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Advanced High-Performance Materials for Highway Applications: A Report on the State of Technology

Chapter 9, Summary

As indicated at the beginning of this report, every year large amounts of aggregate materials and manufactured materials are used to support highway construction and rehabilitation in the United States. However, the poor availability of good quality aggregates in many parts of the country and the increasing financial and societal costs to produce the needed manufactured materials are creating a concern for the planners and engineers. It is, therefore, important that new and improved sources of highway construction materials be developed that will result in improved performance of the highway system, be cost effective, and incorporate sustainable technologies.

This white paper reviewed the availability of advanced construction materials for highway application to improve or replace conventionally used construction materials. These advanced construction materials can be categorized as follows:

  • New/Innovative materials to replace currently used materials.
  • New/Innovative materials that are less expensive.
  • New/Innovative materials that result in longer service life.
  • New/Innovative materials that result in sustainable solutions.
  • New/Innovative materials that improve the properties of marginal materials.
  • Waste and recycled materials that are optimized for use.

The criteria for inclusion of specific advanced construction materials in this white paper include the following:

  • The selected materials have been recently introduced (less than 5 years in the marketplace) and not widely used.
  • The selected materials are under development.

The characteristics of the advanced construction materials discussed in this report are summarized in Table 1. As indicated in this report, these materials encompass a broad range of developmental stages. The materials range from materials under development to recently commercialized materials. The commercialized materials have typically not been widely implemented and their performance histories have not been established yet.

It is hoped that this report will help establish the potential for considering the use of alternative materials discussed in this report or encourage agencies and industry to accelerate the development and implementation of products still under development.

It is recommended that FHWA review the information presented in this report with stakeholder groups to help prioritize the product development and implementation that meet States' needs and that can be supported at the national level.

TABLE 1 - Advanced Construction Materials
Advanced Materials Replace Conventional Materials Less Expensive Longer Life Sustainable Solutions Improve Properties Recycled Materials Status
Cementitious Materials
Performance-specified cements Yes Yes   Yes Yes Yes Available
Next-generation sustainable cements Yes N/A Yes Yes Yes Yes Under development
Eco-friendly cements Yes N/A   Yes Yes Yes Under development
Energetically modified cement Yes Yes   Yes Yes Yes Available
Concrete Materials
Engineered cement composites Yes NA Yes N/A Yes NA Available
Titanium dioxide - modified concrete No No No Yes No No Available
Pervious concrete Yes No N/A Yes Yes NA Available
Self-consolidating concrete Yes N/A N/A NA Yes NA Available
Sulfur concrete Yes NA NA Yes N/A NA Available
Autoclaved aerated concrete Yes NA NA NA Yes NA Available
Geopolymer concrete Yes NA Yes Yes Yes NA Under development
Hydrophobic concrete Yes NA Yes NA Yes NA Available
Ductile concrete Yes No Yes NA Yes NA Available
Asphalt Binder Materials
Sulfur-extended asphalt Yes N/A Yes Yes N/A N/A Available
Bio-derived asphalt binders Yes N/A N/A Yes N/A N/A Under development
High modified asphalt binders Yes Yes Yes N/A N/A N/A Available
Asphalt Concrete Materials
Warm asphalt mixtures Yes No Yes Yes Yes No Available
Perpetual asphalt pavements Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes No Available
Porous asphalt pavement Yes No Yes Yes Yes No Available
Recycled asphalt shingles Yes Yes NA Yes Yes Yes Available
Metallic and Polymer Materials
Vitreous ceramic coatings for reinforcing steel Yes No Yes NA Yes No Under development
Fiber-reinforced polymer bars for continuously reinforced concrete pavements Yes Yes NA NA Possibly No Available
Fiber-reinforced polymer dowel bars Yes Yes NA NA Possibly No Available
Zinc-clad dowel bars Yes No Yes NA Yes No Available
Microcomposite steel for dowels and tie bars Yes No Yes NA Yes No Available
Aggregate Materials
Synthetic aggregates Yes NA Yes Yes Yes Yes Available
Manufactured aggregates using captured CO2 Yes NA Yes Yes Yes NA Under development
Materials that allow internal concrete curing No Yes Yes Yes Yes NA Available
Other Materials
Ultra-thin bonded wearing course Yes Yes Yes NA Yes NA Available
Advanced curing material Yes No NA NA Yes NA Available
Workability-retaining admixture No No Yes NA Yes NA Available
Concrete surface sealers No NA Yes NA Yes NA Available

NA = information not available

 
Updated: 05/22/2012
 

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United States Department of Transportation - Federal Highway Administration