BRINGING ROADS TO LIFE
All living things heal themselves but ever imagined artificial things coming to life and healing themselves. As scary it might sound but when man-made constructions start healing themselves, they are more long-lasting than regular constructions. One such project is brought to reality by Nemkumar Banthia, a professor in the department of civil engineering at the University of British Columbia (UBC) and CEO of IC-IMPACTS.
The self-healing road project was brought to life in the town of Thondebhavi, outside Bangalore, connecting the small town to the rest of the country with a road design of 650m that resists heavy rains, intense heat, and poor drainage.
Self-healing roads are ultra-high-strength concrete reinforced with hydrophilic polyolefin fibers with advanced nano-coatings that are more resistant to cracking. They make use of locally sourced fly ash, a heterogeneous by-product material produced in the combustion process of coal used in power stations. Every time you have a crack, you always have anhydrous cement to which water gives its hydration capability, producing further silicates that close the crack in time. This loop continues healing the roads and giving them an elongated life span of over 15 years.
The self-healing roads reduce the required cement component by 60 percent. The cement industry currently contributes around five to seven percent of global emissions. Thus these roads can reduce pollution and global warming due to concrete pollution. The road’s thickness, at about 100 mm, is about 60% less than that of a typical Indian road, reducing the cost and materials required by about 30%. These roads have a life span of about three times our normal Indian road. It can play a major role in the economic development of the country as with transportation development per capita income would prosper, thus making the economy stronger.
Transport infrastructure influences both economic growth and social cohesion. A region cannot be competitive without an efficient transport system. Thus the project of self-healing roads is revolutionary in itself and is aimed to become beneficial for many states in India as well as Canada as IC-Impacts works towards the cause.
It’s the year 2020 and while self-driving cars are not available to the public yet, roads can now heal themselves and are a reality for the common masses, thanks to the innovation of an Indian UBC engineering professor.
WRITTEN BY:Mohit Kumar Sahu