Many people know that it’s not as easy to walk on a soft beach as walking on the road, but it’s the same thing for trucks on asphalt. Recently, scientists at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology published a paper in the journal Records of Transportation Research, pointing out the fact that hard roads help boost truck mileage. Pedestrians and small vehicles find it difficult to feel the “softness” of asphalt pavements because our loads do not easily exceed thousands of pounds.
Infographic (from: Volvo Website)
Previous experiments have shown that asphalt is actually “liquid” at room temperature, but its viscosity is very high, waiting for it to drop “a drop” from the experimental instrument spent decades.
And when the heavy-duty truck passes on the asphalt road, each of its wheels is slightly deflected in the direction, and as a result, the truck has been trying to climb out of the road all kinds of “small pits”.
This means that asphalt roads consume more fuel and emit more carbon dioxide in the process than driving on hard roads.
“If you choose harder materials for the road, it can help alleviate this problem,” said MIT researchers Hessam Azarijafari, Jeremy Gregory and Randolph Kirchain.
These ideas include the addition of a small amount of relatively inexpensive synthetic fibers or carbon nanotubes to conventional asphalt. Even adding only 10% of the mixture can produce fairly positive results.
Another option is to use a higher grade of aggregatewhen when mixing asphalt, so that the final product includes more rocks and fewer adhesives.
The simpler way, of course, is to use concrete instead of asphalt to pour roads. Although the initial cost is high, the long-term cost is relatively low due to the longer life of the road.
Scientists calculate that by “hardening” 10 percent of America’s roads each year over the next 50 years, it could help reduce carbon dioxide emissions by 440 million tons. Although only 0.5 per cent of total transport-related emissions, this figure is also quite significant.
Details of the study have been published in the recent journal Transportation Research Records.
Originally published as “Potential Contribution of The S.