Research into fuel-saving pavement

You have to wonder where in the world researchers come up with their ideas.

I just learned that researchers at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) are looking in how changing road properties can help vehicles consume less fuel.

This investigation came about through MIT's Concrete Sustainability Hub (CSH) - an organization that is working to "revolutionize the scientific basis for evaluating the environmental impact of Portland cement concrete, for optimizing the use of present materials and for modifying present materials and developing new materials designed to achieve a fully sustainable physical infrastructure, including uses in ever more demanding environments."


Did you know that more concrete is produced than any other synthetic material on Earth?

But I digress.

The MIT researchers have found that a pavement property called deflection could save more than $15 billion in annual fuel costs.

Pavement deflection is when your vehicle makes a slight indentation in the road from which you are constantly driving out of and burning more fuel. The effect is similar to walking on sand. With each step, your feet sink and create a dip.

The researchers have discovered that using stiffer pavements decreases deflection and reduces fuel consumption by as much as 3 percent - a savings that could add up to 273 million barrels of crude oil per year, or $15.6 billion.

Concrete pavements, inherently stiffer than asphalt, can reduce a car's "footprint" and gas costs, they say.

By reducing the environmental footprint of the nation's pavement systems, MIT researchers hope to achieve a more sustainable national infrastructure.