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RoadworksVan drivers caught in roadwork delays on the A1 in Northumberland between Newton on the Moor and West Cawledge, south of Alnwick,  might be interested to know that the new road surface being laid is something of an engineering innovation and could prevent future delays.

National Highways is trialling a high-tech road surfacing product which incorporates 'graphene' following testing carried out at the Graphene Engineering Innovation Centre (GEIC) at The University of Manchester and Pavement Testing Services (PTS).

National Highways Asset Needs Manager Graeme Watt says that graphene is just one atom thick, but is stronger than steel and when added to other materials it can turn them into 'super materials'. It is hoped that this will mean road surfaces will last longer and result in fewer road repairs.

Graphene roads – whatever next?

As the building block of graphite (pencil lead) graphene is a single layer of carbon atoms in a honeycomb pattern which is incredibly strong. Graphene is also conductive and flexible and is already being used in a variety of technological applications such as digital electronics, anti-corrosive paint, aeronautical engineering and biomedicine.

The road surfacing trial is said to be a world first because although graphene has been previously mixed with plastic to augment new asphalt, the trial in Northumberland will see the graphene added to recycled asphalt on site.

The plan is to remove the asphalt already on the three-mile stretch of road then add the graphene before relaying it – a recycling project that could see the road lasting years longer and help to improve the journeys of hundreds of thousands of road users.

More uses on UK roads

Research is also being carried out into whether graphene could be used to enhance the life of road markings and steel safety barriers, both of which erode over time and then need to be replaced, which often damages the road surface during the renovation works. So, graphene could be a win-win product.

Van drivers could see fewer road works and less delays

We know from recent research that some of the main areas of concern for car and van drivers is the quality of road surfaces and the management of road works, so hopefully the new trials could mean that road surfaces stay intact and durable for longer, and this in turn will mean fewer delays due to accidents and road works.

Van insurance from iVan

So, if you're caught in delays caused by resurfacing works in the near future it could mean that the road you're travelling on is being improved with graphene and this is good news.

While we can't offer you graphene-enhanced van insurance policies which last longer, we can offer you great deals on all your van insurance needs, such as any-driver van insurance, which can help to smooth your journey to saving money.

Call iVan today to see if we can find you a cheap van insurance that does everything you need it to.