It’s a subject that we don’t often think about, but it affects our lives daily. We walk on pavements and we travel on asphalt. But have you ever wondered what their actual differences are? Here is an explanation of the contrasts between pavement and asphalt along with some predictions for the future.
The Basics of Pavement and Asphalt
Pavement and asphalt are made with distinct purposes in mind. The pavement is made to be walked on, so it has a high amount of grip that allows people to walk without slipping. Asphalt is made with vehicle traffic in mind so it is relatively smooth and can bear big weights for years at a time. It is important to remember that concrete pavement can be used as a road surface and asphalt can be used as a pavement surface. This comes with certain disadvantages.
Asphalt reflects heat which can make it unsuitable for use as a pavement material. This can lead to heat exhaustion for people who spend about an hour or so walking on asphalt in hot weather. Symptoms can include headaches and tiredness. Water is an easy solution but an even better one would be a more suitable surface.
What Category is Concrete in?
Concrete, which is often used as a pavement material is rarely used as a road material for the following reasons. If the concrete is laid without steel reinforcement lattice nets then it will tend to crack and then turn into rubble. Concrete is a great material but it wasn’t really intended for roads. The Romans were able to make concrete but they always used stones for their roads and pavements.
Asphalt can be called bitumen and was once known as asphalt. Hydrogen and carbon are the major compounds to be found in it and when laid it is very sticky and smelly. The advantages are that it is smooth and can be laid quickly. Oil is also a key component. A big disadvantage is that if a crack appears then rainwater can wash away the base of the road and thus the road can be washed away entirely. To counteract this, a recent innovation has been to lay rubber tires underneath the asphalt to provide stability. This should make the road last for far longer than is presently the case.
Pavements come with various surfaces. These can be concrete, brick, stone slabs, and asphalt. No one has really put much thought into developing a better surface to walk on for many years and it just seems to be accepted that this is the technology that we’re stuck with. Very often pavements crack due to the proximity of trees pushing up their roots through the surface which means the pavement will have to be relaid.
It might seem more stylish to place brick or stone slabs as pavement but these surfaces become slippery when wet. Local authorities can be sued for accidental injuries arising from an improperly prepared surface so it would seem concrete pavements would be the best option because they provide adequate traction in all weather conditions even though they aren’t attractive to look at.
It might be time for someone to invent a new road surface in order to produce a cleaner future. Innovations in pavement surfaces are also rare and are waiting to be improved as well. But you can count on the fact that it is something we’ll all be riding or walking on for many years to come.