The relationship between monsoon and Indian roads is quite complicated. On one hand Monsoon season brings us relief from the scorching heat, and on the other hand, it has an adverse effect on Indian roads. Everybody knows during monsoon, Indian roads give worst rides experience, as worst as it can be. During monsoon period, roads consist of inbuilt speed breakers in form of potholes. You guys must have experienced it, right? Well most of us have.
Now imagine a situation where roads can repair themselves on its own, is it possible? It would be a boon to our Indian roads. No potholes, no inbuilt speed breakers, a solution of many problems, isn’t?
Well, the answer is yes and this technology has been developed by Professor Nemkumar Banthia.
Professor Nemkumar Banthia, University of British Columbia, is one of the greatest Indian minds that have developed a technology that can be used to make roads that repair themselves. He pursued his graduation from IIT Delhi and PhD from the University of British Columbia in 1987. He pioneered the process of structural repair and strengthening using sprayed fibre reinforced polymers.
This self-repairing road is built upon the knowledge of material science and structural engineering. These roads are sustainable and cost effective as they are 60% less thick (100 mm) than Indian roads and carbon footprint is reduced by replacing 60% of cement by fly ash as cement production releases greenhouse gases.
Now the question arises, what’s the science behind it?
Self-Repairing roads are made of high strength concrete fibre added with fibre reinforcement and nano coating materials which regulate the absorption of water, keeping the roads hydrated and preventing water from staying on the roads.
As explained by the professor to the Indian times “These are fibres which have a hydrophilic nano-coating on them. Hydrophilia means they attract water and this water then becomes available for crack healing. Every time you have a crack, you always have unhydrated cement and this water is now giving it the hydration capability, producing further silicates which actually close the crack in time.” He also expected the road to the last at least 15 years.
The project was successfully applied and tested when the professor and his team replaced the dirt track from the road connecting Thondebavi village (90 km from Bengaluru) to the main highway in the year 2015. The road lasted for all the four seasons and the project was claimed to be successful.
2.4 million km of Indian rural roads still prevails and after successful application of this project in Thondebavi village. There won’t be any surprises that this project is soon implemented in other states as well and it should be.
Who doesn’t want a smooth travelling experience?