Kent County Council (KCC) and its partners at Amey have been working in collaboration with the Nottingham Transportation Engineering Centre at the University of Nottingham to understand the challenges, properties, and the feasibility of using Gipave to repair and resurface the county’s pavements. The research forms part of the (ADEPT) SMART Places Live Labs programme and builds on the Gipave trial KCC and Amey undertook in 2020.

Gipave, which has been developed by Iterchimica, is the result of a research program in collaboration with Dircta Plus, G.Eco and the University of Milan-Bicocca. It is a graphene-enhanced polymeric supermodifier containing also a specific type of selected waste plastics which would not normally be recycled, usually ending up in waste-to-energy plants. To date, Gipave has been widely used in Italy and abroad on a number of different roads (such as airport taxiways and highways). All tests conducted so far by Universities and Official Laboratories have shown excellent results in terms of increased performances and extension of the pavement service life.

In order to better estimate the increased longevity of pavements containing Gipave, the University of Nottingham conducted a Pavement Design Analysis (PDA) that looked to model the structural performance that Gipave could exhibit in the real world across a range of different road types. Thus, four recently resurfaced roads with different construction types were identified. Core samples were then taken to allow the University of Nottingham to carry out a set of comparative analyses.

Modelling from PDAs concluded that all of the sites would show some improvement in lifetime extension through the use of Gipave. Moreover, it was possible to produce an Asset Lifecycle Model that provides estimates for carbon savings (23 kg CO2/m² on a scheme such as East Hill, Dartford), as well as over 1.5 tonnes of waste plastic that would be recycled into the asphalt surface. Although the material is more expensive in the first place, modelling has estimated a 32% reduction in cost over its service life.

Considering this research conducted by the University of Nottingham, KCC is proceeding with plans to undertake works on three other schemes in the later part of 2022 to trial Gipave in a wider range of locations and road types. These trials will seek to replicate test results from the East Hill Dartford trial and also the commercial viability of Gipave. Depending on the results of these further trials, KCC is considering using Gipave to resurface some of the highest-trafficked roads so as to minimise disruption at the most sensitive sites, reducing the need of maintenance interventions over the years.

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