Innovative and Multifunctional Pavements (EMPave)

The ultimate objective of the thematic area is to create a pavement construction in symbiosis with the environment, built without human intervention, which can harvest energy, sense its surroundings, process the information, communicate with the users and re-adapt in consequence. For this, we approach transportation problems through unconventional modifications of the material and constructive process of the pavement.

 

In our research we imagine the future and we try to make it reality. For that we use state-of-the-art technologies from the physical, chemical and biological fields: we understand that technology has to move ahead as a whole. But we know also that change happens gradually and from the hand of the industry. For this reason, we intend to do high-level research which can be easily applicable by construction companies.

 

Different points that we study are:

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Development of new materials and structures

It includes increasing the durability of the pavement materials; developing more efficient materials and structures that consume less energy, and integrating new-functionalities in the materials and the structures, such as self-controlling, self-healing, energy harvesting, or the ability to re-adapt themselves to the environmental conditions, imitating the efficiency of biological systems.

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Automation of construction and maintenance techniques

It implies the use of information technologies to reach higher lifecycle efficiency. This area merges with the previous one where new-functionalities are integrated into the systems. It also implies using robotics and optimizing the construction, inspection and maintenance processes. And ways for pavements under any climatic condition. The research question of this area is how to build pavements with a minimum investment of energy.

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Limiting the impact of materials and structures on the landscape

This area studies the integration of constructions into the territory. Its ultimate objective is that pavements coexist in symbiosis with the environment. Points to study are reducing the noise, visual, thermal or chemical impacts and turning their negative effects positive. Moreover, the use of local materials for construction and the recycling of materials and structures play an important role in this area.