December 7, 2021

Climate Change News

Saving The Planet

Weatherwatch: Protecting UK Roads from Melting Heat Waves | Climate crisis

TMet Office has confirmed that the heat wave started on August 7, 2020 broke records in terms of maximum temperatures reached and duration. A surprising effect was that some roads melted like chocolate, causing ridges, ruts and other permanent damage.

Roads will generally remain solid up to about 50 ° C, which sounds enough as the air temperature never rises as much. However, the dark surface of the road absorbs sunlight and gradually warms up during the afternoon. A sunny day at high 20C may be enough to soften the asphalt, but that depends a lot on the exact angle to the sun and wind conditions.

When the roads melted, some local authorities responded by sending gritters. While they could be an amazing sight in the summer, they were loaded with granite powder to make the soft bitumen less sticky and more stable.

The industry introduced a new standard for surface material, adding polymer-modified binders to hot asphalt, in response to the 1995 heat wave. These additives help the material withstand temperatures of up to 80 ° C. and that, they are expensive and are only used on the busiest roads.

A simpler solution may be a polymer binder dressing added to the surface of vulnerable roads to help prevent future melting.

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