Mexican Student Developed a Road Pavement That Repairs Itself

Just add water!

Dec 3, 2019

(Vitalii Petrushenkos / Shutterstock.com)

Driving can be a very pleasant experience, especially on a highway where you can take in the sights. But driving in the city is trickier, especially if you hit a pothole.

Many roads in Mexico are full of potholes and are notoriously deteriorated. Fixing infrastructure like roads is a very expensive proposition. That's why Israel Antonio Briseño, a college student at Coahuila Autonomous University decided to create a new road formula that would last longer and be cheaper to repair. The formula he came up actually repairs itself when exposed to rainwater.

He told the James Dyson Award's committee – he was a national winner and a finalist for the award – that he was inspired to solve the issue in his city where the pavements are damaged every time it rains. He was determined to find a pavement material that could withstand the rain.

His groundbreaking formula consists of melting recycled tires into a putty that is then combined with additives so that instead of crumbling when exposed to the elements, uses rainwater to form calcium silicates that self-repairs.

When asked how his pavement differs from other regenerating formulas that are already is use. Briseño answered,  " At present there are already pavements that regenerate but none uses water as a means of regeneration and much less made of tires, while in Mexico 80 percent of the pavement is asphalt and 20 percent concrete hydraulic is continued with this monotony of poor use for the most important infrastructure that connects us all."

There are companies that are currently making roads out of recycled plastic but using recycled tires may be a first.

Briseño is planning on getting certification from ONNCCE – the office that is in charge of endorsing building products in Mexico – and then taking his new road formula to the transportation secretary who determines what asphalt is used in construction. In the meantime, he plans to open his own construction company.

Today, infrastructure repair, is a major issue for many countries. Using pavement that can self-repair anytime it rains will go along way in improving road quality and lower costs in the long run.

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BONNIE RIVA RAS, EDITOR & WRITER
Bonnie Riva Ras has dedicated her life to promoting social justice. She loves to write about empowering women, helping children, educational innovations, and advocating for the environment & sustainability.