Ever since the invention of the wheel, it has been human race’s ultimate quest to develop the best and finest of road constructions methods, processes and materials. And while on it, we have developed and modified several different types of road construction materials and have found their various uses in civil engineering. Even today, there remains a constant need to improve the already present road construction materials and to come up with much better, improved and stronger materials and methods than ever before.
Let’s take a look at some of the most employed road construction materials and methods:
Undoubtedly the most popular of all materials and construction methods is asphalt paving. It was first used in the 1920s and ever since the engineers have worked harder to make it better and stronger than before. In this method, a layer of gravel is laid in the base and an equally thick layer of asphalt is laid over the top. Some of the outstanding advantages of asphalt paving are its relatively low cost, the resultant pavement that produces lesser noise and the ease of its maintenance and repair. However, the material is not as durable and strong and is not recommended safe for the environment.
Another hugely popular choice other than asphalt paving is concrete construction. It is often used for local roads construction only and not any other types. Concrete road construction is mainly divided into three categories JPCP, JRCP, and CRCP and what distinguishes these from each other is the joint system employed in each that basically prevents cracks from appearing in the concrete pavement. The biggest advantage of concrete paving over asphalt is its durability and strength and the downside is that it’s expensive to lay and maintain.
What makes composite construction materials different from the rest is these are not used in the foundation of a road. These are the types of construction materials that are more related to maintenance, recycling, and rehabilitation of roads and pavements. Composite materials are nothing different though but a mixture of both asphalt and concrete and are employed in road maintenance in one of two ways. These are either placed directly over a damaged road or alternatively the damaged road is completely cracked and resealed using composite materials forming a completely new surface.
Unlike asphalt and concrete paving which are used to construct the actual road, bituminous and other temporary solutions are mainly used as sealing coats or finishes over the main construction material. Not recommended to be used for roads that have to bear heavy traffic, these are only suitable for use on very low-traffic thoroughfares. Bituminous solutions have three different types of road sealing options, i.e., thin membrane surfacing, chip sealing and otta sealing.
Although these are very popular and have been employed in road construction all over the globe for decades, these are far from perfect. Civil engineers and scientists, that is why, are constantly working to come up with better, stronger, effective and longer lasting construction materials and methods that are not only cost effective as well but would hopefully require lesser maintenance.