Total budget: 406.000 €
A large majority of roads are constructed using a mixture of bitumen (5-8 % w/w) and mineral aggregates. However, the performance of the pavement is controlled by the properties of the bitumen, as it forms the continuous matrix and is the only deformable component. The addition of natural or synthetic polymers to bitumen can improve pavement properties over a wide temperature range. Among the most commonly used polymers are: polyethylenes, styrene-butadiene, ethylene-vinyl acetate, ethylene-propylene-diene, styrene-butadiene-styrene, etc. The high cost of these polymers, compared to bitumen, makes the commercial use of modified bitumen attractive only when the amount of polymer needed to significantly improve pavement performance is very small. This problem can be mitigated by using waste polymers such as agricultural waste polyethylene, tyre rubber and ABS copolymers from computer casings. The main objective of this project is to develop the necessary and sufficient scientific and technological knowledge to enable the industrial use of recycled polymers from agricultural waste plastics as modifiers of bitumen used for road paving. The reuse of this waste is of particular interest for the Andalusian Autonomous Community, where a large amount of this waste is produced, both for its technological and environmental interest.
This project has been implemented with an experimental section on the A-2005 access road to the city of Jerez de la Frontera, Cadiz. For the time being, using the high performance dynamic auscultation programme (ADAR) of the Regional Ministry of Development and Housing, it is being monitored for several years.
In addition, this project was awarded in 2016 by the ASEFMA Technical Committee with the “Best Environmental Practices Award (MPA)” in asphalt paving. The “Best Environmental Practices Award (MPA) is a sectoral initiative that aims to highlight R&D in asphalt mixes that brings technical, economic, sustainable and environmentally responsible advances. It responds to the growing environmental awareness of asphalt manufacturers and those involved in the production, transport and application of asphalt.