Chemistry & Life Sciences

Chemistry is ... Mimicking Nature

31.08.2016 -

AkzoNobel researchers were able to tackle the repeated freeze-thaw cycles that affect asphalt mixtures. Water trapped inside asphalt expands by about 9% when it freezes, breaking up the road itself. Passing traffic then further accelerates the damage. Inspired by the ability of certain animals to withstand cold and prevent ice forming in their bodies, AkzoNobel’s Ecosel asphalt protection additive is a fully biodegradable chemical for de-icing brine.

It works by slowing the freezing process, resulting in soft, slushy ice, rather than hard, abrasive ice. Adding the product to normal winter road salt prevents the water trapped inside the asphalt pores from turning into hard ice. It encourages the formation of slushy ice, which is mechanically weaker than the asphalt and therefore substantially reduces the risk of damage