DURABROADS embraces EU and US research partnership

EU-USAThe second joint meeting about research collaboration on road infrastructure projects between the EU and US was held in Madrid on 16 September.

EU co-funded Projects DURABROADS and ECOLABEL are pioneers to build this bridge together with counterparts from the Federal Highways Administration (FHWA). In this sense, this international partnership represents a landmark between both regions bringing together knowledge, exchange of good practices and alliance to improve our sector in terms of innovation.

In the case of DURABROADS, coordinated by the University of Cantabria, the collaboration seeks to assess the performance of new DURABROADS asphalts provided by the Europeans with existing experiences already deployed by the Americans. Main innovative aspect of DURABROADS is the use of nanomaterials (i.e. carbon, graphite) and Reclaimed Asphalt Pavement or by-products combined with an adapted Warm Mix Asphalt technique which reduces water and energy consumption. In parallel, researchers from the FHWA enjoy a broader experience in this area where the Warm Mix Asphalt technique has been commonly used during last years despite of being an European creation.

During the first months of the project, the DURABROADS consortium has worked in two parallel tasks: theoretical and laboratory. The theoretical task leaded by Hungarian partner KTI has focussed on the evaluation of data, definition of optimisation criteria and subsequent analysis. In the meantime, other partners leaded by Acciona and Fraunhofer have been working on the development and characterisation of innovative bituminous binders which are already available.

The meeting was the perfect occasion for EU and US experts to update and discuss its respective research experiences. It was also an opportunity to explore new actions and define a line of work for the coming months. This collaboration will crystallise mainly in the exchange of new bituminous binders and asphalt mixes.