Factory Built Roads
by Earl Senchuk
(Marquette, MI USA)
What if roads could be made stronger and cheaper, and best of all, the ground underneath never froze? That could eliminate seasonal restrictions on roads that would last for years. Just because roads have been built the same way for as long as we can remember doesn't mean it's the best method.
Our roads seem to be under constant repair. Why? Concrete transfers cold. The wet soil underneath during spring runoff creates a phenomenon called frost heave. So, how can we prevent that from happening?
Honeycomb-core composite panels are not new. They are used everywhere: in the aerospace industry, in RV's, and even for rock concert stages, to name a few places. They are lightweight and incredibly strong. However, the current method to make them would not work for road building, but, that too can be changed.
With a simple, but dramatic change in methodology, using a surface material never before considered for such an application, and by incorporating a surprisingly inexpensive core material.
During the lay up process, before the actual pressing begins (and you only need atmospheric pressure), each of the hollow core cells could be filled with a good quality insulator like perlite as a possibility.
Panels 10 feet wide, 50 feet long, and 12? thick could be produced in a factory, shipped en masse by flatbed trailer, picked up without a problem, unloaded quickly, and secured in place. As fast as you can lay them down is how fast a road could be made. Try doing that with a concrete slab the same size. Not going to happen. It would snap immediately under its own weight. Besides, cement production is one of the leading contributors to total global CO2 emissions (up to 4% reported).
Furthermore, the proposed methodology lends itself to affordable hurricane, flood, and fire resistant homes, preconceived flood barrier protection in flood prone areas, face-bracing for fail-safe levees, Solar Vortex Generators, and so much more. Want to learn how? Give me your vote for the Solar Vortex Generator on the GE ecomagination Challenge and these jobs might just become a reality.
See Earl's website here, with links to the Ecomagination site.