Feasibility of 3D printing to fill in-situ cracks in asphalt concretes

Frank Awuah, Alvaro Hernandez, Bahman Ghiassi, Yuanyuan Li, Mehran Eskandari Torbaghan, Richard Jackson, Mark Miodownik

Research output: Contribution to conference (unpublished)Paper


Cracking is a major defect in asphalt pavements when they are in service life. Cracks increase the roughness of road surfaces and can allow water to enter the inner parts of pavement to undermine its structural integrity. To preserve pavements, cracks must be repaired immediately they are detected. Filling cracks with bituminous materials is considered a common preventive maintenance work. However, current methods of crack filling are largely manual which is labour intensive and exposes work gangs to accidents. Automation has therefore been touted as an alternative approach to save humans from undertaking these arduous and dangerous filling tasks on our highways. This paper presents preliminary results from research work on the use of 3D printing technology to fill cracks in asphalt concretes. The study aims to identify the operational parameters of a hot-end autonomous arm that could be optimised to enhance the complete, precise and quality fill of in-situ cracks. To achieve this, an autonomous arm was developed to follow cracks and fill them with hot bitumen at varying extrusion temperature and layer printing speeds. The states of filled bitumen between crack walls were then examined through X-ray CT-scanning. Results from the preliminary works show that it is feasible to automatise the filling of cracks in asphalt pavements using 3D printing technology.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - 12 Jan 2022
Event101st TRB Annual Meeting - Washington, United States
Duration: 9 Jan 202213 Jan 2022


Conference101st TRB Annual Meeting
Country/TerritoryUnited States


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