In the city of the future, residents and visitors alike will have to be mobile. At the same time, however, the environment will have to remain livable. Many future types of transportation, such as electric cars, hydrogen-powered buses, and robotaxis, will be dependent on roads.
One thing is certain: the question of how to improve the quality and longevity of roads is more relevant than ever before. One possible answer is the use of asphalts of high quality to which rubber has been added—this material prevents ruts, potholes, and cracks from forming in roads too early, which reduces maintenance costs and extends service life.
Innovation for road construction
Evonik developed its VESTENAMER® process additive for the rubber industry so that ground tire rubber from discarded tires could be used in rubber-modified asphalt. This product improves the flow characteristics of the rubber blend, making the material much more efficient to process. In addition, the reactivity and polymer structure of the additive yield a favorable network density between particles. This, in turn, has a positive impact on the mechanical properties of the product and thus extends the service life of many rubber parts. .
Ground tire rubber can do much more than that, however: large proportions of it are frequently used in what is known as low-noise asphalt as a way of mitigating traffic noise. Addition of tire rubber can lower the intensity of the sound by one to two decibels—a huge success, because reducing noise by three decibels cuts the perceived traffic volume down by half.
Polyamide 12 is a high-performance polymer offering another option for moderating the negative impact that infrastructure projects have on city residents. Medium-pressure gas lines made of VESTAMID® have a number of advantages over the steel pipes used up to now: plastic pipes can be wound, and roughly 150 to 200 meters will fit on a single roll. The maximum length of steel pipes, by contrast, is 18 meters—if they were any longer, they could not be transported by truck. The simple and quick installation of the plastic pipes shortens installation time and costs, thereby reducing the burden that construction sites pose to residents. Long downtimes before construction sites or slow-moving traffic in bottlenecks close to construction sites can be significantly reduced.In yet another major benefit, plastic pipes can be installed using alternate methods: techniques such as horizontal directional drilling and moling allow builders to lay pipes underneath traffic arteries without digging trenches. This approach is superior to open pipe-laying methods in terms of construction times, costs, approval processes, soil displacement, surface renovation, and traffic interruptions.