Skanska to launch first local trial of graphene in asphalt

Dominic Browne

Skanska is leading what is thought to be the first ever local road trial of graphene material in asphalt.

Due to start shortly in Oxfordshire, the project builds on the work of successful trials in Italy involving two companies - Directa Plus and Iterchimica.

This initial testing suggests that the so-called 'wonder material' could more than double the lifespan of the road.

First 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 more times stronger than steel, more conductive than copper and one million times thinner than a human hair.

Skanska plans to lay a 750-metre section on a busy main road through the village of Curbridge, west of Oxford.

One side of the road will include graphene additive and the other will be a control test.

Regular assessments will be made over the next 12 months before a possible roll-out.

Highways England has also said it is looking to trial the material, which costs about 18-20% more than conventional asphalt.

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