In Italy it is still little known, although it has already been used in 27 provinces. But in other European countries it has already covered several kilometers of roads and in the United States it has been used for at least 15 years. We're talking about rubber asphalt. A modified bituminous mixture compared to traditional asphalt, in which the rubber powder is the protagonist. Thanks to its elastic properties, the rubber confers considerable advantages on the asphalt that are poured on the users.
Just to have a little clearer ideas: the rubber is sound-absorbing and that's when the vehicles in transit produce less noise. Just think of the amount of noise pollution produced by cars and heavy vehicles that travel hundreds of kilometers every day on our roads and highways, in urban centers and in the suburbs. Considering more than 37 million cars and about 4 million trucks present in Italy (ACI data updated to 31/12/2015, by number of vehicles registered in the PRA), rubber asphalt saves 7 decibels, which is equivalent to half of the noise perceived by the human ear compared to the usual.
MORE SAFETY FOR DRIVING
Thanks to the rubber asphalt, the adhesion and governability of the cars increase inversely proportional to the wear of the tires themselves. In fact, the supporting surface is less rough than the traditional asphalt. This translates into the possibility of increasing the useful working life of the tires. According to a recent study, rubber asphalt is highly draining, reducing the risks produced by the aquaplaning effect.
A MORE LONGEVO ASPHALT
Greater durability of the surface itself has been attested, thanks to the reduced presence of holes and a very effective drainage that guarantees excellent visibility and safety for road users. The rubber asphalt, after six years from installation, has not yet needed maintenance. The Variante Canali of Reggio Emilia, a long-distance road, is proof of this.
BUT THE COSTS?
We could not miss a reflection on production costs, certainly higher than the traditional asphalt. In fact, rubber asphalt has a gap of 20% more than the "classic" bitumen. However, if we consider the longer duration and the few labor interventions required we come to the conclusion that it is really convenient to use this type of modified bitumen. And the environment thanks!