready to put the finished road to the test against the demands of a wet, pothole-cultivating British winter.
Graphene is a form of carbon — like diamond and the graphite that makes up pencil lead — in which the component atoms are structured like a sheet of honeycomb.
The material has various unusual properties — including, in its crystalline form, being the strongest material ever measured — and was first discovered by researchers from the University of Manchester in 2004.
The new surfacing material, Gipave, will be made by incorporating a small amount of a graphene-based additive to partly-recycled asphalt, a common road covering.
Although around 20 per cent more expensive than conventional asphalt, experts believe its durability and extended lifespan will provide savings in the long run.
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