One issue with rainy weather is that it causes a lot of damage to roads resulting in huge potholes and the need for regular and costly maintenance. Israel Antonio Briseño Carmona, a Civil engineering student at Coahuila Autonomous University (UAdeC) came up with an award-winning solution that involves the use of recycled tires. He used end-of-life tires to make flooring that can repair itself when it comes into contact with water.
The recycled tires are combined with additives to make a truly innovative surface that regenerates if any damage is caused by water. Carmona won one of the James Dyson-Mexico Foundation awards for his invention that can significantly help to solve the problem of damaged potholes and sidewalks in rainy weather.
In heavy rainfall, rain filters through the pavement and reaches its base, resulting in the formation of small cracks. With the passage of cars and pedestrians over the surface, these small cracks become progressively deeper till it reaches a point where there are large potholes. Carmona’s idea was to turn this around and make the road from a material that can use water to recover from damage instead of one that is damaged by water. He explained that he was inspired by the idea of concrete that regenerates with bacteria.
The regeneration is the outcome of the use of a putty. This putty is formed by heating the rubber sourced from end-of-life tires and other additives into one homogenous mixture. When this putty comes into contact with water, it creates calcium silicates – one of the components of the regeneration and physical-chemical improvement of the pavement, thus healing any cracks.
There might be other such self-regenerating pavement materials in the world, but there are none that use water as a catalyst element and which incorporate the use of use of recycled tires for its production. In Mexico, 80 percent of the pavement is asphalt and 20 percent is hydraulic concrete.
The use of such self-healing rubber sidewalks could solve three problems in one go- that of recycling old tires, the high cost of road maintenance costs and the high number of accidents related to poor road maintenance
Currently, Briseño’s material, Paflec is in the process of being certified by the National Organization for the Standardization and Certification of Construction and Building (ONNCCE). Briseño then plans to offer his invention to the Ministry of Communications and Transportation, waiting for it to apply on all roads in Mexico.
Manju Mathew, an MBA in marketing, completed publisher training courses from the Oxford Brookes University and New York University. She started with marketing and PR roles before moving on to her current position as a full time writer. Currently living in Dubai, her life as an expat has sharpened her observation skills and flair for writing. She enjoys writing about luxury cars like Ferrari, Lamborghini, etc even if she can only dream of owning them.
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