VALENCIA, SPAIN — The Technological Institute of Plastics in Spain claims to have created a more durable and sustainable asphalt mix by using old tires and plastic waste.
The new asphalt has been produced by AIMPLAS in collaboration with Acciona Infraestructuras, the Road General Directorate of Madrid Community and coordinated by the University of Cantabria.
AIMPLAS, located in Valencia, is a non-profit research association that acts as a "technological partner with companies in all sectors related to plastics, customizing integral and personalized solutions through the coordination of projects and technological services."
The institute said it used the original waste, "end-of-use tires," "polypropylene [mainly] caps," polyethylene packages and polystyrene hangers to pave a 1.35-mile M-300 section road at access points to Alcala de Henares, near Madrid.
After studying the performance of the section of road paved with the special asphalt over the last 18 months, the project's partners have concluded that new asphalt mixes comply with requirements established in the technical specifications to build roads, and they say that mixes including polymeric wastes in their compositions are more resistant to plastic deformation than traditional mixes. This allows mixes to perform much better when cracks appear, especially with high temperatures and slow moving traffic.
A general increased rigidity is produced without compromising or even improving the fatigue of the mixes, as in the case of end-of-use tires. That, according to the institute, allows the mix to withstand higher traffic loads and improves the structural capacity of pavement.
All the polymeric materials tested show "very good" results in the technical and economic viability study, project officials said.