Research and Development Trend of Road Usage Phase Change Materials

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Department of Civil, Environmental, and Geospatial Engineering


Since the phase change materials (PCMs) as building materials extensively, the diversity and function have been continuously developed, and the temperature regulation and energy saving is significant. PCMs are intelligent and spontaneous, and can effectively adjust temperature range of matrix materials, these characteristics are also applicable to the field of traffic materials, can be used for road temperature regulation to reduce temperature diseases. In addition, more road functionality adopted by using appropriate PCMs, such as snow melting, freeze-thaw resistance and reducing urban heat island effect, correspond to the sustainable development concept of intelligent transportation and green transportation in China. However, research of PCMs of traffic materials is not mature yet, including application form of pavement and the selection of materials. Various PCMs can be divided into solid-solid and solid-liquid types according to the phase change morphology. Further, the solid-solid type has a very high phase change temperature, is difficult to meet the temperature requirements of road environment, but the solid-liquid phase with transformation of liquid morphology and volume will damage pavement structure. None of them can meet the requirements of temperature regulation effect and mechanical characteristics of phase change pavement. At present, the proposed solution is in combination with other materials. The promising solutions include composite phase change materials (CPCMS), encapsulation, chemical bridging and microcapsule, etc. Physical adsorption can combine suitable matrix materials with solid-liquid phase change materials (SLPCMs) according to the demand. The encapsulation, such as sol-gel, form shell outside the PCMs to prevent flowability of liquid PCMs and provide enough mechanical properties. The chemical bridging reinforce relationship between matrix material and PCMs through molecular bridge. While the principle of microcapsules is similar to encapsulation, the difference of microcapsules is smaller particle size and SLPCMs as objects, microcapsules can reduce disadvantageous with road. In addition, polyurethane solid-solid phase change material (PUSSPCM) can regulate phase change characteristics by adjustment of chemical reaction, having better road applicability. This review mainly summarizes the research and development trend of phase change materials for road. The paper firstly exposes the working principle of phase change asphalt pavement, and then, the optimum application formation of phase change asphalt pavement system is determined and the technical requirements of road phase change materials are put forward. Additionally, pure phase change materials (PCMs) are screened and application prospects on road are analyzed. The composite phase change materials (CPCMs) and microcapsule technology to improve the working environment of PCMs are introduced in asphalt pavement, moreover, the adaptability and application prospects on road are evaluated. Finally, the conception of composite microcapsule with phase change and self-healing is addressed, and the diversity of intelligent pavement is enriched, as well as prospects for the future development of PCMs.

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Cailiao Daobao/Materials Reports