New generation of eco-friendly asphalts with recycled materials and high durability and acoustic performance
Start date: 15.09.2015
Duration: 42 months
Coordinator: Junta de Andalucia
Budget: 1.45 M€
Over recent years, a dramatic increase in traffic has occurred in Europe, which has led to an increase in noise pollution. Noise pollution significantly affects the quality of life of inhabitants in urban areas, through direct and indirect effects on health. Road noise plays an important role in this issue, and is a predominant source of noise with vehicle speeds higher than about 50 km/h. For this reason, one of the most effective measures to reduce noise pollution in urban environments with speeds over 40 km/h is to reduce the noise emission from road surfaces.
LIFE-SOUNDLESS aims to demonstrate the effectiveness of innovative noise-reducing asphalt mixes, used in SMA (Stone Mastic Asphalt)-like thin layers using waste materials, to mitigate noise pollution. The project will also encourage public bodies to integrate environmental factors into their calls for tender in street construction. Hence, LIFE-SOUNDLESS has been conceived as an effective solution to shape a sustainable and healthy future for urban areas. By recycling and re-using waste from different industries, the project will also help implement waste management objectives set out in the ‘Roadmap for a Resource-Efficient Europe’ and the 7th Environment Action Programme.
General objectives are to:
- Reduce noise pollution from roads in densely-populated areas by means of innovative noise-reducing asphalt mixes with the same durability as conventional mixtures;
- Improve the environment in urban areas by implementing eco-friendly, long-life and cost-effective road surfaces;
- Validate a feasibility initiative for the re-use of rubber, plastic and fibre waste, and to facilitate a new and wider market for these wastes;
- Improve knowledge and supply data for the development of recommendations on the use of low noise surfaces, and therefore to contribute to the adoption of European specifications for noise-reducing asphalt roads; and
- Assess the evolution of the acoustic performance of these types of mixes in Mediterranean countries, which are subjected to atmospheric conditions different from those of the northern European countries where experience in their use is highest.
List of achievements
- A reduction of at least 3 dB in noise level, compared to reference surface type AC16, both in close proximity and overall noise;
- A reduction of at least 6 dB in noise level compared with the current situation in the demonstration road sections;
- The re-use of 2.3 tonnes of nylon fibre waste, 7.5 tonnes of industrial rubber wastes, and 3.7 tonnes of recycled agricultural plastic;
- High water and aging resistance, provided by the aggregate quality used, the thick and homogeneous binder film, and additives in the mix;
- High fatigue resistance (ε6), provided by binder and the use of fibres and other additives;
- Good resistance to crack propagation, provided by the high binder content and the use of additives such as rubber, plastic materials and fibres;
- Very good skid resistance due to the surface’s macrotexture;
- Other beneficial properties relating to macrotexture exploited, such as good superficial drainage capability, less splatter during rain, reduction of the light reflection from vehicle headlights, and better visibility of painted road markings;
- Life cycle assessment comparing LIFE-SOUNDLESS and conventional asphalt mixes;
- A network of contacts interested in the LIFE-SOUNDLESS concept, including industrial stakeholders, public authorities, policymakers, other LIFE project beneficiaries, and the scientific community; and
- Recommendations for the implementation of European specifications for noise-reducing asphalt pavements in road construction.
Contact person: Maria del Carmen Pastrana