In 2016, representatives from Australia’s road industry embarked on a knowledge sharing expedition to Europe.
For many, it wasn’t their first Australian Asphalt Pavement Association (AAPA) International Knowledge Transfer (IKT), and the opportunity to engage with some of their European counterparts over two weeks was too good to miss.
Attendees visited government road agencies, research bodies, suppliers and manufacturers in the United Kingdom, France and Germany, and attended the 2016 Eurasphalt and Eurobitume congress in Prague, Czech Republic and 8th RILEM conference in Nantes, France.
The group saw first hand myriad developments in the European pavement technology space that heralded some key lessons for the Australian flexible pavements sector.
Everything from cold mix asphalt technology in France, solar roads, ‘self-healing’ asphalt in the UK to innovative asset-led delivery models for road networks, delegates from the tour were quick to praise the advancements being made across Europe.
Dr. Erik Denneman, AAPA Executive Director (Technology), notes that “many interesting developments in pavement materials, road construction and asset management have been introduced to Australia on the back of AAPA IKT tours”.
Recent examples listed by Dr. Denneman include the transfer of High Modulus Asphalt (EME2) technology from France to Australia. Compared to conventional asphalt, EME2 is characterised by high stiffness, high durability, superior resistance to permanent deformation and good fatigue resistance. EME2 technology offers the prospect of reduced asphalt thicknesses for heavy duty pavements, and lower construction and maintenance costs. The advantages of EME2 were recognised during IKT visits to Europe and South Africa.
Another outcome of IKT is the introduction of perpetual pavement design concepts in Australia. In the past, the increasing volume of heavy vehicles on roads has led to ever increasing asphalt pavement thicknesses.
Studies from Europe and the US indicate that this is unnecessary as pavements over a certain thickness will last longer than conventional design methods predict. The Perpetual Pavement design philosophy provides a durable, safe, smooth, long-lasting roadway without expensive, time-consuming, traffic-disrupting reconstruction or major repair.
IKT also played a role in promoting the use of reclaimed asphalt pavement and warm mix asphalt, and bitumen modified with tyre-derived crumb rubber in Australia. This has led to significant sustainability gains over the years.
AAPA anticipates further success in bringing key learnings back to Australia from the global pavements industry as the IKT series returns in 2018, and it’s heading into uncharted territory.
For the first time since the IKT outreach tours were established about 30 years ago, the tour heads to Asia, and will give delegates a unique opportunity to see first hand the advances being made in Japan, China and South Korea.
Expressions of interest are now open to organisations planning to submit nominees for the 2018 IKT outreach to Asia from 14 to 29 July, which will also include the GEO China Conference and focus on a range of topics.
This includes developments in intelligent monitoring of pavement condition, perpetual pavement design in practice, noise attenuating porous asphalt, smart systems for process control, bitumen and polymer modified binder specifications and more.
To nominate a company or employee to attend, contact Erik Denneman: firstname.lastname@example.org