Rhinophalt® – Q&A with Tim Jackson, Specialist Products & Services Manager at Downer


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Invented in the UK, Rhinophalt® is a method of asphalt preservation that is gaining popularity around the World.

We are chatting with Tim Jackson, Specialist Products & Services Manager at Downer about his experience using Rhinophalt® across several infrastructure projects in Australia. 

Q: Let’s start with the most important question: what is Rhinophalt®?

Rhinophalt is a preventative maintenance treatment for all asphalt that preserves, protects and extends the life of the asphalt infrastructure and is proven to withstand all extreme weather conditions. Applied to the asphalt surface, it penetrates through micro-cracks and interconnecting voids to form a hard seal, keeping water out and slowing the ageing process due to weathering and UV degradation.

Rhinophalt contains a natural asphalt, Gilsonite, which is a mineral antioxidant and is a key component in preventing asphalt deterioration caused by oxidation of the bitumen. Gilsonite resin is much harder than bitumen – it is an antioxidant that reinforces, seals and strengthens the surface course and slows down asphalt ageing.

Q: Originally from the UK, the product entered Australia in 2017. In what ways is Rhinophalt® innovative and what are the main benefits of using it?

The innovative point of difference is its fast curing ability, curing in approximately 2 hours. The truck sprayed application also distributes a fine abrasive grit, which maintains friction characteristics. Incorporating Rhinophalt into asset planning and whole-of-life costing will extend the operational life of your asphalt infrastructure and delay the large costs of resurfacing and repair works. It is also used to extend the life of older pavements to arrest aggregate loss and to allow for a delay of planned surface replacement.

Q: Where can Rhinophalt® be used?

Rhinophalt can be applied to all asphalt surfaces. To date, Rhinophalt has been applied to all categories of roads i.e local council roads and state roads, civil and defence airfields, car parks and automotive test and racetracks.

Q: We know that sustainability is of high importance these days. Is Rhinophalt® a sustainable solution?

The use of bituminous binders and virgin aggregate for construction and maintenance of flexible surfacing to facilitate the safe operation of road and airport operations contributes a significant quantity of greenhouse gas emissions to the environment.

The application of Rhinophalt typically provides a further 3 – 5-year pavement life extension, subject to the age and condition of the pavement at the time of initial application. The Environment Product Declaration for Rhinophalt calculates the carbon reduction saving, compared to asphalt resurfacing, is 90%.

The use of Rhinophalt highlights the significant reduction in carbon footprint, and an improved long-term sustainable asset life, leading to whole-of-life asset cost optimisation, through preventative maintenance treatments.

Q: Is Rhinophalt® a cost-effective solution?

Yes, Rhinophalt is most definitely a cost-effective solution. There are traditional treatments that can be applied to traditional locations. i.e low speed, low traffic volume or low-risk roads. Rhinophalt can be applied to high-risk or high-traffic volume locations through strategic asset management. The cost-benefit is in the life extension of the initial investment of constructing/placing the road or runway. Ask any asset manager and if they can delay major resurfacing works by using a strategic maintenance strategy, they will happily spend less capital if possible!

Q: What is your favourite project where Rhinophalt® was applied and why?

Sydney Airport Runway 07/25 was our first and still my favourite project. Completing these works in partnership with Sydney Airport was the highlight, as we worked together over a significant period refining the process and ensuring all quality and risk aspects were met to industry standards. This penetrative asphalt preservative product now enables commercial airports to have an alternate solution to increase the life of their airfield assets, as opposed to costly resurfacing works.

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