Researchers Create New Concrete Paving Machine that Could Increase the Quality of Road Surfaces

The paved road network in the Russian Federation is increasing seven times less per million people when compared to the developed countries of the USA and Europe.

Olga Romanovskaia (Image credit: Viktoria Matveichu)

On Russian roads, the average speed of auto transport is, in fact, two to three times slower when compared to the developed nations. This is due to the large and repeated defects of the surface of the road. Now, scientists from South Ural State University (SUSU) have developed a novel concrete paving machine, which mainly modifies the methods of constructing roads and improves the quality of the road surfaces.

Goal—Quality Roads

The Student Research Society of the Automobile and Tractor Faculty is being led by Evgeny Kromsky, Associate Professor of the SUSU Polytechnic Institute Department of Wheeled and Tracked Vehicles, for a number of years. Under his direction, students are designing projects and taking part in research contests and conferences where they receive medals. One such achievement is the joint development and accomplishment of a patent with SUSU Polytechnic Institute students, Ilya Votoropin and Andrey Zhakov.

Our vehicles, in terms of mobile units, move the smallest volume of cargo in the world. We have an extremely high percentage of vehicle damage and breakdown, which is a result of moving on roads with significant surface defects. Experts show that traffic moves along 1 km of road with defects leads to transport damages of 80 million rubles per year per automobile, and these losses have increased significantly in the last three years.

Evgeny Kromsky, Associate Professor, Department of Wheeled and Tracked Vehicles, SUSU Polytechnic Institute.

Although contemporary road-building machines developed in both Russia and overseas are capable of supporting a high level of mechanization, they do not entirely address the increasing indicators of quality for constructing roads. According to experts, one major reason for the low quality of roads is that appropriate compaction was not done on all the structural layers: the roadbed as well as the asphalt or cement top layer.

New “Air Removing” Technology

We analyzed the constructions of the concrete paving machine used today and tested it. We determined both strengths and a few weaknesses. The strengths – the implementation of the ability to compact “difficult-to-deform” mixes; and the weaknesses – poor filling of the working zone with the initial material under the plate of the charge compressor thanks to the lack of the mechanism for forced material feed. So we decided to create a more modern model without this weakness.

Evgeny Kromsky, Associate Professor, Department of Wheeled and Tracked Vehicles, SUSU Polytechnic Institute.

“Air compacting” is the current technology used for compacting road and construction materials based predominantly on compressional strain, because a considerable amount of air continues to be present in the compacting materials. As a result, scientists have proposed a novel compacting technology using largely shear deformation and what is known as “air removing” technology.

These new technologies and mechanisms principally change the techniques of road building. In place of 3-4 machines, we can now complete the same work with better efficiency and with higher quality, freeing up more than half of the existing machines,” noted Evgeny Kromsky.

The working surface of the charge compressor plate of the renovated concrete paving machine developed by the SUSU team is separated into a number of sections with varied angles, which allows producing compacted areas that have different degrees of density: for zones of porous materials, for particularly dense material, and for middle-density materials.

The latest design of the compression plate guarantees the forced feed of materials from the hopper into the working zone of the charge compressor and also ensures the slow increase of the material density at the time of pressing, and the grouting and smoothing of the compacted material surface.

The new model has shown excellent results. The materials we tested include soil and concrete. Our concrete paving machine makes it possible to work with various kinds of concrete—from slurry to hard-to-deform concrete, which the existing machine cannot handle. Compared to ours, they only work with the kinds of concrete that have a particular amount of water.

Andrey Zhakov, Student, SUSU Polytechnic Institute.

In 2018, SUSU scientists received a patent for their concrete paving machine. In the coming days, the application of this novel invention would not only extend the lifespan of roadways but would also reduce the frequency of road repairs. The outcomes achieved through the experiments enable the researchers to say that asphalt, with the assistance of the newly developed mechanism, can be compacted in a much better way. For this development, Andrey Zhakov received the Innovative Russian Engineering Contest of Innovative Projects in Priority Areas of Development for Science and Technology in the mechanical engineering category and was presented with diplomas and a medal.

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