New machine turns plastic into road filler

Walter Sisulu University (WSU) civil engineering researcher Dr Samuel Abejide has come up with a new invention that is sure to please a lot of motorists.

FILLING THE GAPS: Dr Samuel Abejide and the Recycled Asphalt Plastic Mini Mixer (RAPMM)

The recycled asphalt plastic mini mixer (RAPMM) is designed for use on gravel and low-volume roads in order to repair potholes.

Abejide said the invention is a new approach to what he calls an “ultra-thin film asphalt concrete porous pavement”, which makes road repairs more efficient, especially in rural areas.

“This approach proves to be efficient with minimum cost. The homogeneous mixture formed provides a more durable bituminous surface for pothole maintenance work,” he said.

The device acts as a mobile batch plant, mixing recyclable materials such as low-density polyethylene (e.g. plastic wrap, packaging foam) and its high-density counterpart (e.g. plastic bottles, shopping bags) into a more eco-friendly form of road filler.

“This means that the road sector development will be able to maintain and fix potholes at a reduced cost using cheaper labour,” Abejide said.

“Furthermore, the timeline taken before a pothole is repaired will be reduced as the RAPP Mixer is mobile and can be transported to the site for in-situ production and compaction at the designated potholes location.”

Compared to current pothole repair techniques, Abejide said his new invention was both more efficient and produced fewer greenhouse gas emissions.

He also said that it opened the door for employment possibilities since both skilled and unskilled workers are needed to operate the machine.


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