MATETPRO - Matériaux et Procédés pour Produits Performants

Innovation in Materials and PROcedures to create Value from the MUlti-REcycling of Asphalts – IMPROVMURE

Submission summary

The entire French road network (covering some 980,000km) is a potential source of several billion tons of asphalt mix aggregates, the term used in European standards to describe the granular materials derived from the grinding or demolition of bitumen mixes. These asphalt mix aggregates retain potential technical properties which must be leveraged.
Their reuse in the production of new asphalts is a valuable environmental approach, making it possible to reduce the quantity of product sent to landfills, while enabling significant savings on bitumen and aggregates from quarries, natural resources which are becoming scarce in some regions.
With a concern for reducing environmental impact, the road sector has developed new lower-temperature manufacturing processes. These "warm" techniques allow for reduced fuel consumption and gas emissions during production, while limiting workers' exposure during the laying process. Moreover, the reduced ageing of bitumen due to the lower coating temperature means higher rates of aggregate content can be envisaged. These new techniques are thus an opportunity to combine an increase in aggregate recycling with a reduction in harmful environmental and health impacts. Nonetheless, they are only slowly being adopted and currently only represent 1% of national production.

From a sustainable development point of view, one of the goals of this project is to identify and remove the scientific and technological barriers which currently limit the use of asphalt mix aggregates, in particular the wearing courses, when considering new "warm" manufacturing processes.
IMPROVMURE will look at road material life cycles and endeavour to determine the impact of successive recycling operations in both mechanical and environmental terms. In particular, it will try to answer the following questions:
- How are the asphalt mix aggregates characterised with regard to organic or inorganic components likely to be released as gas during the recycling and/or laying processes, or as a liquid during leaching?
- Does introducing aggregates into an asphalt change the environmental impact (nature of chemical species likely to be leached by liquids in contact with the asphalt, any modification to transfer kinetics)?
- How do the thermo-mechanical, chemical and environmental properties of multi-recycled asphalts evolve and, in particular, how many times is it possible to recycle asphalt mix aggregates while maintaining satisfactory mechanical and environmental properties?
- What is the influence of asphalt manufacturing processes on their mechanical and chemical characteristics and on their environmental impact?

The approach adopted involves successively producing, laying, removing and reusing asphalts with high aggregate content (between 40 and 100%) according to three procedures:
- a reference "hot" procedure:
- two "warm" procedures, reducing manufacturing temperatures by 30°C compared to the reference temperature (160°C).
o using foamed bitumen filler
o adding an additive to the bitumen filler

Three successive recycling operations will be completed and analysed.

The results of the IMPROVMURE project will be a major step forward in providing scientific information on the reuse of asphalt mix aggregates in new materials.
At the same time, within the framework of a national project known as MURE (MUlti-REcycling of Asphalts), 1:1 scale experiments will be carried out to demonstrate and validate the solutions from an industrial point of view.

Project coordination


The author of this summary is the project coordinator, who is responsible for the content of this summary. The ANR declines any responsibility as for its contents.


IREX Institut pour la Recherche appliquée et l'EXpérimentation en génie civil
USIRF Union des Syndicats de l’Industrie Routière Française
LTDS / ENTPE Laboratoire de Tribologie et Dynamique des Systèmes / Ecole Nationale des Travaux Publics de l'Etat
CETE Med. (futur EP) Centre d'Études Techniques de l'Équipement Méditérannée
IFSTTAR Institut Français des Sciences et Technologies des Transports, de l’Aménagement et des Réseaux

Help of the ANR 799,219 euros
Beginning and duration of the scientific project: February 2014 - 48 Months

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