PlasticRoad is a recent, award-winning invention, that aims to revolutionise road construction and make it more sustainable. It is based on the use of modular elements made of recycled plastics. Before full scale roll-out of this novel concept, however, it is essential to know how it behaves in real-life conditions, when subjected to actual traffic loads, weather changes and time. This is realised by applying Zensor’s bespoke approach in combined with the knowledge and experience on the product present at the PlasticRoad partners, KWS Infra, Wavin and Total. The end goal is to maximise the lifespan of the road, to really make it a Smart object and to build more plastic roads around the world.
Focusing on the specific topic of understanding the structural integrity of the road, 36 sensors of five different types are installed onto multiple road panels within a single lane. Measuring displacements, deformations, loads and temperatures at multiple spots provides detailed insights in the interaction between the structure, the traffic and the environment.
The data recorded from these sensors is sent to Zensor’s storage and analysis platform, where the PlasticRoad partners can visually follow a number of parameters indicating the health status of the road. The visuals allow for fast decisions regarding the future modifications of the structure.
“Understanding the in-use behaviour of our product is key to its improvement and our growth. The ability to see how PlasticRoad reacts to the applied loads in real time is a powerful tool to make more accurate design adjustments, faster.”
- Anne Koudstaal, Co-inventor of PlasticRoad
Case Study Quick Facts:
Two road panels within a 3m x 2.4m section of very busy cycling paths.
Determine the behaviour of the structure and its impact on the structural integrity by monitoring the loads, resulting deformations and environmental changes.
Tailored sensor installation scheme to gain a holistic view of the structure in its entirety by combining five different types of sensors.
To understand the long-term behaviour of the structure and increase the lifespan of the road for PlasticRoad, forming a solid basis for installing more 'PlasticRoads' around the globe.