Could self-healing roads mean the end of roadworks?
Self-healing asphalt that contains steel fibres which conduct once heated could be the solution to cracks and potholes in roads, scientists have claimed.
Researchers in the Netherlands have already created several of the so-called self-healing roads, which have small pieces of steel that, once heated by an induction machine, are capable of closing cracks without any further help.
The system has already been tested on 12 roads in the country, one of which has been open to the public since 2010, with all 12 roads tested still in perfect condition.
The researchers from Delft University are also looking to utilise the new material in road surfaces for other means and have suggested the steel fibres could also be used to carry information or an electric current, which could then be used to charge electric cars.
The scientists have said they are looking into a technique whereby electric cars gain a small amount of charge when sat at red traffic lights.
In cost terms, the researchers also believe that while it would be more expensive to manufacture the self-healing surfaces, the removal of the need for maintenance could save millions of pounds in roadwork expenses, as well as hundreds of hours of labour for workers.