Paving the way for rubber asphalt in Las Vegas

An international conference was held on rubber asphalt in Las Vegas in early October. The conference is held every three years, and is probably the most important source of information on the progress of tyre rubber mixed in asphalt. The field has massive potential, given that asphalt performance is improved in a number of ways by the addition of rubber. Lifetime is extended, thinner layers can be laid, noise reduced, drainage improved, cracking reduced, recovery from load and groove formation improved and so on, when tyre rubber is mixed into road surfaces in the right way. Overall, the cost of having good roads can be reduced in the long-term.
A large number of research and verification projects are underway abroad, and around 55 of them presented reports at the conference from universities, authorities and states. Perhaps the most interesting thing from a purchasing point of view is that the state of California has made it compulsory for road paving to contain 50% tyre rubber in the bitumen as from 2015.
In Europe, there was great interest in a presentation from Italy showing that the effect on health of asphalt workers is not affected by the addition of rubber. Sweden took part, represented by the STA along with suppliers and contractors. The STA enjoys considerable respect in this context, and was proud to note that the work done in Sweden on rubber asphalt was referred to in many of the other presentations.
During the question round, the Swedish representatives were frequently asked for clarifications. A lot of the respect for Swedish know-how is based on the structured and methodical work we have done within this very complex field, in which many parameters have to be observed to achieve a credible result. Sweden has built up a leading position within the field, making it even more inspirational to continue working with rubber asphalt, knowing that Sweden leads development in a number of areas. Tyre rubber is a high-tech material that will be highly appreciated within a number of areas in time.