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Researchers Develop Quick-Setting Pothole Fix

Tuesday, October 9, 2018

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With fixing potholes in a timely manner a consistent concern, researchers based out of the University of Minnesota’s Natural Resources Research Institute recently developed a pothole fix that sets in 10 to 20 minutes, and also uses waste taconite rock.

According to the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources, taconite is a low-grade iron ore. When high-grade ore was more easily accessible, taconite was considered a waste rock and not used. But as supply decreased, taconite started to be seen as a resource.

Pothole Repair

In September, the city of Duluth, Minnesota, volunteered potholes so the road repair method could be tested. Other than quickly returning roads to a safely drivable state, the focus of this research was also in finding uses for waste taconite rock and other mineral materials found in the state’s Iron Range.

The road repair sets into a hard material in 10 to 20 minutes, depending on weather conditions. This timeframe can help address challenges with pothole repair, namely making fixes in cold weather and repair longevity.

“Components that go into the mixture include everything that the taconite industry produces,” noted Larry Zanko, senior research fellow at the Natural Resource Research Institute. “We have a liquid activator that’s blended with this material and sets up rapidly within 20 to 30 minutes.”

Advanced Road Patch LLC, a company based on the Iron Range, purchased the license to commercialize the product, and will continue working with the university regarding the product’s evaluation.

“This project is a great example of NRRI innovations to reduce waste and find value in our natural resources,” said Rolf Weberg, NRRI Executive Director. “And those of us who live in the Northland can sure appreciate a long-lasting pothole repair.”


Tagged categories: Infrastructure; NA; North America; Program/Project Management; Rehabilitation/Repair; Repair materials; Research and development; Roads/Highways

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