Heavy plastics have quickly emerged as one of the key materials for the modern world, making a place of their own in automobile and aviation market and quickly finding their way into most walks of life. There are several benefits of using high density materials, as they can be entirely customized to suit industrial requirements and eliminate the drawbacks posed by metals in all kinds of tools and appliances.
One of the latest ventures to see the use of engineered thermoplastics is roadways. Cumbria, a county in the UK, recently started creating plastic roads that are expected to be more durable and stronger than their counterparts. MacRebur, a local firm, is creating these roads using locally-sourced waste plastic to create MR6, a bitumen substitute that can be used in any standard asphalt mix.
These plastic roads are excellent news as they not only offer a unique opportunity for the world to reduce the carbon footprint of constructing roads, but they also reduce the amount of bitumen needed in the asphalt mix, thereby offering enhanced road performance and reducing the amount of maintenance work needed.
The Cumbria County Council trialled this new plastic road at a junction near Calthwaite in the month of December 2016. The work was carried out on a section of the road that had to undergo frequent repairs due to the number of heavy goods vehicles traveling to the water bottling plant and sand quarry nearby. The trial is expected to prove the durability offered by high density materials and heavy plastics, marking a huge shift in the way the world looks at road construction and maintenance.
Toby McCartney, the Managing Director of MacRebur, notes the leading role taken by Cumbria in road innovation and reducing the amount of waste being dumped into landfills thanks to this novel idea. The use of engineered thermoplastics is expected to mark a huge shift in road building, probably saving the environment a lot of stress in the process. This product has already found its way into private roads, but this trial is the first on a public highway.
McCartney also states that Cumbria is not the only area to take a keen interest in high density materials and heavy plastics. He mentions that the company received requests from all over the world, and that the product will now also be used for road surface repairs throughout the UK after Virgin Media’s underground cable works.
This trial shall be monitored for a period of 6 months, and following a successful completion, other roads across the country are expected to follow suit and switch to the use of engineered thermoplastics and high density materials as a more sustainable, stronger and more suitable solution to the issue of filling potholes and road surfacing.