Highways England to explore adding graphene to road surfaces

Highways England will partner with the Graphene Engineering Innovation Centre (GEIC) at the University of Manchester to explore improving poor road surfaces with graphene.

Isolated at The University of Manchester in 2004 by Professor Sir Andre Geim and Professor Sir Kostya Novoselov, graphene is the world’s first two-dimensional material, many more times stronger than steel, more conductive than copper and one million times thinner than a human hair.

The Graphene Engineering Innovation Centre (GEIC) specialises in the rapid development and scale up of graphene and other 2D materials applications.

The GEIC is an industry-led innovation centre, designed to work in collaboration with industry partners to create, test and optimise new concepts for delivery to market, along with the processes required for scale up and supply chain integration.

Highways England is responsible for the motorways and major A roads in the country, which carry four million journeys over 4300 hundred miles of road network every day.

Paul Doney, innovation director at Highways England said: ‘We are really excited about the opportunity to explore leading-edge materials and what this might lead to for our road network.

‘GEIC is at the forefront, having made the discovery here in Manchester, and by building a collaboration with our operations teams who understand the challenges, we are looking to deliver improved safety and performance of our roads.’

James Baker, CEO Graphene@Manchester added: ‘This latest partnership is a brilliant example of how graphene can be used to tackle problems faced by most people everyday.

‘This is further enabled by the facilities and capabilities we can provide to our industry partners, that accelerates the many small improvements that ultimately create an optimised product.’]

In related news, UK firm Tarmac launched a new asphalt product that has been made from recycled road tyres.

The company believe that they could recycle and reuse up to 750 waste tyres for every kilometre of highway surfaced with the new material, depending on the thickness of the road, which would help to solve the UK’s ‘hidden problem’ of exporting waste tyres.

Thomas Barrett

Thomas Barrett

Journalist. Follow him on Twitter

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