Roller-compacted concrete (RCC) is an alternative material aimed at the surfacing market which is currently dominated by flexible asphaltic solutions.
With reduced investment in infrastructure; and the price of bitumen having risen exponentially over recent years, companies are presently researching alternative materials that will help to keep costs down but still offer similar levels of performance over a considerable lifetime.
Based on a cementitious alternative to bitumen and with the latest additives and technology, RCC could have a major impact on the design of roads, surfaces and paved areas both now and in the coming decades. This would offer clients lower costs by approximately 30% over a 50 year period.
Around 35% of the price of asphalt is directly attributable to the high cost of bitumen and it is because of this that companies are developing today's RCC. Whether the binders in the mix are bitumen-based or cement-based, they are doing the same job - binding aggregates.
RCC is a non-slump concrete that shares many of the strengths and durability attributes of traditional pavement-quality concrete. It is laid using conventional asphalt paving equipment; once laid by the paver transverse cracks are induced at regular intervals to allow for any potential contraction of the concrete. Given the long-term life cycle cost benefits of RCC, there is huge potential for its use in both new construction and surfacing maintenance.
One possible solution currently being explored by roads and highways is the use of RCC with a thin asphalt layer overlay to provide skid resistance and noise reduction.