Nemkumar Banthia, a professor of Indian origin living in Canada, has come up with a technology that can be used to make roads that repair themselves. The roads built using this technology last longer and are cheaper to build. They are more sustainable from an environmental perspective too.
Professor Nemkumar, after finishing his graduation from IIT Delhi, shifted to Canada 34 years ago. He is currently a part of the civil engineering department at the University of British Columbia (UBC) located in Vancouver. Since 2014, however, Nemkumar and his team have constantly been engaged in Thondebavi village, situated 90 km from Bengaluru, building a demonstration project to test this technology.
The road is about 60 percent less thick than a regular Indian road, and hence costs less in terms of materials. Most of the cement is replaced with flyash, leading to further lessening of the road's carbon footprint. Explaining the road's in-built crack healing to Hindustan Times, Professor Nemkumar said,
"These are fibres that have a hydrophilic nano-coating on them. Hydrophilia means they attract water, and this water then becomes available for crack healing. Every time you have a crack, you always have unhydrated cement, and this water is now giving it the hydration capability, producing further silicates, which actually closes the crack in time."
The professor said that the roads cost 30 percent less than the standard construction cost, and can last up to 15 years. According to Daily Hunt, this is a massive leap from the two year repair cycle most Indian roads suffer from. Apart from Karnataka, discussions are underway to implement the project in Haryana and Madhya Pradesh as well.