Plastic Roads- Future of Road construction?

plastic roads are the emerging technology that will change the world completely. As the plastic roads in India have been tested and are giving positive results.

So, this technology was initially developed by an Indian engineer. So to know more about him and the theory behind this also advantages, and disadvantages of plastic roads, read the entire article carefully.

Relates topics:

modular plastic road model
fig 1. Modular plastic road model

Contents;

Introduction

Plastic roads are entirely or partially made of plastic or plastic composites, these plastic roads are different from conventional flexible roads, as they are made from asphalt concrete and mineral aggregates, etc…

Plastic roads use the garbage plastic which is shredded and melted to mix with the asphalt, further used in the process of road construction.

This technology was initially developed and patented by “Rajagopalan Vasudevan”, he is an Indian scientist. He developed an innovative method to reuse plastic waste for increasing strength, durability, and cost-effectiveness of road construction.

Classification

  1. plastic road
  2. Modular Plastic road
  1. Plastic road: The plastic roads in India were first developed by Rajagopalan, which he used as a combination of asphalt mix and plastic mix, and this is used for road construction, so this technique gave a new way of recycling plastic waste.
  2. The modular plastic road was first developed in the Netherlands from the inspiration of research which was done by Rajagopalan. Using this plastic waste material; Modular, hollow, and prefabricated elements were manufactured at the factory and installed on the site.

construction

As the plastic road technology is new to everyone and the construction process may vary from location to location.

In India, bitumen roads are mostly constructed, so a mixture of bitumen and the melted plastic mix is used for the construction of the roads. But in other countries like Indonesia, they use asphalt mix with the plastic waste mix and further used for road construction.

These roads are made from recycled plastic waste. so our first step in the road construction process is to collect plastic waste and manage them properly. As we know, Most of the plastic waste is from household packages, after sorting the plastic material they are cleaned, dried, and shredded. This plastic waste is then melted at 160-170°C. Now, hot bitumen is mixed with the plastic mix and used for road construction.

The other way of construction is the modular construction of plastic roads, but this technology is not tested on a large scale. so the exact systematic procedure and method have to be developed.

Plastic Roads in India

plastic roads in India
fig 2. Plastic Road in Jamshedpur
  • The Indian road network is the second largest in the world, so If all our conventional road systems are replaced by plastic roads, then we can eradicate the maximum amount of plastic waste across the country.
  • Chennai was the first city to adopt the technology in a big way, the municipal corporation commissioned 1000 KM of roads in the year 2004. After that many cities in India also experimented with the technology.
  • Till now we have constructed over one lakh kilometers of plastic roads in India, which means for every kilometer stretch we use 1 million plastic bags.
  • In municipalities like Pune, Jamshedpur, Indore, Surat, etc…plastic roads have been constructing extensively and this is helping to reduce plastic waste across the country.
  • plastic roads in India: Ministry of road transport and highways are planning to utilize plastic waste in upcoming national highway projects, so this will help in the reduction of plastic and enhance our eco-system.

Advantages of plastic roads

  • In the modular plastic roads we have built hollow spaces under the road and we can use the space for electric wires and connecting pipes.
  • These are weather and wear resistance.
  • Since plastic roads are made from waste plastic, now we can avoid landfills and incineration of plastic waste, which we did earlier to manage plastic.
  • cost and resources are saved by using this technique because the required amount of asphalt or bitumen is decreased.
  • With the addition of plastic to the asphalt, the viscosity is reduced and this facilitates the mix to work at lower temperatures.
  • Plastic roads are water-resistant and absorb sound better than conventional roads.
  • Plastic roads remain smooth and are flexible, so these require fewer maintenance costs.

Disadvantages of plastic roads

  • Pure plastic roads should use compatible plastics, because when plastics of different types are melted together to make a single composite plastic, they may separate and cause structural defects which leads to premature failure.
  • The plastic which we used in the road construction may turn into micro-plastics and can be able to pollute the soil and water bodies beneath it.
  • Maintenance of modular plastics is risky because every time we repair the modular road panels, the wiring and pipe connections inside them will get disturbed.

conclusion

  • Usage of this technology will not only increases the strength of road construction but also increases the life span of the road up to 2-3 times than conventional roads.
  • This innovative method helps to clean the environment.
  • Plastic roads in India are increasing rapidly due to the “Swatch Bharath” initiative taken by the Indian government.

Thank you! Any suggestions and doubts can be asked in comments section.

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K Vinay Goud

My name is k.vinay. I am a civil engineer from India. I know there were many people who struggle for information during graduation or after seeking their job. I have started this website for providing basic knowledge and New technologies which were implementing all over the world. we will definitely provide valuable information for you all. stay connected and Follow us on other social media platforms. Thank you !