Asphalt is a very popular pavement material. So popular that researchers are constantly trying to improve it.
Recently, they have tested salt-releasing pavement for de-icing, crack healing additives, and asphalt strengthening additives from recycled materials. Most recently, they have tested adding cigarette butts.
Adding cigarette butts to asphalt is multi-beneficial. One, it reduces landfill waste; and two, it reduces the heat island effect of pavement. Researchers encased the cigarette butts in paraffin wax.
The urban heat island (UHI) effect is when it is hotter in an urban area, partially due to the dark asphalt adsorbing solar radiation. UHIs reduce rainfall, decreases air quality, and decreases water quality.
The need for reduced temperature of asphalt became news recently when L.A. decided to paint their asphalt a lighter color to reduce the heat. By adding cigarette butts to the asphalt, it would reduce the bulk density and increase the porosity of the bitumen, reducing the asphalt temperature.
Lansing Community College noted that 4.3 trillion cigarette butts are littered annually, of that number, 80% get to waterways. This causes pollution in drinking water and hurts wildlife.
What construction material would you like improved? Let us know in the comments.