How Is Pothole Repair Performed?
Potholes are a common problem encountered by most road users, especially in areas with low economic development. However, despite their ubiquitousness, they are extremely easy to fix, requiring fewer than 30 minutes in order for road engineers to transform a broken road to a pristine road surface, ready for traffic, depending on the type of surfacing you wish to apply.
In this knowledge hub article, we will go over one of the most common ways potholes are repaired in the United Kingdom. In the process, we will also give you some examples of where BituChem’s products can be used in this process.
To start, the technician must inspect the pothole and work out the extent of the damage. If only the outer surface layer is damaged, it may be a case where only the surfacing needs to be replaced in order to prolong the life of the road. Assuming that the damage is deep enough to warrant further repair, the technician will move on to the next stage of the repair process: Deep Cleaning.
Usually, the Deep Cleaning stage of the repair is done via a proboscis or trunk. This device blows highly compressed air into the pothole, pushing away most of the remaining debris or loose aggregates. It’s important to clean this loose material away from the pothole before attempting any repairs as it lacks much of asphalt’s tensile strength. It’s possible for this loose material to collapse under the weight of heavy vehicles, which would render the process of cleaning and repairing the pothole pointless.
The technician may do several runs over the pothole to make sure that it is totally clean of material.
Following the initial cleaning, the technician will begin the first stage of the repair. This is done via pure, high-grade bitumen emulsion. This material is poured into the bottom of the pothole. It will provide a sturdy base layer from which to work later on.
Because of the initial cleaning stage, the new base layer has a uniform composition. This means that it is one solid piece with an equal distribution of material throughout. As such, it is much stronger than it would have been had there been pockets of other material within.
Following the initial layer, a secondary mix of bituminous material and aggregate will be added to the pothole. Normally, this mixture will be applied via a high velocity blast in order to ensure a uniform spread of aggregates and bitumen, and it will make up the bulk of the new material within the repaired pothole.
While this layer does not have the uniform composition of the first layer, the mixture of both aggregates and bitumen will allow it to slightly ‘flex’ as weight is applied to it — which will extend the life of the road surface for far longer than if the road surface remained completely rigid.
For some products, such as BituChem’s own AirPatch, the process ends here. The material is now strong enough to hold enough weight that it can be driven upon. All that is required is an inspection, a quick clean, and then everything is done.
However, in some circumstances, the process continues. A pad layer of chippings is added to the cavity. This layer is added in order to further increase the repair’s compressive strength, enabling it to withstand the weight of cars as they pass over the repair and road surface.
Finally, a surface layer of asphalt or micro asphalt is laid. This creates a surface texture that can finally be driven on — sealing the joints between repair and existing road surface.
The specific surface dressing used at this stage is determined by numerous factors. Micro asphalt surface treatment, for example, is used when the primary aim is to seal and protect the repair from the elements, thus extending the life of the road. Cold Seal, please note, is normally applied in situations wherein it is not advisable to bring a hot furnace to keep the bituminous material warm enough to be laid.
Once this process has been completed and the repair given enough time to dry, the road will be safe to drive on once again.
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For more information on the ways our products are used for road repair, or for any questions about any of our products, get in touch with BituChem. Visit our testimonials page to learn about the ways our clients have benefited from using our products.
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