Researchers and industry are working on durable and cheap asphalt surfaces

Gdańsk University of Technology together with Warsaw University of Technology, Road and Bridge Research Institute and companies Budimex S.A., Grupa LOTOS S.A. and ORLEN Asfalt LLC will develop technology to reduce road construction costs and improve road durability. The work will be carried out under the research program entitled "Optimization of asphalt road surface structure due to the use of modified asphalt". Ceremonial transfer of contracts between the parties took place on Friday, 4 October in the Senate Hall of Gdańsk University of Technology.


 - ‘The consortium comprising Gdańsk University of Technology is an example of exemplary cooperation between science and business. What is important, Grupa LOTOS and the ORLEN Asfalt company belonging to the ORLEN Capital Group, the largest companies in the petrochemical industry and Budimex, the largest construction company in Poland cooperate with each other and jointly finance scientific research and development from their own resources. We are proud that we are leading a research group made up of scientists from such important scientific institutions as Warsaw University of Technology and the Road and Bridge Research Institute’ - says Prof. PhD, DSc, Eng. Krzysztof Wilde, Corresponding member of the Polish Academy of Sciences, rector of Gdańsk University of Technology.

Industry representatives hope that the work carried out as part of the consortium will contribute to the development of specific solutions, and thus to the development of road construction in the country. They also emphasize the importance of cooperation with research centers.

- ‘Universities should be natural support for business. Working together, we have a better chance to achieve our goals, which is why we are so happy with Budimex's long-standing cooperation with Gdańsk University of Technology. It is a cooperation that takes place on many levels: by supporting education and implementing innovation, an example of which is this innovative, expert project’ - says Ewelina Karp-Kręglicka, director of the Purchasing and Quality Office of Budimex S.A.

- ‘The development of innovative solutions is a strategic goal of Grupa LOTOS, which is why we are involved in this project. The creation of a research consortium of 6 entities is a very good example of cooperation between the scientific community and industry. I am glad that we will jointly conduct works aimed at developing an innovative asphalt paving using modified asphalt’ - says Mateusz A. Bonca, CEO of Grupa LOTOS.

- ‘We got involved in this project as one of the leading Polish producers of modified and highly modified bitumens. We see it as a chance to extend the durability of roads built in Poland. We hope that the implementation of the project will significantly contribute to the development of road engineering, improvement of road durability and optimization of construction costs through the use of new generation asphalt products’ - adds Cezary Godziuk, CEO of LOTOS Asfalt.

- ‘This is an unusual event. I do not remember that in the last thirty years the project with such partners and with such a strong scientific and industrial representation has been implemented in Poland. Together we are able to really do a lot and we hope that this is not the last such implementation. What we do for business and the market, will also be good for society. The effect of this cooperation will be better and more durable roads’ - says Krzysztof Błażejowski, director of the Research and Development Office ORLEN Asfalt LLC.

Representatives of the scientific consortium emphasize that this cooperation is part of the social responsibility of universities and is a response to changes taking place in their environment.

- ‘Such cooperation is a requirement of the dynamically changing environment, which is driven by innovative material technologies and I hope that this will be an important effect of cooperation. One of the basic paradigms in construction is sustainable development, when we look at the composition of the consortium, we have achieved sustainability’ - says Prof. PhD, DSc, Eng. Andrzej Garbacz, dean of the Faculty of Civil Engineering at Warsaw University of Technology.

- ‘We already have almost 30 years of experience in Poland when it comes to bitumen modification. During this time, it has also been possible to educate a group of experts, including a group of professors who deal with these issues in various centers. Thanks to this, we were able to meet in this consortium. I am convinced that new solutions will be created, especially regarding durable asphalt surfaces, such that will last for at least fifty years’ – says Prof. PhD, DSc, Eng. Leszek Rafalski, general director of the Road and Bridge Research Institute.

As part of collaboration, scientists will study the impact of using modified and highly modified polymer bitumens, i.e. asphalt HiMA (Highly Modified Asphalt) for the construction of various pavement layers, which will allow updating the Catalogue of Typical Susceptible and Semi-rigid Pavement Designs.

- ‘It is on the basis of this publication that the layout of road surfaces and their thickness are most often determined. Currently, however, the catalogue assumes the use of unmodified bitumens and does not fully use the potential of modified bitumens, in particular highly modified polymer. Our goal will be to develop and add new cards to it, taking into account the use of these bitumens - explains PhD, DSc, Eng. Piotr Jaskuła, university professor from the Department of Road and Transport Engineering, Faculty of Civil and Environmental Engineering, GUT.

We will know the results of research and analyses next year. The Ministry of Infrastructure and the General Directorate for National Roads and Motorways are interested in them.