In Limoges, the Colas company is currently testing a new asphalt mix composed of cork, aimed at reducing noise pollution caused by cars.
Today, if there is one material that is at the top of the trend, it is liège. It’s very simple, it can be found everywhere: in decoration, in fashion and even in cars, and in particular in the interior of the new Mazda MX-30. Waterproof and flame retardant, resistant and constituting a very good alternative to leather, especially in leather goods, cork has a host of advantages that allow it to be used in all areas, since it can be used as a base for the manufacture of small objects or be used as insulation for buildings. But did you know that you may one day be able to drive on roads made of this material? No doubt, while experiments are already underway to create a mix made from cork. The goal ? Reduce the noise pollution, generated by the noise of engines but above all of the rolling of cars in circulation.
It is in Limoges that this experiment takes place, carried out by the company Colas, specializing in public works. Part of Boulevard de la Valoine, approximately 330 meters, was therefore covered with this very special asphalt, composed of 1% cork. Two other portions were coated with a classic asphalt and a completely classic sound-absorbing mix, in order to measure the effectiveness of this new experimental method compared to already existing solutions. As Yoann Feix, construction manager at Colas, explains to our colleagues in France 3 New Aquitaine about cork “nWe have incorporated 1% of it. It comes from a factory in Alsace which does insulation. We collect the waste from the cuts. It requires a little more manpower to incorporate the cork but otherwise the application remains the same “. Suffice to say that this new asphalt is therefore also completely ecological, since the cork used would have been lost if it had not been reused for this purpose.
Three years of testing
Already known for its insulating properties, cork was therefore a logical choice for reducing the rolling noise of vehicles traveling on the road, as explained by Patrick Tardieux, director of technical studies at Limoges Métropole. ” Basically cork is a thermal and sound insulation already well known […] The idea was to see if technically it could be integrated into the asphalt and how it behaves in it and then to see what the effect is on the noise. We will measure the noise on the different portions and we will see what the difference is “. However, this material is still quite expensive, hence the importance of recycling, which could then lower costs significantly, thus convincing communities to opt for this ecological solution.
No less than three years will be needed to judge the effectiveness of this device, which could then eventually be installed in other parts of the city during future renovations. In the meantime, another test will be carried out on a more frequented artery, as Patrick Tardieux underlines: “ It is a structuring avenue in Limoges with a speed limit of 50 kilometers per hour and a lot of traffic. The idea is therefore to see what happens on this type of route and to measure whether it improves the living environment of local residents. ».
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