10 July 2020

Table of Contents for Mat-Vantage


The Nano road

With India now looking to dramatically expand and upgrade its highway infrastructure nanotechnology could play a major role in the road developments, says DR AJAY RANKA


Amongst the most vital transportation network modes in the country, roadways – thanks to its wider reach – can truly be viewed as the lifeline to a healthy and sustained growth of the country’s economy.  Proper construction and maintenance of roadways is therefore of crucial importance. Nanotechnology is increasingly playing a major role in the development of these vital structures. Nanoscience and nanotechnology are the study and application of extremely small objects. It is widely utilised in India, especially in the fields of chemistry, biology, physics, material science and engineering. Owing to its unique characteristics, nano-based products and technologies can evidently solve hitherto unsolved concerns or problems even in road construction activities.


The reason behind nanotechnology’s innovative and revolutionary approach lies in quantum mechanics. Material behaviour changes significantly, especially when there is a dramatic increase in the ratio of surface area to volume. Classical physics no longer controls the behavior of material which is now under the control of quantum laws. The features give nano-structured materials a competitive edge on its abilities and properties, which may be more favorable than the bulk-material versions. For instance, few polymers though having the properties of insulators in a bulk form, will become semi-conductors at the nanoscale. Considering this phenomena, scientists and engineers in India are increasingly exploring materials at the nanoscale. The features ensure enhanced properties like – higher strength, light weight, increased control of light spectrum and greater chemical reactivity as against their large-scale counterparts.


Business barricades

Weather constitutes a key problem area in road construction activities. The maintenance of road surface and the structure’s lifespan faces a major challenge especially during the monsoons, due to the direct contact with the moisture. A major cause behind pavement deterioration is due to the moisture ingress. Water penetration into the soil base causes undulations, resulting in the development of cracks on the pavement’s top layers. The situation is further aggravated in cold countries, where freeze-thaw cycles are more common. Asphalt pavements are highly susceptible to water-induced damage, mainly due to stripping – de-bonding of asphalt from aggregate stones. The situation ultimately leads to raveling and potholes in the roads. The other major challenge being faced is the non-availability of good quality aggregates needed to pave in sub-optimal conditions (low ambient temperatures).


Expertise at par

From a modest beginning in 1997, Zydex Industries has evolved into a multi-product, multi-discipline organisation catering to businesses like roads, waterproofing, industrial chemicals, agriculture, paints and sealers and textiles. Research teams at Zydex Industries, with its rich professional workforce and knowledge base, have developed the world’s first silane nanotechnology for roads. Zydex has developed waterproofing products for soil, concrete, stones, bricks and all siliceous substrates. As a solution to address the rising concerns in road construction activities, Zydex offers a chemically reactive anti-strip nanotechnology for durable roads. The product reacts with aggregates to form ‘asphalt-loving’ non-polar hydrophobic aggregate surfaces at HMA processing temperatures. The material eliminates de-bonding of asphalt mixes caused due to inadequate and incomplete coating, coupled with moisture ingress, and thereby enhances the durability of asphalt pavements.  



The key benefits attached with Zydex nanotechnology based products are:

  • Chemical bonding, complete coating and consistent compaction of the asphalt layers
  • Chemically bonded, tack free tack coat for 100 per cent stress transfer
  • Penetrative, quick setting, waterproofed, tack free  prime coat
  • Soil stabilisation and waterproofing of road bases and slopes
  • Moisture resistant, maintenance free and sustainable roads

In addition, Zydex also offers its distinct weatherproof solution for longer life of roads and canals, especially for bitumen/soil/concrete offering protection from moisture and snow. The technology while enhances performance and durability of the road structures, are also cost effective in nature.




Innovative solutions

Zydex Industries’ revolutionised the pace of road construction through its flagship product ZycoTherm. The product, which is a breakthrough innovation processed through nanotechnology, addresses the vital concerns of de-bonding or stripping issues in bituminous layers. The chemical reacts with aggregate surfaces and makes them non-polar by nano modification at HMA processing temperatures. ZycoTherm thereby allows excellent bonding with asphalt binder and eliminates stripping in asphalt pavements. The product neutralises variability of aggregates and bitumen binder. Furthermore, the product also eliminates moisture/snow damage of bitumen concrete layers by chemically bonding with the aggregates. The product also is an apt solution to tackle the damages due to water penetration through top surface, sideway ingress or capillary rise. ZycoTherm 3C technology gives chemical bonding, complete coating and consistent compaction technology. The product offers better workability to SBS/CRMB binders, and allows the use of higher RAP, reduces odour and is also user friendly.  ZycoTherm is the only technology that offers resistance to ‘Salt Attack’ on the asphalt pavements. The product also assists in achieving a 60-65 per cent savings in the cost involved in road construction and maintenance process.

The other benchmarking product innovations being offered by Zydex, especially for road construction, are the unique range of ‘Bond Coatings’ – involving Track and Prime Coats. Nanotac, a Zydex innovation, chemically bonds, and ensures 100 per cent waterproofing and stress transferring abilities for trackless, quick set tack coat. The product also possesses the ability to resolve critical issues of insufficient bonding, slippage and top-down cracks. Terraprime, on the other hand, enables ‘Quick Penetrative Priming’ (chemically reactive at room temperature), is waterproof and eliminates moisture susceptibility to give tack free surface within 30 minutes. Another product, Terrasil is water soluble, UV and heat stable, chemically reactive soil modifier for soil stabilisation, waterproofing of soil roads, slopes and road bases. Terrasil has the ability to increase or retain strength of road base and is resistant to deformation. It waterproofs in-situ soils from being hydropholic polar and makes it hydrophobic non-polar through nano modification at room temperatures using aqueous solution, to make an impervious layer in the sub-grade level. The product is globally patented and is already being commercially accepted and utilised in countries like the USA, Canada, Mexico, Spain, Poland, Russia, India, Nigeria and Iran.


Zydex nanotechnology maintains an eco-friendly approach, as it conserves perishable resources like bitumen and aggregates. Furthermore, with its abilities to minimise odour and fumes from bitumen mixes, nanotechnology prevails as a user friendly solution even at the construction site. The usage of in-site soils also minimises the usage of fuel involved for transportation of good soils over long distances. Zydex through its nanotechnology based products and solutions aims to create a sustainable future by minimising material usage, achieving ‘Resource Extension’ economically and by extending the lifecycle of roadways.

The author is Chief Executive Officer, Zydex Industries

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