The use of rubberised asphalt for roads and pavements has been increasing every year. The reasons for this trend are the advantages that this combination has to offer. In order to understand how this mixture is more advantageous compared to using asphalt only, it is important to know how it is made. Rubberized asphalt is formed by mixing rubber crumbs with asphalt. Rubber crumbs come from grounded discarded tires that take up space in the landfills. So this procedure involves recycling.
The rubberized asphalt presents a lot of benefits. It reduces reflective cracking in asphalt overlays. Cracks are often reflected in the pavement structures underneath asphalt overlays. The vertical and horizontal movements on the roads cause the cracks, which result from traffic loads, temperature changes and earth movements. Because of its elastic properties, the rubberized asphalt is capable of enduring the stress and avoiding such cracks. The flexibility of rubberized asphalt greatly reduces the maintenance cost since they tend to reduce cracks and delay aging and oxidization. The conventional asphalt roads entail some sort of maintenance regularly. The rubber asphalt mix is stiffer compared to the conventional counterpart and hence, the rubberized binders resist rutting in the new pavements. Cars are less likely to skid on the rubberized asphalt roads due to its skid resistant properties. Therefore, roads made from this mix are much safer. Noise pollution is one of the contributing factors in depression nowadays. Asphalt-rubber mix roads have known to decrease noise levels by 5 decibels. Every year millions of scrap tires line up in the stockpiles and warehouses. Many of them remain unused. Using these tires to produce rubber crumbs for roads is an excellent way of recycling these wasted tries. In the last decade, the prices of oil and its byproducts have increased exponentially. Therefore, relying on asphalt only can be quite harsh on the pocket. Rubber conveniently offers itself as a substitute for the expensive counterpart. The best part about adding the magic ingredient to the asphalt is that the ingredient used is easily and plentifully available.
Recently a lot of universities are allocating grants to conduct research on rubberised asphalt roads and its implications. One such university is the Michigan Technological University. The Michigan Department of Environmental Quality has awarded huge grants to fund a study aimed at reducing emissions and odors. Other than this, work is also being done to lower energy costs. The main focus of the study is to make sure that nothing added to the roads is a threat to the environment. Various tests and procedures are being carried out to find out the optimal mix. Work is also being done to make odor neutralizing agents for the odor that is produced during the production of the mix. Another study is being funded in order to come up with a procedure to test and polish the way in which rubberized asphalt can be made under cooler temperatures. This will greatly reduce the energy consumed throughout the process and ultimately lower the production cost. The making of conventional hot mix asphalt demands a lot of energy and produces toxic fumes. Work is being done to polish the foaming process used. It works under lower temperatures and gives out lesser emissions. The research in this field seems quite promising and it looks like the future of roads and pavements is stronger, safer, flexible and durable.