Empa: Where the streets are made of textiles

Where the streets are made of textiles


Scientists of the Swiss Federal Laboratories for Materials Science and Technology, Empa, Dübendorf/Switzerland, investigate how roads could be reinforced with simple means and recycled easily after use.

Robot-assisted construction techniques for road building are being tested, that have so far only been used in structural engineering. Here, a robotic arm lays out a string in a mandala-like pattern on a bed of gravel.

This new type of mechanical reinforcement is intended to change the typical structure of the road surface and thus to help save valuable resources in future or even to recycle road surfaces altogether.

The idea originates from a project of the Gramazio Kohler Research Lab at ETH Zurich/Switzerland.

Pillars piled up purely from strings and gravel demonstrated that outstanding stability can be achieved by simply interlocking the gravel with a thread – without any cement as a binder.

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