Highways England is to explore using wonder material graphene in the construction of roads, after partnering with the Graphene Engineering Innovation Centre (GEIC).
The collaboration will look at how the material can help address challenges experience by the road network in England, such as the deterioration of road and pavement surfaces.
GEIC said adding graphene into maintenance and renewals operations had the potential to extend the life of road assets and improve the performance of the roads.
The partnership will explore the operational and road user benefit of incorporating graphene into assets such as road surfacing and road markings.
Paul Doney, innovation director at Highways England, said: “We are really excited about the opportunity to explore leading-edge materials and what this might lead to for our road network. GEIC is at the forefront, having made the discovery here in Manchester, and by building a collaboration with our operations teams who understand the challenges, we are looking to deliver improved safety and performance of our roads.”
Isolated at the University of Manchester in 2004 by professor Sir Andre Geim and professor Sir Kostya Novoselov, graphene is the world’s first two-dimensional material, many times stronger than steel, more conductive than copper and one million times thinner than a human hair.
The GEIC is an industry-led innovation centre, designed to work in collaboration with industry partners to create, test and optimise new concepts for delivery to market, along with the processes required for scale up and supply chain integration.