Blacklidge develops next generation asphalt

blacklidge solution applied outside the white house

Blacklidge Emulsions is developing a next generation asphalt product that is enhanced with graphene.

The innovation is made possible through a collaboration between Blacklidge and TLC Products. The two companies are combining their expertise to further the performance, safety and sustainability of asphalt pavement.

Graphene is known as the strongest, thinnest material on earth. Discovered accidentally in 2004 by two scientists in England, it is one million times thinner than a human hair, yet 200 times stronger than steel.

It also has high light absorption of all possible wavelengths. Until recently, graphene has been cost-prohibitive to employ into large scale projects such as roads due to the high cost of producing the raw material. However, TLC’s process has changed the cost metric.

“A little bit goes a long way,” said Charles Chang, Founder of TLC. “Our patented process, licensed from Rutgers University, produces covalent bonded graphene mixed with various polymers to dramatically improve their mechanical properties. We use graphite and recycled plastics as raw materials, opening a new path to bring low-cost graphene to industries like asphalt in ways never thought possible on such a broad scale.” 

TLC’s graphene-composites will absorb ultraviolet light from the sun and reduce degradation of the organic components of the “glue” that holds asphalt together –– often the weakest link contributing to pavement breakdown.

Blacklidge Executive Chairman Brittany Blacklidge believes successfully incorporating materials with properties like graphene to improve asphalt performance is key to achieving net zero carbon emissions by 2050.

“We believe that this marriage of graphene and asphalt is a match made in pavement heaven,” Blacklidge said. “Their combination is greater than the sum of its parts. We’re pleased that the cost-benefit ratio is now making this a reality.” 

While long-lasting, sustainable roads are a priority, Blacklidge, sees a natural expansion of this new form of asphalt beyond roads, and into roofing and other industries using asphalt formulations.