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Nanotechnology to Make Better Highways and Roads, Iranian Researchers Reveal Improved Polymer Bitumen with Nanoparticles

The Iranian researchers at Amirkabir University of Technology and Research Institute of Petroleum Industry achieved a new type of polymer bitumen which is free from storage stability problems of its foreign rivals and shows better properties.
Application of polymeric bitumen has become a common practice as an alternative to petroleum bitumen in most of world airport runways and highways for years. As a result of cutting subsidies on bitumen, using polymeric bitumen has attracted lots of attention in Iran.
Polymeric bitumen could be utilized in diverse weather conditions and traffic loads due to its unique properties over petroleum bitumen. However, it doesn’t have acceptable storage stability.
“More than 20% of world highways are asphalted by polymeric bitumen. SBS block copolymer has been used for mixing with bitumen more than any other polymer in the world. This mixing is physical and no reaction happens between bitumen and polymer so that they have tendency to take apart,” Saeed Sadeqpour, one of the project researchers, said in an interview with the Iran Nanotechnology Initiative Council (INIC) news service.
“For solving the mentioned problem, we first mixed bitumen and polymer together and obtained the proper percentage of polymer in bitumen by changing polymer percentage in bitumen and choosing suitable base bitumen of national refineries. We then conducted many tests on pure and polymeric bitumen according to ASTM and SHRP standards and achieved stable polymeric bitumen which is free from storage problems and very industrially valuable by addition of plate-like nanoparticles to polymeric bitumen and fulfilling special operating conditions”, he added.
The details of the present study are available at Construction and Building Materials, volume 24, pages 300-307, 2010.