Making roads safer

Winter can play havoc with road pavements, resulting in dangerous driving conditions and hefty repair bills for road authorities. So anything that can help prevent cracks and what’s known as raveling (loss of material from the surface) is likely to make roads considerably safer while also saving money.

Our Industrial Chemicals business has already commercialized Ecosel BioCare, a 100 percent biodegradable anticaking agent for de-icing salt which avoids the use of ferrocyanide, so addressing environmental concerns. Now, our scientists have developed another new product in the Ecosel range of innovative additives for salt, which is known as Ecosel AsphaltProtection.

Due to be commercialized in 2014 after being tested with partners in various European countries, the new product – which is also fully biodegradable – is an additive for de-icing brine which prevents the development of frost damage to road surfaces. It works by slowing the freezing process, resulting in soft, slushy ice rather than hard, abrasive ice.

Test results obtained from Austria, Sweden, Denmark and the Netherlands have shown that use of Ecosel AsphaltProtection prevents up to 50 percent of raveling development caused by frost – leading to substantial savings in maintenance and repair budgets, less disturbance to traffic and lifetime extension of asphalt, not to mention safer and better conditions for drivers.